Flyout number two for the summer was last weekend. We flew down to Healdsburg, California. That is a little outside of my comfortable flight time. Two hours and under are what I like with being stuck sitting in a seat for so long and the absence of bathroom facilities but with proper dehydration, I made it okay both ways. Flying down there we had a little bit of a headwind so it took just short of four hours. Coming back we made a little bit better time and got home in about 3 and a half hours.
Healdburg is a cute little town north of Santa Rosa. There are some neat 18th century buildings there and a nice walking trail that Bill and I took advantage of to get some exercise.
We stayed at the Dry Creek Best Western. It is an older motel but they have done a really nice job remodeling the rooms to be updated. My only complaint was that they didn't have a microwave in the rooms or in any centralized location for guests to use. We were hoping to eat some of our HMR diet meals on the trip but it was too much of a hassle. The only microwave available was to have the front desk staff take it back to their break room to heat anything up. It was also a mile from downtown so it was a little bit of a hike to get to any of the restaurants or shopping. In the heat of the afternoon, that wasn't any fun. I had a much more enjoyable hike early in the morning while it was still quite cool. It definitely isn't inexpensive to stay there but compared to the hotels downtown, it was relatively reasonable.
After the tour, we had a nice buffet lunch at the restaurant at Safari West and then our friends wanted to do some wine tasting at Frank Family Vineyards near Calistoga in Napa Valley. We didn't have any other plans so we were game for it. We all were used to wine tasting in Washington and California where typically it only costs $10-$20 to do wine tasting and they usually waive the tasting fee if you buy bottles. I guess that isn't the case in California wine country. We were a little taken aback when they told us it was $40 per person and when our friends bought some bottles, there was no credit back for the tasting. But we were there and decided to stay and do the tasting.
The tasting room and grounds at Frank Family Vineyards are beautiful. The current winery is set on the former Larkmead Winery property which was built in 1884 so many of the buildings are from the old winery. We didn't go into the building where they make the wine but it looked very cool from what we saw from the outside and is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Friday night we had a fabulous Portuguese dinner at Cafe Lucia with the whole group from CAA.
Saturday was spent going to the Alexander Valley near Healdsburg to do some wine tasting there. Our first stop was Hawkes Winery which is a newer winery compared to a lot of California wineries but were one of the first wineries to plant grapes in the Alexander Valley in 1972 when the valley was mostly planted with prunes, apples and hops. They had a really cute garden and pleasant patio to enjoy a little of their wines and a lunch from the Jimtown Store which was right next door.
They have a longer three hour tour including seeing more of the property including the vineyards, lakes, apiary, etc. which you can take for $120 per person. Not sure if that would be worth it or not. This particular winery has a few guest rooms for their rewards customers. I wonder how much wine you have to buy to score a night in the chateau.
We had a great time. Two flyouts down and one to go next month. That one will be filled with more adventures to share so stay tuned for when we get back from McCall, Idaho.