Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Birthday Getaway...(photos galore)

So a long, long time ago...like April...I knew I had to get out of dodge for my birthday or I would go berserk and depressed to be spending another birthday alone, at home, with my parents who make me get my own cake and my own present and will probably criticize me because I had the nerve to visit them in yoga pants and without makeup. Because, you know...how am I going to meet a man dressed like that(!)...while stuck in the car, driving, between my apartment and their house. No way! Getting out of dodge! I would not be able to deal. It was bad enough that my mom was all hurt that I wasn't spending my birthday with her and kept making snide remarks about how I was going away with a man and why I wasn't bringing this imaginary man by the house to meet her. Seriously, it's amazing I'm as normal as I am being surrounded by that insanity.

So I booked myself a loft cabin in the woods. Me, a city girl, in the woods. I wasn't sure how bright an idea this was but that was the plan. Quiet, seclusion, relaxation...and lots of wine.

The night before I was supposed to leave, I had a headache and was exhausted and didn't have the energy to pack. I decided to check my email one last time before heading to bed. The laptop was driving me nuts...wanting to do updates. So I decided to just let it do its update but it got kind of stuck...so I turned it off even though it said to not turn off the computer during the update. People...do not turn off the computer!! Holy Cow. I ended up being up half the night trying to get my computer to turn back on and each time, I got a "fatal error" message. I was in a panic and emailing(from my phone since the computer was broken) every geeky nerdy friend I knew at 2am hoping they were up playing video games and could talk me through the disaster I created for myself. No luck. I managed to sleep for about three hours before I woke up again. I was a nervous panicky mess mainly because my budget does not allow for another laptop and I would be computerless which is akin to death. In relaying my misery via text to Claire, she told me to bring the laptop to her and her husband would look at it while I was gone. So I packed, dropped off my laptop and began my journey up 101 and 128 before landing in Mendocino 3.5 hours later. The drive up was gorgeous and hassle free. It was 90 degrees in the Valley and I stopped at the orchard and a winery on my way to stock up a little. But let me tell you, once I crossed over onto Highway 1, the weather literally dropped 30 degrees. I traded in one foggy city for one seriously foggy town! I found my rental and it was a gorgeous little space. Here are some photos to get an idea.
The Deck
The View

The View at Night
Interior shot from entryInterior shot from Kitchen
View of Kitchen from Bathroom

The owner is an artist and there were examples of her collage art around. Her work studio was below this loft space and wow...it's a wonderful set up with tons of light. I did a quick trip into town to pick up food supplies and I tucked in for the night and stitched while watching tv.

The big news story in the area was that there was a murderer on the loose who was breaking into rental cabins and homes looking for food and supplies who had a shootout with the Sheriffs and got away. Joy...oh, joy! Here I am alone in the woods with some psycho on the loose with a rifle and I have no cell phone reception. Where is my wine...la la la...let's try not to think about it.

The next day, I headed into town to get coffee, a pastry and do a walk around. I went to my usual go-to stops, visited the farmers market and walked along Main Street. The shopkeepers here are so friendly so each stop was at least 20 minutes because talking about the weather and the impending rain was a must. In one shop, I bought this cute Halloween decoration. I couldn't resist! Look at the fluffy neck muff! Love it!
At another stop, I bought myself a souvenir tee shirt even though I already have a lot of Mendocino shirts.

Oh and here are a couple of photos I took around town.

I walked around until it was time to see if Claire arrived at the rental...and she did. I timed it perfectly. We headed back into town for lunch and more walking around. We gathered more supplies to have a little picnic in the cabin and tucked in for more tv and stitching. Being a mom, this was the longest stretch of stitching she has gotten in in the past two years!

There's a reason for the picnicking too. The area is very lowkey and nice but the dining options are slim. They are either super casual and close very early or high end and too expensive.

