Sonoma County

In Sonoma County, California, the bed and breakfast where we stayed was gorgeous.  It sits on 100 acres, with a vineyard on site.  It’s not grape season, but the scenery is breathtaking regardless:

No grapes here... give it a few months.
No grapes here… give it a few months.

Apparently in the fall, during harvest (known to the locals as “crush”), this place is booming.  Rooms cost 3-4 times as much as they do in the spring.  It was a slightly cool, sunny day in Sonoma when we were there.  It was so much fun just driving by all the vineyards.  The scenery is amazing.  And although I’m not a serious wine drinker, I’ve had my fair share of bottles in my day, and it was super fun to drive by the vineyards and recognize some names (Coppola, for one!).

Once at the ranch, you are free to walk around the grounds, make them your own.

The gorgeous front yard -- a few horses just exited stage right in this picture
The gorgeous front yard — a few horses just exited stage right in this picture

The house is quite massive and cozy.  Funny to think they probably use their fireplaces there to “take the morning chill off”:

My dad said this was a 1952-1953 something or other--(sorry, Dad, I just remember the year).
My dad said this was a 1952-1953 something or other when I showed him the picture-(sorry, Dad, I just remember the year).

Staying at a bed and breakfasts has its drawbacks and its benefits.  

If you’ve never stayed at a B&B, here are a few things to think about:

Pros: Usually much nicer than hotels, with more room to roam and enjoy yourself in the common areas; free (not really, but delicious!) breakfast; hospitable owners/innkeepers; you generally feel safer; invaluable recommendations from the owners; generally meet new, interesting people.

Cons: You have to check in with the owners if you are going to be late; depending on the owners’ temperament/age/social values, they may not want you coming in and out at all hours of the night; not necessarily centrally located.

The cost is generally a wash because by the time you get your breakfast that you would probably have to go out and spend $10-30 (assuming two people) on, you aren’t really spending any more money than you would to stay at a hotel.

I’m a fan of the B&B, but I’m not devout.  I would definitely visit this one again, though.  Sonoma is all about relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere, the weather, and the beauty.

Have you ever stayed at a bed and breakfast?  What did you think?

Lazy Sunday Drive

After our trip into the redwoods, we headed down Pacific Highway 1 to Sonoma County, California.  Getting to the Pacific Highway from Highway 101 is an adventure in itself. You can’t drive very quickly unless you want to careen off into a canyon and to your certain death.  I mean, I guess that’s a romantic way to go, but if you’re inclined to that sort of dramatic exit, you’ll probably try your best to get to the actual ocean so you can sail off a cliff there to your certain death.

Once you get there (assuming safely– hopefully you aren’t being taken apart by a hungry bear at the bottom of a ravine), you are greeted with this view:

Well worth the risk, in my opinion
Well worth the risk, in my opinion

I had never so much as stuck a toe in the Pacific Ocean before this trip.  The air was cold, and the water colder.  The only people in the water were in full wetsuits down over the cliffs:

A few black dots in the ocean
A few black dots in the ocean. . .  Can you even see them?

The rocks on the beach were gorgeous.  We don’t have these rocks on the southeastern or Gulf shores, y’all.

One of my favorite rocks near Fort Bragg...
One of my favorite rocks near Fort Bragg…

One mystery that we didn’t solve, however, was what the heck are the massive tubes rolled into balls?  Some type of seaweed?  If anyone out there knows, please drop a girl a line:

Yuck.
Yuck.  There were tons of these on the beach.  Tons.

The drive back down the Coast was long, but gorgeous. Perfect for the lazy Sunday on which we visited.  We made it back to Sonoma just in time to catch a little daylight and dinner before getting some sleep.

Where is your favorite place to take a lazy drive?