Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Donati Family Vineyard

100 California Wineries

Last month we stopped at this lovely winery in Templeton, California, on the way home from a trip up North.  Templeton, in Central California, has many wineries to choose from, but we stopped at this one for two reasons:  The Italian name and the beautiful European chateau-like tasting room.  It was a blistering hot day so we were the only ones there.  Normally, we would taste a couple of white wines and then a couple of reds, but this day we stuck with a flight of chilled whites, and it really hit the spot.

Although Donati is known for its award-winning Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and delicious Meritage and Claret wines, we got a kick out of its "beachy" jug wines with names like Naughy White and Sassy Lady.  And, you know, they were pretty darn good!  I can't believe we ended up buying a whole case of a screw-top unOaked Chardonnay, but it was very satisfying in the intense heat and the price was right.  The wine was labeled "Sisters Forever" and named after the owner's teenage granddaughters.

I've been enjoying it ever since!  In my own backyard.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Stroll Down Pacific Avenue

Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, California, is one of those streets that make shopping addicts like me very very happy.  It has clothing stores, both new and vintage, shoe stores, book stores, public art, coffee shops, shoe stores, art galleries, gourmet food stores, shoe stores, restaurants and oh, did I mention shoe stores?  I was in heaven!  I tried on tons of shoes and bought well, um, a few, to say the least.  (My travel buddy was stationed at a coffee shop.  He couldn't stop me.  I ignored his texts:  Where r u?)

I also tried to ignore the pan handlers and aggressive street vendors, but one young man made me laugh.  "Miss, can you spare a twenty so I can get drunk?"  I gave him two dollars and told him to buy a cup of coffee.  I ended my two hour spree with the purchase of the harbor print dress that I posted about last week.  Mimi refuses to let me have it back so there's a feud going on in my house right now.  (I know what she's doing though.  She wants me to go shopping again.  For another dress.  Man . . . talk about an addict!)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk

A carnival by the sea.  A happy place.  A colorful place.  This oceanfront amusement park in Santa Cruz, California, was founded in 1907.  There are two National Historic Landmarks here:  The wooden Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the 1911 Looff Carousel.

Of course, if you have little ones, you will want to be right in the middle of the fun, but for us adults, the magic is seeing the enchantment from the ocean--on a paddle board or in a kayak.  (Or in our case, a cocktail lounge at the wharf!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Harbor Print Dress

"Take off the belt.  And while you're at it, take off the necklace."

"What?  I thought you were all about the more is more?"

"This print is so awesome, it needs no embellishment.  But . . ."

"But?"  I knew there was a catch.  Mimi is not a minimalist.

"You need to wear it with your vintage red suede shoes."

And so I will.  Another day.  Another post.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

City Sea Lions

"Are we going to be able to do this when I retire?"

This is a question my travel buddy keeps pondering more and more, especially when we are on one of our extra long weekend road trips and just spent $75 for lunch!

My answer:  "Yes, of course."  Cough.  Cough.  "And no."

Yes, we can still travel.  No, we can't eat at expensive restaurants.  And what, you may ask, does this have to do with sea lions?  Well, after that expensive lunch, we walked down the Santa Cruz wharf and came across this group of sleepy, lazy, adorable sea lions lounging on the dock below us.  It turned out to be the highlight of the day!  We spent an hour watching them, taking pictures, laughing and talking to fellow travelers who were equally delighted with seeing sea lions right there in the middle of the city.  All for free!

We could have split a deli sandwich and been equally as happy.

I realize the focus of this blog may change drastically when we are both truly retired.  Once we rent out our house and throw on those backpacks, I will no longer be shopping at cute little boutiques.  I won't be buying clothes.  Period.  Mimi will be in storage along with my umpteen boxes of shoes, dresses and jackets.  My search for magical moments won't change, however.  In fact, it will intensify.  The viewing of wildlife, whether in a city or in an isolated canyon, will keep me busy (and happy) for the next decade.  I'll learn to sleep in a tent again or a bunk bed in a hostel.  I will walk or take public transportation.  I will picnic.  I will live in jeans and hiking boots.  I will watch sunsets, pick wildflowers and watch sea lions.  All for free!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Natural Bridges State Beach

I admit it.  Sometimes I travel to escape a world that is weighing me down.  I seek these beautiful seascapes when life gets heavy.  I am flying on a wing of a pelican.  I land on a rock or on a wet sandy beach.  The fog coats my skin with a fine mist and I breathe in air so pure that I am immediately cleansed.

Life stands still for a moment inside a millennium.  Solace is my companion.  Freedom is my guide.
Such bliss can be found up and down the raw and rugged coastline of California.  Natural Bridges is in Santa Cruz.  Sculptured by sand and waves, these cliffs eventually stand alone.

Like me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chasing the Wind

Our summers are spent chasing the wind.    My travel buddy lives for this season; it is windsurfing season and unless I follow him like a tail attached to a kite, I do not see him for the entire three months.  He is at a lake or a beach with his tribe.  And I am alone.  Not that I mind it.  I take long walks, barefoot and aimless.  I read stacks of mysteries and shoot thousands of pictures.

I don't do fast.  I do slow.  My gauzy navy dress is my favorite attire on these trips.  I wear it over a swimsuit or jeans and tank.  It protects me from the sun.  It billows in the wind.  It gives me warmth when those powerful gusts blow across the sea.   It's an odd outfit, I know, but it suits this odd kind of life I have adopted--this life of chasing the wind.

Sharing with the ever wonderful Mis Papelicos and fellow bloggers on the theme of Summer.  The dress she is wearing today is GORGEOUS!!!  It billows in the wind like a beautiful sail.