Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Return to Sonoma County: Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve

October 9, 2009 1 comment

In July 2009 we returned to the Sonoma / Napa area for our 2nd year in a row  — the first trip was great but this trip was even better.  We arrived in Sonoma late afternoon and had made an appointment to enjoy a stone massage at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.  We arrived an hour or so early to enjoy the “bathing ritual” as it gave us the opportunity to enjoy both the warm and hot mineral soaking pools, the herbal steam room and the dry sauna.  After all of that, this kid was almost completely relaxed and we sat in the lounge enjoying flavored teas and fruit — I was in heaven.  Next, we enjoyed a 90 minute stone massage — now that is the way to begin a vacation!  Completely relaxed, we were ready for our hike the next day as our plan was to go to the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.

Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve: The hour drive from the Mission Inn was easy and relaxing and once we arrived at the Reserve we parked on the roadside and began our hike — starting out on the “Pioneer Trail.”  Completely surrounded by beautiful redwoods and other vegetation, I was completely amazed  — no photograph I have seen has captured the beauty of this place.  You just have to experience this to truly appreciate the beauty.  As we were walking the trail one of the locals pointed out the “Burbank Circle” which she explained is a grouping of centuries old redwoods that form almost a perfect circle.

As we walked we veered off the common path and decided to climb up a bit as we knew that I had a trusty map in my pocket (we forgot that a map is only as good as the one using it!).  Fortunately, I did not have to use my map reading skills as we easily found our way around as the trails were well marked.


As we strolled back onto the path leading to the Redwood Forest Theater we noticed tables set up for those participating in a Wine walk — what a great idea!


Redwood Forest Theater

The Colonel Armstrong Tree is an amazing sight as it is about 1400 years old and is the Reserve’s oldest tree and is 308 feet tall with a diameter of around 15 feet.


Colonel Armstrong Tree

The beauty of the Armstrong Redwood Reserve is well worth the effort to enjoy and experience.

Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve:  17000 Armstrong Woods Road;  Guerneville, CA 95446


Summer Tastings: Just Pure Pleasure

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I envy those who live in California as they are in the heart of the wine country I most enjoy.  I love Texas but always look forward to visits to the Sonoma / Napa region and have had the fortunate opportunity to have been able to visit the areas the past 2 years.  The wineries visited during the July 2008 and July 2009 trips are listed in the order visited:

St Supery

St Supery

July 2008

  • Arrowood
  • Gundlach Bundschu
  • Del Dotto
  • St Supery
  • Bella
  • Stryker
  • Ferrari-Carano

July 2009

  • Family Wineries Tasting Room
  • Whetstone Cellars (Napa)
  • Schramsberg Vineyards (Calistoga)
  • Gary Farrell Vineyard & Winery (Healdsburg)
  • Michel-Schlumberger Winery (Healdsburg)

    Michel-Schlumberger view (July 2009)

    Michel-Schlumberger Lake view (July 2009)

  • Quivira (Healdsburg)
  • Joseph Phelps Winery (St Helena)
  • Stony Hill (St Helena)
  • Merry Edwards Winery (Sebastopol)

I will cover each of the wineries visited and in most cases, a tour was taken followed by a tasting..and what fun it was!

By any standard, the listing above represents more of a casual pace and I know some visitors load up and visit as many wineries as possible in any given day.  That was not my tact as I wanted to enjoy and take enough time at each winery to learn about it and its wines.  Even if you can’t visit the winery directly, these days wineries are making thing easier through social networking.  Many wineries have established a website presence, blog, are on facebook and twitter, in an effort to extend their outreach.  In these economic times, such efforts do make sense.  Establishing a more one-on-one relationship is good for both the winery and the consumer.

The times we live in…what fun they are!

Until next time…enjoy each day and each wine to its fullest!


Introduction: Wine pleasures and experiences

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Photo taken at St Supery Winery

I have enjoyed wine for over 20 years now, but it has only been in the last 10 that I began the fun journey of more truly appreciating it.  In the past 2 years, the pleasure of visiting the Napa and Sonoma areas proved to be far more enjoyable than I would have ever imagined.  This little blog will cover wine pleasures that I have experienced over the years along with those that I enjoy currently.  Tasting and enjoying wine will be the main focus, but I will initially write about the wineries I have visited.

I hope you will enjoy….