Posted in California Parks, Canon, Travel

Morning Nature Walk

Here are some photos from a state park visit our first year back to California. On this morning we let Bella run in the big dog area, then strolled through the park admiring wildlife.

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It was a lovely summer morning with the lake surrounded by golden hills.

My Canon MX920 was in manual mode that day for practice with a fast shutter speed to freeze the action at the dog park.  Wish I remembered the setup on the black heron photo, it’s my favorite.

Posted in Travel, wine

Northern California Coastal and Hill Views

I’m sharing some favorite holiday photos along with my best wishes to start the New Year. I hope whatever holiday you celebrated was blessed!

What a beautiful day we had visiting Capitola Village by the Sea, one of the oldest vacation spots on the Pacific Coast.

Another day we enjoyed an afternoon of wine tasting with a view at the House Family Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Hills.

Posted in Food and Cooking, Travel, wine

Santa Cruz Wine tasting

We are taking a short virtual drive for “Travel Thursday” this week to two Santa Cruz foothills wineries. There are many wonderful wineries in the region for great Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. No secrets there, even Condé Nast Traveler called it one of the best wine regions to visit in 2019 (link https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-wine-regions-to-visit ). However, limiting my tastings to keep my balance and sense of taste, (don’t even suggest spitting out good wine) I chose Testarossa and House Family Wineries two beautiful wineries close to home.

From San Jose we approach the area via the Silicon Valley town of Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz foothills, which has a charming historic downtown of top notch restaurants and shops. We drive past a plethora of nice stand alone tasting rooms on the way but I like the ambiance of a working winery tasting room so up the hill we start.

Dramatic entrance to Testarossa Winery

Our first stop is at Testarossa Winery which is my favorite for Pinot Noirs. It also has great outdoor dining, music and special events. This time we just did a tasting in the main hall but we also enjoy having a glass of wine and snack outdoors, enjoying the mediteraen climate and listening to music.

These pictures of Testarossa are courtesy of Tamara at Tamaraitsmylife.wixsite.com , since my Testarossa pictures disappeared, darn wine. Thanks Tamara, that was a fun day.

With my bottles of the 2016 Pinot tucked safely away, we head north on the Saratoga Los Gatos Road to the House Family Vineyard for some Cabs. This is wine tasting with a view of the San Jose Valley and surrounding vistas. Here is the pretty path through the vineyard from parking:

The view from the tasting room:

The 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon did not disappoint, a bit pricey but with club membership there is a discount and tasting is complimentary for four. We have also come up on a Friday night to hear music and just do a tasting so the experience is reasonable.

They have a small menu and we ordered a cheese plate and loaf of French bread, which is baked on-site and amazing. So, as I sit here thinking of the crusty french loaf and delicious glass of Cabernet, I leave you with this quote:

The gospel needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors, and shouting, “Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” Rachel Held Evans

Blessings,

Posted in Food and Cooking, Travel

Lake Tahoe Summer Vacation

It’s Travel Thursday so I’m sharing about our trip this summer to beautiful Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Forever, we had heard of magical summer trips to Tahoe where the water was gloriously cobalt blue, the beaches were warm, the water sports abundant, and the views were picture perfect.

View of Lake Tahoe from the west coast of lake.

Tahoe is only about four hours from the South Bay so we drove across and nestled our travel trailer among the towering pines in the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground. It’s in an alpine canyon between Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe, 1/4 mile from Fallen Leaf Beach where the water was warmer then Tahoe (though still invigoratingly chilly) and just a 10 minute drive to the views and activities of South Lake Tahoe. The campground was rustic with the feel of nature as we hoped. Here is a picture of one of our neighbors who was rough and a little grumpy but kept to himself. https://tahoesouth.com/stay/fallen-leaf-lake-campground/

Our Tahoe Neighbor

So this should be the travel blog where everything is lovely and we have a wonderful time (cue the menacing music). It looked like we were in for a great vacation until our trailer went all Cujo on us with toxic gas and all night alarms. The folks at Fallen Leaf were great to help us with our difficulties and we were still in a beautiful location but I was frazzled not relaxed. So instead of hiking or renting a boat we took a scenic drive then enjoyed the town of South Tahoe.

“The Pour House” in South Tahoe had a good food rating with live music on the patio, so we headed over for lunch and were happily surprised to find it was a self pour wine bar. This is the best idea ever! Once a tab is established you are given a card that activates the wall taps and you are only charged for the wine poured. The wines were labeled with descriptions and on the wall they ranged from crisp light whites to full bodied reds, which is the order to serve in a winery tasting room. So I tried just a mouthful of five wines without feeling tipsy and losing my sense of taste (for me the typical winery pour is a lot). Then I went back to the crisp Chenin Blanc for a full glass with my salad. By the way I have been looking for a self serve wine bar in the Bay Area without luck, so it you know of any pour houses here please let me know. This is a brilliant idea. https://www.tahoepourhouse.com/

Well, this wasn’t the vacation I expected and I don’t have as may pictures as usual but I can say there is something for everyone in Tahoe whether you are there for the views, water sports or fresh mountain cookery with wine.

Blessings,

PS. Sorry that I haven’t posted since January. Our family lost it’s wonderful patriarch then and I needed to finish mourning before I started posting about my life again. My father-in -law was someone I had always respected but really grew close with over time. What helped me heal through this mourning was crying, sharing my feelings, doing small things to honor his values, and remembering his life. I’d love to hear the ways you have worked through loss to healing.

There is no shame in crying when the world loses a good person and I shed some even at Nordstrom before Father’s Day when I didn’t have a gift to buy this year. I enjoyed talking about my time with him and helping my husband talk about his feelings too. We sent a donation to the NRA in his name honoring his commitment to live in a free democratic society. It’s been eight months since he passed on to his next adventure but he will never be forgotten.