One dozen states later, we arrived in sunny California (even though it was dark out by the time we actually entered the state...) Crossing the border to California apparently is a bigger deal than entering any other state. Border control (aka the agricultural checkpoint) prohibits bringing any fruits or vegetables with you. Jess apparently didn’t understand the question when asked if we had any produce and simply replied, “…we have cheese…” We actually had just bought $90 worth of fresh veggies and fruit in attempt to eat healthier and save some cash. Whoops...
The next two days were full of driving. We stopped in Crescent City, CA first. Our hotel selection there was, well, not the best. Our judgment was so poor that C made J check the closet and under the bed for murderers before chugging a bottle of wine in hopes of educing a coma for rest. Unfortunately only one of us slept well. Thankfully there was a Starbucks right next door to wake us up for a long drive after a bad nights sleep. Highway 1 was full of fog. We were not pleased. In the morning we drove through Redwood National Forest full of, you guessed it, more fog (oh, and really big trees). The fog / tree combo was actually pretty cool to look at.
Our second stop on our driving spree was Ft. Bragg, CA. After a long day of curving around cliffs (amazing, although C seemed a tad uneasy no idea why) we decided to explore the cute historic downtown region. Getting our excise in we walked the mile to the shops. Apparently we missed the memo that all the shops close at 5 pm. So we of course grabbed a beer and onion rings at the local brewery. Walking home, we were so full and without any entertainment we decided to spend the night bonding over Keeping Up With The Kardashians and introducing Jess to the world of Jersey Shore (J is even more worried about humanity now).
The next day we arrived in Napa! Jess (and I’m sure all of you ID girls) had a design-gasm as we walked through the front doors of our AWESOME hotel after realizing that it was certified LEED gold, complete with meters in the building that showed the hotel’s water and electric use. Woo! After a spectacular dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, we hit the hay, post watching the brand new episode of Law & Order: SVU, resting up for a long day of wine tasting.
Bright and early, the Platypus Tours bus arrived at our hotel, picking us up as we began our journey to the first of four exclusive wineries in the Napa region. Biale Vineyards was our first stop where we sampled the famous Black Chicken zinfandel and learned a lot about different kinds of grapes.
Our second stop was the Tudal Family Winery, our favorite stop of the day. We enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch set up by our awesome tour guide, John, and heard the rich family history of the vineyard. Matt, the founders’ grandson, poured us varieties of their tasty red wines as Jess became quick friends with the adorable, 3-legged Cheyenne.
Third stop: Ballentine Vineyards – what a treat! In addition to a delicious wine tasting, we were also lucky enough to participate in a barrel tasting from our awesome vineyard guide, David. He also explained to us how expensive barrels can be, and why they acquire the wine-stained color in the center portions. Then, we got to sample RAW grape juice hot off the press, a first-time experience for both us and John. Feeling very… content… we hopped back on the tour bus, dug into a platter of cheese and crackers and took off. Napa’s only Kosher winery, Hagafen Cellars, was our last stop on the tour.
In true dramatic fashion, John raced the wine tasting bus back to Napa so that our New Hampshire friends could catch the last ferry back to San Francisco. BARELY making it on time, the eleven of us cheered them on as they raced onto the boat in the nick of time.
Being lame, we ate again at our hotel’s restaurant for dinner before setting off into the sunset, but not without our Starbucks, of course.