Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Napa Vacation - Day 2A


Like I said, we awoke at 6:30 Napa time (8:30 in our world), so me, Don, and Ada got up and headed to the little gym in the hotel. It had two tired treadmills, a stationary bike, an elliptical machine, an exercise ball, and one wall lined with mirrors. I busted out a quick mile, then did four minutes alternating 20 air squats and 10 pushups. Man it was tough! After we built up our appetite, we grabbed our towels and headed to the dining lounge area.

We loaded up on breakfast sandwiches, waffles, bananas, mini omelettes, yogurt, and juice. Yummy! Then, we headed back to the room and cleaned up for the day. I wanted to be comfortable and mostly warm. I opted for my long black cotton dress with flip flops. Ada let me borrow a necklace that went perfectly and that's when I remembered the turquoise necklace I wanted to pack was in my workout bag at the bottom and that's why I couldn't find it. ha ha! We grabbed some fruit and went on our way.

First stop, Artesa. They told me that This place was beautiful and had breathtaking views. Wow! No seriously, it was incredibly breathtaking. The sun was fully awake, gently kissing every peak and valley. The green and blue so vibrant, it was like tasting every juicy bit of summer. The clouds lazily lingered in the distance, so plush, providing the perfect backdrop to our day. We had to walk up a hill and immediately, you notice this sharp sculpture in the middle of a calm and serene pool.


Then, there was this artistic and non-threatening fountain to our left. The angles sharp, yet the water inviting. It made you want to dance in the waters, bathing in the beauty of the day. It was hard to believe this was the first stop. It could only get better, right? We had several more stops along the way and before I go further, I'm warning you that this post will probably be broken up into more than one part because it was a jam packed day!
Anyway, we went inside and split a tasting. It was so pretty inside that I felt like we were in a modern art museum, not a winery. On their veranda, there were even more breath taking views! After wandering around, we'd come back in and enjoy another wine in the tasting set.
I really enjoyed the full flavor of the Muscat (a dessert wine), so we made our purchase and headed to the ladies room before the next spot. The room was decorated so nice and I got a fantastic photo of Babs!
Anyway, we headed out to the next spot: Nicholson Ranch. This smaller winery was decorated with a heavy dose of Tuscan flavor and a small pinch of Greco-Roman flair in the distance. Why? Because immediately adjacent to the winery was a patch of land with columns and statues and of course, there were some horses posing amidst them. It cracked me up, it was so awesome! Because right?...horses and columns go in a vineyard...only in Napa Valley. :D
We were getting a bit hungry and the bananas and apples weren't satiating our need to snack. While at Nicholson Ranch, we munched on some cheese sticks and then we realized that we wanted some cheese. So we headed into Sonoma for Vella Cheese Factory. Yummy!! We bought some jalapeno jack and toma cheese. (the only place in the world it is made!) It was fabulous. That jalapeno was just the spice I wanted!! Sidenote: I REALLY wanted jalapenos with my eggs during breakfast, but all they had was this jalapeno-like sauce. It was ok, but I really wanted a pepper. I was ecstatic that we found this cheese.

We left Vella Cheese and headed even further into the heart of Sonoma. While there, we visited the square and a little market. I was impressed that they had this refrigerated case filled with dozens of cheese samples. It was cheesy, cheese galore! I was giddly like I was 5 again, hopped up on the excitement of cheese. I don't know about you, but I LOVED cheese as a kid and one day my body said, no more lactose. Well, lately, I've been able to eat cheese to my hearts content and while I felt like I was taking a big risk, it was one I was ready for. Armed with my lactaid and other medicines in case of emergency. From this market's grill, I ordered some steak tacos. I was hoping they'd sorta emulate tacos from a taco stand. You know what, they were ok. Nothing to brag about, but it was a fitting lunch. The salsa had absolutely no kick and again, I was disappointed by the lack of heat. Oh well, we'd soon dive into our jalapeno cheese, so I could wait.
After that stop, we headed on over to Domaine Carneros, but when we turned in, we were intrigued by Cuvaison. It said tastings by private appointment only. So Primo called the number and threw on a fake British accent, claiming to be Sybil, Mr. Sias'(the real estate mogul from Texas) assistant. Could they possibly squeeze in his entourage of 11 that day because Mr. Sias would like to make a visit? They could fit us in if we got there in the next 15 minutes. SCORE!

The backstory: Mr. Sias was on holiday with his wife, Contessa Bianca. Accompanying them was her family...the Duke, her father, the Count, her brother with is wife Amanda (all who only spoke Spanish), her personal assistant and best friend, Miss Merryweather, Simon his assistant, Danika, the assistant's assistant acting as a translator for the family, the personal trainer Guy LeBeaux, and Claire the court jester.

With that, I'll leave you for the night so you can wonder more about our crazy adventure there.

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