California Dreaming 2



Choosing the right place to stay when traveling makes all the difference. Our drive to Sonoma allowed me to experience California as I had never seen it before --- green. We wound our way through cow country, through the vineyards, getting lost a couple of times. As dusk approached, a certain nail-biting tension arose in the rental car. “Can’t we just stop and ask that guy over there?” I asked. Silence. The car kept moving. Then we discovered rush hour in the countryside --- trapped in the commuter traffic returning from San Francisco.

We arrived at Beltane Ranch http://www.beltaneranch.com/ just as the sun was setting. No phone, no TV, acres of grapevines and olive trees, comfortable rooms, a spectacular breakfast, a wood fire to take the chill off, and a wonderful garden. We were too early for the roses, but there were late daffodils and tulips, lush hellebores, exuberant jasmine vines, live oaks with Spanish moss, and euphorbia, which I determined to grow in my own garden. This was such a delightful experience that we decided to start seeking out lodgings with gardens whenever possible.

Alexis, our wonderful hostess, recommended three restaurants in Glen Ellen. We chose Fig and, while we had to wait about 10 minutes, we ultimately got the best seat in the house: A cozy nook in front of the bay window. It was the next thing to having a private room.

The following day we drove around a bit, had an olive tasting and, at the suggestion of both Alexis and the hostess at Fig, decided on a tour of the Benziger Winery. It sounded like our kind of place --- a commercial vineyard that employs organic farming methods.

More next time.

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