We explored this beautiful park three years ago this month during a trip to Napa and Sonoma. The park, Jack London’s former home and ranch, is spectacular. It was mud season, so we didn’t get to walk the trails and focused our time on the museum. His history, and that of his wife Charmian, is fascinating and beautifully represented there. Read more about the park and our day in Sonoma here.
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Cue the music from Vacation! In 1969, my family left Oklahoma for sunny California in the family truckster for a typical family road trip from hell. Just kidding, kind of. I’m the youngest of three, so I had to sit on the hump in the back seat with our family poodle Petite Jean Jacques Rousseau. (Dad was a philosophy major before law school.) If you’ve never ridden 3,000+ miles sitting on the hump between your older brother and sister, don’t judge me for calling it hell.
The air conditioning broke in Death Valley. And, apparently, back then motels would charge extra for families with more than four people, so I had to hide on the back floorboard under a sleeping bag with Rousseau every time we checked in. I recall hiding in the shower with him as well when someone came to the motel room door. Perks of being the youngest, I guess.
This time of year is when I am normally planning our late winter or early spring vacation. For retailers, particularly in the liquor business, the frenzied holiday shopping grinds almost to a halt in January and doesn’t return to a more normal pace again until March or April. It’s a much-needed reprieve, especially after a record-breaking year like 2020. I miss travel planning, and my Facebook memories aren’t helping. It seems like every single day a travel memory pops up, taunting me. Here are the trips I’ve been thinking about.
4 years ago, we were preparing for our first vacation in Mexico. We chose Cancun because it was a non-stop flight, which is important when flying to and from the mountains in winter. Otherwise, you might make it back to Denver but get stuck there, and your car is in Eagle or Aspen. Not fun. It is actually the opposite of fun.
Of our four days in Sonoma County, one was spent in and around Sonoma, a historic city in northern California at the heart of the renowned Sonoma Valley wine-making region. Its history is fascinating.
According to VisitCalifornia.com, “In the mid-1800s, the town now known as Sonoma was just a collection of ranchos, governed by Mexico. Even though the U.S. government and the State of California took over the territory not too long after that, you can still sense its heritage. The centerpiece of town, Sonoma Plaza, is still anchored by the northernmost Franciscan mission in California—and it’s even the birthplace of the California State Bear Flag, created by Americans rebelling against Mexican rule. Today, however, Sonoma Plaza is lined with charming shops, tasting rooms and popular restaurants.”
We just got back from a wonderful, wine-filled week in Sonoma and Napa. It was an actual work trip for our liquor store. How sweet is that? Before I get to the wine, and there’s so much wine to discuss, I want to tell you about four restaurants we loved in Sonoma County. Two were recommended by winery employees. Locals have the best insights on where to, or not to, eat. The other two were found on Google.
Part of the beauty of the empty nest is that it’s easier to travel. Since I can work just about anywhere, I decided to join Scott on some of his business trips. Our first opportunity was just a couple of weeks into emptynestdom. I started the research and planning early, which gave us both something to look forward to and helped keep my mind off the fact that our lives were getting ready to change pretty significantly.
Scott loves to drive, so my jobs are to generally plan the route, pretend to be able to read a map, find stops along the way and look up interesting facts about the area. I usually take a few involuntary naps as well. Continue reading