On the third day, we headed out winetasting...in the rain. We had a fun time. Heck, who doesn't have a fun time wine tasting at wineries that have no tasting fees?! Bring on the wine! I ended up with 8 bottles of wine. The standouts to me were Toulouse and Breggo. Toulouse is one fantastic and dangerous place. They are still new and do their tastings in the barn because they are still trying to get the winery off the ground and built the tasting room. They have a heavy hand when pouring their tastes and have probably some of the best wine I've tasted. Their Gewurtztraminer and Pinots are excellent and if I could have afforded it, I'd have bought at least one of each Pinot Noir they offer but as it was, I splurged and just bought one. If I win the lottery, I'll buy myself a caseload! Breggo is another place known for their Pinot Noir but I stuck with the whites during the tasting and they were excellent...they really have a skill for pairing interesting notes. We also visited Navarro, Husch, Brutacao and Lazy Ridge.
Lazy Ridge (i think)
Brutacao Vines
Pinot Noir Grapes
Husch Tasting Room - So Cute!
Wine booty
I was pretty toasted after all the wine tasting. We headed back to have an early dinner at a tapas restaurant I was dying to try and when we got there, the restaurant was closed! As in closed because they went out of business and there wasn't even any furniture in the space closed. Wah! After much debate over where we should eat and not really liking any of our options we decided to eat at the bar at the Inn at Little River and we had a nice meal with ollalieberry cobbler and ice cream for dessert. No chocolate cake but it was pretty tasty. After dinner, Claire made her way back home and I relaxed in the loft in a food and wine stupor. Too stuffed to read or even stitch! So I watched tv and relaxed and was happy that they "caught" the murderer so I could sleep in peace and not dream about some psycho breaking in and trying to steal my stitching.

The next day was my long journey back home. Why is it always longer to go home than it is to arrive? I arrived safely and relaxed at home. It was a nice birthday getaway! And you know the best part? When Claire arrived to Mendocino, she brought my fixed laptop with her. Her husband was able to fix it and I was over the moon happy! And she also brought me a bluetooth thingie because I always say I can't talk on the phone in the car because I don't have one (ticketable offense to drive and hold a cell phone at the same time). So happy!

So, birthday weekend was a success! The only bummer was that I did not score chocolate cake! I know what chocolate cake I want. I just need to find the time to go to Mara's for a slice of sinfully rich chocolatey goodness.

I hope you all enjoyed the photos! Time for me to clean for the cleaner. *grumble* How's this place get so cluttered and how come the laundry can't put itself away?! Magic wand, where, oh where are you!?

Until next time...


Natasha said...

Wow, I love the pictures. What a cute cabin! Sounds like a wonderful time especially all the wine tasting :) I am happy they caught that pshyco, could you imagine the harm that would come to him if he stole your stitching AND your wine LOL

Take Care and welcome back!

Hazel said...

Sounds like you had a fab time away. Sounds like my kind of birthday! Love the idea of wine tasting. Might look into that one. xx

Giovanna said...

It sounds like the ideal birthday getaway (except for the tapas place being closed... oh, and the murderer on the loose). It was great fun to read, and I'm glad you had such a good time.

Chris said...

Hi Valerie.
What a perfect birthday weekend. I loved the pictures.
Have a great week!

Siobhan said...

Valerie, I am so glad that you had a good time!! I laughed at your mother's comments. My mother arrives tomorrow--or, as my daughter calls her, "our crazy old lady". I am bracing myself and hoping for the best, after a rather dismal month long visit together last summer. Your time at the cabin--wow!!! I give you props for staying on your own. I have watched too many scary movies and TV shows and don't think I'd have managed, though I love the thought of it. The pictures of the wineries and town are beautiful. I love the little pumpkin guy that you got, too!

Carol said...

No chocolate cake!!??? I'm sure you'll find way to remedy that very soon, Valerie... Your trip looks delightful and I adore Mr. Pumpkin with his fluffy collar and candle hat--too cute!!

What a relief that your computer was fixable otherwise I wouldn't be reading your latest update, would I?

