Vacation all I ever wanted, vacation had to get away…
Posted Aug 22 2010 9:56pm
I’ve had that fabulous song by the Go-Go’s stuck in my head all weekend long! It’s been quite an exciting two days, so this post is long!
Last week, J told me that we were going away for the weekend. He didn’t tell me where, but he did let me know that it was going to be hot! As I’ve mentioned before, summers in San Francisco are typically freezing and foggy, and this summer has been exceptionally gray. We haven’t seen the sun in the city in weeks, and my winter parka is getting lots of good wear. J decided to plan a secret weekend getaway for us to a warm locale to celebrate my graduation from my graduate program. When he has planned secret outings for us in the past, he has usually let one or two clues slip about our destination. He was so tight-lipped this time around–he didn’t give me any clues at all! On Friday, he gave me the packing list: SUNGLASSES, sandals, casual wear, biking clothes, hiking clothes, swimsuit, dressy outfit, and sneakers. Biking? Hiking? In the sun? This guy knows me well!
On Saturday morning, I woke up and went on a quick 3-mile run through Golden Gate Park. I picked up a bagel for J on the way back, and we enjoyed our breakfast together (I ate my typical yogurt + berries + gluten-free cereal) while I fired question after question at him about our weekend away. He remained silent and secret the whole time! We packed up our Subaru with our weekend bags and our bikes, and hit the road with me sitting cluelessly in the passenger seat. Before long, we were headed over the Golden Gate Bridge, so I knew we were headed north. After about an hour of driving, I figured out where we were going: wine country! I still wasn’t sure exactly where our final destination would be, but the temperature was climbing and I was enjoying J’s company and the sunshine immensely.
After about an hour and a half of driving, we pulled off the road to eat lunch at the adorable Oakville Grocery in Napa. J and I both ordered salads, and we enjoyed them while sitting in the sun and admiring the beautiful vineyards behind the market.
Check out our sweet warm-weather clothing! After our delicious lunch, we continued driving north until we reached our destination: the charming town of Calistoga! J and I visited Calistoga with his parents last year at this time, and we had a fabulous time enjoying the town and touring some local wineries. This time, J booked us a night at the Roman Spa Hotsprings Resort ! I couldn’t contain my excitement when we first pulled in to the hotel. We unloaded our things, changed into our swimsuits, and took a dip in the hot springs hot tub and pool! It was the perfect way to relax and kick off our vacation.
After a quick soak, we changed into our biking clothes and took off to explore the beautiful Napa Valley. The weather was perfect–it was in the mid-70s with mild winds–and the sun was high in the sky. Of all the rides that we’ve been on together in the Bay Area, Amsterdam, France, and Italy, this was my favorite. We rode past lush vineyards and saw bright purple, heavy grapes weighing down the vines, and through the rolling hills of the Napa Valley. We ended up biking about 15 miles, and I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time!
With my triathlon quickly approaching, I’ve been working in some “brick” workouts–biking followed by running–into my exercise plan. I figured yesterday was the perfect opportunity to give this type of workout–aptly named after the brick-like feeling in one’s legs during the run portion–a try. After dismounting our bikes, I quickly changed my shoes and took off running through the town of Calistoga, full biking shorts on and all. My legs felt a bit jelly-like and heavy for the first three minutes or so, but by the end of my 10-minute run they were back to normal. I couldn’t believe I felt so great after running three miles in the morning, biking 15 miles, and then running another mile or so afterwards. As fresh as I felt, a dip in the hot tub and pool was definitely needed, as was a massage! J and I enjoyed an amazing couples massage at the hotel spa. It was the perfect post-workout treat!
After our massage, we had another costume change–this time into our dressy outfits! Last time we were in Calistoga, we enjoyed a terrific meal at JoLe , a restaurant that uses predominantly local, organic ingredients. JoLe serves only small plates, which we love, and I was hoping that were going to have another chance to eat here. Fortunately, J had made us reservations for the night! After a big day of exercising and enjoying the sun, we were ready for a delicious dinner, and JoLe did not disappoint! We started off the meal by splitting a glass of sparkling wine, and then we ordered our food. We always split when we go out for meals, so last night we shared six small plates. We enjoyed: summer vegetable salad; chilled soy soup with seafood; seared yellowtail; sea scallops; roasted duck; and lamb. Each dish was impeccably prepared, but the sea scallops really stole the show. Along with dinner, we enjoyed a half-bottle of local Jericho Canyon sauvignon blanc. Once again, JoLe delivered a fabulous meal!
After dinner, we were satiated and exhausted. We enjoyed a quick walk back to the hotel before crashing for the night. Day one of our secret getaway vacation was a tremendous success!
This morning, we woke up bright and early and walked the two blocks into downtown Calistoga for breakfast. I picked up my 0% Fage yogurt at a nearby grocery store, and then we enjoyed our meal at the Calistoga Roastery , a funky local cafe and hangout spot. J ordered the yogurt, granola, and berry combination, and I also requested some berries to add to my yogurt and the gluten-free cereal I brought with me. The Roastery had some awesome art on the walls made out of wine crates. This was one of my favorites:
I look like I need some coffee to wake me up!
After our lovely breakfast, we packed up the car and headed out of Calistoga. I thought we were heading back to Marin to go for a hike, but J had one more surprise up his sleeve! Last summer, we visited Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa, a gorgeous winery and orchard that grows everything organically. We fell in love with the beautiful property and loved their sauvignon blanc, and we have been talking about coming back ever since. J surprised me by taking me here today on our way home! The winery was closed, but we still enjoyed a lovely walk around the grounds. It is definitely my favorite winery in the Napa Valley, and it was such a special treat to come back to this peaceful, beautiful spot!
View of one of the gardens
The beautiful house on the property
At Frog's Leap last summer
After our quick stop at Frog’s Leap, the fun continued as we headed back into Marin for a quick lunch and a hike. We enjoyed a beautiful 5-mike hike on Ring Mountain, a beautiful spot in Corte Madera with panoramic views of the entire Bay Area. The weather was still perfect, and the hike was lovely.
The pink lady!
We're in the sunshine!
We hit the grocery store on our way back into San Francisco, and returned to the city to find sunny skies–unbelievable! We unpacked our car, got ourselves settled in our apartment, and enjoyed a delicious home-made dinner of quinoa-stuffed red peppers and roasted carrots. After dinner, we enjoyed an after-dinner walk through Golden Gate Park. Now, we’re getting ourselves ready for the busy week ahead!
The home-coming meal
I feel so fortunate that we were able to take an impromptu getaway before things start to get a bit crazier in our lives. J planned an amazing vacation for us, and I had an absolute blast hiking, biking, eating, drinking, and relaxing in the sun with him. I can’t wait for our next vacation! But until then, it’s back to the excitement of our everyday lives! This week will definitely include a little of this:
Practicing after my first guitar lesson last week!