Celebrating the Fruit of the Vine

Compromise is not a way of life, it is THE way of creating a happy life. We compromised on the pace at which we travelled on this latest trip (the first one alone with Sophia), but we didn’t compromise where we went and what we did. After staying in San Jose for a few days, we happily moved on to California’s Wine Country. Napa, Sonoma, and Calistoga awaited. We didn’t really know what to expect in both the scenery, the lay of the land, the pace of living there or what the environment would be like at the wineries.

Our initial impressions are that the landscape and weather are gorgeous. If you didn’t know where you were, you’d think you were in Rioja, Spain or Algarve, Portugal. The destinations are close to one another and you can embrace your own pace and style of traveling there. There are those who stay at very exclusive (adults-only) enclaves and travel to the wineries by hired car and then there are those who backpack through the national forests that surround the vine groves. We fell somewhere in the middle opting to see three wineries during the two days we were there. Wineries also vary in their accommodation to children and even spontaneous adults. In other words, some wineries mandate prior reservations and insist on tours with tastings rather than just tastings.

We sought out small wineries that produced vintages not easily exported outside the state or even the winery choosing to focus on sustainable growing rather than marketing and growing the business. Those wineries also happened to be most accommodating to children, lack crowds, not require reservations and provide the best views. A win-win all around if you ask me. Alas, here’s where we went: The Hess Collection, Landmark and Arrowood.

Sophia was a little restless at the Hess Collection but did well enough when occupied with crayons, paper and a tour of the art gallery and gardens on premises.

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She was much better the next day at Landmark where she happily sat on a very cool wooden bench and smelled all our glasses. Perhaps she will grow up to be a Le Nez. We toured the gardens of Landmark along with the koi pond. It would just be a shame to not take in as much of the outdoors as possible.

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The hosts at Arrowood happily whipped out a game of checkers for her, but really, the view there was enough. It was simply breathtaking.

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We sat out on their wraparound porch having the entire space to ourselves, listening to big band tunes and taking in the view. Our work, home and the general the hustle and bustle of life seemed far away. It was a perfect way to spend a mellow afternoon.

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