March 15: After a 2 hour drive south (and some fumbling around on freeway exits), we picked up Dartsia at the St. Rafael Transit Centre. The drive down (again) surprised us with lovely winding mountain roads at the start. Checking the map later, we found that we had driven over Cow Mountain. Once there were three of us, we headed for Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, an old-growth forest that is not as tourist-ridden as the ever-popular Muir Woods nearer to San Francisco.
En route, we stopped for lunch in Guerneville, where we had biscuits (Oprah’s favourites . . .). I even bought some mix so that I could make them at home. The biscuits were yummy, the service was friendly, the metal seats were damn cold.
And it seems biscuits are quite ‘ubisquitous’ – at least in the parts of California that we visited. Here’s a version that Jurko ordered in Nice. With lots of healthy gravy . . .
Beauty and fun in Armstrong Redwoods Park:
Big trees shot by mama while Donia getting in the way of mama
she’s lying on the ground. lying on ground shooting trees.
March 16: Visit to Upper Lake and wine tasting at Lake County Wine Studio, where owner Susan was so gracious . . . and so very understanding of our ignorance and our predisposition to liking sweet wines . . .. We learned that a shiraz is really a syrrah and that white wines are less alcoholic than red ones. We left with a Reisling and a couple of Moscatos – and no pictures, since we were concentrating on the tasting so much that we forgot to take any. The picture above is from Susan’s website.
We came home from Upper Lake just a tiny bit tipsy – and . . . with a whole crab. Once home, we realized that we had no idea what to do with it, so we turned – of course – to Mr. Google. Dartsia followed instructions to the letter and soon we had a plate full of edible stuff. However, it turned out that this particular crab wasn’t very tasty. A lot of work for not very much enjoyment . .
March 17: Time to say goodbye to Lake County. On the way back to Berkeley, we hit several wineries – mostly not for the wine, but for the architecture (Collection Carefully Curated by Jurko). The architectural styles ranged from a Old Chateau-esque to Fake Castillo Chique to Neo-Super-Ornate Italian. See pix below.
Ten-year old Castello di Amorosoa, complete with ‘ruined’ tower . . .
While Dartsia and I did some lunching and consignment shopping in St. Helena (home of the wonderful old hotel architecture pictured here) . . . .
Jurko went to a wine tasting and tour at Beringer Wineries, where he sampled wines paired with tiny hoity-toity bits of food. He loved the experience but finished the afternoon a lot hungrier than Dartsia and I . . .
Some of these architectural marvels are popular spots for photo shoots. As the Castello we saw a young girl celebrating her Quinceaneras (like a Mexican/Spanish-American sweet sixteen, but with a LOT more hoopla and expense). I’ve never seen a dress like that one! Amazing!
Just north of Berkeley, we were lucky to see this unique mackerel sky (I remember learning about such a thing from Miss Peters back in Grade 5). Amazing! (a very different kind of amazing from the quinces dress).