Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's my Birthday and I can do what I want to EN10

and there were a few more winery's on the list

Clos Du Val: beautiful grounds and facility and the wine was pretty good also ...

after Clos Du Val we stoped at

Baldacci Vineyards a small (3000 cases) family vineyard that we found by accident but those are usually the best finds. The nicest of all the stops and a real sense of hospitality but I should have expected that after meeting Michael Knox at the Napa River Inn on Friday night, he was doing a little sampling and offered us some of the syrah it was really good and he invited us to come up on Sunday to their tasting room and I am so glad we did. The oldest of the 4 sons (yes it's true all the wines are named for someone in the family) Kevin Baldacci came out and was talking with us about the history of the wines and the winery. If I were giving recommendations this one would be on the top of my list. And the 2006 Pinot Noir was sooooo smooth very very nice. So if you are in the Napa Valley area this is the place to stop ... but you have to call first for reservations.

After Baldacci we went back to V. Sattui for some cheese that we could take back to the cottage for a mid afternoon snack . It was very nice because although we getting kind of wined out we were able to have Cabernet Soda we brought home the Chardonnay soda for another time.

But we didn't go directly home after Sattui we stoped at St. Superey which is a winery that we already knew and enjoyed they have such a light crisp Sauvignon Blanc even Barry likes it. We also got a bottle of Muscato Barry says that one is o.k. for a sweet wine. I say it is wonderful. This winery also has some great labels for two of their wines Virtu and Elu. It was a wonderful end to the wine tasting part of my Birthday.

The last part of my birthday was dinner.... a simple but delicious dinner at Uva Trattoria & Bar with live jazz Wednesday thru Sunday. a delicious dinner and a birthday dessert a walk home and all I can say is WOW!!!! what a weekend. A great anniversary because I have such a great husband and a wonderful celebration of my birthday again because of My Bear.

And this year we celebrated it alone next year we are hoping to have a few more with us because for 50 I would really like to do some Hot Air Ballooning.

On Tour with Ashleigh and Morgan June 29

Sunday, June 29th:After a great Shabbat together, Group 8 woke up this morning, davened Shacharit , ate breakfast, and drove to the airport. They checked in and boarded their flight to Lithuania. After a safe arrival, they loaded the bus and drove to eat lunch at Chabad in Vilna. From there they began a tour of the city, which included an overlook of the city, some of its history, and seeing a government building. Then the group visited the Jewish Quarter. Tonight they checked into their hotel, ate dinner at Chabad and met in subgroups.

Time with Gary and Holly EN9

We are in their neck of the woods. They knew everywhere to go and all the great stuff to see. And it was just great having the opportunity to spend some time with them without kids...I know don't ask where's Erica? Why she is in Israel of course... we even go a phone call from her while we were tasting wines telling them that she had just repelled down a cliff and she was very excited about what she is doing. but I digress...

Gary had made reservations at Celadon for dinner Saturday night a wonderful dinner and wine from .... if you said Napa you would have been wrong.... it was from Oregon... so a delicious dinner and a Pinot Noir from Willammet Valley Oregon. And after a long day of Napa Wine tasting it was nice to have the change. After dinner we took a little walk around and then they went back to their hotel and we went back to our B&B cause Sunday is my birthday and we were getting together for breakfast and then a little more wine tasting.

Today was beautiful warm sunny and just a great day to go tooling around top down... and this time we were in the back seat of Gary and Hollys solara (this twin thing get weird at times)... but we now know what it is like to ride in the back of the convertable with the top down.

O.k. so the first stop after breakfast was Judd Hill Micro Crush which is actually someone that Gary knows.....the wine was good and the bottles for the Petit Syrah were adorable ... actually they had run out of labels so they (the owners and family) started painting the bottles and they look almost as good as the wine tastes. O.k. so you are asking what is a Micro Crush... well is you grow your own grapes but don't have a winery in your back yard..... you can use theirs and they will help also. and then you have your own wine label and your own bottles with wine to put it on. yes there are a few more details but that is the simple version and if you want to know more go to Judd Hill and tell them Gary Cohn sent you... they also have a blending day camp for those over 21.

After that we went to St. Helena to and Olive Oil shop.... just a little hole in the wall with great prices and and wonderful smells and Jan De Luz. Where you can get beautiful linens with monograms and embroidery.

