Wednesday, August 26, 2009

California Dreamin'

Just a few days after Nick flew back to Doha, Ashley and I took a trip to California. We left the grand babies with Honey, Papa and Uncle Dave. Since football has kicked in full gear at the Hall and Watkins houses, Honey had her hands full but as usual the boys and Anna had a great weekend and lots of fun! I've posted way too many pictures but we were first-timers to Cali so our trip required lots of photo-opps.

San Francisco

AT&T ball park where the Giants play

Lombard Street in San Fran...curvy and beautiful...tourist hot spot!

Alcatraz off in the distance

The best part of our trip to California was spending time and staying with Mark and Jen McWilliams. Jen and I are best friends and roommates from Baylor. We've stayed close and Jen has always been such a faithful friend. I can't believe I waited so long to visit her in this beautiful part of the country. She and I get to see each other often we were both home in Plano but this visit was a long time coming!

Jen and Mark live in Healdsburg, CA north of San Fran in Sonoma County.

Healdsburg is DREAMY! Picture perfect and straight out of Gilmore Girls! Jen and Mark live downtown so we walked everywhere. I seriously didn't know towns like this really existed!

Every Tuesday night in this square people bring their families to picnic and listen to music.

Dinner at Willi's...AWESOME and so California! We ate outside and absorbed every bit of the perfect nightlife. Tourists and locals enjoying the slow paced life of "wine country". The temp in the evenings was around 70...ahh! Little better than Doha!

Jen and Mark are owners of a gorgeous winery in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Arista, their family winery, tasting room and property is absolutely breathtaking. The McWilliams family sets an outstanding Christian standard in a highly competitive and challenging wine industry. Mark and his dad have quickly built a company and reputation that they should be incredibly proud of. I am, that's for sure!

Arista vineyard on their property

Sweet Jake - soon to be big brother

Almost ready to be picked...

I'm sorry...I had to take this picture!
Nice maternity shot of the 2 pregs due with boys just a week apart in October.

Mark gave us the "behind the scenes" tour of how they make Arista wine...special treat since other tourists don't get to see that process. It was fascinating! Serious SCIENCE!

Tasting straight from the barrell

Beautiful B&B in Healdsburg

Jen was so sweet to drive us around and show us the famous sights around Healdsburg.
First stop was the coast...temp below 60 degrees.

California Redwoods...Beautiful and ENORMOUS!

Roots of an old fallen tree.

Lake Sonoma

Beautiful gardens at a nearby winery

One last stop at Arista...

These are the picture perfect houses in downtown Healdsburg.
We walked by them on our way to the movies.

Girls night at the movies...Time Travelers Wife (don't see it)

On our way back to the airport...Golden Gate Bridge (covered in the usual fog)

Last stop...In and Out Burger! Lived up to every bit of its reputation!
Been there, done it, bought the shirt!

Thank you Jen and Mark for an incredible weekend full of fun memories, no Brooks, no Barrett no Anna, cool temperatures and gorgeous scenery! Love you tons and can't wait to come back!!


Caryn said...

Remind me again why I live in Dallas and not the wine country????

angie said...

Dito!!! This post really makes me want to go there. Great pictures!

Shannon said...

Oh my stars....breathtaking is right! I loved getting see where Jenn lives....really makes me jealous!

shannonmichaelis said...

I can't wait to go back there! I have really been itching for another wine country trip - this post didn't help that one bit! I know Jenn loved showing you guys around - such a fun trip!

Lindsey said...

I LOVED your pictures! I really want to go there so bad. Hopefully sometime soon.

Also, was the Time Traveler's Wife bad???

rackersfamily said...

Love your pics. You are a really good photographer! You will have to give me some pointers with my new lens.
Funny story about Jen~ She was living with Katy, and the night I met Scott, I didn't want to go out, she said "you never know, you might me the one tonight". I'll always remember that!