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An Easy-Going Trip To Sonoma County, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:21am

We’ll start back easy. Following an office metaphor, we’re in the kitchen. People mill about, laughing, cups of tea and coffee in hand. There’s a shared reluctance to buckle down and produce. Someone pulls out their cellphone and shows vacation photos. I’ll play her, and give you an easy-going account of a trip to wine country. Sonoma, to be precise, with my daughter.

We drove up Sunday morning. It takes about 90 minutes to get from my house on the Peninsula to the Matanzas Creek Winery. They are known for growing lavender as well as grapes. Here’s their showroom.


And wine salts.


And a redhead, wearing new shoes her mother gave her, and sunglasses chosen by her Brooklyn brother.


We went for the wine and cheese pairing, even though it was 11am. They threw some chocolate in for good measure. I approved. The syrah was my favorite.


We wandered out to the deck, an hour or so later, past one of California’s signature oaks,


…to see the dormant lavender. And let our blood alcohol level subside.


We sat in wooden chairs. The winter light in California is beautiful.


The grasses soak it up.


And as one does, we felt hungry, and took a breath, and drove to the town of Sonoma. I recommend it. A lovely town square without drama, except the occasional red car. And the lives of its inhabitants, but they were very quiet.


Then we ate at The Girl and the Fig. I thought of asking Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget), who lives in Sonoma, for recommendations. But I was too lazy.


And then, floating along on the day and some pumpkin french toast, we drove home again.

It was like the times of just us together, wandering sidewalks. Take away the stroller of course, add a capacity for adult conversation. and someone else to carry whatever needs carrying.

51 Responses

  1. This was such a beautiful posting. Mood-stabilizing, tbh! Do you know Paula Hayes’s work? She’s done some brilliant installations in Sonoma.

    Teddy’s up now and I need to take care of some nasty business!!

    *still giggling****


  2. Looks lovely! You had nice weather for it (unless it’s kind of always that way in California…). That sort of day is fairly exceptional in England in winter, though we were lucky with the weather for our recent day trip to Tintern Abbey in Wales (blogged).

    1. Claremont is hundreds of miles south of Sonoma – Sonoma is north of San Francisco, Claremont is east of LA

  3. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I will put that winery on my list. I adore lavender. Reminds me of the south of France. I also love that square. I found a great Thrift shop with all sorts of goodies right on the square. I’d say the Western side but I could have been all mixed up. Sonoma is only 90 away but such a treat to visit.

    Welcome back and Happy New Year!

  4. Wine tasting at 11am? That wouldn’t turn out well with me. Your beautiful daughter looks just like you.

  5. I live in the East Bay and try to get up to wine country as often as possible! There is something about that stretch along Hwy 101 from the peninsula to Mendocino that lowers the blood pressure.

  6. What lovely photos. Your daughter is gorgeous and I love the shoes. As always I am SHOCKED at how cheap the prices are to eat out in the USA. Would be double that here… are lucky x

  7. There’s something warmly satisfying in seeing your daughter right side up again! Last we saw, she was upsidedown throwing scarves. Welcome back to earth, both of you!

    I can’t be the only one to notice you have some thrilling genetics underway with a VERY dark haired son, a vividly RED haired daughter, and you so obviously born VERY blonde. I think I’ll just call it a life mystery than have to fathom the mathematics of Mendel, fair enough?

    Oh God, someone thinks that’s really Bunny Williams…

  8. What a gorgeous fun day! Sonoma and Dry Creek are so much more lovely/relaxed than Napa. I love the girl & fig, and, hello, climate change, giving us balmy January days.

  9. What an amazing trip – I’m sure you had a ball, especially sharing it with your lovely daughter! (Love her shoes, by the way – good choice. :)

  10. Lisa,

    I am so glad you and your beautiful daughter had such a fantastic time in my neck of the woods. Strangely enough, it makes me feel like a proud momma that you enjoyed yourself.
    I can see that you needed no help from me finding wonderful places to go. Well done! The Girl and The Fig – one of my very favorite restaurants for well over a decade and Mantazas Creek – a gorgeous and relaxing winery that I really should visit more often since it’s so close to my house (all that lavender is heavenly!)
    I hope that you like the Sonoma area well enough to return. I would thoroughly enjoy meeting you and showing you around to more wonderful restaurants and wineries.
    Thank you for the mention on your post. It’s much appreciated!

