Wine Country | NorCal Part I

David & I have covered a ton of ground this summer for both personal & work trips. We're laughing now, because at the beginning of summer we kept saying "we just need to get through June" but it turns out, the entire summer was a complete marathon for us! We've decided next summer we're going to mark one weekend a month on our calendars to stay put in Chicago so we don't feel like the summer passed us by again! A quick round-up of where I've been the past 3 and 1/2 months: Memphis TN, 100mi biked ride to New Buffalo MI, Northern California, our hometown for the 4th, Buffalo NY, South Haven MI, Dalton GA, Lake Geneva WI, Denver CO, & the Catskills NY. In the next 10 days I'll be back-to-back Buffalo NY - Ozark MO - Asheville NC. I absolutely love to travel and am loving this season of jetting off, but I'd be lying if I said I had no problem keeping up! 

Travel photography--especially with my family (built in models!)--is my absolute favorite, but often I want to stay in the moment and not be hidden behind my camera. This time I was feeling the photo bug so I'm pretty pleased that I actually captured most of our trip. It's been nice to look back on these photos since it was a whirlwind of a week!

So, here's the write-up of this trip. At the end of June my family (minus my dad & brother Steven--we missed you two!) attended a family friend's wedding in Russian River, CA. None of us had been to northern California before so we jumped at the opportunity to take a week and explore! My mom always wants tries to see as much of the world as possible so naturally, we hit all the stops in our time there. I split up this into a three part series --1. Wine Country, 2. Carmel & Highway 1, 3. San Francisco. Because we were covering so much ground in just a week, I was expecting to only love one or two places that I'd want to come back to. I was pleasantly surprised that everywhere we went was absolutely fantastic and I would jump at the opportunity to travel back to any of these spots again!! Locations of the places shown below:

Armstrong Redwoods State Park > Went on a quick hike here to see the Redwoods since it was just down the street from the wedding.

Dawn Ranch > Location of the wedding. We stayed in those cute cabins!

Bodega Bay > We hopped out of the car at sunset on our way from dinner at Fishetarian Fish Market to snap some photos on the side of the highway and found those stairs down to the beach

Moran Manor in Knights Valley/Calistoga > My sister Jacquie's friend's family owns & runs this vineyard. They live in the stunning Victorian Home they restored on the vineyard and gave us a tour of it! Hands down our favorite thing we did in wine country. It is a private vineyard with only ~3 tastings/month.

Chateau Montelena > Wine tasting complete with a castle and gardens! 

Las Alcobas Luxury Collection Hotel in St. Helena > A hotel by design firm I admire, Yabu Pushelberg, just opened so of course I had to check it out. Absolutely stunning property. Would definitely come back to stay here for a special occasion! All the lavender lined sidewalks around the property are just the prettiest at the golden hour, too!

Parent Trap House > The actual house from the 1998 film, The Parent Trap. The entire week my sisters and I were quoting lines from The Parent Trap (everything reminded us of the movie) so naturally, we had to make a stop to see it from the road!

Brix Restaurant & Gardens in Yountville > Farm to table restaurant. The patio overlooks the garden where the herbs & vegetables for your meal come from. We loved this!

White House Inn Napa > a boutique hotel/B&B my firm designed a few years ago. So nice to see the thriving property in person!