Thursday, November 22, 2012

San Francisco Part 3 - Muir Woods and Marin/Sonoma County

For me there is nothing more relaxing than a walk in the woods. Something about being encompassed by nature just soothes me and makes me completely zone out and forget all the worries of the civilized world.  From the moment that we started talking about going to San Francisco we decided that if we went - we would go see the Redwoods. 

After arriving in San Fran we examined a couple of options for travelling across the Golden Gate bridge and getting to the forests. After some deliberations we decided that we would take freedom of time over ease and we rented a car. Our hotel had a car rental place attached to it and for the day we rented a Crown Victoria which was the last car in the lot. The rental dealer was almost apologetic about the options but for me it was the perfect car. A big cruiser like we had in my youth when Dad would buy de-commissioned cop cars.
My West Coast Whip.

White knuckling it on the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County.


Arrived at Muir Woods with some Latin.



Big owl in the tree.

I love how these branches on the downed limb across the path are basically tress shooting straight up.






The giant dense trees filter out a lot of light. But when the light actually does find its way through it makes things really pop. This spiderweb was remarkably bright and glistening.

I love this sunny girl.

After leaving the Woods and their multiple switchback roads we traveled North for awhile along the Old Number One Highway that follows the coastline.

We eventually came across Stinson Beach and decided to investigate the town and the mile long sandy beach.

The water was freezing and this dude was a bit of a hero as he stood against the breakers.

Chrissy enjoying a 'real sugar' cream soda on the spongiest grass of all time.

We jumped back in the Crown Vic and continued North along Highway One until it shifted inland at Tomales. We stopped at the General Store for another soda and then the deli for some Ice Cream. 

Note the concerned citizen on the corner with the VOTE sign. This was the same day as the 2012 General Election.

From Tomales we headed to Petaluma and the Interstate and then North again towards Santa Rosa. Arriving in the City late in the Afternoon and now entrenched in Sonoma County we went to the State Visitor Centre to find a vineyard or a winery. Unfortunately we learned that Santa Rosa is the home of the Charles Schultz (Peanuts) Museum and that the day we were visiting was the only day of the week it wasn't open.  

However, the Visitor Centre pointed us towards a great boutique winery:  D'Argenzio Winery. We arrived near the end of the afternoon and the staff were busy setting up for a 'victory party' for the incumbent mayor. Although busy, they really laid out the red carpet for us.

Chrissy settled in for a guided tasting.

The winery is what I would call a mercantile winemaker. They do not actually own any of the land where their grapes are harvested, instead they work with producers and select the best grapes in Sonoma County and develop their annual production lines from those grapes. Because of this the options they laid out for us were pretty varied from a traditional Pinot Noir to a Sangiovese. 

Included in the tasting was a tour of the pristine production area and their cask room. The cask room was very intimate and fantastically adorned to invoke a comfortable Italian villa.

The winery also won big points from me as they produced a limited edition Cabernet Sauvignon in honor of Randy Rhoads.  "Crafted by Kathryn Rhoads D’Argenzio, dedicated with love and affection to honor the memory of her brother, legendary rock guitarist and rock and roll hall-of-famer Randy Rhoads." 
Badass!
If you ever find yourself in Santa Rosa or looking to daytrip through wineries in Sonoma County I would definitely put D'Argenzio Winery on your list. Phone ahead and see if they happen to be having one of their BBQ and Supper nights. We'll see you there.

The whole daytrip allowed us to knock off a bunch of to-do's from our vacation list...Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, Walk among the Redwoods, Play in the surf, Get a slice of life in the rural areas, Have some fantastic wine from a local winery....Check!


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