A little side story… When I was young I contracted a very serious illness that stripped me from experiencing life as a normal teenager and left me not walking for years. I obviously felt miserable, limited, not free. Years later after many surgeries and feeling never the same, but a lot better, I promised myself a life full of adventures, travel, and as many perfect days as possible.
Well, this one goes down for the ages. It was a simple day involving me riding my vespa to Bodega Bay along the Pacific Coast Highway. The route spans miles of rugged beaches and sandy coves, some of the best in California.
Onward to the town of Marshall where the Hog Island Oyster Farm resides. It is here where I bought 2 dozen Sweet Water Oysters to go and found a peaceful, quiet cove where I built a tiny fire for an oyster barbecue. The rest is history and the pictures tell the best stories.
By: Tanya Gnida
Wine Country to the Rescue – July 16th
Join us as we celebrate Geyserville Fire who has been protecting Wine Country for over 100 years.
Wine Country to the Rescue will be a must attend event of 2016. Set in the beautiful Dry Creek Valley at the base of Lake Sonoma Damn. Starting at 5pm just as the Summer heat begins to fade, and the cool evening breeze comes across the lake and down Dry Creek Valley. This will be a picture perfect evening. Food will be prepared under the watchful eyes of Northern Sonoma County firefighters who at times are more well known for their cooking than anything else. Dinner will be served between 6pm and 8pm. Branded will start playing at 6pm and will play up until the end of our evening at 10pm. When you are not enjoying the amazing food, the multitude of wines from area wineries or mingling with friends both old and new make sure you come by the silent auction tent and find something you like before 8:45pm. Please don’t be in the silent auction tent at 8pm, you will want to be in your seats or near the stage where State Senator Mike McGuire will lead our live auction. This will be a memorable event you want to miss. Tickets are $45.00 each. Don’t wait to buy tickets. Last year’s event sold out. Sponsorship tables are available.
Riding Geyser Road and Rockpile
I just returned from my first cycling excursion to California, which tied in nicely with the Tour of California stage at Santa Rosa. I am a nubie on the cycling front, celebrating my first year in June of riding, but in this short time I have found hill riding the most enjoyable and rewarding for losing weight (which is why I fell into cycling initially), and getting above a place to see it anew. When I first arrived to meet up with my friends Tanya and Deb, I met up with T (Tanya) at Locals Tasting Room in Geyserville. I was directed for my first ride toward Geyser Road and the climb that bears the same name. I was fresh off driving from Ashland, Oregon that day and this was my wake up.
It was breathtaking on both getting vertical, and seeing the valley below as well!
The next day it was Rockpile with some cycling friends of Tanya’s led by Patty Phillips. The ride was again, very vertical, wonderful in vistas seen and my senses, smells, sounds, temperature all waking me up and challenging me to pay attention. It was something truly amazing to see and experience. Wonderful roads, better than home, being Seattle. The scent of wine, or the blossoms, filled my senses. It haunts me today, in a very positive, lovingly held memory. I next did a ride out to the coast thanks to Tanya suggesting a route from Occidental out on Coleman Valley Road to Hwy 1 and then back using Bohemian Hwy for my return. One word for the ride, breathtaking! You get it all on this route, shade, grand tree style with Redwoods, then some climbing, following some of the Santa Rosa stage of the Tour of California and then opening up to a view of the ocean and Hwy 1. Simply some of the most stunning riding I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing in this short span of mine.
Last Spring I took a little side trip with some friends to spend a few days in Anderson Valley. We drove about an hour north from Geyserville through beautiful scenery to get there. The region is most known for its Pinot Noirs and growing some of the best Pinot grapes around.
We checked into the Boonville Hotel, run by Johnny and Marcus, two very lovely gentlemen. The hotel has a charming, rustic feel and we got to stay in some of their super cool bungalows. I felt like I was away at a very expensive summer camp.
After checking in we went out to do a bit of wine tasting. Our first stop was Baxter Tasting Room. The owner Phil Baxter happened to be in that day and he is a friend of ours as well as a fantastic winemaker. We tasted through his pinots and of course purchased a few bottles.
Just up the road is another awesome winemaker, Toby Hill, who makes Phillips Hill Pinot Noirs. He has a very rustic and warm tasting room, run by another old friend Mark Fredrick. Mark is super knowledgeable about wine, and just about everything else. It’s always a treat to taste with Mark.
