Back from Vacation

I admit – I am not your typical blogger.  In fact, I don’t keep up with anything online – perhaps its a repressed ADD that comes out when I touch a computer.  All I know is that I cannot seem to focus enough to reply to most emails, blog, twitter and all the like.  After reading everyone else’s, I shut down.

But today I decided to post about my vacation – it was about 10 days long and overall was a fabulous week!

We headed to San Francisco on Friday to see my second cousin, Elyse Rachel, get Bat Miztvahed.  First stop – Millenium restaurant for dinner Friday night.  Fabulous food, presentation and although crowded, nice atmosphere.  The wait staff was extremely welcoming and effeicient, though service was a bit slow.   Even though our table was of 11 obnoxious, New Yorker-type Jews, the staff didn’t kick us out.  And let me tell you, if I worked that night for my table, I would’a kicked us out!

Saturday morning was the service for the Bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El and it was quite lovely.  The Rabbi had a modern take on the rituals, the siddur was contemporary and the music was stupendous with mandolin, tamba and guitar.  No pictures yet.  We forgot to take the camera to all the family events.  Perhaps we just didn’t want to be reminded……

After services, we toured the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  Any foodie MUST attend the farmer’s market and/or just spend hours in that building!  Fresh baked bread, fresh cheeses, an excellent Mexican restaurant named Mijita and various other wonderful food things…..

Sunday we headed to Oakland for a phenominal dinner with my friend, chef and musician, Phil Gelb.  The menu is always vegan and always delicious and the music, well….. it was live, traditional jazz – certainly not the typical music for Phil.  See his website and/or Myspace page for upcoming concerts!

Monday morning was a trip to the Berkley Bowl for a little grocery shopping.  Not a bad place, considering the enourmous selection of produce.

Mushrooms

After breakfast at my now favorite bakery, Arizmendi Bakery, we headed toward wine country.

Preston Vinyards, in Dry Creek, was our first stop and the winery I had wanted to visit.  We first made a quick stop in Sebastapol and Freestone for Freestone’s bakery and a chance meeting with Tom Waites, which didn’t occur to Jeff’s disappointment.  From Preston (did I mention this winery is bio-dynamic?), we headed to Quivira for some more good wine, also biodynamic!  And what beautiful country to behold!  This area of the country is beautiful!

A breif stay in the L&M Motel in Healdsburg was all we needed to rest up for a few more wineries before heading North.  The place is very small and quaint and clean.

First stop, Navarro Vinyards.  Not Biodynamic, but had some great wines and grape juice!  The staff was so helpful in pouring and they gave us a box for shipping, free!  Also, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take photos at this lovely estate in Anderson Valley:

Lazy Creek was the next winery on my agenda, but alas, they weren’t pouring on Tuesday.  The gate was open, however, and we got some nice pictures of their estate.

Lazy Creek Vineyards

Lazy Creek Vineyards

Animals @ Lazy Creek vinyards

Animals @ Lazy Creek vinyards

After wineries, we headed toward Mendocino – a quaint little town looking over the Pacific Ocean.

Mendocino has an Art Center that seems like a great place to take a class or better yet, spend a year as a resident artist!  Woulnd’t it be nice….

Moving on…. gosh we did move…. we didn’t spend enough time in any one place, but we did love our vacation!

Following the road, we did end up traveling through the Redwood Forest and had a blast comparing our tiny bodies to those giants!

Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest

We ended up in Arcata for th night.  College town, neat downtown with a great artist co-op gallery.  Stayed in the Hotel Arcata based on a recommendation from a stranded wine taster that we gave a ride to back in Healdsburg.  Great OLD place with clawfoot tub and all.  Jeff went of to talk banjos with a local maker and I toured the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary.  Saw some birds, though nothing too out of the ordinary.  Birding season had just ended.  Across the street was a fabulous pottery center – Fire Arts Center – where the people were wonderfully warm and inviting, the studio is chuck full of kilns and glazes and just enough space….. what a great place!

After walking the town square, Jeff and I headed up the coast towards our final destination, Portland.  Portland proved to be a great town.  Too bad we didn’t have too much time.  Jeff went to see another banjo maker and this time, I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Craft.  Not only was it free, but the exhibitions were wonderful and the gallery store was even better!  I got to go behind the scenes to browse the extra objects in storage and could’ve spent millions in that place!  I did buy a mask by Kim Murton.  I highly recommend everyone visit this museum and give them your support!

Powell’s books was, of course, a breif stop (I couldn’t resist) and after lunching with Jeff, he went to a record shop and I ended up in bliss at Cacao where all the chocolate is expensive, but much of it was worth it and they offer tastings!  YUM!   A perfect ending to a great day in Portland!

Friday was our last day  – spent with friends, Nate, Monica and their adorable little girl, Jade.  Columbia River gorge waterfalls, here we come!   BEAUTIFUL AND SPECTACULAR falls – unmatched in our neck of the woods here in NC.Multnomah_Jade

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Jade, Jeff and Nate

Jade, Jeff and Nate

That’s all folks!

Maybe someday soon I will get back to the studio and actually post about pots.

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One comment

  1. Susiebell · May 7, 2009

    Nice synopsis of what sounds like a WONDERFUL vacation! You crammed in some excellent stops, Elise and Jeff, excellent! Thank you for sharing. Get yourselves back to Millennium sometime and have a romantic dinner for two.

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