Postcard from Wine Country - Fall Edition

Postcard from Wine Country - Fall Edition

Early last week Scott and I retreated to wine country in Sonoma to celebrate his birthday. It was just a quick two-day getaway and a much-needed change of pace. Wine country is beautiful in the fall, with autumnal colors, and a crisp, woodsy chill in the air. We seem to make it to wine country for a fall visit every year. Last year we stayed at Sonoma Mission Inn for a surprise birthday getaway.

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Wine Country Fires Bring Devastation, Heartbreak and Resolve.

Wine Country Fires Bring Devastation, Heartbreak and Resolve.

I'm nearly at a loss for words watching the devastating fires in our beautiful wine country. We are hearing reports of family and friends who have lost their homes. This image from iconic Signorello Estate a couple of years back that burned to the ground last night. Thoughts and prayers for everyone impacted by the firestorms.

Update: It's been nearly a week since the catastrophic firestorms exploded in wine country and it still feels surreal. This is a place where I have both lived and visited regularly for most of my life and it always feels like home. Praying that winds calm for brave firefighters and predicted rains help put an end to the destruction. Sending love and prayers to family & friends who have lost homes and livelihoods.

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Curated Hotel: A Cozy Wine Country Getaway to the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena

Curated Hotel: A Cozy Wine Country Getaway to the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena

Wydown Hotel has a well-appointed suite including luxury linens, super plush robes, slippers, gourmet coffees and fun touches like free bottles of Izze sparkling clementine. After settling into our rustic luxe suite we opened a bottle of wine and relaxed in the cozy leather chair for two. I spotted a hefty stack of stylish coffee table books on wine country life and knew this would be a cozy way to relax after the rainy drive.

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Curated Hotel: The Sonoma Mission Inn + the Surprising Power of a Surprise!

Curated Hotel: The Sonoma Mission Inn + the Surprising Power of a Surprise!

We seem to have a number of family birthdays mixed in among the holidays. Though Scott’s birthday was a couple of days after Thanksgiving he suggested we celebrate on the holiday since we had a family dinner planned. While that was a great idea, I wanted to surprise him with a little something extra this year. On Thanksgiving I had him open a box with his upcoming surprise that read, “Pack a Bag, Birthday Boy!”.

We had a day to clean up from Thanksgiving and pack for our weekend getaway so it was a leisurely schedule.  I was tempted to spill the beans on our destination, but I kept it a secret. Seeing his excitement for this adventure reminded me of the power of a surprise.

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Curated Hotel: The Senza Napa for a Jazzy Weekend in Napa Valley

Curated Hotel: The Senza Napa for a Jazzy Weekend in Napa Valley


I was recently invited to attend Brian Culbertson’s Jazz Getaway in Napa Valley so naturally Scott and I decided to make a quick weekend out of it. Wine country is beautiful every season, yet this weekend was simply spectacular. The temperature was in the high 70’s with a fresh coastal breeze. Here I am, thoroughly enjoying the pre-show with a glass of Napa Valley vino.

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5 Favorite Things to Do in Napa Valley

5 Favorite Things to Do in Napa Valley

I'm often asked about my list of favorite things to do in Napa Valley. Along with incredible scenery, world-class wines and dining, there are a few things that always land on my itinerary. These are my 5 favorite things to do in Napa Valley this time of year.

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Getaway to Dry Creek Valley Wine Country, California

Getaway to Dry Creek Valley Wine Country, California

Scott and I tried something new for the updated version of our winter holiday. Though we were unable to fly to Riviera Maya due to his back issues, we decided a short road trip would be just the right idea. Wine country is our favorite Northern California getaway and we thought it would be fun to stay in a vacation rental rather than a hotel this trip. With above average temps and sunny skies we knew we were in for a sunny escape to wine country. The vibrant yellow mustard, brilliant blue skies and puffy white clouds were dazzling.

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Wine Country Weekend - Three Day Getaway!

