I can’t believe here we are FINALLY here! And not just because we left Raleigh 15 hours ago “finally here” but because we’ve been planning this trip for a mere 5 years “finally” here.
Highlights of traveling across the country with your best friends? You can fall asleep on your seatmates shoulder with your mouth wide open, drool on yourself, and wake up without that awkward “my bad” moment. They also set aside you peanuts while you’re sleeping. And watch your bags so you don’t have to try and do the suitcase into stall, twirl around, suitcase back against the door, where does my purse go now?, dance in the bathroom stall that you have to do when you’re solo.
Also: memo to RDU TSA. I’m a little worried that the fact that we put a Tupperware of flour and of sugar through your x-ray machines and nary an eyebrow was raised. I mean, I would have felt a little safer had you at least asked us what that white powdery substance was.
Anyways, we landed in San Fran and the southeast winos awaited the arrival of our northeast representation, Pam. Much hugging, screaming and public jumping up and down ensued.
We went to pick up our rental car – which was supposed to be an Impala, to the delight of Emily, but with a little wink-wink the Hertz lady hooked us up with a mini-van for no extra charge. Not gonna lie, we were all pretty psyched about that guy. Even the aforementioned Chevy dealer appreciated the extra cargo space. (By the way, it kinda drives like a dream. Rethinking my “Will Never Drive a Mini-Van” pledge.)
Through San Fran, across the Golden Gate Bridge (cue many rounds of the Full House theme song and varoius qutes… “Haaave mercy” and “Hoooow Rude), and then an hour north to Sonoma County. I’ve never been to California, and I know the topography is varied but I’d like to go on record to say Northern California? Gorgeous. I have a crush on you, Northern Cali, with all your green rolling hills, and Happy Cows munching grass, and oh yea, your vineyards. As soon as we got about 15 minutes outside of San Fran, the vineyards were everywhere. We passed Kendall Jackson, which made us a little nostalgic. KJ was the wine of choice on our every Wednesday night date to Filling Station our senior year, such that by spring semester we’d arrive to FS to find a table for six with 2 chilled bottles of KJ waiting for us.
(Top pic: Jess, Pam, Shelby, Emily, Jenny, Megs)
The highlight of 2005 was returning to homecoming, going to Filling Station and having a waiter holler across to us “It’s the KJ girls!”
Fame’s kinda nice, ya’ll.
Wednesday night dinners (or “Winesday night” as we called them) were really my first introduction to wine, and we all started off with Chardonnay. Our tastes have changed so much, I’m not sure any of us are regular Chard drinkers anymore but KJ still takes us back to our roots. (A little wino history for you there.)
Pam had found our house, “Jimtown Cottage,” on one of those vacation rental by owners page and we didn’t know much about it except that it was red and out in the country.
These were both accurate, but the pictures online didn’t do it justice. (Pretty much the reverse of all our Post Exam experiences where picture online shows in-ground pool… you arrive to find hole in the backyard with blue tarp and a garden hose nearby…) We gasped, and squealed, threw our bags down and basically acted out Real World Sonoma County choosing rooms.
I’ve never been in a rental home this lovely. Must be visitors to Sonoma County are slightly more considerate of their surroundings than those who patron Ocean Ave, Myrtle Beach, SC? Just a hunch.
At this point, although it was 5:00 West Coast time, our tummies were growling so we headed to downtown Healdsburg for dinner. We went to a restaurant’s called Willi’s which was small plates style. We ordered seven small plates for the five of us, and a bottle and a half of wine. I forgot to take my camera out in the restaurant, or here’s where I would be posting totally self-indulgent pictures of some really incredible food. You’re disappointed, I know. (Don’t worry… I made up for it at every other meal.) We also tried the wine from the vineyard across the street from our cottage, Stonestreet Wines Chardonnay. (Right, I know, I told you we don’t really drink Chards anymore… well, I lied. Get over it.) I also talked the girls (who are mostly Red drinkers) into trying one of my fave types of wine, a Gewürztraminer. (Winos, when you read this, do any of you remember what vineyard that was?) We bought a half bottle of that and it disappeared instantly. They hated it, clearly. Gertzies are usually very crisp and clear, and go perfect with spicy food… so the Thai calamari plus Gertzie was a perfect combo.
Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was my food blog for a second. Woops.
We wrapped up our delicious meal at Willi’s and headed back home to get some rest for our big day of vineyards to come. Still on East Coast time, we were lights out by 9, sleeping with the excited anticipation of a little kid on Christmas Eve. That kinda happy.