Cheers to Good Times in Cali

And now, for the full (and lengthy) recap of our fabulous girls trip in the wine country...  

My Grandmother has been graciously hosting the women on her side of the family to a girls trip every Spring.  Last year I was lucky enough to tag along for the boondoggle of a trip to Charleston, SC and this year we headed to sunny California!  

My Mom, Grandmother and I flew into Oakland last Saturday and had the day to ourselves before the rest of the group arrived.  I should have known we were in for an adventure as we made our first u-turn of the trip coming out of the airport to only take us to the wrong hotel.  I'm not convinced it's all our fault though as we saw the first Hilton Hotel and headed straight towards it.  Who in the world puts TWO Hilton hotels right by the airport??   Anyways, we carried on later that afternoon in search of a cold beverage and somehow ended up in the wrong part of town (think gold rims, cars bumping, etc).  After a quick u-turn we were back on the road again and safely headed to our first winery of the trip.  After our first tasting stop we headed over to Jack London Square and enjoyed a nice early dinner on the patio. 

The next morning we woke up refreshed and ready to greet our other fellow travelers.  They got in late the night before and were not quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed as us but after a filling breakfast we were all ready to head out.  We crammed all our luggage in the minivan and settled in for what we thought was going to be a pleasant ride out to the wine country.  Well, what would you expect to happen when you get three generations of women together in a car?  Let's recap.  My cousin and I are Millennials.  I pull out my portable GPS (a.k.a. Karen) and let her direct our every turn (from the backseat).  My mother and my aunt (the Baby Boomers) are up front with the trusty 'ol map.  And my Grandmother (the Traditionalist) keeps asking why we keep making so many u-turns.  All in all, we survived the 90 min trip and decided to let Karen guide us the rest of the trip.  It's more fun listening to an Australian voice when giving directions anyways.    

And now, I'll stop talking and share a few pictures and fun details...

Day 1: 
  • First stop - Schug Winery: We were quite thirsty after our "fun" car ride and this did just the trick.  We sampled a few wines as well as a few appetizers and contemplated joining the birthday girl wearing the tiara.  However, our judgment was still clear and we decided against hopping in the limo with her....
  • Next up - Gundlach Bundshu or also known as Gun-Lock Bun-Shoe.  And yes, they have shirts that say that.  It was a beautiful winery and yummy wines.  
  • And lastly, we ended up at Bartholmew Park which is a sister winery to Gun-Lock Bun-Shoe.  We met a parrot named Olive, picnicked outside with some cheese and crackers and managed to get one more tasting in for the day. 
  • We finally made it to our condo, made a quick stop (sort of) to the grocery store and ate pizza back at the condo.

Day 2:
  • Another beautiful day in California for wine tasting!  It was a tad chilly but it didn't stop us.  We made our first stop at Ferrari Carano which has the most beautiful gardens.  We walked around quite a bit, took a few pictures, and then of course made it inside for our first tasting.  
  • We then decided to head up the hilly road and make our next stop at Silver Oak Cellars.  They make some of the best Cabs and of course this didn't fail us!  
  • After two tastings in the morning we decided to fill up our stomachs with some actual food.  We stopped at Dry Creek Grocery and had yummy sandwiches.  
  • We all perked up after lunch and ventured out for our third (and final) tasting of the day.  It was a little bit further than we had thought but thankfully Karen took us right to the spot.  We ended at Hanna Winery and loved this one!  I would definitely say this has one of the best views as well as one of the cutest boys working in the wine country ;)  We had quite the good time visiting with Casey and sampling some of their yummy wines.
  • After a long day we headed home and rested for a bit before dinner.  We couldn't rest too long though b/c we had reservations at a cute restaurant in town.  We practically had the restaurant to ourselves and the chef gave us first class service.  It was a night to remember :)

Day 3:
  • We were afraid we were going to get quite a bit of rain on this day but the clouds stayed away for the most part.  We had our first tour and tasting at Jordan winery and it was amazing!   The grounds were absolutely beautiful and the wine and food pairings were super yummy.  I think this is when I decided I needed to move to California.  Hmmm, how am I going to convince Ryan of that??
  • Anyways, we had stayed at Jordan for quite some time and decided to stop and have some lunch.  We ended up at Oakville Grocery which is one of my faves and had a few sandwiches. 
  • After lunch we ventured back up the windy roads and stopped at another winery called Gary Farrell.  The wines were OK but the views were spectacular!  I think we spent more time outside taking it all in than in the actual tasting room. 
  • And lastly, on our way back in for the afternoon we stopped at Arista.  We had tons of laughs here and convinced the cute boy to serve us a few more wines.  What can I say, it's great to travel with a bunch of fun women :)

I really had no intentions of rambling for this long but I want to look back and be able to see where we went and read all the fun little details of the trip.

We had such a great time on this vacation and I'm really thankful we are all able to get together.  Half of us live in Texas and the other half live in New England so it's not very often that we can get together but when we do we know how to have a good time!  And with that, I'll toast (with my glass of water, girls gotta take a break from all that vino) to all the wonderful memories made with three generations of wonderful women :)


California Recap Tease

I'm still here, I promise!!  I spent most of last week in California with some of my favorite women and we had the best time.  I promise a full recap is coming tomorrow but for now, I'll leave you with this...

And yes, it really was that beautiful in person :)


Vacation Recap

So I realize that is has been two weeks since my last post but we've been pretty busy over here in the Rudy household.  School has really picked up for Ryan this Spring and I started a new job with my company in March.  Needless to say, we've had a lot going on!  However, we did find time for a vacation :)

Last Monday, Ryan flew to Atlanta to meet his brother in laws for a guys trip.  After meeting up that Monday night they headed down to Augusta to watch the practice round of the Masters on Tuesday.  I'm pretty sure they had a great time and then decided to try their luck in golf and managed to get in a few rounds over the next couple of days.

On that Thursday I flew out to Kentucky with my sister in laws to all meet up in Lexington for a little weekend getaway.  One of Ryan's sisters and her family live there and we actually went up last April and then again in October to visit but this was the first time all the siblings were all able to make it together!  We started off the weekend by having a private tour of a beautiful horse farm on Friday morning.  It was a little windy but I think we all enjoyed listening to how everything works out there and seeing the sights.

That Friday afternoon the girls ventured off for a little shopping at the local boutiques and the boys went on out to Keeneland.  After a few hours we met the guys at the horse track to catch the final races.  The weather was absolutely perfect and it was great to just be outside.  Later that evening we cooked fajitas and played a little cornhole. 

On Saturday, we all dressed in our finest, had a mimosa or two to kick off the day and headed back out to Keeneland.  Once again, we could have not been luckier with the weather.  A few of us went a little early and I was able to walk around a take a few pics of the scenery. 

We had a few winners in our group that day but unfortantely Ryan and I didn't walk away as lucky. Oh well, at least we had fun trying, right?? Ryan didn't have quite the same attitude :)

Once again we had a great time visiting Lexington but I think the best part about our little vacation was being able to spend time with our family.


Benny and the Cow

Thoughts from Benny...

"Wow, Look at these big dogs.  Maybe I should go check out this big black one."

"He is a little bigger than me.  Oh well, I wonder if he wants to play chase...."

"Yikes! I don't think he wants to play..."


Nicky T captured these shots last weekend at the farm and I thought they were too cute not to share :)