Saturday, July 4, 2015

Petaluma, CA > April 16, 2015

I'm off to Cali via Madison to Chicago and then onward to San Fran. I'm currently on the flight from Chicago to SFO and it feels like the longest flight ever. I had Brett drop me off at the airport in Madison at about 12:45, took about 15 minutes to check in, then through security (w/out my blinged out pants). Wahoo - made it through. I say it that was because the bling pants always throw off the sensors. My flight in Madison was barely half boarded and they announced the remainder of us will have to check our carry-ons. (Note: If you have to check your bag at the gate, make sure you check to see where it's going. Also, make sure if you check bags before going through security that you arrive early enough for your bags to be put on the plane.)

This trip is my first trip that I've taken with a significant layover of 3+ hours. How did I pass the time?

1 - Reading eBooks and eMagazines (I download from the library or purchase books and subscriptions on our Nook)
2 - Walking through the terminal (I like to look at the shops to get ideas for books, resist buying)
3 - Come Prepared (Short layovers pack snacks/fruit) (Longer layovers pack a sandwich/snacks/fruit)
4 - Bring an EMPTY reusable water bottle and wall/USB chargers (most airports now have fountains that will fill the water bottles and charging stations)

Jen was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs (yay) and then we were off to find my checked bag! After leaving the airport we took the Golden Gate Bridge and it was a clear night, so I could see everything (so cool)! We got back to the house and crashed out for the night.

The kiddos still had school on Friday morning so after coffee and getting them on the way Jen, Eric and I all headed up towards Healdsburg to start out the day right with breakfast at Singletree Cafe, followed by pedicures for Jen and I at The Spa in Hotel Healdsburg. The Spa was ah-mazing and maybe someday we can go back again, I'd love to try to stay there too. After a relaxing break it was off to the wineries! We visited Sterling Vineyards and Duckhorn which were both in Napa. Between the two I enjoyed Sterling more due to their practicality, beautiful roses, a gondola ride, free glass, the fact you actually get to walk around, and their variety of wines. Duckhorn was a beautiful vineyard but there isn't much interaction, you walk in sit at a table and they bring all the wines at once. Sterling was much more up my alley, but driving around and trying unexpected new places is always worth a shot! After the wineries we stopped at a couple roadside farms to look at fresh veggies and buy strawberries before traveling back to Petaluma and walking around the downtown a little to get ice cream from Lala's Creamery. They have lots of tasty treats and I got a waffle cone with green tea and honey ice cream. So. Good.

Saturday morning we slept in a little and then had pancakes with fresh strawberries that I bought on the side of the road. They were so good and the kids loved the little treat. Strawberries weren't yet in season at home so I was kinda like a kid in a candy store with all the fresh fruit and veggies in and around Petaluma. The two boys had a baseball game so we packed up and headed out to watch part of that (a big difference from watching Brett & the guys). It was awesome to get to see the boys play and see the talent that's there at such a young age! We left the game a little early to head up to Santa Rosa to visit my friend Judy's house where she has raised 200 some maples and succulents in her back yard. She's got quite the impressive backyard set up with every maple having a name, age, parents, and all on a drip system. From Judy's we traveled through the redwoods to Guerneville where we had lunch and coffee (yes, always more coffee) at Coffee Bazaar, an open air restaurant with a book store next to it. I was in heaven, and even brought a bag home with me. It was so good and I love visiting places like this one. The view was great, the people nice, and I would go back in a heartbeat. From there it was onward to the coast, we stopped at several places and got taffy at Patrick's in Bodega Bay. I brought home the maple bacon and key lime pie flavors! From there we went hiking to this little trail leading to Pinnacle Gulch (trail leads to beach). It's about a mile down and back and 100% worth the small parking fee (bring cash). It was a perfect end to an amazing trip to the shore. Jen and I parted with Judy here and headed back to have dinner with the family!

Sunday brought my trip with Jen into the City (San Francisco). We bought tickets for a boat tour that would take us around the bay and circle Alcatraz! We got to see sailboats racing with their beautiful sails up, the Golden Gate Bridge, a couple times around Alcatraz, and a spectacular view of the city that hugs the shore so tight it can only go up from there. We were going to try to make the park too but we girls have priorities! I wanted to go to B.R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma County! A quick stop for food before wine samples and we were on our way! Jen's dad works here and he kinda showed us around a little bit while helping me through their wine choices. I love little (well it's not tiny) wineries like this one. There was music on the patio, beautiful scenery, spectacular wine, and friendly service from the staff. Hands down a great place to stop. Here's a link to where they come from!

Monday morning was headed back to Petaluma downtown for breakfast, and a few must stop shops for items to bring home!

Breakfast at Tea Room Cafe was delicious, the patrons friendly and the staff patient with a new-comer.

Shops stopped at were:
Old Shanghai Decor for some chopsticks to bring home as gifts
Knitterly to drool over beautiful yarns
Copperfields Books because they have used books, and new books, and I love books.
Petaluma Seed Bank because they have everything gardening, yes I bought this book there. I try to get or borrow most books electronically now, but one like this is timeless and awesome.

After this I caught the bus from Petaluma to the airport, typically I would go across the Golden Gate Bridge one last time but due to a little festival (today is 4/20) they routed us over the Bay Bridge.

Made it to the airport in time, only to have to check my bag again (totally ok with that), and have the flight delayed due to a door malfunction. That's ok - I'll wait for that. Flight left behind schedule, and arrived about 25 minutes behind schedule in Chicago which left me 10 minutes to make my plane home to Madison. I've never run through an airport before but man I didn't want to get stuck in Chicago, I wanted to get home to my boys. So I ran in slip on shoes with a bag under each arm from terminal C to terminal E and made it to my plane, thinking I wasn't going to make it BUT I DID! We then sat there for another 15 minutes, lol. It took me until I landed in Madison to calm back down again. In the end, I made it home to the boys and my checked bag didn't get home until the next day. I wasn't worried about that.

Note to self: always wear tie on tennis shoes when flying.
Note to others: always bring a big purse to bring your prescriptions, cell phone charger and other important items on the plane with you and pack a smaller portable purse inside for when you arrive at your destinations.

1 comment:

DCCU Jen Mendes said...

It was an awesome visit and we were so honored you spend time with our family! You guys are welcome any time!!! xoxo