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That time has come; I think I have officially run out of content from the girls’ getaway to Sonoma County that I took in September. We had so much fun spending a few days wine tasting, eating, and laughing hysterically, all the components of a good getaway with friends!

We rented a house on Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa, up a very long and at times winding road. Much of that area was affected by the wildfires in October, and we are still unsure about the house, which was amazing.

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We toasted with bubbles on the deck overlooking gorgeous views and spied deer grazing out our windows.

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It was just the most perfectly serene spot; this insomniac even managed to sleep well! I loved grabbing a cup of coffee and looking out the window in the mornings or sitting on the deck, even when a bit chilly. The location made it a little difficult to get to and from, but overall it was an incredibly special and relaxing place.

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In addition to the deliciousness we enjoyed at Bravas Tapas and Bird and the Bottle, we also chowed down on the new menu at Woodfour Brewing Company, which features delish tacos and great beers, the perfect post-wine tasting lunch.

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Our final dinner in Sonoma County was at the much-loved Valette in Healdsburg; I’d head so much about it that we had to go, and we rolled out of there after courses of deliciousness.

Vallette

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As Valette’s website notes, they feature local winemakers, artisans, and farmers, and when it comes to Sonoma County, local is definitely best.

As Sonoma and Napa recover from the fires, they are also more than ready to welcome visitors. If you get the chance, it’s a great time to enjoy all of the amazingness that wine country has to offer this year!

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Tags: Food, Sonoma County, travel blog, travel blogging, wine

Did you discover any favorite new restaurants in 2017? With an ever-changing and growing restaurant scene in Boston, it’s hard to keep up, and while we definitely tried some amazing new spots (Yellow Door Taqueria, The Industry, and Reel House were all big hits!) we were also repeat visitors at established favorites.

I also rediscovered spots I hadn’t been to in a while like Doretta Taverna in Boston’s Park Square area.

I recently got together with a group of friends at Doretta to sample some of their most popular menu items, and I was reminded that I could eat there everyday and be perfectly happy.

Doretta has GREAT cocktails, and I regret that a work call came in as I was enjoying a beautiful and spicy Medusa’s Locks gin cocktail. I never got a chance to take a photo!

Doretta Boston

Everything I have eaten at Doretta is incredible, but as a big chip and dip fan, I could eat their zucchini chips and tzatziki all day long.

Doretta Boston

Of course, I would save room for their perfectly cooked, tender and lemony grilled octopus and a tasting of yummy spreads like my favorite Beet Pantzarosalata, a heavenly beet and yogurt blend. . . a healthy dip!

Doretta Boston

I normally pass on lamb, but even I had to have a bite of these lamb meatballs which are a big hit with Doretta guests. The cumin tomato sauce is definitely something you want to save and savor with your extra pita!

Doretta Boston

Lobster is obviously a New England favorite, and the Lobster Loukomades take it to a whole new level, with herb donuts, brown butter, and pops of flavor in the form of caviar. Yum.

Doretta Boston

I was *almost* too full to try this beautiful shrimp dish, which had hints of sweetness from honey and shredded pastry kattaifi. I loved the crunch that it added too!

From the presentation down to the last bite, each plate we were served was perfect.

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Doretta also has a really impressive and different wine list, especially for wines by the glass. I love that the list includes wines from Greece, in addition to places like Austria and Mendocino County California. It’s definitely not your standard wine list, and for someone who loves to try new wines, this is a huge selling point.

Since Doretta is consistently excellent and a sort of central location for friends coming from all areas around Boston, it’s the perfect place to meet.

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Tags: Boston, cocktails, Dining out, Food, food blog, Greek, Restaurants, wine

For past Sonoma and Napa posts and a collection of other travel blog posts, visit my Travel page.

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My September getaway to Sonoma County feels like it was a million years ago. With all of the other travel I have been doing, I’ve been away just about every two weeks, and in between life and the flu have gotten in the way. I am finally sitting down to share a whirlwind recap of the wineries we visited on this trip. We missed a few favorites but discovered some great new-to-me spots, and with another Sonoma visit on the horizon for May, I am in a good place for planning. We also got to eat at some favorite Sonoma County restaurants while having to save others for the next trip. The one lesson we have learned over many trips to wine country is to not cram everything in. It’s easy to want to eat and taste and see everything, but it’s a lot more enjoyable if you pace yourself.

