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Summer is my favorite time of year. I don’t love or even like the other seasons nearly as much; I find early sunsets deplorable, and chilly weather makes my bones hurt. I am happiest when I can have bare legs and bare feet (or open toed shoes for work) and can sleep without blankets. I love being hot, I love beating sun, and most of all I love boats, beaches, fresh produce, and long days. This summer wasn’t the best, as far as heat went, but we still managed to have some pretty great times.

Some favorite moments included our anniversary dinner at Hamersley’s, our Red Fire Farm CSA and all the tomatoes, a concert at Westport Rivers, James Taylor at Tanglewood,  swimming at the Jersey shore, and my family’s visit, especially whale watching from Boston.

boating in Boston

We visited Venezia on a friend’s boat and spent a ton of time at our friends’ new pool, sipping cocktails and swimming, It was the life.

pool time

We also made some time for Chatham, one of my favorite places on Cape Cod. It was a chilly August day, but we still enjoyed the views from Chatham Bars Inn and celebrated their 10th anniversary with commemorative cocktails.

Chatham Bars Inn

CBI 100

We also spent some time on one of my favorite Cape Cod Beaches, Craigville Beach, where I spent childhood vacations and look forward to making more memories. How gorgeous is this?!

Craigville Beach

And then there was our Sonoma trip, where we fell in love with a house on a mountain overlooking vineyards. We tend to not leave New England during summer and to save trips outside for after the season ends. But there is really nothing like the Dry Creek Valley in the height of summer, with big purple grapes hanging from the vines and an exquisite dry heat that my body loves. I have about 10 blog posts about Sonoma left, and for that I apologize. But we helped with harvest and went to some fun events, met really nice people, and most of all relaxed and unlpugged. It’s hard to say goodbye to my favorite, season, but being the optimist I am, I know fall will also bring adventures, delicious food and wine, and great friends and family. And despite how much I love long, warm days, you really can’t beat all that.

 

What were your favorite summer moments?

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Tags: Cape Cod, Chatham, gardening, home, Massachusetts, New England, Sonoma, summer, sunshine, Travel

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the unofficial closer to the summer in Sonoma, though all of us who have been there after Labor Day know that the weather remains absolutely gorgeous, and there’s some sort of fun event happening all the time.

We didn’t purposely book our Healdsburg trip for Wine Country Weekend, but we ended up there at the same time and decided to take advantage of one of the many winemaker lunches happening in the county. On our first full day we headed to Healdsburg for lunch with Zazu Kitchen and Farm at Davis Family Vineyards

Davis Family Vineyards

Davis is right on the Russian River, not far from where we picked up our canoe trip, and their space is marked by a beautiful garden area and outdoor dining pavilion, perfect for a winemaker lunch.

It was a warm and humid day, and we were excited to try Davis Family Vineyards wine, so we were thrilled when we were welcomed with their  2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

We fell in love with this wine in a sip. Apple pie and lemon notes presented themselves first and faded into a warm, caramel-y richness that comes from being aged in French oak. We had time to take our wine and wander the gardens before being seated, and I was pretty much in heaven.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Davis Family Vineyards garden

Our chef for the day was from Zazu; we loved their old restaurant in Santa Rosa and they have taken off since, moving to The Barlow in Sebastapol.   Zazu is known for their snout to tail approach to food, and their meats are always exquisite.

winemakers lunch with Zazu

Lunch was served at long communal tables, and we had such a fun group of neighbors! By the end of lunch, we had exchanged business cards, along with lots of wine country stories. I love sharing food, wine, and laughs with good people!

winemaker lunch at Davis Family Vineyards

When we weren’t chatting, we were served some pretty incredible food and wine and warmth from both the winery and Zazu. It just kept coming!

image

{Macbryde Peach + Star Anise Pork Belly Salad}

Guy Davis

{Winemaker Guy Davis}

Somewhere during the meal, owner and winemaker Guy Davis stood up and talked a little bit about the winery, harvest, which had just started, and the lunch wines we were thoroughly enjoying.

