Sonoma and Napa – Wine Country, California

I am going to take a small detour from my walking Cincinnati posts, but will come back next week with another walk.

We’ve been to the Napa area many times, so this time when we decided to visit wine country; we thought we’d try some of the wineries in Sonoma.  We stayed at the Inn at Sonoma.  It is another Four Sisters Inn facility.  We’ve stayed a number of times at the Four Sisters Inns and have not been disappointed.  This one lived up to what we’ve come to expect from their properties.  They offer a full breakfast every morning as well as wine and cheese every evening.

The town of Sonoma is rather small and has many restaurants and shops.  We heard about a hike to see the view of Sonoma so since we are big walkers, we decided to do the hike one morning.  The hike is a two mile hike called the Sonoma Overlook Hike and while it is fairly easy as far as hikes go, it does have some elevation.  Below are a couple of pictures we took along the way.

We decided one day to drive to Bodega Bay.  Bodega Bay is only about an hour outside of Sonoma and is a quaint, ocean side little community perhaps best known for being where they filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.  Below is the church from one of the scenes in the movie.

We did visit a few wineries while in Sonoma.  Some of our favorites were Ledsons, St. Francis, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, and Domaine Carneros.

They were all wonderful, but I believe our favorite was the Domaine Carneros which are the pictures right above.  They have some wonderful sparkling wines and have a white pinot noir.

We took a side trip to Santa Rosa which is home to Russian River Brewing Co.  This was a must see on my husband’s list of places to visit and I think he was very happy to sample a few of their beers.

We decided to drive back into Napa to visit some our favorite wineries from when we visited there in the past.  We really enjoy going to V Sattui Winery  since they have a nice market place.  So we bought some cheese and a nice bottle of their wine and ate lunch in their picnic area.  It was a beautiful day the day we stopped by so we just enjoyed the wine and the beautiful scenery.

We wanted to go to Sterling Winery since they have a tram that takes you up to their facility.  It is nice because their tasting room has lots of window in it and has a wonderful view.  However, they had lost power that day and we could not go but if you are in that area, make sure to include a stop there.

We did do a very nice cave tour at Beringer Winery.  It ended up being a private tour because it was toward the end of the day and mid-January so there were not many people visiting that day.  I wish I had taken some picture of the cave area, but I did not.  The wines we were given to taste were very nice.

We did a tasting at Silverado Winery in the Stags Leap District that was very good.  That’s their patio below which on a pretty day would be nice to sit at.  It was rainy the day we visited.

The last winery we visited was Robert Mondavi.  We did a tour there that was great and the wines that we tasted were very good.  Below are a couple of pictures that I took while on that tour.  Our guide was very excited about us being able to see the “t” shaped vines as this is the only time of year you can see that.

We had a great time in Sonoma and really enjoyed going to some different wineries.  Since we were flying out of San Francisco, we decided stop by Muir Woods on our way into that area.  We’ve been to Muir Woods many times and I would highly recommend going to see the redwoods if you are in the area.  Be warned though that they now require you to have a paid reservation before allowing you to park here.  We didn’t see this on the website and since there is no cell service at the park and since the only way to get this paid reservation was to go online; we had to drive three miles to the Muir Woods Beach and walk out on the beach in order to get reception, get on the website and pay.  It was kind of funny, but it is worth the effort.

Sorry for the rather lengthy post, but I had quite a lot of pictures that I wanted to post here.  Also, poor yapping cricket is not in any of these pictures as I was too lazy to add her to all these pictures, but she’ll be back next week again when I get back to the walking in Cincinnati book.

Walking in Cincinnati – Over The Rhine Area

Our city had installed a street car in the fall of 2016 so since none of us had yet experienced riding in one; we decided to park in the downtown area and take our street car up to Findlay Market which is where this walk started out at.  Findlay Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in Ohio and Over the Rhine’s heart.  Findlay is the last remaining public market of the nine that once served Cincinnati.  Unknown to us, Findlay Market is closed on Mondays so we did not get to experience the market that day.  However, all of us have been there before.  It is a hub of vendors selling meat, produce & other local foods, plus a seasonal farmers’ market.  It is so much fun to wonder around and smell all the goodies that are made there.  Here are a couple of pictures we took from the outside.

