Last week, Joan, one of my oldest friends (old in friendship years not in age years;-) called me and said if she didn’t get a few days of R & R immediately, she was going to implode, explode, or simply eat a whole Giant-size bag of chocolate chips in one sitting! So I told her to pack a carry-on, fly up to meet me and we’d explore some fantastic sounding B & B’s in wine country that I’d been meaning to check out.
Here’s my recap of three days of blissful food, fun, wine and just chillin’ in the valley.
DAY 1 San Francisco to Occidental
We started off with a stop at our local San Francisco AAA to chart our course and get a map. They could not have been more helpful, and I love their new vending machine that spews out free maps…but I do feel the four maps they suggested was a bit overkill. Since I’m completely map dyslexic, the plan was that I would do the driving and Joan would be the navigator. (Little did I know that Joan is probably the only person in the world worse than I am at map-reading.)
Our first point of interest was (for anyone else) an easy 70 mile shot to Healdsburg. We arrived only an hour late to visit the Honor Mansion. We were given the grand tour by owner Steve Fowler, and I could not come up with one creature comfort detail that had been overlooked. The inn was painstakingly restored and styled out in a Martha Stewart would-be-proud manner. Not only do the Fowlers provide the pre-requisite homey breakfast but they also throw in afternoon refreshments, complimentary appetizers and wine hour, in-room evening Sherry and an endless supply of cookies and tea biscuits!
Two other points that would elevate Honor to my honor roll is the attentive service that they provide—with an amazing ratio of 18 staff members to care for only 13 rooms! They earn the other extra-credit point for their jaw-dropping grounds. Their beautifully maintained 4 acres of backyard could provide days of activities without ever leaving “home”. For the sports enthusiast there is a basketball ball court, jogging trail, full tennis court, croquet, bocce ball, even a PGA Putting course. Not into games? You’ll be quite content to lounge around the pool, perhaps only moving to shift your bod over to the private outdoor spa area for your afternoon massage. This was one place that we hated to leave…except it was time for a little wine tasting.