Have a wonderful week--and don't go anywhere in yoga pants with no makeup ☺!

CalamityJr said...

What a great birthday weekend - so glad you could get away to such a lovely spot. Now just go get that chocolate cake and it will be perfect!

Danielle said...

Oh, Valerie, what a great post!! The cabin looked wonderful and cozy. I laughed out loud at the murderer on the loose and your parents reactions. Trust me when I say I know that family craziness!! Oh the stories I could tell. Glad to hear your computer is fixed as well. Great Halloween purchase! Love the neck boa of sorts on it. And wine tasting? Heaven. And yes coming back and getting unpacked and back to normal just blows. But so glad you had a good birthday and a PEACEFUL one.

Jackie said...

You've got guts girl! I'm not sure I would have lasted with a criminal on the loose. The cabin is so cute and it the area looks very calming. Perfect for a relaxing weekend!

Anonymous said...

Great photos Valerie, I'm glad you had fun! We've stayed in similar accommodation a few times, although not so isolated and luckily, without an escaped murderer on the loose! ;)

Sorry your mom was a pill but good for you for having the courage to spend your birthday on your own terms :)

Margaret said...

lol! Clean for the cleaner. Ah well! Love all the pics! That's so freaky about the murderer! I'm so glad they caught him! Yay on the laptop front too! What a pretty cabin you stayed in. I loved all the pics of the place. And the wine tasting pics -- pretty neat stuff! Sounds like you had a great time, which is good. Also good that you got away for your birthday like you wanted. Now get some of that chocolate cake you want!

Carol R said...

What a wonderful birthday trip - thanks for sharing your pictures!

Berit said...

OMG, gorgeous! And, do you have any more shots of the grapes??

This sounds like a stellar birthday, and if I were you I would seriously just cut those parents loose!

Some men (actually most) like yoga pants. They are form-revealing rather than form altering, and they make them think about how new age (unreserved and unpuritanical) you are and speculate on how flexible you might be. :P

Barbi said...

looks like an amazing getaway!! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fluffy muffed pumpkin!

Catherine said...

What a fabulous time!! Glad to read that the bad guy was caught - now, you need to top it off by getting yourself that chocolate cake!!
Love your pumpkin person!!

Julie said...

What a fabulous birthday weekend, i was glad to read that the burglar was caught. Love the fluffy halloween guy, he's adorable

Michele said...

Happy Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a wonderful time :) Love your wine stash :)

Joysze said...

I'm happy to hear you ditched everyone and spent your b'day the way you wanted to. :D The pics are amazing and that tasting hut is to die for!!! :D

Veronica said...

Having experience it myself lately, oh, how I hear you on being computerless is akin to death! LOL

Wine-tasting is always fun. Wish there were wineries and vineyards here in Malaysia :( Charming cabin you were staying in. Sounds like you had an awesome birthday getaway despite the rocky start.


Laura said...

OMG, I know it's not funny about the murderer on the loose, but I can't stop laughing! I'm glad you had a nice birthday weekend though. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing.

Btw, we are coming to SF in a few weeks for our convention and I think we will be going to Nopa on our last night on your recommendation.

Melanie said...

Sounds like a nice time, psycho killer aside. lolol
It's an adorable little place to stay. The bed looks super comfy.
I love the little pumpkin decoration too. Sooooo cute! Halloween really is my favorite holiday, decoration-wise.

Meari said...

The photos are beautiful, and your weekend sounds heavenly. Loved the cabin! I've never been on a wine tasting, but it sounds like fun.

Happy Belated Birthday!

Pumpkin said...

I think that sounds like a fantastic birthday weekend! I enjoy going away by myself from time to time. What a sweet cabin. Okay, except for the murderer on the loose!

Love your Halloween decor that you bought. How come I can't find anything fun like that around here????

Suzanne said...

What a wonderful place to get away! The cabin looks like such a cosy place.