The Best Honeymoon (Part 2)

28 04 2008

I never expected any “perks” as honeymooners but when we were getting our rental car at the airport, I casually mentioned that we had just gotten married, and the guy behind the counter insisted that we “take the Mustang.” Red Mustang convertible, to be more exact. After we checked that our luggage would fit, we were on our way like rock stars. There’s nothing like getting off of a 6-hour flight after being delayed for 3 hours and knowing that you’d be traveling in luxury for the next six days.

Since we were arriving in San Francisco so late, I had booked us into a convenient and inexpensive Best Western in Chinatown. The Flamingo Inn was just what we needed—close to both the airport and the road up to wine country, clean, and only $79 per night. The only downside was that at 1:00 in the morning on a Monday there was nowhere close by to get anything to eat. My husband raided the vending machine as I got myself ready for bed, and we tried sleeping despite our excitement to really get honeymooning the next morning.

After waking up way too early (jet lag and excitement) and being pleasantly surprised by the free breakfast, we hopped in what now is my favorite car and left the city. The strip through Napa Valley was lined with vineyards and wineries. The scenery was too beautiful to be part of the United States, at least any part that I had seen, and we drank it up.

Arriving at Laird Family Estates, our first official winery, I marveled at the bushes of rosemary and lavender that flourished in the temperate climate.

As we waited to meet with a wine maker (we mixed business with pleasure, slightly, for the tax write-offs) the tasting room staff member kept us entertained with the history of the estate and a private tour of the operation. Laird Family Estates, besides making their own wines, is also a custom crush facility where over fifty wine makers can use to produce their wines.

When the wine maker arrived with samples of his wines (as gifts—the second honeymoon perk) he took us to his private barrels in the massive storehouse that stored the vintages many wine makers. We were treated to barrel tastings and an inside look at what happens in the storeroom. This was a unique way to feel like pampered royalty on our honeymoon.

The Best Honeymoon (Part 1)

26 04 2008
It was fairly easy for us to decide on a destination for our honeymoon. We aren’t beach people. I had never really been on a vacation where I didn’t feel compelled to wake up at the crack of dawn and go sightseeing all day. Our time (and money) was limited, and since I had enough frequent flyer miles for one free domestic ticket, that narrowed our options as well.

During the 4 years that we were together, my husband and I had become quite the foodies and wine lovers (he somewhat of a snob and me just really wanting to try as many varieties as I can) so California wine country immediately made the most sense.

I’m a huge planner. My husband isn’t. But because I was so busy planning the wedding, he took charge and took care of all arrangements, except for lodging, which I refused to give up all control of. It was nice not having to worry about reservations and itineraries, although instead I worried that we would get to Sonoma and wander aimlessly, with no maps or plans. But, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and instead of being anal, I would periodically ask casually what he was planning for us.

The wedding happened, and it was more amazing than I ever thought it would be, and the next afternoon we were on our way to California. I had never been so excited for a vacation in my life. Sure, I had been to some amazing places with my family and on my own, and even with my husband, but this was an entirely different vacation. Devoid of any site- seeing pressure and gourmet food around every corner, it was like being royalty for a week.