December Travel

We travelled most of December and despite Covid enjoyed our time with family. Dave and I visited my sister in California for a week and really enjoyed being together. She has my mother’s dining room set that my brother lovingly refinished a few years ago. But the material on the chairs was not her style. She had enough material to recover them so I brought my upholstery tools and recovered them during our visit.

Recovering the dining room chairs
Recovering the dining room chairs

It took me several days to lay out the material and cut the squares for approximately the same design placement in each chair. We reused the old foam and they may have been puffier if I had replaced it but wanted to finish while there. The material was a beautiful floral tapestry and was fun to work with.

Finished chairs
Finished chairs

Of couse she took us site seeing also. One day we went to Luther Burbank’s home in Santa Rosa. There was a Christmas open house and we toured his first Santa Rosa home. He had lived in a larger house across the street but after his death his wife moved back to their first home and kept up the greenhouse and gardens. The signs and docents spoke of his work in cross pollination and invention of multiple new fruit, vegetable and flower varieties. One was the thornless blackberry and he developed a thornless cactus among thousands of other crosses.

Luther Burbank’s greenhouse set up for Christmas treats.
Luther Burbank’s greenhouse set up for Christmas treats.

We strolled through the gardens taking photos of some of his experimental plants and enjoying the fresh air.

Part of Luther Burbank’s home garden
Part of Luther Burbank’s home garden

Another day we went to Bodega Bay to see the ocean but we only stopped briefly, being hungry we went to a roadside stand for clam chowder. The chowder bubbled in big pots under an awning at an outdoor stove. It tasted great and there were large loaves of sourdough bread to go with it.

Seaside lunch at a clam chowder restaurant
Seaside lunch at a clam chowder restaurant

Our last venture took us to Napa, the famously beautiful wine country. Known not only for its wine but for its olive oil.

Long standing olive oil barn
Long standing olive oil barn

Inside there were many Italian treats, breads and sausages, and types of pasta and their own olive oil some steeped with herbs, as well as balsamic vinegars of various flavors. It’s a nice old fashioned place. Locals buy their oil by the gallon jug and bring the jugs back to be refilled.
We drove on to visit the big garden and greenhouse across the street from the famous French Laundry restaurant. We investigated all the plots of land and said hi to the chickens and bees. The restaurant itself is not that impressive but the menu is renowned and farm to table is practiced with the gardens right across the street.

French Laundry restaurant garden
French Laundry restaurant garden

We had lunch at an outdoor burger place that is another landmark of the area. With Covid it was great to have several eateries with outdoor seating. The burgers, fries and shakes were quite good.

Lunch at Gott's Roadside Burgers.
Lunch at Gott’s Roadside Burgers.

Our last stop in Napa was at one of our favorite and most beautiful wineries. Francis Ford Coppola the famous movie director bought the winery and vineyards in the 70’s but not the Inglenook name. So for years it was the Coppola winery. Eventually he was able to purchase back the rights to the name. The day we stopped it was practically deserted but the staff was very nice and we toured the uostairs museum about the history of moving picture machines.

Inglenook Winery
Inglenook Winery

My sister can plan absolutely wonderful days in her beautiful area of California.

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