A Weekend in Wine Country | Sonoma in Snapshots
Since I was traveling back from Puerto Rico the day before my birthday and we had a wedding to attend my actual birthday weekend, the hubs and I were able to celebrate my gift of another year in the wine country a little early this year. A couple of weekends ago we flew up to San Francisco and drove into Sonoma. While I have done some time in Napa and do enjoy it there, I prefer its less flashy neighbors. My only wish is we could have stayed longer. I love that area of California!
I am hoarding my miles and points for our #EPIC2014SummerRoadTrip, which will require a lot of flying (to pick up bonus daughters and return them to their home state) along with some hotel time, so I gleefully scored plane tickets from militarytravel.com which were a huge savings! Here is our trip to Sonoma (and surrounding areas) in (mostly) snapshots:
And we’re off… on the plane United Airlines made an announcement thanking the hubs for his service to this country and also recognized Milspouse Appreciation Day (which was actually on the day we flew). Thank you, Twitter! I may have Tweeted them about the hubs before the flight… they added on the milspouse part themselves.
Getting to the car rental place in San Francisco requires some effort, but it was worth it since the car was free (I did use points because I have plenty of those). The GPS was acting up, but we made it to the Golden Gate Bridge at which point I felt queasy and my heart began palpitating. I still just do not like bridges. Once we got to the other side, I wanted some photos. It was FREEZING and windy!
Once we got back into the car and thawed out, we made our way to one of my favorite properties in all the world, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. It was recently renovated and it looks amazing. Disclosure: A job perk of being a corporate event manager is properties will highlight the best of what they have to offer by giving room upgrades, amenities, etc. if available. I never request it, as it is against my own personal and professional code of ethics, however, when considering a location for a future event, it is actually extremely helpful to see how our guests, staff and executives will be accommodated.
We arrived to our gorgeous suite for which the photos do not do justice:
Then had dinner at Santé Restaurant, on property. We were so happy to eat, we have no photos!
We walked back to our room and hung out there for the rest of the night.
Super cool fact: The hallways throughout the property are extra-wide because in the 1800’s the builders constructed the hotel to accommodate hoop skirts, so women wouldn’t bump into each other! Love that!
While it was tempting to spend the day at the spa (one of my favorite anywhere!), the hubs and I headed out for breakfast, but not without some snapshots of the outside of the property first:
After breakfast at The Big 3, also onsite, we headed out to the wineries!
I think the woman here liked him, because his pours were double the amount of mine!
Imagine this all in purple. Beautiful!
Our next stop:
After tasting, it was time to head for dinner! We went to another favorite of mine, The Girl and the Fig – without a reservation – and were lucky enough to get a table with no waiting! It was definitely crowded and quarters were tight. I didn’t take any photos of my dinner, but the hubs did get a couple of his. A woman walked in and spilled his blueberry cocktail all over our table by bumping it with her huge purse. Luckily we didn’t get a drop on us!
My entrée was salmon. I liked it, but it had too much pepper (that could be because I don’t like pepper).
We walked around the square a bit, then headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the rest of our late night in our suite, and definitely took advantage of that big ol’ tub with the bath salts!
The next day, we enjoyed breakfast at Pearl’s Diner near “downtown” Sonoma. This is a bit of a greasy spoon, but our breakfast was great and very reasonably priced.
I would definitely recommend stopping in, even though we didn’t. Their wines are fabulous and the grounds are spectacular!
Next up was Arrowood. As we walked in we saw a lone quail crossing the road. Adorable! What a beautiful winery. I hadn’t been before, but the concierge at the Fairmont recommended it, and gave us VIP passes. I truly enjoyed talking to the tasting room staff. They were so kind and friendly. This was, by far, my favorite tasting room experience this trip. To top it off, we also had another win! I took home a bottle of the Syrah and hubs got a bottle of the Riesling.
Our last stop before heading back home to San Diego was another favorite of mine, Gundlach Bundschu (gun-lock, bun-shoe). It was a grand time chatting with the tasting room staff and visiting the grounds again. Fun fact: I ate my first “winery” grapes at Gundlach Bundschu! Even though I don’t care for Gewürztraminer wine, I loved the grapes! I even have the photo somewhere around here!
I had to get the hubs a t-shirt and then before we knew it, it was time to pack it up and head to the airport.
What are your favorite wineries? Please do share in the comments!
This entry has been added to the #SundayTraveler lineup. Check out other great travel pieces by clicking here!
Links to all vendors:
MilitaryTravel.com (must be military, retired or Dependent)
Enterprise Car Rental
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn – be sure to ask your concierge for transportation companies or take the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley!
Deerfield Ranch Winery
St. Francis Winery
Sonoma Valley Harley-Davidson
The Girl and the Fig – ask to sit outside if it isn’t too cold!
Valley of the Moon
We flew into San Francisco International Airport, but Oakland and Sacramento are just as easy, too. I also found out that Santa Rosa has new direct flights from San Diego flights being serviced by Alaska Airlines! Be sure to check those out, too!
Tip: Ask your hotel concierge (or Bed and Breakfast hosts) for recommendations and whatever VIP passes/tasting discounts he or she may have. This is definitely a great savings!