Napa, California: Our luck failed us – Napa Valley Expo RV Park did not get a last-minute cancellation – so we had to move to a new campground this morning. Not too much of a hassle, but it did make for a late start for our wine country drinking bingeescapade. We are now camped at Skyline Wilderness Park.
We have stayed here before. It is just “a bit” rustic compared to the luxury of Napa Valley Expo RV Park, but we will be fine. Don’t worry about us.
We backed-into our campsite, put out the slide rooms and put up our satellite dishes. Then our neighbor showed us his true colors by unfurling his flag.
Our neighbor is a proud Dad – his son plays football for Washington State University.
So we had a late start for our visit to one final sparkling wine producer – Domaine Carneros. (We have previously toured this facility in 2005.) The “Chateau” is so pretty – though it isn’t a chateau at all, it is massive cellar operation for their wines. Carneros is operated by Champagne Taittinger of Reims, France.
Nice, huh? Imagine sitting outside under one of those pretty umbrellas, sipping sparkling wine while enjoying the view of the vineyards surrounding the chateau!
Domaine Carneros offers tours of the facility and explain the interesting process to create fine sparkling wine/champagne. They have a gift shop and have a nice little menu of light plates to accompany your sipping. It isn’t necessary to do a complete wine tasting (or “flight”) – sparkling wines can be ordered by the glass.
Be advised: any vineyard you visit will encourage you to join their wine club!
Dave and I ordered a cheese plate, consisting of all local cheeses, to share and a flute of classic sparkling brut.
Breakfast of Champions. (Be kind, it was after one o’clock in the afternoon.)
What a lush.
Really, I just could have stayed on that terrace all afternoon, sippin’ on the American bubbly… but adventure was calling… so we drove the fifteen miles to Sonoma.
The city hall building sits in the center of a large park, and the surrounding streets are lined with wonderful shops and restaurants – and many wine tasting rooms.
Sonoma is home to the Sonoma State Historical Park, which consists of four buildings in Sonoma – the Mission, two old hotels and servant barracks – and the home of General Vallejo a few miles out of town. We took a walk around the square, enjoying the sunny afternoon, great people watching and we poked our heads in a few shops and took photographs of the mission buildings.
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If you are interested in the Mission –
I toured the park in 2008.
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The mission in Sonoma – in black & white, with a touch of sepia.
Servants, slaves, laborers… they stayed in barracks next to the mission.
Too late for lunch and too early for dinner, but we were hungry. We headed to The Girl & the Fig – operated by chef Sondra Bernstein – on the northwest corner of the square for another wonderful meal.
The Girl & The Fig operates from the historic Sonoma Hotel. The bar is massive and gorgeous!
We were seated in one of the back “parlours”. Very pretty dining rooms and interesting art (for sale) on the walls.
DT ordered an open-faced roast lamb tartine sandwich with oven-dried tomatoes, oil cured olives and herbed goat cheese on grilled country bread.
I ordered the omelet of the day – smoked salmon, tomatoes and fava beans. Now, there is a combo you won’t find very often. It was delicious.
We will remain “in” this evening, watching the Mariners on television and resting up – we have a special excursion planned for tomorrow. (Don’t be shocked, but wine is not involved in any way!) Until my next update, I remain, your Sonoma correspondent.
RV Park: Skyline Wilderness Park. This campground is operated by county. The 39 sites are cozy and on gravel. Some full hook-up 30/50-amp sites, but most sites are water and electric only. Bathhouse on-site, and a laundromat just a few blocks down the road. The park has miles of hiking and equestrian trails and actually has a path that leads one mile to the river where it joins the trails at Kennedy Park. Though very rural, this campground is just minutes to downtown Napa and would be a good choice if you are camping with kids. Dogs are allowed in the campground, but are not allowed on the trails. Strictly enforced!