On Monday, we headed out with our friend Beth to Healdsburg to have lunch at Bravas. This place may not look like much from the outside as it’s a little house across from a strip mall, however, as soon as you walk in a wonderful journey begins. The outside courtyard is lovely with an open fire pit that wasn’t cooking today but normally cooks the days vegetable offerings and large pan Paella. Once we got settled at our table in the patio, we ordered a pitcher of White – Cava Sangria, some bacon wrapped dates with Blue Chees and Marcona Almonds plus a serving of Shiitake Mushrooms Escabeche – toasted ciabatta with smoked sea salt. The Sangria was WONDERFUL (we ended up with two pitchers) and the dates and mushrooms were very tasty.
However, the main course was the Paella. We ordered enough to share plus, as it turns out, to take home; it came with all the right things and was fantastic. I will admit, I had come specifically for the Paella and I was NOT disappointed.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July and we are going to the parade around the Sonoma Square – it goes around 3 sides of the square so not very long and then to a picnic. Should be a wonderful time.
On Saturday evening, we went to Berkeley to the Gather Restaurant for a wonderful meal and then down the block to the Marsh Theatre to see DAUGHTER OF A GARBAGEMAN. This is a tale of Maureen Langan’s 1970’s upbringing in New Jersey. Her Irish mother and Bronx-born father, a New York City sanitation worker. She presented this one woman show talking about her upbringing and how her father and mother influenced her life. She was particularly upset by the fact that Kim Kardashian gets a book deal after doing a sex tap and when the star of The Apprentice can become the president? WHO IS TO BLAME? Is it her parents’ fault? America’s fault? With humor, honesty, and insight, Maureen taps into the hearts and frustrations of hard-working people everywhere who wonder if they, too, were raised wrong.
On Sunday we left our friends in Lafayette and met up with a very old family friend, Susie Dornin Johnson. Susie’s father was a classmate of my dads at the US Naval Academy and our paths crossed many times over the years. We spent a couple of hours catching up before heading to Sonoma and our friend Beth Harper.
On Friday, we headed out with our friends Pete and Jaynese Davis from their home in Lafayette to Point Reyes. First we stopped at a couple of shops in the village of Point Reyes, CowGirl Creamery and Bovine Bakery. CowGirl Creamery makes a number of wonderful cheeses – and we picked up some triple cream called Red Hawk and some goat milk Gouda – both of which are taste pleasers! If we were not heading to Sonoma, and of course a visit to Vella Cheese, we would have picked up some more. Bovine Bakery was a treat with a variety of baked goods we had to sample.
From there we went on to Point Reyes Vineyards.
Family owned and operated it produces about 1,000 cases of wine a year – some from the vineyards planted in the early ‘90’s of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, others from fruit purchased close by. We tasted the current releases of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah plus a sparkling wine. I would admit not to my liking but a pleasant spot to visit in the area.
After tasting these wines, we headed west to the Point Reyes National Seashore and more particularly, the lighthouse. Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Weeks of fog, especially during the summer months, frequently reduce visibility to hundreds of feet. The Point Reyes Headlands, which jut 10 miles out to sea, pose a threat to each ship entering or leaving San Francisco Bay. The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse warned mariners of danger for more than a hundred years.
It was a bit windy so we didn’t walk down the 300 steps to the lighthouse but had a very enjoyable visit and view anyway.
Tuesday afternoon was too beautiful to stay inside, so sister Georgia and Janeen visited Peace and Harmony Hakone Park in Saratoga. Summer vistas in this traditional Japanese garden are a study in greens and reflections off the water.
Late blooming sun azaleas mirrored Janeen’s touring tunic and hinted at the colors of the old koi beneath the bridge.
Bamboo forest and camellia tea gardens surround the soothing sounds of the waterfall tumbling into the lily pond, which is crossed by a moon bridge.
Once a private retreat, constructed in the early twentieth century, it was maintained and added to during the 1940’s despite California’s political fears of the Japanese culture. The city of Saratoga has preserved the original design as a city park, and added a cultural venue building, which showcases the garden’s history.
Later that evening, we all went out for Mexican food in a lovely spot in in Los Altos, Estrellita Mexican Bistro & Cantina. It doesn’t look like much but the menu was broad and the drinks cold. This was a lovely spot and we all had plenty to eat. The pitcher of Margaritas was particularly good.
