As much as I love traveling with Matt, I also LOVE traveling with my girlfriends. Matt is my partner in crime, my rock and my best friend; but my girls are my support system, my bad influence (in a good way – drink another!) and my never ending adventure go-getters. I have had so many travels with my girls and each time its a no sleep, crazy laughter, and non stop insane surprises!
So….lets get back to Sonoma… one of the last few places I wanted to tick off the “California Bucket List” before we head back to the East Coast – Heyyyyyy New England! With only an 8 1/2 hr drive from San Diego it seemed like the perfect opportunity to grab some friends for an impromptu trip North…and of course they said yes…even last minute!!
Sonoma Valley is adorable, think quintessential perfect wine town. However unlike Napa Valley, Sonoma is HUGE. you can easily spend an hour to an hour and a half from one appellation to the other. So maybe prepare a little better than our last minute trip. But don’t worry we winged the hell out of Sonoma and still killed it!
We stayed a 1/4 mile from Sonoma Plaza = win #1. Sonoma Plaza has tons of restaurants, quaint shops, and the original Williams-Sonoma – any chefs in the house? Big Deal. Our favorite meal – by 4 votes – Cafe Le Haye. Make reservations, and words of advice: try the specials…every single one of them. And then…share! P.S. you’ll probably meet the owner because he’s the type of guy to walk up to every table and say hello!
Win #2 – Carneros valley – this appellation saddles Sonoma and Napa…where to go? Domaine Carneros! They have won the best sparkling wine in America, and top 10 in the world…this my friends, is quite the achievement. Start your day here because who doesn’t want to wake up to bubbles? Not your style? We can’t be friends…just kidding…not really. One more thing, the owner is a woman who didn’t listen to anyone who said there couldn’t be good sparkling wines in the states – she still oversees every operation at the Chateau today. True #GirlBoss
Win #3 Russian River Valley. Ever since my love affair with wine started I have had an intense love/hate relationship with chardonnay. As Americans we typically create to please the mass public, and still being relatively “new” in the world to wine drinking (hard to believe I know) we make some heavily oaked, over-buttered, and over the top chardonnays. Step outside your box and ask for unoaked chards, or chards temporarily stored in new french oak barrels that add a hint of vanilla spice, and buttered oak ( A HINT). When you come across a good bottle of chardonnay – full of nuances of clove, vanilla and aromas of stone fruits such as peaches nectarines, or even a tropical flavor of melon – you will instantly want to find more chardonnays true to form. The Russian River valley is full of winemakers that excel at keeping the grape true to its form…and Sonoma is a perfect region for this style! My pick: Lynmar Estate. Great service, phenomenal wine, and romantic laid back ambiance.
Finally…to uber or not to uber. We decided to uber – our best experience was riding with a man that was Napalese…ring any bells? Everest. Chances are if you encounter someone from Nepal they have climbed Everest. After a few questions we discovered he had climbed Mt. Everest 22 times! Summit? 3 times! I couldn’t believe it – this guy basically deserved a life achievement award! He moved to America because he lost too many friends to the mountain, however he still goes to NYC to give talks on summiting, and even goes home occasionally to participate in treks.
Back to uber – although he was incredible- our other uber drivers were not. Because Sonoma is so widespread give yourself plenty of time to call uber – DO NOT wait last minute. With that being said its still cheaper than a limo/driver, and you are in charge of your day to choose where you want to go!
One more thing – if you love to travel go check out my girlfriend Jules at Suitcase Love! We knew each other from Virginia Beach, and she has traveled all over Europe with her husband for some epic adventures! It was exciting to be back in the same state with her again, even if only for a short time.
Cheers to weekend girls trips!