From the Market the walk takes you down a few interesting streets and past an old church that was renovated in 2015 to the now Taft’s Ale House.  The name is a tongue in cheek reference to William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States and Cincinnati resident.  If you are in the area, Taft’s Ale House is a great place to stop for a drink and food.

We passed by this sign on our walk and found it pretty amusing.

The walk continues past Coffee Emporium which is a great place to stop by for coffee and they also have great food.  We decided from there to go to a new ice cream shop that had just opened; Buzzed Bull Creamery which is know for its handcrafted, boozy ice creams in imaginative flavor combinations in a trendy, industrial-chic space.  Boy was it yummy.  There is a shop that I always have to go to when in the area and that is the Macaron Bar.  They have the most delicious French Macaron’s around so if you are in the area you must stop by and check them out.

Above is the Buzzed Bull and below is the Mararon Bar.

We finished off the day by eating lunch at the We Olive and Wine Bar.  It is a good place to get a glass of wine and lunch.  I believe they do tastings as well.  As you can see, we ate our way through Cincinnati:)  You can probably see why we love these walks so much; fun companions, interesting sights to see, good food and drinks for lunch.


Walking in Cincinnati – Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square

This is the map of  our route through Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square.  It is listed in the book as being a two mile walk and an easy one at that so we decided to start with that one.  Mainstrasse Village is actually located in Covington, Kentucky.

Below is the Roebling Suspension Bridge which we all like to take pictures of.  We love this bridge and you will probably see many pictures of it during my walking through Cincinnati posts.  This is one of several bridges that connect Cincinnati with Kentucky.

Our first stop was Goebel Park.  It is a city park that has several shelters, trails and a public pool.  Below is a picture I took of the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower.  It is a 1970’s faux German glockenspiel and the bells chime approximately every 15 minutes.

We also saw an interesting fountain that is called Goose Girl Fountain.  This fountain is inspired by the Brothers Grimm Goose Girl fairy tale to commemorate the many goose farms that used to be in Covington.

Along Main Street are many locally owned shops, bars and restaurants.  Most of the shops were closed when we went so do not go on a Monday if you want to check those out.  We did find a yummy restaurant called Ottos to go for lunch.

After our walk through Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square and a wonderful lunch at Ottos; we decided to make stop at a place that we used to visit regularly when we were kids.  Our parents along with several other people, owned a boat club in North Bend, Ohio.  All the kids would walk up to William Henry Harrison’s tomb.   William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial is the final resting place of William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States; his wife Anna Harrison; and his son John Scott Harrison.  We loved exploring this area and I think at one time or another we all got stuck inside the tomb.

We loved this easy walk and we also enjoyed our little stop by memory lane on the way back home.



Walking in Cincinnati – Spring Grove Cemetery

Welcome to America’s second largest cemetery and arboretum.

This past summer we had a group of four of us who would take various walks through our city of Cincinnati.  My sister had bought a book called Walking Cincinnati a couple of years ago and had been doing some of the walks with another sister.  This summer four of us went on quite a few of the walks.  I am going to post those walks in the coming weeks but this week I decided to start with a walk not in the book.  We are all photobugs and wanted to go to Spring Grove Cemetery to take some pictures.  Unknown to us, the cemetery actually has a number of walking routes.  We decided to take the easy one.  At the office, they have maps that you can pick up so you can identify the various historical monuments you see along the way.

The map lists each stop along the walk and explains the history of the monument.  We had a great time walking through the cemetery and taking pictures.  Below are some of the shots that I took along the way.

If I remember correctly, the day was a bit on the cloudy side, but we still got quite a number of good pictures.  After our walk which took over an hour, we went to lunch at the Littlefield.  The LIttlefield is a quaint restaurant with a bit of an unusual menu, but everything we had was delicious and I would highly recommend giving it a try.  I am celiac and they have a variety of gluten free options that I was able to eat.

Next week join me again as we walk our way through the city of Cincinnati.