Obviously, I’m head over heels happy that my family is here for a whole week, and besides having to go to that pesky work for three days, we have lots planned to do together! We started off the first weekend with a bang—comedy club with my brother on Saturday, and all day Sunday in wine country.
And how did we tour said wineries, you may ask? In an actual car! That’s probably only exciting for me, because I’ve missed owning a car (more than I thought I would!) since we sold both of ours. (OK, so maybe I don’t miss the insurance/maintenance/gas prices… but I miss everything else.)
Wine country is about as beautiful as you can imagine. I toured Napa Valley with my BFF Heather last summer, which was gorgeous. With my family, I loved seeing a different part of wine country during a different season – the views were awesome and wine was pretty nice too!
We started out mid-morning driving towards Sonoma. First stop was lunch at the VJB Winery in Sonoma. Very pretty setup, with a courtyard and outdoor oven. Inside, a deli counter, drinks, and a bar for wine tasting. Lunch was awesome—we shared a cheese plate and salumi plate, and between the five of us ordered pizza, ribs, and sandwiches. We ate upstairs in their art gallery, with amazing views from the windows. We couldn’t leave before visiting their gelato and chocolate room, and came away with a bag full of chocolate of course! So, so good!
Next up, we drove right down the road to Kunde Winery. A crowded bar, but a great tasting of 5 wines for $10. Gorgeous views of the fields and grounds, especially with the fall colors. The grapes are no longer in season, but the yellow and red leaves left behind are so pretty! After the tasting, we took a quick tour through their wine caves. And took lots of pictures, of course! We also left with a bottle of our favorite chardonnay from the tasting.
We decided to drive to Napa Valley to see the castle for our next stop. Well worth the extra drive! The grounds are beautiful, with picturesque fields and lots of fowl wandering around. We chose to go for the wine tasting without the full tour, and honestly I don’t think we missed much. We could still wander around the castle, checking out the nooks and crannies. While the castle is indeed made out of real stone, the layout and furnishings are “representations.” I like my history, but I can read a book or watch a show on the History channel if I want to learn about castles. We were mostly there for the wine, anyway.
Unfortunately, my phone battery died right before entering the castle, and Sam’s phone was also close to dying, so I had to beg him to let me take a few pictures of the inside. He sure is stingy when it comes to his phone battery! Each picture was like pulling teeth, which is why there are only four. But… if I’m being honest, it was also nice to stop worrying about photo opportunities for a while and just enjoy the sights. So thanks for the life lesson, honey. Next time… I’ll make sure my phone is charged!
Also, by the by, I totally want to live in a castle. (With plumbing and electricity, of course. Please and thanks.)
Wine tasting was in the cellar, with lots of gift buying opportunities. We succumbed, and came home with an olive bowl and a bottle of our favorite wine.
By this time, we were tuckered out. We drove back toward the city and stopped in Sausalito for a quick bite of dinner (and discovered that almost all the restaurants were closed by 7 PM. I guess it’s the wrong season for feeding tourists?)
It was a beautiful day with family. It’s strange that we’re all in varying stages of adulthood now—my parents are nearly 30 years into marriage, I’m newly married and tipping closer to 30 than 20, and even my younger brother is over 21 and almost out of college. Family vacations are very different now compared to my childhood memories. But through each life stage, with all the change it brings, I’m always happiest when I’m with my family!
More city sights coming soon as we continue to explore San Francisco!