I have long believed — since growing up watching Baloo von Bruinwald XIII pilot the Sea Duck in Talespin — that seaplanes are the most kick-ass of vehicles. They are magical. They are amazing. They are boats that become planes and then planes that become boats, and sometimes they can even ski!? My mind boggles.
Mike discovered my love of seaplanes when I forced us to stop, mid-bike ride around Stanley Park, to endlessly watch the Vancouver seaplanes become boats and then turn into planes again.
We were hoping that we could take advantage of a free weekend in Vancouver to fly from Vancouver to Victoria by seaplane. But since it we only had Canada Day weekend free, the prices were inappropriately high (even for magical modes of transportation).
From the fanciest hotel in Philo, to the budget option in Cloverdale, and even camping and the best places to stay for groups… we’ve rounded up where to stay in Anderson Valley for your perfect wine tasting trip!
The Boonville Hotel is smack dab in the middle of charming Boonville. Conveniently, it’s walking distance to many awesome wineries and eateries. And it also houses one of the best restaurants in town — Table 128.
The Toll House is located on 650 acres with private trails, gorgeous views, and is 5 miles from Boonville. With three different multi-room accommodations that sleep from 12-6 people, it’s perfect for large families, or groups of close friends. So if you have a larger crew in tow, book the Toll House.
They have a total of fifteen rooms divided between three buildings. The Standard rooms are small. The Deluxe Rooms are more spacious. And the Suites offer a master bedroom and an additional bedroom which are designed for a family of four. And the other building has a dining and living room area are shared by five rooms — perfect for a group of around ten people.
Northern California’s Anderson Valley is a very special place for us — it’s where Mike’s ancestral home is, it’s where we got married, and it’s where we go when we have time for a weekend getaway. As we’re prepping for an upcoming visit, we thought we’d share our best Anderson Valley travel tips. Because who doesn’t love awesome wines that’ll give you some major sommelier cred, popular local beers, and staggeringly giant trees!?
Mike: Megan gets a little overwhelmed in New York, so I thought she might get triggered in Tokyo, being surrounded by endless skyscrapers. When we booked our trip to Japan, I scheduled a night in the mountain town of Hakone as a brief respite from the city. Turned out that Megan was just fine in Tokyo, but we’re still glad we hit this charming resort spot.
We’re lucky enough to be close friends with one of the best chefs to come to LA from South Carolina. (Avid readers may remember him as Ari, my chef friend at Red Medicine.) So when Mike and I decided to head to South Carolina for a weekend, we immediately emailed Ari to ask about the restaurants in Charleston that we HAD to try.
Here are the places he recommended, plus some others we discovered during our glutinous and amazing foodie weekend trip to Charleston.
We found ourselves in Sacramento for a weekend, but with only ONE night to properly dine out. So, before we left, I texted my lobbyist friend: “If you only had one night in Sacramento, where would you eat?” She got back to me with a quick list of what she thinks are the best restaurants in Sacramento, and SHOCKINGLY they weren’t on any of the other top Google hits for best Sacramento restaurants!
It had been a couple of months since our last weekend trip, and Mike and I had been itching to get out-of-town again. Based on a genius hunch, Mike checked to see if there might be some last-minute availability in Yosemite in October — specifically over Halloween weekend. Lo and behold, he was right! He snapped up the (seemingly) last-remaining room at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and the last-remaining dinner reservation at the Ahwahnee (now “The Majestic Yosemite Hotel”) and we were off on a weekend trip to Yosemite!
Here’s the thing, I grew up in Los Angeles, only four and a half hours away from Yosemite, and yet, I had NEVER BEEN. My high school boyfriend was obsessed with the place, and told me all about how much I would love it there. But it took 20 more years and a few more boyfriends to finally get me there!
For my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday we rented an awesome house and had a perfect, fun and sun-filled family weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley. It was easy and successful because we had a team of producers (the Horowitz siblings) mostly running the show.
If you’re thinking of taking your own weekend trip to the Santa Ynez Valley, here’s a peak at our itinerary, complete with grocery shopping list! (Don’t get used to that though.)
Arrive at your (hopefully awesome) rental home
We highly recommend the house we stayed in — it has incredible views, a pool, spa, four bedrooms, and an adorable GIANT dog to frolic with…
Dinner: Tacos and/or burritos
This’ll easily feed six adults and a couple kids with leftovers to use on other meals…
Ground beef 85/15% — 3 lbs
Taco seasoning mix – 3 packs
Tortillas — either taco or burrito size
Beans — refried beans (2 or 3 cans)
Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice — One box
Lettuce — head of iceberg
Tomato — 4-5 ripe tomatoes (depending on size)
Cheese — bag of shredded cheddar
avocado — 3-4 ripe avocados or pre-made guac
Take a gorgeous morning walk
No matter what time it is, the lighting is so freaking gorgeous in the Santa Ynez Valley. Morning was my favorite time to get out of the house and take a walk, and appreciate the early morning sun shining through all the trees. Then it’s time to come back and make…
Breakfast: Waffles and/or pancakes
Pancake and waffle mix — pick your poison
Eggs — a dozen
Fruit — whatever floats your boat
Bacon — one pack is plenty
Hopefully you’ve rented a place with a pool (and jacuzzi for the folks who are always cold, like me).
One of our favorite restaurants — Full of Life Flatbread — is a 20 minute drive away, in Los Alamos. If you’re EVER within driving distance from Full of Life, GO THERE. Warning: It’s very busy at night, and service is very slow during the day. But it’s all worth it for their amazing pizzas.
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery
As you head back home from Full of Life, you should stop a few blocks down the road at one of the best bakeries in the world: Bob’s Well Bread! Grab one (of five) of their kouign amanns (don’t be surprised if they’re already sold out though — they’re popular). Then grab a bunch of different pastries for breakfast the next day!
Good thing you carbo loaded with all that pizza, because it’s time to go wine tasting! We were right down the street from a couple of wineries, so we hit up Bridlewood Winery (not our favorite, but the staff is lovely and fun).
Then we drove a little further down the road to Vincent Vineyards and Winery (where we enjoyed the wine more and was a little weirded out by the staff). Definitely take advantage of their cheese and charcuterie and, if you have any more time before dinner, play some corn hole and enjoy their brightly colored lawn chairs…
Buy a few bottles of your favorites from the day so you can use them when you get back for your special dinner…
Dinner: Hire a private chef (optional, obviously)
Okay okay, this is a Big Over-doing It step for us (and for a lot of people, I’m sure). But we wanted our big birthday gift for our mom to be an intimate family dinner where no one had to worry about cooking, cleaning, or setting the table. So I got in touch with the highly rated and the highly amazing Chef Mattias Blom and together we planned a menu, using all local ingredients, and he took it from there!
Breakfast: Kill the leftovers + pastries
Scramble all the left over eggs from the day before
Cut up and throw in all the leftover avocado
Top with sour cream
Use leftover bacon
And break out those Bob’s Well Bread pastries!
Take a final walk
Maybe it’ll a cool foggy morning and you can watch the sun rise over the valley and think about what a kick-ass weekend you just had. And start making plans for your next weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley!
Do you have travel tips for Santa Ynez? Leave them in the comments!
For the past three years, Mike and I have attended The Taste LA Times Event — a weekend long food festival. This year we attended all four of the weekend events to collect the best bites of The Taste LA 2017.