April 6, 2011

California Dreamin'

Aside from the extra long return trip (mechanical delays on two planes = missed flights, long hours in the airport and an unplanned overnight in Chicago), my trip to California was just what I needed. Warm weather, lots of sun, wine and relaxation.

I did a terrible job taking pictures early in the trip.

We stopped in the city for lunch and then on our way up to Calistoga, we stopped in Berkley to check out the campus. I've been to some hippie campuses before (Boulder, Burlington, VT), but this one takes the cake. We walked around the area, took in views of the bay and marveled at the homes in the area.

Our first two days were spent in Calistoga, at Eurospa. Cozy and cute, Eurospa has a covered (and heated) open patio where they serve breakfast and cookies in the afternoon. We used it as our home base for snacking, wine drinking and planning.
I'm crazy for Calistoga. Very quiet and small. We walked everywhere. It is tucked in a sweet little valley, with these mountains to the East. Each time we walked downtown (two blocks from the hotel), this was our view. On one of our morning run/walks, everyone fell in love with this house for sale.

In Calistoga we went full relaxation at Golden Haven Spa with mud baths, massages, facials and a dip in the mineral pool. We'd planned to do a biking winery tour, but it didn't work out so we went to Summers Winery (patio picture is from there) and a castle winery called Castello di Amorosa. Not my favorite wines, but a fun experience.

On Friday we made it to Seghesio Family Vineyard. Great zins and a quick tour below to see their facility. I loved this place. So warm and friendly, a great experience.

We spent that afternoon at the Coppola Winery, on the very first day they opened their new pool. We tasted, checked out movie memorabilia and then lounged by the pool for hours. It was heaven. And, some of us made the local paper's coverage.

That night was spent at a business partner's B&B, Auberge on the Vineyard, overlooking rows and rows of grapes. Then we made our way down to SF, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and doing some touristy stuff.

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