our california wine country vacation

If you haven't heard we just spent 8 days in California wine country. And, in case I never clearly explained it - we went for my sister's wedding, but the trip was also like a long overdue family vacation. It was me, John, Raffa, my mom and dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my nephew.

I instagrammed like crazy and have shared a few photos from the trip here, here, and here. But, I wanted to share some more about the highlights from about our trip in terms of where stayed, other places we ate, and places we went. Partly, I want to remember the trip and partly I want to share the spectacular places we enjoyed.

We arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon on June 8th. We drove north towards wine country, stopping in Santa Rosa for dinner at Whole Foods. It happened to be my Dad's birthday so we also got him a cake. It was late, like later than Raffa has been up in months so we hurried to our accommodations in Healdsburg (the Dry Creek Inn, a Best Western Hotel) and got settled. In all honesty, the Dry Creek in is nothing to write home about, but it was clean-ish and comfortable-ish for our first couple nights.

Our first day was spent getting our bearings and planning. But, we did start the day with breakfast with a local French bakery and cafe, Cousteaux. It has a cute, authentic French atmosphere and we all enjoyed our food; although the highlight may have been my brother-in-law's french toast (above)!

We enjoyed some time at the pool in the afternoon. For dinner, we ate at a hole-in-the-wall type mexican place, El Sombrero and on the walk back to the car found Noble Folk, a pie and ice cream bar. I vowed to return when I wasn't so stuffed.

On the 10th, we started our day with a quick bite (and delicious mocha) from The Laughing Goat, a local Healdsburg coffee shop. Then we toured the winery (above) where the wedding would take place two days later.

We also visited two other wineries for wine tasting; playing bocce ball at the first and giving the boys some time to play in the grass at the second.

On the 11th, we transferred hotels to the Farmhouse Inn. Now this is where I will stay every subsequent trip I plan to take to wine country. It was beautiful and the room was nice and spacious for Raffa to play in. Not only that, but the breakfasts were out of this world, and included ingredients from the Farmhouse's garden. I cannot say enough good things about the Farmhouse Inn. Oh, did I mention the nightly s'mores roasts?

After we settled in to the Farmhouse, we went to the Armstrong Redwood State Reserve.

The 11th was also the rehearsal dinner. We drove about an hour to Sonoma to go to The Girl and the Fig. The rehearsal dinner was interesting to say the least, as Asher was totally not in to it. Raffa did well during dinner, and colored on the paper table cloth (first time he has colored - I saved the paper). But, (and it's a big but), he had a major, catastrophic blowout coinciding with running out of wipes. So, my dinner was interrupted by cleaning up a huge mess with water and restaurant cloth napkins. And, Raffa ate dessert in his diaper.

We saw a gorgeous sunset on the drive back to Healdsburg after the dinner, though (above).

The 12th was the wedding! During the day, the guys (John, my dad, and brother-in-law) went on a little coastal drive to sight-see. Us ladies watched the boys and got ready for the wedding.

I am not going to share all the details here because I really must wait for the photographer's photos to do it justice. But, I will say it was at Arista Winery and it was perfect! We enjoyed a guitar and violin duet playing live music during an amazing chef-designed menu with wine parings. I took turns with John eating and chasing Raffa around, and Raffa ended up crashing before cake as I danced with and sang to him.

The day after the wedding, we went to The Shed (queue my love affair with this place here) and got provisions to take on a picnic on a drive to St. Helena. On the way to St. Helena we stopped at the iconic Beringer Winery (see historic home below) to have said picnic.

By the 14th I was really beginning to dread that the end our trip was nearing because I had literally fallen in love with Healdsburg and the Farmhouse Inn. We took a day trip to Sonoma were we got to witness a historical reenactment of the shooting of a canon.

For lunch we headed to the famous Fremont Diner. It is an iconic and quirky place outside of Sonoma. Raffa drank a whole peanut butter milkshake and the rest of us enjoyed some amazing food, namely turkey clubs, kale salad, ham on biscuits, etc. Just peek at the menu, you will salivate.

On our last and final full day in wine country, it was also Father's Day. So, John went on a Father's Day road ride (one of the most enjoyable things he could possibly do, let alone in wine country). My dad went with my brother-in-law to a car show in Santa Rosa (one of the most enjoyable things he could possibly do, let alone in wine country). We met back up and went to a couple of wineries, one of which - Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves - had an amazing grassy picnic area. Naturally, we picked up some charcuterie from the Shed and took it Bella and ate and drank on their lawn.

The boys loved playing in the grass. The caves were cool, too. But I was just glad to be with my people.

That evening, John and I enjoyed dinner at the Farmhouse's restaurant, a Michelin starred restaurant. It was truly a treat.

The 16th came much too soon and it was time to leave the Farmhouse and head back to Colorado.

So after one last impromptu photo shoot, we loaded up and drove back to San Fran for our flight home.

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