Then we were off to Acacia wines that was were we heard about dominant nostial's and had a few nice wines and Holly got the message from Erica about the repelling and and Israeli Official (she didn't know who just that he was important) and she sounded so excited.

it was a great time and a wonderful way to share my birthday... but all fun things seem to go only so far and then it becomes a great memory and a blog entry. So right around 1:30 Gary and Holly started home and we went to catch a few other winery's and a birthday dinner.

Gary and Holly Thank You for a great birthday!!!! and Anniversary!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary EN8

That's right can you believe it 10 years today since we got married...I know we are a little amazed at times also so were Gary and Holly who drove up to have dinner with us and were a little surprised.

But before we get to dinner I must tell you about the day.... 6 couples, 6 wineries, 4-6 2oz pours per person... and that is way to much good wine to be thinking sitting up so more later.

We started our morning with a most delicious breakfast of french toast served on our patio. We were then picked up at 9:30 sharp by Napa Wine Shuttle and from our there on it was nothing but fun. Carl, yes that is him in the picture,was so much fun he is an x-San Francisco cop... but that only made the stories better.

Our first stop was Hagafen Cellers

where Carl told us about Erni who is the owner and winemaker. And everything was very good... Carl had given their Sauvignon Blanc the hot tub award of 2007 and he was so right. Hagafen wines have been served at the White House 48 times under the last 7 presidents. And it was a great way to start our anniversary day.

The next stop was right across the road at Black Stallion.... and it was a beautiful winery and their Merlot was unbelievable smooth... and I do not normally like Merlot. There was another wine a new release call Bucephalus unbelievably good... and a price tag to match... but as Barry's said for something really special it would be worth it.

The next stop was V. Sattui Vineyards and grounds. Beautiful....the grounds were amazing so many flowers I just couldn't believe it. They are one of two vineyards in all of Napa Valley with a deli attached to it. The food was very good but the cheese. we are going back on Sunday with a cooler to buy some. Morgan you would die for the artichoke cream cheese...we tasted some of the current release and some of the premium wines .... and I know why they are premium wines.

After V. Sattui we moved on to Alpha Omega a very nice winery with an old and new history Barry bought a Cabernet there that he said was wonderful.... I am not a Cabernet person so I took his word for it. They did have a Late Harvest Napa Valley that was just oooohhh so good, but there wasn't any left to sell only to taste.

After that we moved on the Oh My God what a view winery.... also known as Oakville Ranch and Winery... and the views could just take your breath away... and it did.

The wine was quite good also even after the millions of tastes we had... we were amazed with the Pinot Noir. I am not sure which was better the wine or the view.

our last stop of the day was Andretti Vinyards yes the race care Andretti ... he might not drink and drive but he has a car and some wine. The grounds are beautiful so nice that there was even going to be a wedding there that evening.
by the time Carl had brought us back home I was amazed that we were still walking ..... and there was still dinner.... which brings me full circle to the beginning of this entry dinner with Gary and Holly for our anniversary. but I think I will do another blog for that.

Notes from the empty nest EN7

so what else have found in Napa...''

The Napa River Inn... a nice little area that is part of the Napa River Flood Basin Project.

Back behind the
Hotel, Shops and Resturants there is this mural actual it is called the NAPA RIVER MOSAIC it is beautiful and it shows everything that went into making Napa the town it is today. and then the mosaic runs out of the fountian and across the patio like a river that continues to run.

The artist Alan Shepp did a beautiful job.

We had a wonderful evening of walking along the river hearing a wierd kind of Indy Band at the a Napa River Verterans Memorial Park...we listened for a while and then continued our walking along the river.

On Tour with Ashleigh and Morgan June 27

Friday, June 27th:Group 8 spent the first half of the day in Theresienstadt, a concentration camp located in the Czech Republic. This camp, unlike the others was used as a propaganda tool, or "show camp," where they would invite members of the Red Cross into the camp to dispel rumors about the extermination camps. One unique element that came out of this camp is the tremendous amount of art produced by children and adults. Today there a museum with lots of children's drawings from the camp and the USYers spent plenty of time in the museum viewing these works of art. They watched a movie about the camp, and saw the synagogue that existed there (another piece of evidence that this camp was quite unique). From there they returned to the hotel to prepare for their first Shabbat together. Tonight, the group will daven Kabbalat Shabbat together in the hotel, and tomorrow they will daven at the Jubilee Synagogue, a Conservative shul in Prague where they will learn about the Conservative Movement in Prague. They will spend the afternoon studying Pikei Avot, participating in separate girls and boys bonding programs, and other fun activities. Shabbat Shalom!

