Yesterday afternoon we got back from a short trip up the California coast. We usually try to get away after Thanksgiving for a couple of days, it's a great way to get ready for the holiday season, and by the time Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready for a break!
The holiday went well. Dinner was on the table on schedule. We survived the famous "crunch time," (when everything has to be ready at the same time!), and the food was gobbled up in no time. I had decided that I didn't want to have any leftovers because we were going to be gone, so I was pleased to have just enough to fill up some containers for my folks and sister-in-law (she loves my sweet potatoes). Now I have an empty fridge and no desire to go to the grocery store ever again. I think I'd better get over that!
Friday we headed up towards the coast. For us that means a trip through the Sonoma Valley and the beautiful vineyards. Harvest is well over, but the leaves on the vines are now red and gold, and although it was overcast you can't beat the scenery. We stopped in Ukiah to visit with my sister-in-law's family and had a lovely time with them. Then we headed up through Boonville to Mendocino and on to our hotel in Fort Bragg.
We stayed at the Surf Motel and Gardens and although the rooms were a little faded, they were clean and quiet. They were also willing to accept our little dog Indy and had a great dog area outside our room, including a fenced in doggie park. He loved it! All of the sniffing he was able to do made up for the fact that it rained a lot.
Saturday morning we took Indy for a walk on the beach. I wasn't sure how he'd do but he loved it. We took him off his leash and he explored everything. Fortunately, he wasn't interested in getting near the water so he played in the sand and ran around like he'd never been outside before in his life. He also got to meet some other dogs, always a huge treat!
Afterwards we headed up to Mendocino to check out the Headlands scenery and do some shopping. I absolutely love Mendocino! I used to go up there a lot but it's been about 5 years since my last visit. For those of you who don't know about it, Mendocino was the setting for the series "Murder She Wrote." It's very like a New England village but with a distinctive North Coast Hippie vibe. The folks here are really politically correct, which usually rubs me the wrong way, as I don't like feeling like I'm being told what to do or think. However, they're pretty mellow about it so it's more endearing than annoying. Besides the food is great, (the Garden Bakery has the best peanut butter cookies I've ever tasted!), and you can't beat the scenery.
Our favorite shop is called "Out of This World." It's been there for many years and has a great selection of telescopes and fun games and science type things for kids and adults. My husband has been considering purchasing a good telescope for years so it's always his first stop. Of course, my son loves the Lego section, and I just enjoy hanging out with the owners and their employees, who were sweet enough to allow me in with Indy and even gave him a treat!
If you're ever visiting California the North Coast is definitely worth seeing. The scenery is spectacular, there are lots of wonderful restaurants, and it's unique enough that it doesn't feel as touristy as other areas can. If you love steam trains, the Skunk Train runs out of Fort Bragg which is only about 8 miles from Mendocino. We didn't go on it this time, but we've been before and it's fabulous!
The North Coast is also one of those places where it doesn't matter that much if it's sunny or rainy. We had some severe squalls come through, and then the sky would clear and the sun would come out. It was definitely the best of both worlds.
The only downside is that there isn't a great quilting supply store in the area. Fabric Indulgence is located in the Boatyard Shopping Center in Fort Bragg, (at Hwy 20 and Hwy 1). It's a great little shop for buttons, beads, dyes, and paints. It also has fabric although the selection is small. The fabrics are well chosen, however, and the uniqueness of some of the embellishments make it worth a visit. There's also a Yarn shop down the walk from them, and a great supermarket with a wonderful deli, bakery, and wine section. It would be a great place to pick up a picnic lunch before heading out for the day.
All in all we had an enjoyable trip, but as I said in the title to this post, I'm very tired today. It was great to get away, but now all of the things I have to do and want to do are staring me in the face again. I have a very messy studio to clean up and a guest bedroom to clean out, but I'm most dreading putting all of my Thanksgiving stuff away and getting out the Christmas stuff. Now, that's a big job!
So, I'd better get to it! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.