celebrating in sonoma

Wine country is fantastic any day, but it’s even better when there’s a reason to celebrate, like there was on Friday, when we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and into wine country for the rehearsal dinner of two good San Francisco friends. The wedding itself was back in the city at the Presidio Golf Course, but a whole day of pre-nuptial festivities took place at the bride’s parents’ home in Sonoma. “Dinner” was a bit of a misleading term, as the fun started at 1pm and included a few hours of wine-tasting at Chateau St. Jean, croquet on the lawn, playing with the new family puppy and attempting to make friends with the family cow, Barbecue (a somewhat-morbid foreshadowing name of what’s to come for Barbecue when he’s meaty enough), before a dinner of stone oven-baked pizza from Rosso (they brought the whole stone oven to the rehearsal dinner and cooked the pizzas on site). All in all, a nice little Friday.


Chateau St. Jean winery in Sonoma (above left – photo courtesy chateaustjean.com); rehearsal dinner at the bride’s parents’ home in Sonoma (above right + below); Seb making friends with the family pets, Beignet the puppy and Barbecue the cow (bottom left + right)


an anticlimactic day trip

Friday was an extremely gorgeous, sunny, 80-degree day in San Francisco, so I headed up with a friend to Point Reyes National Seashore, north of Marin County, to look for gray whales, which are finishing up their northern migration from Mexico to the Arctic. The lighthouse on the tip of Point Reyes is one of the best spots in the state to see the whales, sometimes with new calves. I was hopeful, but, alas, was not blessed with a whale sighting (although we did see several dolphins). I was deeply disappointed, but tried to write it off as a lovely drive through the Northern California countryside. As I had not been to Point Reyes National Seashore yet, I was happy to finally see what all the fuss is about – it is quite spectacular, although I should have done better research as to exactly how long the drive all the way out to the isolated lighthouse really is. The 21 miles from Highway 1 to the lighthouse do not go by very fast when you’re averaging 30 mph and stopping every five minutes to drive over a cattle grate (these are California’s famous happy dairy cows, loving their life in bright green pastures with Pacific Ocean views). The nearly four-hour drive to the lighthouse from SF was quite a long way to go for a non-sighting, and the fog and wind at the lighthouse didn’t help (my, how the weather changes quickly on the coast). But once we recovered from climbing up 300 stairs and walking the half mile back to the car, we got out of the park and back into sunny, 80-degree weather. All was not lost, as the drive back to SF and across the Golden Gate Bridge was as beautiful as ever.

The coast of Point Reyes National Seashore (top left); the lighthouse from the top of the 300 stairs – note the fog (top right); the secluded lighthouse, perched on dramatic cliffs (above); what I was hoping to see and would have seen if we had been there that morning, when a mama and baby whale were spotted (below).




Since I moved here in July, I have been dying to get out on the bay in a sailboat. I have brainstormed ideas on how to make friends with some wealthy boat-owner, but I don’t live in the Marina District, so I’ve had no luck. Fortunately, my office took a little outing last night on a catamaran sunset cruise on the bay. The weather has been incredible this week – 80 degrees and sunny – which was a welcome break from last week’s rain. The evening could not have been better. We sailed from Pier 39 (home of San Fran’s famous sea lions), right past the far side of Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge, where the rolling Pacific waves caused me a to feel a tad seasick, but I powered through.