April 2012 Archives

Hiking in the Vineyards of Sonoma Valley, "Inn to Inn"

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wineCountryTrekking_Logo.jpgWalking, wine and food - what better way to experience the outdoors and the beauty and bounty of the Sonoma Valley?  Based on a centuries old travel tradition in Europe; Wine Country Trekking provides "inn to inn" self-guided hiking experiences in Sonoma and surrounding areas.  Unlike the mountain huts on some inn to inn hikes, Wine Country Trekking treks end each day at a boutique luxury inn.

During the day trekkers either hike through beautiful state parks or meander along country lanes and through vineyards stopping for personalized wine appointments. These appointments include unique experiences, such as visits with winemakers, and cave and mountaintop tours, all while sipping delicious Sonoma wines. Each night there are excellent restaurant choices available within walking distance.  

The best part about a Wine Country Trek is that it is all-inclusive (with the exception of dinners) so just call or click and the perfect active vacation in the Sonoma wine country becomes reality. The next best part Wine Country Treks is that you are with your own group - no strangers and no cars, tour guides, vans or buses!  Their unique system of inn-to inn hiking starts with the Planning Guide, delivered via email and snail mail upon booking with your complete itinerary, including restaurant reviews and a packing list.  After review all you have to do is let them know your restaurant preferences and if you'd like any spa treatments.  Shortly before the Trek their custom Trail Guide is mailed to you with each day perfectly outlined including step by step Trail Notes and waterproof maps.  

Wine Country Insider: Art Walking Tours

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by Courtney Cochran

When it comes to inspiration, wine country is about as alluring as it gets.  And so it is that wine country art - especially the kind you can meander amongst, on walking tours - takes on especially vivid expression. Whether it's made or just displayed in this lovely setting, it's more than worth a gander. Please allow us to steer you towards some rewarding walks.  

Napa: West End
Encompassing an approximately 6-block area in this once sleepy wine country seat, Napa's West End is a neighborhood offering arts of various intriguing sorts. From traditional art galleries - First Street's Quent Cordair comes to mind with its substantial collection of romantic realistic works - to tasting room installations to a fully restored, circa-1937 Art Deco theater, the Uptown, Napa's West End offers much to see on a stroll. Chris Isaak and Rusted Root are among the top-notch performances that can be seen at the Uptown, along with its colorful (original!) neon marquee. Or, come Saturday night, stop into Ceja Vineyards' tasting room for a rotating selection of artworks in addition to pours, then dance the night away via the spot's free salsa lessons.  

Need some mementos? Pick these up at the West End Napa gift store inside the contemporary Avia Hotel building. It's also where the neighborhood "living room" can be found, natch. The area is couched in the western portion of downtown Napa, approximately from School to Randolph streets and from First to Third streets.

napaArtWalk.jpgNapa ARTwalk Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)
Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk interactive public sculpture exhibition and tour in downtown Napa. The second ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)," launched on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013 in downtown Napa. 

Art works - which hew to a new theme each exhibition - are selected with the help of CaFE (callforentry.org) and a panel of local art administrators, artists, and city officials.  The cost is free, and exhibits can be accessed throughout the day, 365 days a year, at visitors' leisure.  Download a map here, and for more information, call 707-257-2117.

Mother's Day Events in Sonoma

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floriaFerrerBrutBottle.jpgMay 13 - Mom's & Music & Bubbles @ Gloria Ferrer
Treat your Mom to a Sparkling Celebration on Mother's Day. Join us at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards for a casual, relaxed afternoon with live music, sparkling wine with cheeses, spreads and desserts to complement your bubbly. Feel free to bring the whole family! Live music by North Bay Singer/Songwriter Dustin Saylor.
Fee: $35.00 general, $29.75 club member; Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm; Phone: 707-933-1931