it is 3:00 sunday morning in Prague.... I am looking forward to hearing more about what they are doing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blogging under the influiance EN6

We tasted all kinds of wines this afternoon... the good thing is that we are within walking distance of the center of town so we had a great little walk (yes my kind of little walk, so the Bear is taking a little nap now)

first we stopped at the gooscreek wineryy I liked that one because they have a free wi-fi wine bar ( I know I was pretty impress). We had five diffrent wines and bought a bottle of Viognier.

then we walked around some more and then we went over to the Bounty Hunter for another tasting and some dinner.... we had 5 diff rent Pinot Noir (they called this grouping Pinoit Envy). We had some BBQ for dinner and it was turniping in a wonderful evening.
After dinner we walked around downtown Napa and found a band playing down at a little amphitheater... the band was a little to Indy for me
but I am starting to doze a little so I am going to take a nap/// i will finish a little later

Our Room on Randolph EN5

It has been recently redone but it is still very nice.... we are in the Arbor Cottage with our own little patio, a very nice bathroom Jacuzzi tub and shower for 2 a little kitchenette.

We are Here EN4

We are here yes we really are.

Inn On Randolph in Napa

We have started our romantic weekend

with a wonderful drive up

so far I am loving the Empty Nest.

Down side to the Convertible EN3

I know I didn't think there was one either..... but driving up the 5 just past Coalinga (Harris Ranch) we found the down side.

Yes... they might taste good ....but the aroma is not that appealing

On Tour with Ashleigh and Morgan June 26

As I am typing they have actually just settled down for their first shabbat together... we did hear from the girls yesterday they sounded great.... they both said that they were very glad that they went on the trip. After today I do not expect any updates until Sunday.

Thursday, June 26th:Today, Group 8 toured the Jewish area of Prague. First they visited the Old-New (alteneu) Synagogue where the Golem (a Jewish mythical character) was invented. They then continued to a variety of other synagogues including the Spanish Synagogue, the Maizel Synagogue, and the Pinkas Synagogue. The USYers also had some free time in the Old Town Square. Group 8 then crossed the Charles Bridge again and played ice-breakers in a park. After dinner at the Jewish Community Center, they met in subgouprs to prepare for their visit to Terezin tomorrow. They also divided up into vaadot (committees) for the first time this summer. These vaadot will help plan various aspects of the summer together.

this really is quite decadent EN2

Remember the old road trips with your parents..... when you had all the travel games to keep the kids busy and the eternal question of ARE WE THERE YET?!?!?!?

well picture this I am blogging fro rm the car... top down... the IPOD playing only the songs we like and if we get stuck in traffic... we always have
As Barry just said this is what having a convertible is all about...
More from the road later

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Empty Nest List

Well we are practicing what it will be like in 2010 when everyone is grown up and on their own... now they might not be out of the house

and I know they won't be financially on their own...

but I will not have to sign any absence notes...

and I won't have to worry about food for LAHH on Sundays

or when are the school vacations...

we can go away anytime we want.

So what have we done in preparation of this time.

We have started our Empty Nest List... yes it really is a binder that we have started to fill with all those things we have said we want to do but we will wait until the kids are out of the house.

Well they are out of the house and we are on our way
starting with this weekend in Napa for our 10th Anniversary and My 49th Birthday
We have so many fun things to do:
Leisurely Walks with the dog
Leisurely Walks without the dog
Segway Tours
River Rafting
Quiet Dinners
Concerts at Pershing Square
No Dinners
Wine Tastings
Concerts in the Park
The list is endless

On Tour with Ashleigh and Morgan June 25

Wednesday, June 25th:Group 8 arrived safely in Prague early this morning. They retrieved their luggage, met their Israeli madrichim and tour guide, and drove to the hotel. After Shacharit and breakfast, the group walked to the Castle District and viewed the gorgeous castles. After an initial taste of the city, the group went back to the hotel to rest for a few hours. Following lunch, Group 8 went through the Mala Strana to the Charles Bridge, a site with an exquisite view, and artists selling their work. They then visited the John Lennon wall, formerly an ordinary historic wall in Prague, but, since the 1980s, people have filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs. This evening they ate dinner at the Prague Jewish Community Center, played icebreakers led by their Israeli madrichim, and went to sleep, excited to wake up in Prague tomorrow.