I am sitting in the airport, early for my flight home, drinking California red, and high from the loveliness of my long weekend in Sonoma County and San Francisco.

Arriving at SFO on Friday, I was able to swing through San Rafael to meet the beautiful and hilarious 5 month old daughter of a dear old friend, before heading north, into the vineyards and redwoods of Sonoma County. It was the perfect kickoff to a weekend full of babies, scones, and choosing to take the scenic route.

Saturday morning I awoke to birds chirping, in a cabin outside of Occidental. It smelled like camping. Waking to a greeting from my friends’ 15 month old daughter, coffee and scones in the garden at Wildflour bakery were next on the agenda. It was a hard choice but, instead of strawberry rhubarb, I went with a blueberry, bacon, maple, cornmeal scone. It was an excellent decision.

Later that day, after borrowing a paper map from my friend’s father, I made my way north, sans cell reception and therefore GPS, to Healdsburg. Stopping at Shed, where a dear friend works, I bought a sort of fabulous Korean vegetable scrubber and various exotic chocolates to give as gifts.

Curving through the Russian River Valley, past vineyards and picture perfect pastures of grazing cows, and finally ending up at a BBQ in Cloverdale, it was a near perfect Saturday.

Sunday brought more of the same, but with a gorgeous home, baby shower, and fantastic feast of homemade mole, tortillas, and rosè from the surrounding vineyards to boot.

On Monday morning it was time to head back to the city and then home. After a hearty breakfast of biscuits and eggs in Occidental, I headed south on the 101, finally crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, one of my favorite things in the world. The beauty with which those two rust red spires shoot out of the fog, never ceases to take my breath away.

Walking along the coastal trails near Cliff House, the sun was shining, it was 70 degrees, and a breeze blew salty air off the Pacific. I inhaled, hoping to take some fraction back to the desert.

As a last stop before the airport, I parked near the rose garden in Golden Gate Park and walked to the Japanese Tea Garden. Ending my trip with a walk and cup of matcha green tea, I was full of contentment and gratitude. So grateful for good friends, great wine, scenic routes, and weekends that truly renew you.

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