On Wednesday, we connect with a very old friend, Myrt – who we last saw in 1982 in Bethlehem PA! It was fantastic to reconnect with her and catch up all the things that have happened in the last 35 years or so.
With nothing better to do, Janeen, Georgia and Liz finished a 1000 piece puzzle of potato chip bags this evening.
After a day of driving from Morro Bay to Cupertino, we just took it easy – sat back read a book or two and relaxed at my sister, Georgia’s home.
On Saturday night, we went to a fund raiser for singing group Lovenotes. This quartet won the international singing competition in 2013 and has been doing performances around ever since. Two of their members are in Georgia’s Sweet Adelines singing group – and they hold this event on an annual basis. It was a fun evening with these young women who have been singing together for the last 10 years – who started singing together when they were in their early teens (14 was mentioned) so lovely young women. The event was held at a private home and had a wonderful sunset view.
On Sunday, we checked off an item from Janeen’s bucket list – a visit to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. The Museum is devoted to Ancient Eqypt and was founded by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. There were interesting displays and artifacts plus a composite replica of an ancient Eqyptian rock-cut tomb based on photos and sketches taken during visits to the area. We had to take a picture with Amonemopet, Royal Scribe as we have a similar picture taken at the Louvre in Paris.
Outside the museum there were several gardens, a fountain and areas to just relax.
After the Museum we rode over to the San Jose Rose Garden to get some garden time for Janeen. While there she discovered a number of roses propagated by the Huntington Library – Rose Garden head gardener Tom Curruth! What a treat to discover this in San Jose.
Cambria is a seaside village in midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along Highway 1 and about 25 miles north of Morro Bay and a great little day trip to just relax. It is a lovely little town with interesting shops, several restaurants and a bunch of tourist related business. We arrived in time for lunch and stopped at Linn’s a landmark in the town as the place to get pie. Of course we had soup and salad for lunch and left for a walk around of the town. Several years ago, we were here with our friend Mickey Belt and had a lovely dinner at the Sow’s Ear.
Of course, Janeen found several shops to go in but only succumbed to a post card and some candies! We did try and tour the local museum, but it was closed for the season but had a lovely garden which made Janeen very happy. After walking around for a while, we went back to Linn’s for some Banana Cream Pie! Lovely stuff.
Once back to Morro Bay, we relaxed for a bit and then headed out for dinner with our hostess Clauda to Luna Red in SLO (San Luis Obispo) with a lovely bottle of 2005 burgundy from Joseph Drouhin – Gevrey-Chambertain. This paired surprisingly well with the Paella ordered to share with the three of us.
Wednesday was travel day but first we had breakfast at Dorn’s a great view of Morro Rock. After repacking the car we headed out to visit with my sister, Georgia, in Cupertino.
Well, we finally made it out of town! After packing the car and finding a place for everything we got in and drove away. Our first stop was in Los Olivos for lunch. We stopped at a lovely spot, Panino for lunch and had great salads.
From Los Olivos, we continues north to Morro Bay to stay with our friend Claudia at the Marina Street B&B.
When we arrived, Clauda immediately opened some wine – always a good thing – and we began to relax.
The next several days will be here in Morro Bay relaxing and enjoying our time away.
Yes, we have vacated our home and are staying friends for a few days. This lets the painters get in there and do their magic to the inside of the house for potential renters. Janeen has a couple more doctor’s appointments (Friday and Tuesday AM and once she is ‘cleared’ we are OUT OF HERE!
Yes, in about a week – seven days – we head out. So, over the last several months we have: held a giant garage sale; unloaded lots of stuff to various charities; stored a bunch of stuff in various places; moved a LOT of wine from our on-site storage to off-site storage for duration; been to various doctors to get check ups (including a total Knee replacement for David); had the exterior of the house painted; termite work done; and general done everything except leave. Over the next two days we complete vacating the house so painters can come in and paint the interior of the place and next week our property manager will start showing it for rental. For a few days we will be staying with our friends the Bells so we can do final packing of the car and check on the painters.
So stay tuned as we head out for our Gap Year Adventure.
After talking about it for 6 months, the plans are coming together – the first being moving out of our home so it can be rented. The last couple of weeks have resulted in empty rooms, boxes in storage and lots of items leaving. Today is the 9th of June – next week the painters come in to spruce up the place and on the 21st or 22nd we leave…