Wine Country Weekend

Fall is a brilliant time of year to escape to Northern California wine country. The leaves are luminescent with hues of autumn; the sky transforms into a deeper shade of blue. Scott and I recently took advantage of some time off to make our annual fall trip to wine country. Our first stop was for lunch on the patio at Solbar on the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. The food is always delicious, service is incredibly friendly and the location is unbeatable.

wine-country-getaway
wine-country-getaway
wine-country-weekend-stylemindchiclife
wine-country-weekend-stylemindchiclife

Our next stop was almost next door at Clos Pegase winery in Calistoga. I've always appreciated the attention to detail with stonework and art collections at Clos Pegase. The winery is especially picturesque in the fall season.

wine-country-weekend-clos-pegase-winery
wine-country-weekend-clos-pegase-winery
wine-country-getaway-clos-pegase
wine-country-getaway-clos-pegase

A room with a view at Clos Pegase.

wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape
wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape

By this time we were ready to head to the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa in Santa Rosa to check in for our getaway.  Scott had booked us a couple of nights on Hyatt points he discovered he had.

wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape
wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape

It's always nice to receive a special welcome ...

and an upgrade to an executive suite.

wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend

Our suite was extremely spacious, well-appointed and comfortable with luxurious touches.

wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape
wine-country-weekend-a-sunny-escape

An hour or so to relax and we were off to dinner at Willi's Wine Bar, which has rave reviews from the SF Chronicle, as well as other reviewers. We used the Uber app, which is an amazing way to get a quick ride--to and from--your destination safely. Download it and use it during your next night out if you haven't already discovered it.

wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend

The next morning we discovered the quintessential cafe breakfast at Dierk's Parkside Cafe'. Not to brag but I have never seen a mimosa this big! The staff was friendly and fun at this neighborhood gem in Santa Rosa.  #yummy

wine-country-weekend-j-winery
wine-country-weekend-j-winery

Next we were up for some natural beauty.

A stop at the beautiful J Vineyards and Winery is always a treat.

wine-country-weekend-j-winery
wine-country-weekend-j-winery

Desmond shared some fantastic history and took great care of us at J Vineyards & Winery.

wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend

We were hungry by the time we reached Healdsburg, one of our wine country favorite spots, and couldn't resist Bravas Bar de Tapas. The small plates with Spanish flair and terrace dining are so enjoyable. The dish pictured is of caramelized onions over goat cheese bruschetta with drizzles of balsamic--simple and delicious!

wine-country-getaway-wilson-winery
wine-country-getaway-wilson-winery

Our friends recommended Wilson Winery on Dry Creek Road so we meandered to this beautiful spot. We were blown away by the vineyard views from the terrace, as well as the bold, red zinfandels we tasted. Scott couldn't resist joining the wine club at Wilson Winery so we will definitely be returning.

wine-country-getaway-wilson-winery
wine-country-getaway-wilson-winery
wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend
wine-country-weekend

Sips....

wine-country-getaway-stylemindchiclife
wine-country-getaway-stylemindchiclife

Rose' sunset over wine country.

wine-country-getaway-a-sunny-escape
wine-country-getaway-a-sunny-escape

Back at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek, a cozy fire-pit was waiting for us.

#nightnight

The next morning, we discovered the shops and restaurants at Railroad Square, within walking distance to the Hyatt Vineyard Creek. The Omelette Express serves up a decadent and filling breakfast.

wine-country-getaway
wine-country-getaway

This trip was more of a meandering through a larger area of wine country than some of our previous trips. Our final stop was in Sebastopol where we discovered the delightful K & L Bistro for lunch. The service, decor and ambiance created the perfect foodie gem. Each town in wine country possesses a unique charm.

wine-country-weekend-heather-lindstrom
wine-country-weekend-heather-lindstrom

We lucked out with the weather in November. It was cool enough for booties and a cashmere poncho but warm enough for walking through vineyards and dining on the patio in comfort.

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An Invitation to The Knot's Dream Wedding in Wine Country

An Invitation to The Knot's Dream Wedding in Wine Country

A dream wedding in wine country? Yes!!  I felt excited as I read my invitation to attend the wedding of the year by the wedding website, The Knot. I had used The Knot website to plan my wedding back in 2000, and since that time they have become the premier wedding website. I also noted that the wedding location, the picturesque Chateau St. Jean, in Sonoma Valley, is a quintessential wine country venue.

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