Chasing Davies

September 2, 2019

Girls trip to Healdsburg, CA

Wine tasting in sunny California, yes please! A pool and wonderful meals, icing on the cake! All this with some of the best girls, jackpot.  Almost a full year prior, we planned this girls trip and then waited and anticipated.  Over the years, all our husbands have gone on grad adventures for their bachelor parties, while we mostly stayed local - so it was our turn to live it up for a long weekend.

So we decided wine country is where it was at, and after looking for houses to house us all and wineries we'd be excited about, we landed on Healdsburg, CA (a new part to wine country to me, which is just north and a little west of Sonoma and Napa).  This was a great town! Tons of amazing wineries and restaurants with the cutest little downtown to walk around.

The full itinerary is below, day by day - but here are the highlights with the absolute must-dos if you find your self coming to this area (and you should!).

RestaurantsValette (get the scallops), Oakville Grocery and Barndiva
Wineries:  Farrari CaranoBella Vineyards & Wine CavesLe Crema and Williamson Wines
Massages/Spa ServicesRoyal Care Lifestyle

Day One:

After flying mid-morning to midday to get to wine country, we checked into our Airbnb home (with a pool!), we relaxed a bit before heading out to dinner.   These are some really happy faces after one of the best meals of my life. We went to Valette for dinner after lots of research and group voting - and it did not disappoint!   

You have to go to this restaurant, and you have to get the scallops - not scratch that, you have to get TWO of the scallops in the appetizer/starter section. They come with two big ones, and you'll be licking your plate. They cook them in a pan with puff pastry over top that then turns into the bowl at the table. They add caviar, fennel squid ink, and beurre blanc over top - and other special ingredients that just turn this into something you've never had before.

Day Two:

  This was the big day - the day of winery hopping! We lined up an awesome limo van to transport us all around. We carefully mapped out our four stops to start furthest away and work our way back to our house. We even scheduled a lunch stop in there at the Oakville Grocery (amazing sandwiches and coffee drinks).  After a full day of wine tasting, we ended the day with heavy apps and charcuterie trays back at the house at the pool.  It was a wonderful day and evening.

Our winery day order:

1. Farrari Carano - We started the day here, and I'm so glad we did. We got there early enough to where it was not crowded yet (and goin winery hoping on a weekday helps!). This winery has beautiful, amazing grounds at every turn. I could not get over the view. They had a bubbly red wine that I loved, and was especially good with their cherry chocolates. :)

2. Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves - This was our second stop and not too far from Farrair Carano. We loved experiencing the cave for a very different feel. The wine was good and the cave gave us a break for the sun starting to warm up.

(break for lunch at Oakville Grocery)

3. Simi Winery - Being our 3rd stop, I don't remember the details very much. I took a slight break from wine and ran through their beautiful vineyards instead. ;)

4. Le Crema - We were all excited about this one since it's wine we drink back here in the midwest. I get this brand at Costco all the time. It's my favorite low to mid priced wine; their Pinot Noir is amazing. In the tasting room, they also sell candles, which is a great way to bring a bit of the experience home.

Day Three:

Our last full day together and coming off a full day of drinking the day before... we were smart and planned for this. We had Royal Care Lifestyle come to our house to set up shop for massages on the pool deck. They had table warmers and all, which felt great against the cool morning. This allowed us to have a slow morning with some extra pampering.

But the wine tasting wasn't over yet.  We headed to downtown Healdsburg for Williamson Wine - and this is one of my favorite experiences of the trip! They have a great tasting experience - matching the wine with cheeses, nuts and jellies/mustards. It was all so good, many of walked away with an order of wine (and their own mustard!) to which I'm anticipating!

Afterwards, we had lunch nearby and then some of us (including me!) went back to the house for a nap, while some stayed out to hit up another winery.  That evening, we gathered back together for one last super amazing dinner. We went to Barndiva for a really epic meal.

And that was a wrap!

I went home with a full belly, fun memories and more wine on the way. Thanks to my gal pals for all they did to pull this together (together I think we really nailed it). For more long weekend trip options, check out Great Value Vacations!

Some of the outfit pieces worn:

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August 25, 2019

Back to School 2019

This year is a BIG year over in our household. We have both kids back on one drop off/one pick up - at the same place with Nora is in Kindergarten! Sniff sniff, and yay yay! She was SO ready after watching Liam love the last years of elementary school and being her teacher's helper in Pre-School. And she is still loving it two weeks later. :)

See back to school pics 2017 (and Liam going to Kindergarten here) and 2018.

Liam started school - reunited with all his buddies in one place - a few days earlier. They staggered Kindergarten to start a few days later which was nice.  Liam was ready to go back - he likes school, I think he just loves recess, but either way - glad he gets up excited to go to school each day. Nora was very excited to take him to his first day, knowing she'd join a few days later!

Nora's big day came a couple days later after a parent-teacher conference to warm the kids up to the classroom the day before. Spoiler alert, she warmed up real quick! Like I said, girl is ready! She loved all the centers and bounces from the reading nook, to the art center to the STEAM section of the class.  

We are also super thrilled with her teacher, as she got the same teacher that Liam had his Kindergarten year - and it was a magical year! Excited for this year with her!

And then at the end of their first Friday at their same elementary school together, I made them pose for another picture.  I bribed them with popsicles.

Here's to a GREAT year!

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July 25, 2019

My favorite mountain town, Frisco, CO

Forget going south for the winter, my goal in life is to go west for all the summers. Specifically spending the summers in Frisco, CO - nestled into the mountains, near a bunch of other amazing ski towns, but small enough to feel like ours.  This past week of 4th of July, my family and some close friends drove west to spend some much cooler time in the mountains. After this trip, I must admit, Frisco is my very favorite Colorado mountain town (and I've visited many).

We stayed within walking distance of main street, where we ventured daily multiple times for breakfast, shopping, dinner, the 4th of July parade and other events, brewery, ice cream, etc. It was so fun to be able to walk to the heart of the town, but not have to deal with any big crowds or long lines.  I love Breckenridge's main street, too - and only about 12 minutes away, I think Frisco flies under the radar, hiding in Breck's shadow.  And I'm ok with that.

I'll take it all to myself - with my friends and family.  It was such a special trip to be there with my parents, sister & her boyfriend, but also several of my close friends and their family. We had a great time with everyone.

 Frisco is also about 5 minutes from Dillon lake. My sister's boyfriend and family own a sailboat and graciously offered to take us out. It wasn't a very windy day, but still so fun, soothing and filled with beautiful 360 views. 

I love being on the water, and I could definitely get used to that activity. This was the kids' first time sailing, and they were pretty entertained - going up and down, and poking their heads out the bow's window.

Don't get me wrong - I love Breck, too - as well as Vail and Steamboat. I just felt the Frisco was a slightly smaller version of Breck with less crowds but all the goods stuff and even closer to the mountains.  

We did venture to Breck's Adventure Park. We've been here before, as well as Vail's version (posts on our Vail trip here). My kids were excited and we had a great day doing a little bit of everything. From the mountain coaster, to mini gold, to tubing, to the alpine slide and a bounce house... it was a full day.

{peace out shirts by ampersand studio)

 I just loooove our summer mountain vacations.  I really could do this very same spot every summer, all summer long.... What's your favorite mountain town?
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