Summer has officially donned her bedazzled bonnet and shoved Old Man Winter and Sprinkly Spring down a steep flight of stairs. With this turn of seasons comes one of my favorite pastimes – patio drinks and of course in Vancouver we’re spoiled with copious options in Kitsilano, English Bay, down Davie, Denman and Commercial Drive. As the sun coaxes me out of my jacket I’m suddenly hit with a horrific realization. Canadian swimsuit season is in sight. Now where can I shed some Polar Bear poundage and still indulge sipping on the fruits of someone else’s labor?
Sonoma County, California is a perfect long weekend getaway providing ample opportunity to get active year round while offering sumptuous food and wine to scintillate your senses. My mission is simple – sweat and drink. Though tempted to skip the sweat on arrival I summoned my inner drill sergeant and rented a bike to peddle out to Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Being a film buff I considered it the perfect place to begin. With more than forty wines produced on site and situated on a stunning property surrounded by sustainably farmed vineyards I got it right. I soon had a stemmed glass of the Director’s Cut varietal in my paw as I perused the display cases with Academy Awards, Golden Globes and memorabilia from Apocalypse Now to The Godfather.
Catching a glimpse of the Russian River I decided it was time to get wet and jumped in a kayak for workout number two. The sandy banks beckoned after a few kilometers paddle and thankfully I had brought a bottle of bubbles on board. Many, including myself, are surprised to learn that a few vineyards outside the Champagne region of France have been Grandfathered and approved to use the name. Such is the case with Korbel Champagne Cellars in the town of Guerneville. Over one hundred and fifty years ago the Korbel brothers immigrated to the U.S.A. and continued the tradition of Champagne. And I’m so glad they did. Bubbles can be a boy’s best friend. Obviously this guy knows that…
The Armstrong Redwood Grove is really not to be missed once you’ve sunned yourself on the banks of the river. Though I began running I was soon slowed to a contemplative stroll as I took in the serene, majestic beauty of the Grove and how it stands as a living reminder of the magnificent primeval redwood forest that covered much of this area before logging operations began during the 19th Century.
While whale watching was not likely to drop any pounds I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out on the open water and view the rugged Northern California coastline. At any rate the thought of one of the whales in an Aussie Bum Speedo allowed a smug smile to creep across my face as I made my way to the bow of the fishing boat.
Pinot painted my pallet as I reflected on this quintessential California retreat offering sun, sand, surf and serenity. A perfect place for romance and a favorite denning area for the bears of our community. Glancing down at my cubbish figure I realized maybe I just found myself a new sweet spot. Seawater splashed up and beaded like sweat on my forehead. Vacation accomplished. Drink and sweat. Or at least fake it ‘til you make it.
Catch me if you can!
Where in the world is Charlie? http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCharlieDavid