On the Pacific

Final Dinner in Sonoma, Sausalito, Memories

Sonoma Memories

Route 101 and Rohnert Park were not far away, and we both smiled at the memories recently created in Sonoma County. Thanks much to all the wineries we visited, including the special visit to the winery at Sonoma-Cutrer, and to Beth Ghashghai for the tour, tasting and knowledge imparted to us there. Thanks also to my good friend Fred Tragemann at Judge and Dolph, Ltd. for setting up the tour at Sonoma Cutrer.

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Lodging and Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar

A typical chill had begun to creep in with the setting sun, and it was now much easier to imagine how the cool Pacific air – and at times heavy fog – would enhance next year’s crop of Chardonnay grapes. Our lodging that evening was to be at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma, just off Route 101 and pretty much at the doorstep of Sonoma Valley and wine country. The hotel was just an hour away from the San Francisco Bay area. It was also very close to dozens of award-winning wineries, and the perfect place to end our wine country excursion.

Before enjoying a sumptuous meal at Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar within the hotel, we were surprised to learn of a wine tasting in the lobby area of the hotel. It was presented by Randy Pitts of Harvest Moon Estate and Winery. The winery is located just off River Road and minutes from the hotel. (That’s a winery for our next trip…) The wines were young but very tasty. Along with some excellent aged cheeses, they were a perfect segue to our dinner.

After our sumptuous meal, we were tempted to enjoy a short dip in the heated Jacuzzi outside. But it was later than we thought. Sated and very tired, the comfort of the king bed called more loudly than the jacuzzi. Sleep again came quickly to a couple of tired travelers.

sitting at a table outdoors

Enjoying a glass of wine outdoors in Sausalito – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

A Leisurely Breakfast, a Stop in Sausalito and Home Again

Perhaps not amazingly, another perfect day – albeit quite chilly by California standards –awaited us the following morning. A leisurely breakfast was followed by an easy trip back across the Golden Gate and on to the airport and rental car facility. (We did stop in Sausalito for some pictures and a snack by the Bay, but that is a story for another day…)

The San Francisco AirTrain swiftly shuttled us to the CalTran station and from there it was but a five-minute ride to another train that would whisk us to Atherton – our destination for Christmas this year. The weather would continue to cooperate effortlessly for the remainder of our time in California and on the coast. A sizzling jet stream would cut our flight time back to Chicago by forty-five minutes.

San Francisco Bridge Photo
Photo by zoe pappas on Pexels

Memories, Perfect Weather & Excellent Wines

Relaxing on the plane and taking time to savor the highlights of the trip, the seven-day excursion seemed almost short. But the memories of perfect weather, accommodating hosts, exquisite cuisine and some phenomenally excellent wines would linger long after the cold air of the Midwest had added a fresh chill to my temporarily warmed bones.

And whether you live near enough to Sonoma to make the trip occasionally (even regularly) or you are planning a trip to northern California and coastal destinations we have highlighted, make certain that you add enough time to visit Sonoma Valley. I can promise you will not regret it!

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We launched this website in 2004 after getting married on a beautiful bluff just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, on the patio of a small restaurant called Rocky Point. Since that time, we have returned to the West Coast as often as time and funds would allow, always seeking new restaurants, wineries, beaches, unforgettable memories…“


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