The best sundae EVER

Heaven. Also know as the Rim Trail from the Red Hut Cafe in South Lake Tahoe
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge
Melted peanut butter
Whipped cream
Cherries
Pretzels

It’s so good it even got its own post!

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Russian River Wine Tasting

Another post about my jaunts in wine country…

Today was absolutely lovely!  We only tasted at 2 spots – but they both were wonderful!

Stop #1: Korbel Champagne Cellers

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$9 for a bottle of delicious Champagne!  I bought the Brut Rose.  YUM!

FREE Champagne tasting!  Everything I had was delicious, and the place is beautiful.  They also have a little market to buy snacks from to picnic.  Bottles of Champagne average around $14!  Can’t beat it.  Also, for my fellow military folks, they generously offer 25% off purchased.

Stop #2: Lunch at Russian River Pub 

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As seen on Diners, Drive ins & Dives.  Feeling a little perked from Korbel, we wanted something hearty and delicious.  We had reservations elsewhere, but decided to give this one a go, and we’re super glad we did!

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And the best spot yet…..♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Stop #3: Russian River Vineyards

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Don’t take this lightly… you MUST go here.  This place, and the staff, has left me with feelings of packing up life and moving to Forestville.  It’s tranquil, quaint, delicious, darling… it’s everything you want.  The grounds are gorgeous, the wine is decadent and they have a delicious looking menu (we were too full to eat!).  They too are generous to us military folks by offering complimentary tasting and 10% off purchases.  A must go.

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’twas a beautiful day and a beautiful drive.  So blessed to live this close to paradise!  God is good friends, God is good.

Murphys, CA (you simply MUST go!)

Oh how I love Murphys.   It tis the quaintest little town, full of darling shops, wineries, and delicious restaurants.  It’s super cozy, and you’ll fall in love upon arrival!

On President’s Day weekend they do a “Wine Weekend” where you pay $20 for a glass and get to taste in almost all of the store front wineries (there’s a lot!).  I’ve been the last two years, and have happened upon beautiful weekends!  The drive up from the Bay Area is gorgeous, and only takes 2/5 hours.

My mood for the weekend 🙂 The sun is shining, the wine is flowing, it’s a great day.IMG_2263Make sure to grab a coffee and pastry (their savory scones are to die for!) from Aria Bakery & Espresso Cafe and take a 2 min stroll to the creek!  

If you’re hungry for a bigger breakfast, swing by the Murphy’s Hotel.  Great portions and good prices.  Grab a seat on the patio if you can!IMG_2276

History buff?  The town is full of historic buildings, and there’s a cool museum too!

Lavender Heaven!  Yes, Lavender Ridge is a winery (wine is ok…) their shop is absolutely darling, and they have everything lavender  you could possibly want!  As well a cheese pairings.  A must go.

Need a sweet treat?  Or two?  Swing by Lila & Sage’s Cupcake store and drool over the delicious cakes, AND hop on over to the Peppermint Stick for a decadent shake!

For dinner we hit the new Luck Penny Public House, and boy o boy were my fish & chips delicious. They also have live music!  Super cute joint.

Each building in Murphys is darling!  Such old charm mixed with shabby chic.

I hope you’ll trust me when I say GO TO MURPHYS!  You won’t regret it.

God is good friends, God is good.

Touring London in 2 days!

Me and my sweets in front of the London Eye

Me and my sweets in front of the London Eye

Believe it or not, it can be done!  I’d encourage my fellow travelers to allow an extra day or two if time allows, but if not, put on your running shoes 🙂   For me, traveling to Europe has to include multiple stops.  In planning an Ireland vacation, we decided to add an extra 2 days to stop off in London. I think we had a total of 40 hours or so in London … it was a whirlwind, but we hit a lot of the major destinations and had a blast!

Evening 1:

After landing in the afternoon, checking in and freshening up – we hit the town!  My partner had friends in London – so we met somewhere near the Westminster Tube, strolled around and grabbed a bite, and got to see River Thames, Big Ben & the House of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) and the London Eye as evening set in.  We strolled around and stumbled upon the Sherlock Holmes Pub which was exactly what I pictured a London pub to be like – young drunks stumbling out, the interior smelling of sweet old beer, and a charming exterior!

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Silhouette of Big Ben & House of Parliament

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London Eye, Big Ben & River Thames

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Sherlock Holmes Pub

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Big Ben

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Day 2:

I too have a friend in England – about an hour and a half outside of London, whom I haven’t seen in 15 years.  When I told him I would be in London for 2 days, he insisted on spending some time with us.  I figured we would hang out for a few hours … but his agenda was a bit different.  We met around 8:30am and didn’t stop touring until 7:30ish… I was exhausted, but glad we got to see so many hotspots!

We started the day with the 8:00am Holy Communion Service at Westminster Abbey. It was really neat to sit in this amazing historical site and participate in such a special ceremony.  It was a quick service – and this is a free opportunity to get into the Abbey!

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The beautiful Westminster Abbey

After the service we strolled to Whitehall to watch the Horse Guards Parade, and then to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards.  Though both spots were packed with tourists – it was really neat to experience this tradition.  And yes, we took the obligatory photo with the guard.  Poor guy…

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Horse Guards Ceremony

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Changing of the Guards

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We then hit Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.  We just peeked in so I could see an original Van Gogh – but I wish we would have spent more time there.  We grabbed a quick bite (fish & chips of course…) and were on our way.