May 13 -- Mother's Day Tasting @ Valley of the Moon Winery

Moms, stop by Valley of the Moon Winery for complimentary wine tasting and fabulous discounts on gifts and wine purchases. Valley of the Moon Winery delivers a unique flavor of California. They produce ultra-premium Sonoma wines that embrace both time honored wine-making tradition and state-of-the-art production.
Location: Valley of the Moon Winery, 777 Madrone Rd, Glen Ellen
Fee: Free; Time: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Phone: 707-939-4510

May 13 -- Mother's Day Safari at Safari West
Run like a Cheetah to Brunch on the Sonoma Serengeti. Enjoy a special Mothers Day tour aboard The African Queen along with some other surprises! What could be more extraordinary than spending Mother's Day amongst some of the word's most elegant creatures? Our chef is preparing a glorious champagne brunch featuring delectable selections especially for you.
Location: Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 for adults; $35 for children (ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available; Phone: (707) 579.2551 or 800.616.2695

MothersDay.jpgMay 13 -- Mother's Day Plant Sale & Free Corsages
Bring Mom to Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, one the most beautiful places in Sonoma County. Buy her a living gift, take a docent-led tour of the historic Burbank home, and browse in the Carriage House Museum & Gift Shop. Ladies will receive a fresh flower corsage; come early while the supply lasts.
Location: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
Fee: Free Admission/ Historic Home Tour $7; Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Phone: 707-524-5445

Mother's Day in Napa Valley

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Special Wine Tasting Events

domaineCarneros_SparklingWine.jpgMay 12 -- Mother's Day Tea @ Domaine Carneros
Pamper Mom with an indulgent experience featuring Domaine Carneros sparkling wines and tea service accompanied by tantalizing sweets, tea sandwiches and scones. A wonderful way to celebrate Mom and springtime in the wine country! Please call to RSVP.
Location: Domaine Carneros Winery, 1240 Duhig Road, Napa
Fee: $55/$45 Wine Club Members; Time: 11am-12:30pm (SOLD OUT) & 3pm-4:30pm;
Phone: 707-257-0101 x135


May 13 -- Mother's Day Brunch @ Acacia Vineyards

Celebration: Treat Mom to a unique experience at our beautiful winery! Spectacular views, delectable brunch faire and exceptional wines.
Location: Acacia Vineyards, 2750 Las Amigas Rd., Napa
Fee: $60, $50 for wine club members; Time: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Phone: 707.226.9991


safariWest_Cheetah.jpgMay 13 -- Mother's Day Safari at Safari West
Run like a Cheetah to Brunch on the Sonoma Serengeti. Enjoy a special Mothers Day tour aboard The African Queen along with some other surprises! What could be more extraordinary than spending Mother's Day amongst some of the word's most elegant creatures? Our chef is preparing a glorious champagne brunch featuring delectable selections especially for you.
Location: Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 for adults; $35 for children (ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available; Phone: (707) 579.2551 or 800.616.2695

Westin Verasa Napa - Art Display for April

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For the entire month of April, Westin Verasa Napa (hotel located in downtown Napa) revolving art's gallery will display works of art from the Westin's very own employees. What fun! See what inspires their Sommelier, Toni Johnson or Guest Services Agent, Jessica Jones.

Why not plan a short escape, stay at the hotel for some rest and relaxation and peruse the artwork firsthand! There are several specials and packages available. CLICK HERE.

FEATURED ARTWORK

Toni Johnson ~ Sommelier at La Toque
"I loved the simplicity of the candles when I was in the cathedral. The juxtaposition from the commercialized image on the actual candle and the beauty of the image struck me. There is also serenity in the image that is exactly how it feels to be in Notre Dame."

westinVerasaNapa_ToniJohnson.jpg

Festival del Sole 2012

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NAPA VALLEY, CA - Festival del Sole in partnership with IMG Artists returns for another spectacular season, July 13-22, 2012, in California's beautiful Napa Valley.

CatellodiAmorosa_FestivalDelSole.jpgPhoto credit: Vi Bottaro

Set among lush, rolling foothills and breathtaking vineyard landscapes, Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends world-class artistry, gourmet cuisine, fine wines and lifestyle programs in a unique celebration of the art of life, all during a ten-day experience the New York Times calls a "feast for the senses."

