Friday, July 12, 2013

Visit to the Wine Country

It had been a while since we took any long trips after Las Vegas. So we wanted to go some place during the Independence day long weekend. It was also a way to celebrate our second wedding anniversary, albeit a week in advance. Since we have both been very busy and stressed out at work, we decided to keep it all very simple. No flights to catch, no waking up early for the guided tours and no getting tired at the end of it all. Just a long relaxing break and exploring places at our own pace. The best place that fit the bill was the wine country.
I had heard that Napa is way too commercial and crowded so we skipped it and headed straight to Sonoma-less touristy but beautiful. Since this vacation was going to be different from all our previous ones, I decided to forgo the hotel and look for a cottage instead. Thanks to this amazing website (, I found a small cottage in the countryside within a reasonable budget.


The cottage is located in a bamboo nursery in Cotati- a small, sleepy town in Sonoma County. We drove up to Cotati on Thursday morning and reached there in an hour and half.
One of the important lessons that I learnt during my previous travels was that I usually waste a lot of time looking for food mainly due to two reasons-I'm a vegetarian and a picky eater. To avoid this problem, I picked up a lot of ready-to-eat instant food and that took care of the 'where to eat' issue.
The plan for four days was simple-spend two days in the cottage and two days site-seeing. This gave us enough time to rest and relax without feeling like we hadn't explored the new place. Per plan, we stayed indoor on day one spending time reading, playing games and doing nothing. 
Day two we decided to visit a winery. We zeroed in on Foppiano Winery in Healdsburg since they didn't require an appointment for the vineyard tour. We were handed a brochure for the free self guided estate tour which gave us general information about the business.
After walking around the vineyard, we took the Highway 116 to Sonoma. It is a scenic route with breathtakingly beautiful wineries along the way. The drive was just perfect-windy roads, fantastic scenery, no traffic and great weather! 

We headed straight to Sonoma downtown for some wine tasting. For only $5, we got to taste 7 different wines. Since I'm not a wine drinker, I wasn't too fascinated by this but tried it for the experience anyway. Afterall what is a trip to the wine country without any wine tasting?

The next day we just stepped out for a quick lunch at the Cotati downtown and spent the rest of the day at home. On the last day, after checking out of the cottage, we drove to Bodega Bay. Again, the drive was very pleasant. We stopped at the famous 'The Birds' Cafe which was very disappointing. Long wait time and bad food. 
We continued driving along the Sonoma Coast State beach. It was overcast yet extremely picturesque. We halted at the Schoolhouse beach. Unlike all the other beaches that I have been to, this one has no sand at all; it's all small pebbles which prick your feet and the water is freezing. But it is a nice quiet place for a picnic-not too crowded.

Our drive continued and took us to the Russian river in Monte Rio. It was pretty crowded with people kayaking, swimming and sunbathing. we spent time walking across the small stream and then headed to Sebastapol downtown for a quick bite. We walked around the downtown and ate some hummus and pita at a small Mediterranean place. After that, we drove straight home-tired but content after a relaxing and refreshing vacation.