Road Trip

Napa, originally uploaded by c8mills.

The amazing thing about Northern California is that no matter which direction you drive, you’ll find something unique and beautiful, ultimately cool. We crossed the summit of the Sierra, heavily laden with recent snows, through the greening foothills, to the warmth of the Sacramento Valley. We continued right passed the capitol city to cross the wetlands of the Yolo bypass. This day the winds were howling, scrubbing the air clean. We could see the mountains over a hundred miles away. Next we found ourselves following a little country road, whizzing past walnut groves, to the farm town of Winters.

We come to Winters often, just because they happen to have one of the best music venues in the country, an old playhouse called The Palms. This time we saw a blues guitarist from Louisiana, Tab Benoit. Almost three full hours of music. What a treat!

In the morning, we had no real plan, but thought that we would visit Amy and Ty in Sebastopol. We took off heading northwest, winding through hills, skirting Lake Berryessa. Before we knew it, we unexpectedly found ourselves in the heart of Napa. Vineyards, smothered in mustard, everywhere. We meandered through Rutherford and St. Helena, past the Culinary Institute of America.

I recognized a winery from a previous visit and we pulled into their parking lot. Since it was only Thursday in February, only a few people wandered the grounds. Inside the deli of V. Sattui Winery is an abundance of delicious flavors and visual candy. Too much to list, but this is what we bought: A black forest ham/gruyere cheese Panini from the deli, Humboldt Fog goat cheese, Old Amsterdam Gouda, an artichoke cheese spread, a loaf of olive bread, two bottles of golden balsamic vinegar, Monari salami, a bottle of cream soda to share. Then we soaked in the sun of the picnic area, nibbling, talking, enjoying the moment.

We ended up going to Wright’s Beach for the evening. We had our wine and our treats, wrapped in a blanket, watching the sun set over the sea. Couples started coming out to watch too, holding hands, arms intertwined. One man was serenading his girl with a guitar, when it dawned on us – it’s Valentine’s Day! Here we had this brilliant, gorgeous romantic day together and we hadn’t even realized it.

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