Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lovely Russian River Valley Inn

In the southwest corner of the Russian River lies the village of Occidental. At one time, logging was the principal industry in this part of Sonoma County. Redwood trees were felled to meet the demand for lumber in booming San Francisco. The trains came to Occidental to pick up lumber for transport back to the city.

Eventually paved roads spread out to Occidental and other logging towns and the railroads died. Today, Californians want to preserve redwoods and logging is greatly restricted. As a result, Occidental is now a sleepy town with a downtown that stretches to fill two blocks. Its location not too far from the wineries of the Russian River and the beautiful coastline makes Occidental a wonderful spot to spend a couple days.

If you do venture to Occidental, the perfect place to call home is the Inn at Occidental. Each of the 16 rooms at suites at the inn have a unique themed. I stayed in the Wine Country Room, which came with wine bottles and collections of cork screws and bottle openers. My favorite themes were in the Safari Room and Marbles Suite. Regardless of the room you choose, you will have a large, comfortable place to call home during your stay in Occidental. The inn's owners and hosts, Tina and Jerry Wolsborn, will make sure that you have a comfortable stay. They will help direct you to nearby attractions and make sure that you are well fed. Your room comes with breakfast and an afternoon wine hour.

Relaxing at the Inn at Occidental is a great cure for the rush of modern life. Occidental has no cell phone service, so you will not be interrupted with pesky annoyances.

If you want to take a vacation that includes a stay at the Inn at Occidental, I would be pleased to help plan your visit. Feel free to contact me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Healdsburg Garagista

Most people have a romantic vision of Wine Country. They picture the vineyards and beautiful tasting rooms. Seldom do they expect to visit a funky warehouse in an office park. Yet many wines are not made anywhere near where the grapes are grown. Some of the most famous wines in the State are made in industrial sections of Wine Country's towns and cities.

This week I had the pleasure of visiting one such winery: Manzanita Creek. This small producer of Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Syrah is located amongst the warehouses and office parks of Healdsburg. When you walk in the door, you will be greeted by one of the owners, either William or Jack Salerno. My group had the pleasure of meeting Jack, who told us a few good wine country stories.

Normally I do not taste when I take customers to wineries. However, my guests said to me, "Rick, you have got to taste this wine." So I did. I like wines with a lot of fruit, and Manzanita Creek's wines were a perfect match for my palate.

I highly recommend a visit to Manzanita Creek if you want to taste good wine and don't care about a fancy tasting room. You will enjoy the wine and meeting one of the Salerno brothers. You might want to call before stopping by to make sure someone will be there. The winery's phone number is (707) 433-4052.

Manzanita Creek is a little hard to find. The address is 1441-B Grove Street in Healdsburg. Exit US101 at Dry Creek Road and turn right. Then turn left on Grove and keep an eye out for the small sign on the left a few hundred yards down the road. Better yet, let me include a stop at Manzanita Creek on your private wine country tour. To book a tour or to get more information, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here.