California dreamin'

As you know I was out of town a couple weeks ago (you know, when I just ditched you all without even attempting to blog while I was gone?). Mr. Much More Patient and I headed off to the great state of California for a little bit of work and a little bit of pleasure.

It was my first time in San Francisco. I love discovering new cities. I also discovered a deep hatred for the Maps app on my phone, which sent us on a walking route that went straight up the most enormous set of stairs I've ever seen and then right back down the other side to get to our hotel. Anyway, we were there for the America's Cup (unfortunately before it got really exciting) and got to see some racing and I even did a bit of work.

We watched some of the races from an apartment that Mr. MMP's company rented for the event. Since the best viewing was really on television, it was cool to be able to watch it on the TV there and then look out the window to the bay to see the action.

I went on a behind-scenes-tour of the television operation for the event which was really interesting. The entire "television city" is set up in a series of shipping containers because it traveled with the America's Cup World Series for the two previous years before landing in San Fran for the big event. 

This is the fourth America's Cup that I've covered and it was much different than the others I've been to. There were very few superyachts around, but this one was impressive enough (from a size standpoint) that I thought it was worth a photo. 

We went to a sushi place with some friends and the chef sent out some appetizers (one of the people we were with was friends with the chef), including this "smoking" sushi tray.

This sculpture was so cool because the whole center was huge succulents.

Our last night there, a friend invited us to her house for a barbecue in San Rafael. I was so envious of her palm trees and lemon tree.

And then we headed north to Napa for a few days of R&R.

It was harvest time and absolutely gorgeous. I feel like I've been to a lot of beautiful places but I'm not sure I've ever been somewhere where you can drive for miles and just be stunned by the beauty.

It was so inspirational from gardening standpoint. I came home all invigorated to get in the garden, which is not easy to do in fall.

This fountain was at what we decided was our favorite of the many wineries we went to: Silver Oak. 

We went to Rutherford Hill Winery because we want to tour their wine caves, which was very interesting, although a little less rustic than I was expecting.

The chandeliers were imported from Italy and they were amazing.

This massive trellis was outside the entrance to the cave.

And this was the few of the valley from one of their picnic areas.

Just a random vineyard.

Another beautiful fountain. This one at Chimney Rock.

We ate dinner at a place called Brix that had the most amazing gardens. I ditched Mr. MMP at the table to run out and take some pictures before the sun set. I wish we would have planned to have lunch there instead so I would have had more time to explore the garden.

I'm so envious that roses seem to grow like weeds there. I grabbed this picture because this walkway was lined with rose standards already in Wisconsin Badgers colors, but the star for me was all the white roses. I'm not a huge lover of white flowers but now I really feel like I need more of them.

Of course I've not had the best of luck with fancy roses. Maybe I should stick with a mushroom garden like this one we spotted at the St. Helena post office.

 It was an amazing trip and a wonderful way to celebrate our 10th anniversary (at least that's how we justified a lot of great dinners). Such a beautiful place, but of course, it's always nice to come home again too.


  1. What a fun trip! I was in SF last November and saw a couple of the America's Cup match races before heading to Napa (Yountville) for Thanksgiving. It was a friend's 60th birthday, and his wife planned a huge, fantastic dinner at Brix with family and friends from all over the country. We were seated in a separate building out back, but we didn't get there until after dark, so I didn't get to see the gardens at all. The food was amazing, though -- their regular T-day shebang was a prix fixe menu for Thanksgiving where you choose from three or four options for each course, but ours was all family-style, so we got to try everything. They had this amazing mashed spaghetti squash...delicious! (Who'da thunk of mashing spaghetti squash?!) I'd totally recommend visiting the Napa Valley at Thanksgiving one of these years -- the vineyards are GORGEOUS when the leaves are turning. (We used the backdrop for our Christmas card picture last year -- ignore the incredibly good-looking couple here.)

  2. Amazing! I was in SF about 15 years ago, but never got into the valley. One day, I'll have to go back because it looks beautiful!


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