Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bodega Bay: Russian River Valley and Sonoma

What a wonderful way to start the morning. Long run completed and now I could relax, sit back, enjoy the drive to wine country.

Headed out to Bodega Bay. Scenic drive. Great place. Our room was incredible. My expectations were more than exceeded as soon as I saw the view from our room (cathedral ceiling, fireplace, small deck). First thing Greg did, of course, was read all the maps. We laid there together watching the sun set from our great view of the bay, took a short nap, then went to the wine and cheese reception where we enjoyed a Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir from Salmon Creek. Surprisingly good.

Decided to go into Occidental to Barley & Hops for dinner and drinks. The ride had me laughing the whole way! Pitch dark with little road markings as we navigated our boat - the grand marquis! What we did see were the following signs: curvy road ahead, trucks entering road, deer crossing, falling rocks, rough road ahead, and "bump". People passed us and Greg kept me laughing with, "Well, they probably think they're passing grandma and grandpa in this car!" The place was well worth it. The draft beer list was rock solid. Greg had the Death and Taxes and I had a Liberty Ale. We tried their special hot fries which were sooooo hot that we had ranch sauce and ketchup and they still hurt! I ordered spicy navy beans over polenta, which I will try to replicate as soon as I get home! Mmmmmmm! Some girl named Jen-something was playing the guitar ala Lillith Fair - one of her songs called "Vineyard Blues" can be found on you-tube. She was actually pretty good. The drive back was fortunately uneventful - no deer or elk! Great two days so far!

Saturday morning was a nice lazy morning, taking our time, then heading out for coffee. Found a little nook called Roadhouse Coffee for bagels and coffee. This little dive had the Talking Heads blaring when we walked in. I turned to Greg and said this must be the place (get it?). To me this was kismet because I was reading Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (and I just love Talking Heads). Great vibe and even better coffee. Finding the unusual when you're just winging the day is simply the best!

The drive along Highway 116 was beautiful. The coastal skyline was incredible. We pulled over at several locations just to take in the beautiful scenery. As we got closer to Korbel we passed through little areas surrounded by redwoods. We were truly enveloped by these massive trees and greenery. An amazing beauty to be a part of.

First stop was Korbel on our little day trip adventure. Two bottles of Brut Rose later and we were on our way to the next stop. Next up was Joseph Swan. We bought a bottle of their 2005 Zinfandel, but wasn't terribly impressed overall. The best was next. We visited Harvest Moon. I chose this one because I love the Neil Young song and almost chose it as our wedding dance song (it was in the running with This Must be the Place/Naive Melody by Talking Heads and Come Away with Me by Norah Jones. Norah won.). This winery was a delightful surprise. We bought 6 bottles of wine as well as a bottle of their dragonfly olive oil and joined their wine club. The girl who took care of us was knowledgeable, had a wonderful disposition and voice and their wine was sooooo smooth. We loved them instantly. And they had a chocolate lab. I tell you...the day was full of amazing moments like this.

On to Hook & Ladder. Merlot and 2 Zinfandels are being shipped. Neat little boutique winery. Wine was average, but the day was anything but average.

Lunch at Corks restaurant at Russian River Valley. French onion soup and salad. Impressed and it was nice to sit down and relax (translation: kick our buzz with some water and food!).

On to Iron Horse. Greg and I both giggled through our first sample because we were so not into this place and we could read it on each other's faces! They had a big tour going on and we just were like cattle bellying up to the bar. We purchased a bottle to make up for our sample "fee" and headed out as quickly as possible.

Next was Cahill Winery to sample their port. This was a little mom and pop kind of winery with two german short-haired pointers named Daisy and Duke (I grew up with these as a kid). Greg was reluctant to go in as we pulled into their gravel parking lot, but Eddie Vedder came on and I said this had to be fate (he loves loves loves Pearl Jam). We sampled a really good tawny port and, you guessed it, we're having 6 bottles shipped. Plus, we tried a surprisingly good vinegar that they said would go well on ice cream or fresh fruit. Huh? Are you kidding me? We sampled it. And we bought a bottle. Damn, it was that good.

At this point, we hit Mom's Apple Pies to try the much-raved about place in all the Bodega Bay literature. Yep, it really is that good! Super soft apples drenched in cinnamon and nutmeg gooeyness and a crust that screamed watch your cholesterol! Wow!

On our drive back in the good ole grand marquis, we decided to stop at this little dump of a house that we saw last night outside of Occidental that had a Casino sign hanging prominently outside. We walked in, saw 2 pool tables, and a long bar. Decided to grab a pint (no more wine!) while there and started chatting up the bartender Greg, who also was the owner. Turns out Greg bought the place from the Casino family (pronounced Kass-i-no). Ahhh yes, that explains the Casino sign outside! We met Matt the chef and decided this would be our dinner spot. It was just too funny to go anywhere else.

Back to the Lodge to relax, which was such a luxury to do. Up bright and early to pack and get on the road. We made one last stop Sunday morning before heading out to Doran Beach to gather sand dollars to bring back to the girls (which was highlighted in our book), but all we got was incredibly wet. We didn't find sand dollars, but we did see some very strange marine life. Pretty sure the stuff was dead, but we sure did keep our eye on it as we ran back to the car!

Great trip - with plenty of memories!

No comments:

Post a Comment