Sonoma County Sunset

This time around I was visiting Sonoma County with a group of friends, and we had a house in Santa Rosa as our home base. On our first night, we enjoyed a picnic spread, live music, beautiful wine, and an epic sunset at Paradise Ridge Winery.

Paradise Ridge Winery

It is hard to believe, but just weeks later, this very special place burned down during the wildfires that swept through the area. Paradise Ridge plans to rebuild, and I know that their many friends and fans will be there at the door when it reopens for business.

Paradise Ridge Winery

We tried to have a few wine tasting appointments on the calendar and to build the days around that. The constants throughout were blue skies and perfect sunshine. On my first full day, we kicked off our wine adventures at the gorgeous Iron Horse Vineyards, where the views are as stunning as the bubbles in your glass.

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The outdoor tasting room at Iron Horse is as perfect as it gets, rustic, open air (but with heaters!) and complete access to the intense beauty that surrounds it. All of the sparkling wines we tasted were insanely good, but a few bottles of the Russian Cuvee made it into the shipment back to Boston for me!

Iron Horse Vineyards

Our next stop, Red Car Winery, was another I had visited before, and a favorite producer of Pinot Noir and their large format rosé of Pinot Noir. A living-room-like setting is a comfy spot for tasting year round, and our club membership means that we will definitely be back on our May visit.

red car wine

Lunchtime and grumbling stomachs brought us to The Barlow for food (more on that in a future post) and more wine, naturally. 

The Barlow

Wind Gap Wines makes some of my all time favorite wines, so it was again a must-visit on this trip. Their Chenin Blanc and Trousseau Gris are always my top choices, and the sun streaming in the open windows of the tasting room plus the dog there on my last visit make it one of my favorite places to while away an afternoon on vacation.

Wind Gap Wine

We ended that day with an incredible dinner at Bird & the Bottle, which I highly recommend.

Our Friday in Sonoma County was dedicated to Healdsburg, which we traveled to in an Uber and spent the day walking and eating and drinking around. We had lunch at Bravas Tapas and a special tasting at another favorite, Cartograph Wines,

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This is definitely a must-visit tasting room in Healdsburg, especially for Pinot Noir lovers and anyone who likes genuinely awesome people. Everyone there is just the best.

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And as it often happens, good people who know good wine, make recommendations on where to go next. Since we didn’t have any set plans, we took the recommendation to walk to Breathless Wines, and we were so glad we did.

This sparkling winery owned by three sisters has a beautiful outdoor garden space to taste their yummy wines.

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They’ve done a really great job with both the indoor and outdoor spaces, and their sparkling rosé was perfect for a hot September day. Their Moscato was the real surprise of the day. We all expected sweet, which we don’t love, but instead got beautiful, complex flavors of herbs and spices and baked apples.

Breathless Wine

Another recommendation we received from Cartograph was DaVero Farms and Winery, a short Uber drive outside of the downtown area of Healdsburg, and so worth the trip.

Davero Wine

Talk about a special place. . . DaVero is a nature-lover’s dream, with gorgeous plants and flowers, views, and piglets!

DaVero makes wines with Mediterranean varietals that thrive in the climate they grow them in. You’ll see Barbera and Sangiovese on their wine tasting list, and they offer an interesting, delicious departure from many of the other wines you’ll be tasting in the area. Be sure to build in some time to walk around to see the property! 

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On our final day in Sonoma County, as we made our way back to San Francisco, we squeezed in a few more wine stops.

In downtown Sonoma, Roche Family Winery was a destination for us, as one of our party shares a last name with the owners. Another sunshine-drenched outdoor space, this time great for people watching just outside of Sonoma Plaza, and a big, buttery Chardonnay (I like them!) gave us the perfect sendoff out of town and on our way to beautiful and bubbly all-time favorite, Gloria Ferrer, which I blogged about here.

Roche Winery Sonoma

Gloria Ferrer is a tradition for us and a must-visit at least once on every trip to Sonoma County.

Holding on to the very last seconds in beautiful wine country before we headed back to the crowded and much chillier city, we made our last stop to wander around Cornerstone Sonoma, where a cold glass of Meadowcraft Wines Sauvignon Blanc accompanied me on my walk around the gardens.

Meadowcroft WineCornerstone Sonoma

Ahhh. . . some of the best life memories come from travel to Northern California, and as much as we want to see the whole world, we keep coming back to Sonoma County for more.

Stay tuned for a final food recap and some photos of the gorgeous house we rented!

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Tags: California, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine tasting, wine travel

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