August 2007 with The Family
Don and I have visited the California Wine Country twice and both times were with our underage kids. In other words the big focus was not on wine. Our focus on this trip was a family wedding, so we didn't exactly end up making full use of the wine world or the natural baths at our historic resort. But we couldn't have asked for a better setting.
Coming from Texas, we tried to absorb as much of the heavenly California weather as possible. Don and his brother in law, Bernie made good use of the porches. I loved our homey cottage, with wicker seating and open windows!
There was nothing fancy about the inside. We hardly needed that much space or even a kitchen, but there was a nostalgic feel about the place. It reminded me of the motel/apartments my family of 6 used to rent when I was a kid in Florida. Of course they were never quite this nice.
Those worn out Florida motels never offered plush robes for the whole family. We made sure to put our spa robes to good use when we marched over to pool house for a night-time swim.
The Olympic-sized pool, built in 1913 was filled with thermal mineral water drawn from geysers on the property. We actually had a few lap swimmers in our group, but even at night the waters were too warm and our swimmers turned into loungers.
We got up early the next day to make full use of all the outdoor activities before wedding focus took over. The steam rising above the pool house was dramatic in the morning light.
Time to Play!
The shuffleboard brought me back to the Florida motel days. But those beachside courts never had mountains in the background! The tetherball brought me back to grade school days. Those memories weren't so pleasant, since tetherball is not so fun when you are short. I always lost quickly.
Pingpong and Croquet was more my style. And because all the other hotel guests seemed to be indulging in wine tasting excursions or expensive mud baths (using the property's volcanic ash soil) we had all these crazy games to ourselves.
I will always remember the hotel as an old fashioned retreat in the middle of a glorious landscape! It was such a calm and peaceful atmosphere for lounging around playing retro yard games! I've heard the resort has undergone some huge renovations recently. I wouldn't mind going back and sipping some wine... in a mud bath!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!