Friday, September 21, 2012

House Sitting in Wine Country

Here is the view we are enjoying across the Valley of the Moon, looking Mount Hood and Sugarloaf Ridge. We're very fortunate to be able to enjoy such great back-to-back house sitting locations. After spending two weeks in Aptos, overlooking the shore of Monterey Bay, we're here just east of Santa Rosa, spending a week in the heart of wine country along highway 12.

While vineyards and wineries are the major attractions in the
Napa/Sonoma area, there are other things to see. Forests, rivers and the ocean are all within short drives of wine country. The oak studded grape vineyards are picturesque and often spectacular to see. The upper elevations of the surrounding mountains transition from oaks (coast live oak, interior live oak, Garry oak and blue oak) and black walnut to Pacific madrones, Douglas fir, California laural and toyon. Continuing into the western coastal range more conifirs are seen, including the majestic Pacific Redwood (the tallest tree in the world). Dropping down the western escarpment, oaks begin to dominate once again with coast silk-tassel and Mendicino Cypress establishing their presence, within the fog belt of the coast. All along the central California coast Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), an invasive non-native, can be seen along the land/ocean boundary.

California Highway 1, running along the coastal area of Sonoma County
is a spectacular extension of what is found along the more well known, Big Sur coast. It snakes along its tortuous route, high above the rock strewn Pacific Ocean below. The coast is rugged and the overlooks are breath taking. The beaches here, a few of which are accessable, have sand that is darker and coarser in texture than the sand found on beaches further south. Beaches along this stretch of coastline are typified much of the year by fog and brisk cold winds from the northwest. While the sun does make an appearance occassionally during the summer, the best beach weather for sunny days is during September and October (but don't expect too much heat).

An montage of some of what may be found in Sonoma County may be found in this video. As contrition for this uninspired post, a suggestion for a superb appellation for red wine enthusiasts. It is a collaboration between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe De Rothschild. The wine is a 2007 vintage Opus One from Napa Valley, bottled in Oakville, California. Sante!


kmysail said...

Hey P & K, I was catching up with your blog today. It is such a joy reading your blog. Wether your writing about sailing or your house sittings (lucky ducks) it takes me out of my reality and into your world which it is so blessed. Some one is looking out for you 2. Please give me a call when you get back to SD.
God Bless,

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

We've never been to "Wine Country", but it sounds so beautiful! What a great opportunity for ya'll!

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Thanks for your comments Kevin, Ken and Cheryl. This post really doesn't do it justice. There's so much more to do and see up in the Napa/Sonoma area of California. If only I had half the photography skills of my wife or younger sister, I'd do the country around here some justice.