Sunday, September 23, 2007

Napa, CA

Recently, hubby and I took a trip out to California. We'd never been there together and never been to this part of the big state. We saw a lot of sites on this trip. It wasn't so much a relaxing vacation, as it was a drive around and see things vacation. A change of scenery is good every once in a while. Makes you come home with fresh eyes.

I'm only going to show just a few pictures of the different areas we visited. Just to give a sense of what it was like. They are not in chronological order or anything like that. Below we have a picture from an early morning. We decided to get up early and go take pictures. That's more my kind of lighting than the sharp, hot afternoon sun of Napa. This was actually, our last day there. I had briefly considered getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go on a hot air balloon ride, and then let that idea drift right on out of my head. Guess it wasn't meant to be. I took this picture as they were landing in an open area of a vineyard. We watched them deflate the balloon. Something neither one of us had ever seen before. It's quite beautiful. It's so cool and quiet out there. They just simply stop giving the balloon hot air and then give the fabric a tug. The balloon cascades down to the ground like a waterfall with a sound akin to rain.

This view is from the observation deck at Sterling Vineyard. We were told we had to go there by a few different sources. You take a tram up a hill from the parking area to the building. Then you go on a self-guided tour, stopping along the way to watch flat panel video screens with talking heads. Every so often, a human appears at a station where you get a taste of wine in your glass, which you've been carrying around with you. The observation deck is but one stop along the way, where you get a taste of Rosé. A beautiful view, I will admit. At the end, you're funneled into a less scenic deck and wine shop where you taste a few more wines and if you wish, purchase some. I found Sterling to be a bit cold and impersonal, such as it's name implies. Well, we did our prerequisite stop there, so we were allowed to leave Napa unscathed.

Some cows grazing in a pasture. Behind me, were workers picking grapes. Morning is the best time for harvesting grapes as it is still cool. We drew some curious looks from humans and beast alike, as we were on a back road away from the noise and crazed morning drivers heading off to work. Somethings are the same where ever you go.

What would a trip to Napa be without a picture of grapes. They're here, there, and everywhere. Even in the front yards of people's homes. FYI, these were in a vineyard.

An olive grove at Rutterford Hill Winery. The olives produced on these trees are sent out and processed into their own olive oil. I found the olive trees quite pretty with their small leaves and fruits. The leaves fall to the ground creating their own mulch, which is pretty and useful. The staff of this Winery were warm and welcoming. They gave us a (human) guided tour and tastes of many of their delicious wines. Another unique feature of this winery is the man-made wine caves cut into the hillside. These caves keep the temperature at an even sixty degrees, regardless of the outdoor weather. No air conditioning required.

No comments: