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Rising From The Ashes: Visit Sonoma & Napa Counties

December 1, 2017

Napa Grape Leaves in the Fall

It’s hard to grasp the number of lives affected by the North Bay fires in October. And as the smoke dissipated from California’s wine country, the tourists seemed to have disappeared as well.

Sonoma County Road

I was not the only one who thought many of my favorite places had been lost in the devastating fires. But having just visited the area, I’d guess 99% of local hotels, restaurants, and other tourist magnets still are open for business.

Gratitude to First Responders

One fun way to support these communities is simply to visit.

And you can bring the kids! There are plenty of alcohol-free activities in the area – starting with hiking, biking, and exploring the picturesque winding roads by car. This area is undeniably beautiful in all four seasons.

Window from Round Pond Winery, Napa

Sonoma and Napa counties are a foodie’s paradise.  Nationally recognized chefs operate amazing restaurants with ‘organic & local’ and ‘farm to table’ the common thread on menus. Highly coveted Michelin Stars have been awarded to at least 3 restaurants in Sonoma County and 7 restaurants in Napa Valley.

Dean & Deluca is a delightful gourmet store, while Model Bakery sells the perfect English Muffin praised by Oprah (best hot with jam). Order a delicious sandwich for a picnic from Dry Creek General Store.

My favorite secret not-so-secret eatery is The Fremont Diner outside the town of Sonoma – oh, the decor and those biscuits!

The Fremont Diner, Sonoma, CA

Shopping is abundant in St. Helena and Healdsburg. And Napa Valley offers a lot of choices for a relaxing spa day.

BottleRock Music Festival is in May, and Robert Mondavi Winery hosts concerts throughout the year.

Then in early autumn, visit Grgich Wine Estate for a grape stomp.

Grape Stomp at Grgich Wine Estate

Olive trees are abundant in this Mediterranean climate, and their bounty is being harvested now. Round Pond Estate offers olive oil & vinegar tastings, demonstrations, and themed experiences.

Olive Oil Tasting in Napa County

You can see the hills and distant rows are black from the fire but much of this vineyard was saved. Now that we are in the rainy season, green creeps through the scorched earth.

Sonoma Vineyard

The grass and wildflower seeds that were scattered recently to prevent soil erosion will enhance the breathtaking scenery in the coming months throughout both counties.

So if you’ve had California wine country on your bucket list, now is the perfect time to plan a visit. And you can do it guilt-free in the name of helping rebuild a community.

I’d love to know, what’s a favorite spot you’ve visited in the area?


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More To Do: A Weekend In Napa Valley


London Getting Ready For The Jubilee

Street window in Selfridges * This week I took two walks – one in London and one in Richmond See what I saw… * Regent Street * Union Jacks everywhere * Made of fake flowers, but beautiful nonetheless * Drool-worthy Liberty *  * Made…

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Jubilee Logo 1

The Diamond Jubilee & Window Shopping

 With the upcoming Diamond Jubilee and Summer Olympics, this will be a historical summer in Great Britain! * squeal * * Submitted by 10-year-old Katherine Dewar of Chester, this official emblem was selected in a competition Along with festive bunting and ‘Best of British’ slogans, I see…

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Petersham Nursery
England: London NATURE + GARDENS

Unforgettable Petersham Nurseries

I found another English gem – Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. The clouds parted and the angels sang. Oh my goodness – such a feast for ALL the senses. Let me give you a little tour… This is no ordinary garden nursery For starters, it…

April 16, 2011

Creative Advertising: Ocado

While waiting for the train, there is nothing I appreciate more than clever advertising. This one caught my eye from Ocado, an online grocery store/delivery service in England and Wales Source: Ocado Media Centre (Click on image to enlarge) Here’s a selected close up…

February 2, 2011

Waitrose: Handheld Self Checkout Wands

How clever is this? At the grocery store I use a handheld ‘gun’ and shoot the product label; I bag the items as I go along. When my shopping is complete, go to the till, give them the ‘gun’, pay, and I’m done! The…

January 26, 2011