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir}

 

Davis Family wine

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir}

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{Liberty Duck Sausage, Bean + Farro Salad, Fennel Confit}

Davis Family Vineyards

fruit cobbler

{Plum + Blackberry Cobbler, Ginger Gelato}

The winery was beyond generous with the wines they shared with us, and I was so a bad blogger, so busy having fun that I didn’t photograph all of them. But I do remember them, especially their incredible Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the Cuvee Luke, a blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier. The Cuvee Luke is my kind of white wine; nice body and slightly heavy mouthfeel, floral notes leading into rich baked peach and pear notes with some minerals on the finish, a wine that stays with you for a long time. I did my best to sample and pour out some of the wines, but the Cuvee Luke, I definitely finished.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend can be crowded at times, but we did not see that at all. Our choice of this lunch was perfect; it combined beautiful outdoor dining with delicious food from one of our favorite Sonoma County restaurants, and new-to-us wines that we loved. It was perfect.

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Tags: events, gardens, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, travel blog, vineyard, wine, wine blog, wine blogger, wine country, wine lunch, wine tasting, winemaker, winery

A food tour of wine country seemed like the perfect thing for a Wine Wednesday post! Just like I heard about River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips from The Wine Road, I received an introduction to Tammy from Savor Healdsburg Food Tours from them as well.  We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning of our Healdsburg stay and enjoyed another morning of coffee at our country cottage before heading into town for the food tour.

The Farm to Table Tour, which we were on, had five stops, all unique and filling us with good food and wine, so I am going to break it up into a couple of posts to make sure I can cover all the stops.

We met Tammy and the rest of our small group in the Healdsburg Plaza, a wonderful place to hang out, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and people watch.

After some background information on Healdsburg (one of the best places on earth, in my opinion), we headed to our first stop, The Wurst.

The Wurst, Healdsburg

The Wurst was opened by Detroit native Charles Bell, who brings some flavors and ingredients of the Midwest to California. And if you are in the mood for something hearty, fun, and flavorful, this is the spot.

Our tour grabbed a couple of outside tables; where else would you want to be when it is a perfect California summer day?! Our table was quickly filled with baskets of fries, dipping sauces, and the sausages that make The Wurst famous around town. Favorites included the sweet potato fries (perfectly soft and crunchy)  in beer mustard and the Harissa Hottie sausage (pork, beef apricot, Harissa spice, habanero chili, coriander). You know if there’s spice, I am on it! The Polish sausage was a close second; the flavors reminded me of Easter dinners with Eastern European family.

 

flavored ketchups

We loved The Wurst’s laid back feel and casual fare, and the service was warm and friendly. It was a great way to start the tour, and we left feeling a little full already!

The Wurst, Healdsburg

Luckily we had a short walk to get ready for our next stop, one of my new favorite spots, Healdsburg SHED. This large, open, and airy restaurant/café/shop is a food lover’s paradise and the perfect place to start your day in Healdsburg, especially if you have a wine country picnic in mind.

SHED Healdsbug

It has everything you could possibly want and is buzzing with energy, excitement, and great smells. One of their unique features is their fermentation bar, which serves up kombucha, kefir, and shrubs. I love fermented drinks of all sorts but especially love these healthy ones!

fermentation bar, SHED Healdsbug

SHED serves up two different wood fired pizzas daily, in addition to all sorts of other specialties.

SHED Healdsburg

 

SHED Healdsburg

There are meats and cheeses, prepared foods, garden supplies, cook books, flowers, and so much more. SHED also offers all sorts of classes on learning different things like canning, fermenting, and more. You could easily visit and spend a whole day (and a whole lot of money) at this beautiful spot. I am officially in love.

SHED Healdsburg

The highlight of our visit was of course getting to sample some of the culinary delights SHED has to offer. The heat outside didn’t stand a chance against this refreshing shrub, made with fresh fruit and vinegar. It was lightly sweet, tangy, and cool; the perfect drink for a summer day.

shrub

We also shared one of the pizzas of the day, a thin, perfect crust dotted with cheese, jalapeno and shishito peppers. The mezze plate of the day was a favorite of everyone, especially the big block of feta and the bright, earthy beet tzatziki. Every bite was delicious, and as we went along, the group chatted more. It’s always fun when you have a group that clicks, and we really enjoyed everyone along the journey.

SHED Healdsburg mezze platter

Both The Wurst and SHED are Healdsburg businesses that we would definitely revisit. I love food tours and the way that they give you a taste of a variety of places; they’re ideal for the beginning of a trip to help set the tone and plan for the rest of the time there. Or, like for us, they make it even more enticing to plan a trip back. . .

Stay tuned for the next stops on the Savor Healdsburg Food Tour, where we’ll taste local wine, chow down on tapas, and finish with a sweet cupcake treat!

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Tags: California. Sonoma County, food tours, Healdsburg, Savor Healdsburg Food Tours, Travel, travel blog, wine, wine blog, wine country

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