It’s no secret that travel has been a balm to my soul since losing my mom. (In fact, I even wrote an article on grief travel, or a griefcation, as I call it.)
But California’s been particularly good to my soul.
So, facing both my 35th birthday and my first birthday without my mom all in one…I got the hell out of NYC and flew to California with friends.
I love wine (and lamp), so we started the trip in Sonoma. I’d been there for a friend’s wedding almost five years ago now (time is weird, guys, I don’t get how that was five years ago), and I fell in love. Off to wine country it was!
We didn’t get up to wine country until after 1, and so we went straight for a lovely lunch at Farmstead in St. Helena…
Before the big event of the day: a tasting at Domaine Carneros, thanks to my dear friend Blake who knows everyone and got us hooked up!
It’s a shame it’s not prettier there.
And that the wine isn’t better. Ugh.
Dinner was at Girl and the Fig, which came highly recommended. It was…fine? Maybe I was just exhausted, but I thought it was a little overrated.
Other than the birthday treat.
Thankfully (?), I never adjusted to the time change and was up super early the next day, the first one in the house…as per usual.
The last time I went to Sonoma, we went to the Sunflower Caffe, and I, no joke, have been dreaming about this place for five years. Everything was just so fresh and good, ESPECIALLY the avocados and sourdough toast. There I go, salivating again…
Is it not adorable, though?
Unfortunately, the service was a bit slow, so we had to take the food in the car with us. I like my Sunflower here or there, I like it anywhere.
We ended up hiring a driver for the day so that none of us had to be DD, and it was a worthy investment. (About $100/person.)
Our first tasting of the day was at Iron Horse. They’re known for their sparkling, and my favorite was their Wedding Cuvee, which was originally made for a family wedding but has now become their signature wine.
And then it was off to the mother ship, La Crema!!!! Their chardonnay is what turned me from a chardonnay hater to a chardonnay lover! I have a friend who works for them, and she hooked us up with a tasting, too.
I felt super special that they printed menus up for us…at my favorite place!
I’d already bought two bottles at Domaine Carneros so at this point I was thinking about my little carryon and getting wine home… I bought the Saralee’s Vineyard Chadonnay, which was rich and delicious.
I was in heaven.
I also have no idea how I managed to restrain myself to not buy out the whole gift shop…
Our last vineyard of the day was Hook and Ladder. Can’t say I was crazy about that one…will just leave it at that.
We’d had several fancy dinner reservations for that night…but after a day of wine tastings in the sunshine…
We stopped for a pizza snack in the Sonoma square, and decided to bring pizza back to the house and drink wine there in our PJs. Zero regrets, and truly #thisis35.
There was also sabering and prosecco pong…