01 October 2014

Sonoma Escape

(Katherine Silus Photography) 

We soaked up the last hot days of summer by escaping to Sonoma for some wine tasting and pool time two weeks ago. It was just what we needed to cap off a busy and wonderful summer.

I was really looking forward to relaxing with no agenda. The only things planned were two formal wine tastings and a meet-up with old friends.  

My parents (Nonny and Boppy) met us in Boise the night before we departed, so we had some extra hands to help with the journey. I felt very relaxed for our short flight to the Bay Area. Even the 2-hour weather delay for fog didn't phase us. We had books and crayons and toy cars and a Nonny and a Boppy to help pass the time.

We arrived in San Francisco, picked up our rental car and headed to Lower Pac Heights to pick up my younger sister Katie. Ben, her husband, would be joining us in Sonoma later that evening. With Dan at the wheel, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and were on our way to wine country.

We rented a beautiful home about a mile from the Sonoma square with a pool and hot tub and amazing outdoor living.  Renting a house is the way to go when traveling with a group and kids.  There is a kitchen for cooking, extra space for playing, rooms for sleeping and outdoor space for drinking wine after babies go to bed.

Have you ever used airbnb.com, vrbo.com or kidandcoe.com for renting vacation homes?  We have had great luck with apartment and home rentals, from Hawaii to Paris.  Highly recommended.

This was the first time wine tasting with a tiny human in the group. It's not quite as relaxing or glamorous as those adult-only weekends, but it worked and we all had fun. We did plan ahead and researched vineyards that 1) allowed children, 2) had spaces to explore, and 3) allowed picnics.

Picnic at Sebastiani in downtown Sonoma
Snacks at Scribe Winery
Toddlers seem most happy when they are outdoors and can roam about, digging in the dirt and finding treasures like pinecones and acorns. I found the vineyards to be quite ideal for exploring (and it didn't hurt that I was sipping on a Cabernet Sauvignon) and Kiki seemed to be pretty happy about it too.

Roaming around Gundlach Bundschu
(Katherine Silus Photography)

(Katherine Silus Photography)

Picnic at Chateau St Jean 

When we weren't out wine tasting (and we only visited 4 vineyards) we were lounging at our rental, swimming, hot tubing or playing whiffle ball in the yard. It really was a dreamy place to call "home" for 5 days.

We cooked dinner at the house each night instead of going out to expensive dinners with an over-tired toddler.  This works so well for us because we like to cook and we have a child who goes to bed early.  My favorite dinner with a seafood pasta with shrimps, scallops, peppers and a white-wine garlic sauce, served with a leafy green salad, bread and a few bottles of wine.

(Katherine Silus Photography)
The vacation was just what we needed to put an end to a travel-filled summer. We are now looking forward to a more quiet Fall at home and buying some furniture for our new house (that's what adults do, right?).

(Katherine Silus Photography)

(Photo credits to Katherine Silus Photography) - thanks for the beautiful images, Katie!!

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