    1. @Adrienne, I am so glad you endorse our choices.

      I would love to return. We should schedule an outing, I’d be grateful for your guidance.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful day. Your daughter is lovely, seems both inside and out. I love the Sonoma area and we’re going again in a few weeks. There is a plane now that flies directly from LA to Sonoma, and we’ll be sure to visit that vineyard.

  12. Your daughter is beautiful! She will be a wonderful physician wearing those gorgeous shoes. Your photos and descriptions make me feel like I was with you, relaxing, tasting, and enjoying a memorable adventure.

  13. So beautifully and evocatively presented. You remind me of my last trip to Matanzas Creek, a Sonoma favorite, with my sweetie, of sitting on that deck, of the view of that same tree. The season was different and therefore the light. The lavender was in bloom. But the memories evoked are no less sweet.

    It sounds like a lovely day with your daughter. Thank you.

  14. I too just visited Sonoma while doing Christmas family visits in No. Calif.. a good girlfriend took me to her favorite, Girl and the Fig ..lots of yummy things on that menu!

  15. What a fun, fabulous way to start the New York. Your daughter is beautiful! Is she single? I am a very handsome (preppy ) son….
    Morning wine tasting…why not. I grew up in Bordeaux where wine tasting is an all day affair. I have always wanted to visit Sonoma, will be on top of my list.

  16. beautiful photos, lovely mood, your daughter is gorgeous in that confident no-need-to-prove-to-anyone way… I took my 21 yrs old son to Israel recently to visit family, and, too, was so happy to have someone taking care of all things digital/cabely… now that he turned 21 we will have a wine-tasting trip near his college in San Luis Obispo.

  17. I love everything about Sonoma, and about this post, as well. So refreshing & relaxing after the holidays. Maybe one day I’ll find the time to do a post on how the underwater caves vibrations contribute to the wines. See you tomorrow for BIO.

  18. We were there last year, and enjoyed the area very much. What a lovely day–you and daughter–priceless memories in the making.

  19. Happy New Year Lisa! It looks lovely–all that lavender and Sonoma is so beautiful, always. I ate at that restaurant on my birthday a few years ago, yummy!

    xo Mary Jo

  20. This sounds lovely. Happy New Year to you. What a good way to start a new calendar with a relaxing post. it’s so cold here that seeing a warm sunny place I feel longing for days without heavy down coats!

    blue hue wonderland

  21. Loved this post Lisa. I have never traveled to your part of the world and have always wanted to. This was the perfect introduction. I love that you and your daughter had time together…I cherish those times. The shoes are pretty snappy too…what a fabulous Mom! xx

  22. I love days like these more than almost anything. I always find it weird when people say ‘My mum is my best friend’. My mum is not my best friend, she’s my mum! And that is more than all. I love her!

    Sadly, I don’t look anything like her (I think. Although I have inherited her wonderful hair! lucky me). You and the beautiful redhead, however, look very much alike!

    What a lovely day.

  23. Wonderful – I love Sonoma. DH and I were there a few years ago. We toured another winery and had lunch at The Girl and the Fig – great food and wonderful atmosphere on the outside patio! An online friend recommended Sonoma over Napa due to the crowds in Napa. I’m sure that is lovely as well, but I would go back to Sonoma in a heartbeat!

  24. OH my gosh I need to get out more! I had no idea that lavender grew here in Northern CA.. Which is why I said I need to get out more. Sounds like you had a blast of a time! The images are wonderful! Did you buy any of their lavender created products? Did they have candles by some chance? And yes your daughter is a beauty!

  25. Wonderful to hear about your outing and to see your beautiful daughter. Isn’t it great having a grown daughter? Mine arrived home this holiday with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Yes!

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