Among the artists appearing this season are violinist Joshua Bell, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, sopranos Danielle de Niese and Lisa Delan, baritone Nathan Gunn, cellist Nina Kotova, guitarist Angel Romero, pianist Hélène Grimaud, the Russian National Orchestra, and members of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Other highlights include the Napa premiere of 24 Hour Plays, an exciting feat of extreme theater, which involves writing, rehearsing and performing a series of plays in just 24 hours - in this case 4 plays with musical interludes from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.


Sonoma Spotlight: Dry Creek Valley

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by Courtney Cochran

DryCreekValley_VineyardinSonomaCounty.jpgOrganic farms and Rhône varieties and lots of cycling, oh my! Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley - encompassing 16 miles north-south in Sonoma's bucolic northwestern corner - is a quieter part of the county that beckons with gracious vineyards, welcoming wineries and a rustic agrarian atmosphere that's downright soothing.  Come along as we take a closer look.

Getting There
Dry Creek is easily reached from adjacent Healdsburg and also makes a reasonable day trip from other parts of the county.  Coming from the south, exit 101 at Dry Creek Road and head northwest. Coming from Mendocino and the north, exit 101 at Dutcher Creek Road to tackle the valley from the northern end, heading south. From Healdsburg, access the valley via Dry Creek Road or start at the far southern end of the valley - via Westside Road - if you have time for a longer drive.    

Weather, What to Expect
Dry Creek Valley is one of Sonoma's numerous excellent wine-producing valleys.  Though it is one of those more closely situated to the ocean (it's just about 20 miles inland from the Pacific), Dry Creek experiences significantly warm temperatures during summer months.  During this time, heat necessitates smart warm weather preparation such as taking plenty of water with you, stopping to rest if pursuing cycling or other physically activities, and avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak sunshine periods. Evening temperatures are cool year-round, and winter is cool and wet during the rainy season. Spring and fall offer the mellowest conditions for traveling, and fog can be found in the morning year-round.  

Arts in April - Reserve Your Seat at the Theater

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uptownTheaterAtNight.jpg*Uptown Theater
1350 Third Street Napa, California 94559
Phone: 707.259.0123 ~ Box Office Hours: Mon.- Sat.: 12pm-4pm; Sundays: Closed

Jimmy Cliff
April 15, 2012 - 8pm - $45-$55
With a legacy stretching back nearly 50 years, the Honourable Jimmy Cliff is still standing as one of the prime movers and continuing shapers of modern music. More Details.

UptownTheater_CraigFerguson.jpgCraig Ferguson
April 25, 2012 - 8pm - $50-$65
Comedian & host of The Late Late Show on CBS. Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. Since taking the helm of Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on January 3, 2005, the show has set all-time viewer records and achieved the highest ratings since the shows inception in 1995. More Details.

CLICK HERE for the full performance line-up for April.

Sonoma International Film Festival, April 11-15

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SIFF_2012_logo.jpgby Courtney Cochran

In its impressive 15th iteration, the Sonoma International Film Festival (né Sonoma Valley Film Festival) brings some 120 independent films to wine country, plus a diverting mix of pre- and après-film activities.  Here's the scoop:

Film Highlights

This year, a diverse lineup of films allows for exploration of topics as varied as romance, politics, pop culture, the environment and sci-fi.  Some of this festival's anticipated films:

In the romance category and featuring actor Jackson Rathbone of Twilight fame, feature-length Girlfriend explores a romance between a boy with Down's Syndrome and a small-town single mom (Shannon Woodward). 

SIFF_2012_hamburger.jpgTeenagers push the envelope of blind tasting by attacking the topic of burgers -- and teenage obsessions like video games, natch - in the short film The Great Hamburg Challenge (just 12 minutes). 

On the more serious side of things, director Luc Besson tells the story of celebrated leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement in the feature film The Lady, while the documentary Nothing Like Chocolate explores an American entrepreneur's efforts to build a sustainable chocolate operation in Grenada. 

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