Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fun in Wine Country

What a pretty, interesting area this is! This time of year it is still lush and green, later on the grass will be dry and golden. We spent 4 days exploring, wandering, shopping and eating! What more could a girl ask for?

We stayed in Reno the first night--not much to say about that, other than we did NOT get rich ;)
Had a nice sushi dinner, and called it a night early.

Friday morning we were up and out of Reno, after a healthy breakfast buffet and a refueling stop at our usual--Starbucks.

The day started really foggy, but that soon lifted and the sun came out bright and beautiful. We had a nice drive into Petaluma, with a little retail therapy along the way at a Premium Outlet Mall. This time, much more therapeutic for David than me--I didn't buy a thing!

The first night in Petaluma we had a WONDERFUL dinner at a small brewery right on the harbor. Great food, certainly not usual brew pub fare, and one really good beer each. Mine was called "Ugly Dog Snout Stout"-despite the name it was delish!

This week in Petaluma was their annual "Butter and Eggs Festival"--so named because that is their principal agricultural industry around here. Indeed, we saw many "Happy California Cows" that you see in those TV commercials! Haven't seen a single chicken yet, though.....

Saturday was their parade downtown. Petaluma's downtown is lovely, like a step back in time. Many antique shops, gift shops, great restaurants. The parade was huge--thousands of people turned out. It was like a slice of old time America, really fun. Several people were dressed up as chickens, but this was the cutest:

Here's a pretty church in Petaluma: Here we are having a beer after the parade--it was a "Cappuccino Stout"--really yummy and just the boost we needed! The next pic down is me exploring some of the great shops on the street.

This is their library--they even have Elvis in the building!!












After the parade we decided to leave the downtown area, so we drove over toward the coast--a really pretty drive through miles of dairy farming country, with lots of those Happy Cows. Here's a pic of the countryside, no cows included:

We drove up the coast for a few miles--it's just beautiful!

































Sunday was the BIG antique show in downtown Petaluma. We got an early start, and poked through over 180 booths! Lots of fun--much more looking than buying, though. The day's haul: One great picture frame (asking price $35.00--got it for $15!), and an old glove mold to add to my collection. Here's some pics of the action on the street:
After a few hours at the antique show we headed back to our car for a picnic lunch, then decided to drive back toward the coast again, taking a different route this time. We explored a few small towns, drove down the coast the other way, and then had dinner at the Tide Wharf Restaurant. We chose it after reading several reviews about their great cioppino, and we weren't disappointed! We were lucky and got a table right by the window, and enjoyed watching the sea lions and birds. It was a lovely dinner........

Monday we explored "wine country", from Healdsburg (my favorite) to Calistoga to the town of Sonoma, and a few little towns in between. It was a beautiful drive, and we passed some gorgeous old homes (more like mansions!) and wineries. We weren't able to get many pictures, as the traffic was bumper to bumper and there were not many spots to pull off. We must be the only couple that go to wine country and DON'T stop to do wine tastings! (Been there, done that a few years ago)

Here's a pic of the beautiful vineyards: This is one of the pretty wineries, Chateau Carneros:
(And this was not even the prettiest one!)










These next few pictures are of the town of Sonoma. Here's their town hall: A shot of Main Street:



Here I am, in front of a real estate office, gazing longingly at the home pictures. Hmmmmm--can we afford to live here? YES, we can!! (Right after we win the Mega-Millions Power Ball lottery!!) Pffftt!!




On that depressing note, we ended our day in Sonoma and wine country, and drove east towards Sacramento. We had a quick pizza supper (pretty yummy!), then checked into our hotel.

Tuesday dawned windy and wet. Really windy and wet!! As we had only about 150 miles or so to drive that day, we spent the morning exploring a nice mall near our hotel. Lots of great stores, including a Nordstroms, which we sure don't have in Spudville! Again, much window shopping and no buying--Frugal Frieda here!! (I'm saving my pennies for Paris!)

We headed east to Reno about 2:00 pm--what a drive! We had it all--sleet, snow, rain, hail and, worst of all--major pea soup fog. Not a fun drive. But David got us there safe and sound, of course.

We checked into our hotel in downtown Reno (Circus Circus--we got a really good mid-week rate). They gave us $15.00 in "free slot play", and we actually managed to turn that into over $80.00- enough to pay for our room and dinner! We are easily amused, aren't we? So NOT big gamblers!

Wednesday we got our usual semi-early morning start towards home. Again, rough weather and not a fun drive. It was a long 7 hours home, but our new car ("Pearl") handles great on rough roads and in bad weather, so that sure makes a road trip more enjoyable.

Ahhhhh--it's good to be home. Who knows where "The Traveling Lundbury's" will go next?