In one week, I will be in my ‘mecca,’ the ‘land of the grapes,’ my most favorite place to visit.
Healdsburg and Sonoma area primarily where we’ll be headed (with a dash of Napa thrown in for good measure, though I find Napa far more snobbish and full of corporate wineries vs. smaller, family-owned gems). And when I say ‘we,’ I mean, two of my good friends who came last year (this will be wine country three-peat for me!) and M. For the first time. I couldn’t be more excited about that, since last year, we were just starting to date and he was off to Aruba for a solo vacation the day I returned from my trip. I remember calling him a few nights during the trip and telling him all about what we’d seen and drank and was really wishing he was there with us. And this year, he will be. And I know he will fall in love with it (I hope!) just as much as I have the last few years.
The one huge empty hole though? My sister Jess and my brother in law Scott are now not able to go. Sad face. We knew it might be a possibility but I don’t think any of us truly thought it would turn out that way. So this trip will have a little bit of bittersweetness to it, as it has been our annual trip together and let’s face it, we do so much together, it feels weird *not* to have them come along.
This year also feels different because M will be with me. The last two years I obviously went alone and had an absolutely amazing time. The first year we went was in October 2009, and we left on the day I sold my house. It was so freeing to sign that paperwork and then jet off to wine country! And last year (October 2010)? That was probably the best vacation I’ve ever had. 10 days. San Francisco for a few with one of my friends (who is coming this year and came the previous year too! our ‘thing’ I guess, huh?) and then another week in Healdsburg and Sonoma. We visited more than 20 wineries, had an absolutely gorgeous house we rented in the heart of downtown Healdsburg. On our 31st birthday, we took a hot air balloon ride over Napa as the sun rose. That experience was one I will remember for a lifetime.
But this year? We’re coming full circle, in a way. We’re back to a smaller group (sans sis and bro in law…sniff), we’re keeping it simple. We have some tastings and events planned, but we aren’t going too crazy with the planning this year. We have a gorgeous house that definitely even tops last year. Opens out onto a vineyard and has a jacuzzi. The works. And there is so much room given we have less people than we planned for (who wants to come! I’m kinda serious!). It’s going to be the break we all need, and a chance to introduce M to all of the places we’ve shared wine from and just enjoy 6 days of bliss.
I’m finally feeling excited about the trip…it sort of flew up on me fast, given the move and summer craziness etc. I say ‘finally’ since, like I said, I will miss having my sis and Scott there, but I plan to shower them with plenty of wine and goodies so they hopefully feel as though they’ll still get a small piece of our ‘mecca’ when we return. As for workouts and such? Yea, I am planning to run a few times. I mean, gorgeous scenery can’t be beat, that will be my motivation. I am a teensy bit worried about keeping my eats in check, but I think at this point, I’ve pretty much got it down…choosing healthy options while still enjoying myself (just not going hog wild!).
Wow, this turned into a rambly post 😉 Bottom line? WINE COUNTRY IN ONE WEEK! Bring. It.