And last but not least, no trip to the Anderson Valley is complete without a visit to Roederer! A lovely tasting room with beautiful grounds and spectacular views. It’s a great place to end your tasting day with a bottle of bubbles!
So get to the Anderson Valley when you can, it’s worth the trip.
Who doesn’t want to fly a kite? Do you remember how fun it is? I do. There I am in the picture above with my Dad at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY. He is teaching me how to fly a kite for the first time. It was a seminal moment in my childhood where the real meaning of life exists. I felt the confluence of complete joy and freedom. Do yourself a favor and pack the car with family and friends and revive an emotional landscape from your childhood while giving birth to new experiences and memories.
Event: Castles and Kites
Place: Doran Beach Park, 201 Doran Beach Park in Bodega Bay
Date and Time: Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:00 am – 4:00pm
This event is FREE
Craft Beer in the North Bay
I recently returned from a great trip to Seattle to visit my son. I was amazed at the number of breweries there were there. Not being much of a beer drinker, breweries are not usually something I pay much attention to but my interest was piqued because of my son’s interest and knowledge about the different styles of beer. As with anything like this there was a lot to learn. I came back to Sonoma County slightly better educated about. I even learned that at one point Lagunitas was threatened with a lawsuit over their brewery’s trademarked “420” pale ale and they dropped the reference to 4/20.
If you are visiting Sonoma County there are many great breweries to explore. Its not just about the wine anymore. Close to us here in Geyserville is the Bear Republic Brewing Company. They are one of the originals on the North Bay craft beer scene. Most famous for Racer 5, my husband’s preferred beer, the Healdsburg location offers a surprisingly diverse selection of tasty beers. www.bearrepublic.com
Just 55 minutes west of Geyserville, the small, quaint town of Jenner presides over the Russian River. Whether a tourist or resident of Sonoma County my idea of the perfect day is comprised of time spent in nature, on the water, kayaking the glorious Russian River estuary where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.
Complete the experience with a bottle of Bedarra Beachfront Sauvignon Blanc (available at Locals Tasting Room) and a packed picnic lunch for a lazy day at Goat Rock Beach.
Your journey through the estuary will be filled with breathless, unforgettable beauty as you kayak among sea otters and a numerous species of birds in all their glory. Enjoy and expect to be transformed forever.
Lake Sonoma was created in 1983 by the construction of the Warm Springs Dam. At capacity, the lake covers 2,700 acres and offers 50 miles of coastline. Managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, over 17,000 acres of lake and surrounding recreation area offer a wide variety of activities, including hiking, mountain bike and horseback riding, boating, camping, fishing and hunting. More than 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails meander around the two main arms of the lake, taking in rolling coastal foothills of redwood groves, oak woodlands, mixed forests, grassy slopes and steep hills. The lake features some of the best bass fishing in the state, along with steelhead, trout, catfish and perch. Lake Sonoma has 109 primitive campsites and two group-use campsites that are accessible by boat and/or trail only. One drive-in campground is also available.
The hiking trails range from easy to relatively difficult and many offer beautiful views in return for your efforts. You will see Redwood trees, Douglas firs, oaks and grasslands. Last time we went we spotted wild boar and other wildlife and bird watchers will enjoy a variety of species. Boar hunting (archery and crossbow only) is permitted in designated parts of the recreation area from late November through March. You should always check at the visitor center to determine where hunters might be encountered.
The Visitor Center and Fish Hatchery are located at the park entrance and are open to visitors year round. Here, exhibits tell the story of Warm Springs Dam, explain the natural and early history of Dry Creek Valley, and offer a variety of audio-visual and ranger-led programs. Displays in the visitor center focus on the culture of the Pomo tribe of Native Americans – the original inhabitants of the Dry Creek Valley – and their way of life, with particular emphasis on their excellent basket making skills. Call (707) 431-4533 for additional information.
The Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery is located behind the Visitor Center. Visitors can observe the operation of the hatchery and see displays which describe the life cycle of the coho salmon, steelhead and chinook. The hatchery was built to replace and enhance salmon and steelhead spawning grounds. It is a Corps of Engineers hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Game. Tours for large groups may be arranged by calling (707) 431-4533
Enjoy your visit and remember to take plenty of water with you if you are heading out for a hike. Reward yourself with a dip in the lake afterward or bring a picnic and just relax. A nice bottle of Sparkling Rose from www.tastelocalwines.com would be a nice reward.