Exploring her own state is something she has not done much of so, she decided to grab her buggy and head off up the coast of California. She pointed her wheels towards the coastline until she arrived to stop in Santa Barbara and sip wine at the Harbor House as the late March fog swirled in around her.
Wandering up and down State Street in the heart of a lovely town, she wished she had a buddy with her to stop and eat at just about every wine bar and eatery there. As the fog really moved in, she decided to head out to Solvang for a little tour of the place one she had not revisited for over 25 years. Upon arrival she was truly surprised to see how much the town had changed over the years all except the Abelskievers. After a really fast tour and a jaunt through the farmer's market for a bag of fresh cherries and bucket of cookies she jumped back in the car and left for San Luis Obispo to spend the night at the Madonna Inn.
Reading some of the print material, she was fascinated to learn how Alex Madonna was such a good friend with William Randolf Hearst and how the two of them, with their dreams, created two masterpieces in their own rights. They both loved craftsmanship and quality and there seemed to be no end to their dreams. After a funky dinner in the pink restaurant, laden with photos of old Hollywood stars with the Madonna family, she headed back to explore the nuances of her funky room.
Clearly, the next day she was destined to visit Hearst's Castle and from one who has lived in Europe for over 10 years, living with, among and around villas, castles and palaces, this was enthralling, overwhelming, and humbling all at once. His vision, which he changed ad infinitum, was a mental work-out particularly when one can practically “feel” his vision, his dream and experience his efforts in every corner, in every piece of furniture, Della Robbia and gads of other antiques. Such fun it must have been for him! She almost envied that kind of power to create without limits.
OK, so onward and "upwards" in the buggy towards Big Sur. Nepenthe http://www.nepenthebigsur.com was her late lunch stop. Anyone ever been there? Spectacular vistas, architecture and a luscious Bordeaux! '99 Pichon Lalande, from Pauillac coupled with artisan cheeses of California. She was in heaven! Contrary to her habit of wanting more wine, she savored this glass over an hour, feeling it wash over her velvety in texture, reveling in the deep purple ruby color and knowing she would never be able to find a bottle of this once home. Ha, thanks to her favorite wine merchants...she found her paradise after returning hom. http://klwine.com
Off again, towards Carmel for a lightening fast "look" and then a late arrival into San Francisco for a night on the wharf. Always her favorite place to be anytime of the year! Those crab cocktails from the street vendors...! Later, in the room, she quietly planned the winery stops for the next day through Napa Valley.
The next day she flew through the wineries buying up a car load of "bottles full of grapes" and then headed out for a stop in Reno so she could spend the last night in another one of her regeneration spots, Mammoth Lakes...a small spot of tranquility this time of the year. The skiers were still there but just barely so the town was quiet and cozy. http://www.mammothlakes.com