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Trafalgar Square

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National Gallery

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Next we went to the Tate Modern museum – but just the inside’s outside…. We had to walk through the museum to get to this amazing outdoor space – with people picnicking, kids playing in the water and people sunbathing. (I’m going off memory but I think this is behind the Tate Modern…)

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Next we strolled along the River Thames, attempted to get a beverage at an overly packed bar – failed.  Enjoyed some seasoned street nuts… whatever they were, they’re delicious, and ended up at Tower Bridge.  Crossed over and saw the Tower of London (not much of a tower…), St. Paul’s Cathedral, and wrapped up our last evening with a delicious meal of Guinness stew and sausage with colcannon.  We walked over 7 miles and were completely exhausted!

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Tower Bridge

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Me and Boo – beyond exhausted at this point!

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The “Tower” of London (and my handsome beau)

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral

The last London Supper

The last London Supper

Final Day: 

For our final day we didn’t have to head out until noonish – so we decided to head back to Trafalgar Square, and to our joy, stumbled upon Covent Gardens.  You must go here!  We strolled through the little shops, and ended up getting some coffee & pastries and just hanging out.  Loved this spot!

Darling pastry shop in/near Covent Gardens

Darling pastry shop in/near Covent Gardens

It was a whirlwind but we had an incredible time in London!

Silverado Trail Part 1

Today was glorious.  Started out at church, followed by a delicious brunch and wine tasting!  Perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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Here’s where we went:

Brunch:  Alexis’ Baking Company & Cafe (ABC) Downtown Napa.
They change their menu seasonally (maybe monthly) so we ate off the March Spring Menu* & Everyday Breakfast Menu.

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Food:  Creme Brulee French Toast with Fresh Strawberries* ($14.95) and Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Eggs, Cream Cheese, Red Onions and Capers on a Potato Bun ($12.95) with a side of Potatoes with Cheese ($4.95).  Hot Chai Latte & Cold Chair Latte – YUM!  (Around $3.50/each)

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Wineries:  Regusci Winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards & Chimney Rock Winery.

Regusci:  Stumbled upon this gem after we missed our turn for Chimney Rock!  A flight of 4 wines for $20.  A BIG thank you to Brittany for waiving the tasting fee when I asked about military discount.  Today we tried a Chardonnay, Zin, Merlot and Cab.  I hate to say it.. but we really only enjoyed the white – and I’m not normally a big Chardonnay fan, but this was a good one.  The tasting room and outdoor patio was really charming, the grounds were lovely, and the old building was beautiful!

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Robert Sinskey Vineyards:  This spot was recommended by Brittany from Regusci.  We pulled in, and though it was under construction, it was lovely!  A flight of 4 wines for $25.  Another BIG thank you to Kyle for offering a waived tasting fee for my military discount, and throwing in an extra taste.  We had an Abraxis, Orgia (label made of acid paper…), Pinot Noir, Cab and a POV.  The Abraxis was pretty tasty, especially on a warm summer day.  The reds were good, but we didn’t walk away with any.  What I especially liked about this winery was that they included a little food platter to sample with your tastings – and everything on here with yummy!  Especially the roasted almonds with rosemary, sage, olive oil and salt.  MMMmmmm

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Chimney Rock:  Found this on the Winery Finder App offering discounts, and also on yelp.  And boy are we glad we came here!  We made this the last stop for the day, and it was perfect.  A flight of 1 white and 4 reds (2 different flights to choose) for $35, and a flight of 3 whites and 1 red for $25.  A BIG thank you to our sommelier for offering a 2 for 1 taste for my military discount.  I’m going to be honest here… it was the end of the day, and the wines were blending at this point.  I had the 3 whites and 1 red, and enjoyed them all!  Ha!  My partner had 1 white and 4 reds and enjoyed them as well.  What we really enjoyed was the grounds.  The back patio was just lovely, a perfect spot to spend the afternoon.  The only bummer was you can’t picnic here due to Napa laws (or something beyond my scope).  We will definitely be back here!  Loved it.

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It truly was a beautiful day in wine country, and I am looking forward to the Silverado Trail part 2.  This part of the trail was the Stags Leap region – and it was beautiful and tasty!  Great day to be a Californian.

God is good friends.  God is good.

Occidental & Healdsburg

Saturday called for early afternoon rain – so I figured I could get a quick bite and some wine tasting in before it came!  California thinks it’s spring – so the hills are luscious green are flowing with mustard flowers!  Such a beautiful day!

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Here’s what I did:

Travel time: 3.5 hours total

Locations:  Breakfast in Occidental and Wine Tasting in Healdsburg

Cost:  Irish Eggs Benedict, Coffee & Chai Tea Latte – $25 including tip.  Private tasting (fee waived) and 2 bottles of wine – $64.

Breakfast was delicious!  I stumbled upon Howard’s Station Cafe this past President’s Day when I was exploring on my own, and I had to bring my Beau back!  The first time around I had the Original Eggs Benedict with a side of fruit and a Chai Tea Latte.  YUM!  The second time we had the Irish Eggs Benedict with a side of potatoes.  We had a snack on the drive up (1.5 hour) so we split the dish – which was perfect.  Out server was great, and all the staff helped each other out.  Good experience x 2!

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Alex enjoying MY Chai Tea Latte!

Wine Tasting was delectable!  We go wine tasting quite frequently – and I always try to find new spots.  To be honest – I mostly look for spots with great reviews and great views!  I stumbled upon Acorn Winery in doing a random yelp search – and boy am I glad I stopped in!  Their license requires patrons to make an appointment – which was fine by me.  Betsy – owner and darling lady, was wonderful!  We were the only ones in their small tasting room, and had the most intimate tasting.  We learned so much – and for the first time ever, I enjoyed all of the wine.  They do not mass produce, and they’ve definitely poured their heard into their “second career”.  I purchased Cabernet Franc and my beau got their Dolcetto.  Yum!

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As always, we had a great time!

God is good friends, God is good.