Lifestyle: February 2009 Archives

strawbale_1.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Trends in so-called flexible design are revolutionizing the way we live, often with unexpected benefits. To wit, pre-fab homes now available from the likes of Method Homes combine sophisticated design, environmental efficiency and affordability into sleek ready-to-go housing models that can be installed just about anywhere, anytime. And now, at a time when the idea of building a new home and winery in wine country may seem as outsized as our nation's budget deficit, a pioneer in pre-fab is bringing flexibility and affordability to wine country living.
corkscrewed.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When American journalist Robert Camuto moved to the south of France with his family several years ago (I know, I know, cue the Peter Mayle comparisons), it was in search of adventure unlike any the seasoned writer had experienced thus far. Indeed, it wasn't long before the New York native found himself squarely in the land of the vine, where - surprise! - the erstwhile political reporter began an adventure decidedly different from anything he'd known before.

February to May in Mendocino

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As winter's squalls turn to gentle raindrops, the Mendocino coast begins to come alive with wildflowers and native grasses. Perhaps one of the most beautiful times to visit, springtime is a fickle season that transforms from grey mornings as fog rolls in, to brilliantly sunny afternoons perfect for coaxing out tiny buds.

Inland areas tend to be similarly rainy, though a bit warmer. Even so, this time of year throughout the county tends to be a slow season, with most travelers waiting to escape to the cool coast when things get stifling elsewhere (June to October). You'll find fewer crowds right now (though February and March are whale season, and attract wildlife enthusiasts). Some tasting rooms and restaurants close up altogether or have limited hours until the crowds start returning in May, so check ahead. The good news is that you may be able to get an easy reservation at your favorite inn or hard-to-book restaurant during this slow season.

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