Showing posts with label napa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label napa. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leaves, Trees, Vines and Wind. Napa in October

Been planning on a day out with new friends, another couple, for a few months now. It's tricky to make plans with another couple especially when you barely know them and you want to find an activity that both couples would enjoy. Since both of them are relatively new to the Bay Area we thought a drive out to the countryside would be best. The countryside in this case is Napa Valley. As I've learned from this trip, I think we found the best couple to take photo walks with. Both of them, especially the husband, is a voracious shooter. I am so happy to learn that. Our other couple friends tolerate our "need to photograph" this tree or that spot, but this couple I found out would be the first to jump out of the car and photograph the exact same thing/object.

And now for the things we saw and photographed:

Was not interested in seeing the third world's largest pumpkin.

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Trees and vineyards.

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Tree-lined country road, love it.

New photo buddies.

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Too early for peak autumn colors.

The play of shadow on the fallen leaves is pretty appealing.

We stopped in Yountville for a look-see at the Marketplace area.

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And back to vineyards we went:

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We tried the dried grapes on the vine and they tasted exactly like the raisins you get from the supermarket.

It was a windy day.

If you want to see the rest of the photos from this trip, click here.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Silverado Trail

One sunny and bright weekend day we found ourselves aching for a scenic drive. A few hours of not doing chores, not gardening, not vacuuming or doing the laundry felt like a semblance of a vacation, which we didn't have any yet and one whole quarter of the year has passed by. Napa was our choice; this time Silverado Trail was our route. Most people take Highway 29 when they visit Napa and with good reason. That's where most big name wineries sit next to each other, plus the shopping can easily be accessed from there.

However, travel guides and sites always suggest the tourist to take the equally scenic Silverado Trail, which one website called the other Napa. Shame on us for not venturing out this way before, but better late than never.

And so with our usual road trip buddies with us, Sunita and her husband Rocky, we drove out to Napa and sightsee. It's a blessing to live in the Bay Area, where there's so many things to see and do that you can live here for ever and not be able to see all and do all.

Join me as we drive the Silverado trail.

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The wildflowers were the main reason to go visit, but as usual we were a tad late.

Having realized that we would never be able to view the wildflowers we decided to just stop and visit wineries. No tasting for us this time. One doesn't have to have wine to enjoy the valley.

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Are we in Vegas? Greece? Rome? Where are we?

The first winery we visited was Darioush with these columns, so out of place in Napa Valley in my opinion. It does make for a perfect photo site.

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This beautiful girl was having a photo shoot. She really is beautiful in person.

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There is also this sculpture infront of the columns, which to me look like a vessel for Olympic torch.

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Then the garden of Stag's Leap Cellers beckoned us from the road so we stopped.

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Follow the sign.

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Beautiful gardens, but the clientele were a bit more "fashionable" than we expected, so I didn't even go inside the tasting room. Instead I lingered to take photos of the flowers.

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And the whimsical sculpture.

Then we reached the end of Silverado Trail and continued on to Highway 29.

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Where we spotted more signs of spring.

As we continued to traverse this busy highway, I tick one of my wish list. I've always wanted to stop by Beringer Winery because I'd like to see the mansion up close. So we stopped, but I did not get to see the interiors of the mansion because well I found out I need to buy a ticket to the tour to see it. Not feeling "touristy" that afternoon, we said no to the tour, but instead browse at the gift shop and the surrounding gardens.

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I can live here. Just like in fairytale, isn't it?

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The gift shop area.

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Sunita and me

Before going home we stopped by Dean and Deluca for a little snack. One of my fave things to do in Napa is to browse at the wonderful gourmet offerings of this purveyor of good food from all over the world. I'm like a kid in the candy store.

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On the way home I took this drive by shot of a little cottage on the road. I love it's landscaped front yard, so clean and neat.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bay Area Backroads

My husband and I started a little tradition while we were dating. We take a drive to the backroads of the wine country every winter. We do this because the drive winds into varied landscape and peacefulness envelops us when we do this.

The route we take is California State route 128.

Route 128 begins at Route 1 near the mouth of the Navarro River at the Pacific Ocean. The highway travels upriver through the coast redwood forests of Navarro River Redwoods State Park and through the vineyards and apple orchards of the Anderson Valley to Boonville. Route 253 terminates into Route 128 at the south end of Boonville. Leaving Boonville, Route 128 climbs out of the Navarro River watershed and crosses the Yorkville Highlands before descending into the Russian River watershed, arriving at Cloverdale in the Alexander Valley, where the highway joins U.S. Route 101 heading south. A few miles later, at Geyserville, Route 128 separates from U.S. 101 and crosses Knights Valley on the way to Napa Valley, where it joins Route 29 at Calistoga. After passing through the town of St. Helena, Route 128 splits from Route 29 at Rutherford and climbs east over dry ridges above Lake Berryessa to the Sacramento Valley. In Winters, the route's constructed portion ends at Interstate 505. By its legal definition, the route continues 14 mi (23 km) east to Route 113 at Davis and Interstate 80, but this segment is currently not constructed.

The section of Route 128 through Navarro River Redwoods State Park is often closed in winter storms due to flooding.[2] Two slower alternate routes are available: the Philo-Greenwood road connects Route 1 near Elk to Route 128 near Hendy Woods State Park, a few miles north of Philo;[3] another alternate route is the Comptche-Ukiah Road, which intersects Route 1 just south of the town of Mendocino and runs inland to Comptche, and departs Comptche on Flynn Creek Road, intersecting Route 128 just up river from the seasonal flood gate closing the highway.

We approach this at its eastern end in Winters. Another tradition is stopping in Winters for coffee and pastries at Steady Eddy's.

(shot from previous year's drive)

We passed by fruit orchards.

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I know this part of California is where they grow almonds and walnuts.

We normally don't stop outside of getting coffee, but we saw this small park like structure and thought we could give our legs a little stretch, but we only went so far as a few yards from the parking lot before we changed our mind and made a U turn for the car.

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The road passes by water.

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But the main reason why we fell in love with this route is that it passes through oak trees covered with Spanish moss. When we first saw them, it was drizzling, the place was empty except for the two of us, and there was mist around the trees and the moss. It was just magical.

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No rain this year, all sunshine and blue sky.

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Somewhere we took a turn and left SR 128 and headed to the wine country.

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Beautiful day.

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Saw miniature horses grazing.

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I love balconies.

We passed by more water.
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We stopped by Mumm, but neither was in the mood to taste, so I just took some pictures.

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As we left Napa, the sun started to set so I kept on drive by shooting.

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By the time we reached Discovery Kingdom (Six Flags) in Vallejo, the sun has almost fully set.

Drive date was 1/28/13.

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