As I sit in the Oakland airport, waiting for my flight, I’m reminiscing about what a fantastic trip it was, and also some observations/learnings from this enlightening vacation.

First, a few learnings and observations:

  1. There’s definitely something to be said for taking a “selfish” vacation – don’t take selfish to have a negative connotation here, but as I mentioned in an earlier blog this week, theoretically, I probably should have saved my money and not come on this trip, so soon after a lot of financial “events” if you will, but I firmly believe there is a time and a place to take a trip even when you think you shouldn’t. I’m so glad I went for it (and honestly, it wasn’t as expensive as I thought and I didn’t feel stressed or too restrained with what I spent, which felt great!), because I would have regretted not doing this for my 30th birthday, and for ME. This was totally a ME trip, and I enjoyed every second! If you ever have the chance to take that “me” trip, even when the financial forces may be pressing against you, please go for it. You won’t regret it in the long run.
  2. Take a vacation with a mix of couples and singles is a good mix – though the group of us was somewhat heavier on the couples side vs. the singles side, the mix of people was well-balanced, and I didn’t feel overly sad about being single or wishing I wasn’t alone. I didn’t really feel alone, and I was so glad to experience this trip with those that came.
  3. I value my alone time more than I thought – renting a house was the best decision for this trip and 95% of the time, I was glad to be surrounded by everyone. But, there was a tinge of wanting to just be quietly by myself to regroup. I guess I value that far more than I thought!

And, now, a few of my favorite things from this trip:

  1. Springing for the wine club at Field Stone Winery – I was hesitant to go for a wine club, only because it is a bit costly, but after visiting a few wineries and cross-comparing prices etc., the wine club at Fritz was actually really good, and I REALLY enjoyed the mix of whites and reds we tried. My first shipment (“fall”) is already on it’s way, too, which is so exciting!
  2. Being introduced to a slew of new wines I never new existed: Pinotage, Petit Verdot , Zinfandel (for some reason, didn’t realize there was a red zin!) and Meritage…just a few of the new wine blends I tried (and purchased!).
  3. Re-capturing a love for white wine and champagne – I tried some REALLY good white wine at J. Winery – Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris, and a DELISH Rose Brut…so much so that I purchased a few bottles and can’t wait to try them!
  4. Visiting as many wineries as we possible could – in addition to J., and Fritz, we visited William Hill, Louis Martini, Gallo, Kokomo (just for the name alone, Kokomo!), Bella Winery, Simi Winery and Field Stone Winery. There are so many wineries in Napa and Sonoma, I could definitely go back over and over!! Planning on it!
  5. Experiencing Healdsburg – what a fantastic little town nestled right next to Sonoma! It was very cute, had some funky shops and not one chain restaurant anywhere, which was way cool. There were a few delicious bakeries, including Downtown Cafe and the Flying Goat (YUMMY scones!) and the views were breath-taking. The house we rented was tucked right into the side of a mountain, with a super windy, topsy-turvy road to get there (and 60 steps up to the front door!). Awesome choice.
  6. Some amazing tours – we had two awesome tours at William Hill and Louis Martini that were unforgettable. We got to see the inner workings of both, where they bottle the wine, how the process works, and we got to taste the grapes off the vine. At Bella, we also got to tour their caves where they keep the wine, and taste wine FROM the tank (that was crushed and tanked TWO days prior), which was pretty funky (I won’t lie, I was a little afraid of how it would taste, but it was pretty good!) and from the barrel (a mix of zin and petiti syrah), and had a broader tasting in their special wine-tasting room that was lit with candles. I felt like I was in a scene out of the board game “Clue” (I’ll append a pic when I upload them when I get home! It was so funny!).

So, there you have it, a few musings, a few observations, and four-ish unforgettable days of fun, wine, and experiences of a lifetime. If you ever have the chance to go, GO. So worth it.