Sunday, August 19, 2007

We Just Want to Go Back

"What do you think of this Cabernet? Is it better than the first one?"

"Should we take our nap at 3 or 4? I guess it depends on when we're going to dinner."

"Do you mind getting me another mimosa?"

"Would you rather picnic up on this hill or down by the river?"

These were the sorts of questions we bandied about during our five+ days in the Napa Valley. Far different from the questions that define our more mundane (and stress-filled) everyday life.

We reveled in the trip. We relaxed more easily than I'd ever thought we could.

We began our trip tooling around in a silver mustang convertible. Completely impractical in our real lives but a blast on vacation. And perfect for driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on our last full day on vacation. After awhile I ran out of superlative comments for each new ocean view, finally settling on a whispered "damn."

If you've never been there; go. Go now. Stay here. You will not only stay in a gorgeous room where you'll have a fireplace and a complimentary bottle of wine waiting for you, but every morning you'll get to dig into an amazing champagne brunch (at no extra charge. This is NOT your typical free hotel breakfast.).

If you stop in to the St. Supery Winery, I promise you will not be the first to ask, "So what percentage of the people here spit rather than swallow?" I was relieved that when my husband posed this question, his attention was focused on one of the lovely spit buckets, so it was clear to all in the tasting room what he was referring to.

Following a tour of Mumm's makers of champagne, we wandered along the road to V. Sattui. You can't buy their wines anywhere but here, so pick up a few bottles. We also availed ourselves of their deli and put together a great picnic. Later in the week, we stopped at the venerable Oakville Grocery for picnic supplies.

It's hard to rank the different restaurants, so suffice it to say you'll eat well at any of these places--Mustards, Tra Vigne, Hurley's, Uva, and Annabelle's (in San Francisco).

One of the best wine tasting/tours we went on was at the Robert Sinesky Winery where they have culinary tours where they pair food with the wines. Both were superb.

But we weren't only gluttons for food and wine (just mostly). We visited one of the three Old Faithful geysers in the US where we made some not too terribly original jokes as it prepared to spew and tried but failed to startle the goats into fainting. I also read 2 1/2 books (4 hour plane rides are good for that!): We Need to Talk About Kevin, Never Change, and Forecast of Evil.

It was a hard trip to bid goodbye; tough to admit it was over. Tomorrow a new work week begins, but we're now 48 hours into re-entry and we're no longer grumpy about being back, but rather we're happy we went (I realize that sounds pretty hallmarky, but I guess I'm still feeling the glow.).

I promise my next post will be all about writing. I have a book to finish and then revise after all. But, I have a hunch my mind will be wandering often in the next few weeks back to a picnic at a table on the grounds of a winery, or watching the sunset over the vineyards, or smelling the tang of the ocean spray as we come around another turn south of Half Moon Bay.

Great trips and good books have that in common, don't they? The ability to take you far away, take you back, take you to worlds removed from your everyday life.

A toast, then, to books and travel.


kristen said...

I'll drink to that! What a lovely description of what must have been a wonderful vacation. Welcome home, Judy.

Isn't PCH the best? I would be very unhappy if I had to live without excursions to the California coast. I've spent what seems like a lifetime here in NY searching for better beaches, better views, but there are none. I'm pretty sure Big Sur is my favorite spot on earth.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful vacation and the inn where you stayed looks idyllic! I love the wine country and now you've got me scheming about our next vacation. Welcome back Judy and thank you for sharing your experiences and your recommendations with us!

Tasha Alexander said...

Judy, it sounds like HEAVEN! Welcome back!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Kristen--PCH is just incredible. We're already plotting when we can get back and spend more days driving it.

Lisa--Definitely go. It was such a perfect trip. I'll happily share more tidbits when you're headed there.

Tasha--It was. Good to have you back too. Guess we both need to get back to work, huh?

Lynn said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed your time away! And super glad you are safely back.

Larramie said...

NBC's TODAY has been running a series this summer entitled "America the Beautiful," offering a list of places that viewers can vote on. Last Thursday #5 on the list was PCH and they featured a "beautiful" segment on it. So glad you were able to experience it in person, Judy.

Now, are you ready to take over my fantasy travel posts? Just say the word anytime. ;)

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Lynn-We're getting back into the rhythm of being home. And now I'm back to writing which feels good, too. When is your big release day?

Larramie--I'm too selfish for virtual travel--so your columns are safe from me! We saw that Today Show clip the morning we headed out--perfect timing!

liz fenwick said...

Sounds a wonderful holiday :-)