The good life

Husband and I aren’t very materialistic, we live modestly, don’t drive a fancy car, have but one television, and are known (and teased) for being quite frugal.  “No, we didn’t get your text, we don’t have smart phones…really.”

But we do succumb to a few indulgences – books (natch), good food, wine  ~~ and especially travel.

On a whim, and with a Groupon deal in hand (see, thrifty), last week we took off for a few days on the Russian River.

Our room overlooked the river, full and swift moving after all our winter/spring rains.

 

We went for a long hike in the redwoods

Did a bit of antique looking – just looking…

 

Visited a rose nursery and garden – again just looking (no more roses, someone kept muttering…)

And watched a drop dead beautiful sunset on the coast, where the river meets the ocean.

 

It’s not a large life – but for us, it’s a good life.

 

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A bit of a time away …

I’ve had a bit of a time away — not far – just down on the central coast of California.

Husband and I went to Paso Robles where the hills were green…

and there were lambs in the fields

wildflowers in bloom

trees in blossom

and wine to be sampled – as Paso was celebrating its ZinFest or Zinfandel Festival.

A good time was had by all.   I read two books while down there, which when added to my backlog of Book Barmy posts means I must get busy.  Lots of books to tell you about…soon.

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Colonial Williamsburg

Sorry for the radio silence here at Book Barmy, but we’ve been traveling again, our itchy feet never keep us down on the farm for long.

We’re back from Virginia (very sobering area — the Trump signs were astoundingly prevalent.  Please vote folks), where we took a side trip to one of our favorite places ever ~~ Colonial Williamsburg.

We spent our honeymoon there many, many years ago — although even back then, it was still considered Colonial Williamsburg ~~ we’re not that old.

In case you’ve never been to this living museum – it is unlike any other.  It doesn’t feel contrived or corny – it really does recreate the eighteenth century, when Williamsburg was, for a time, the center of government, education and culture for the Virginia Colony .

It was here that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and others reluctantly maintained the forms of British government and later helped adapt its best bits to the needs of the newly formed United States.  Sorry I geeked out there for a moment ~~ end of history lesson.  Can you tell I love this place?

The historic area has many original buildings as well as reconstructed ones, including period shops, taverns, the courthouse and Governor’s palace. The interpreters are true re-enactors and speak in period grammar and phrases.  They represent period notables, as well as the common residents of Williamsburg – including slaves, gardeners, cooks, etc.

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It’s a wonderful experience just to wander and feel like one has traveled back in time.  Walking the brick sidewalks and exploring the little gardens behind the buildings.

 

img_2047But best of all, you may choose to stay in a colonial house…so you can sleep like this

 

 

 

 

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With your very own garden view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for the food (you knew that subject would come up didn’t you?), the four taverns serve period-based fare  – candlelight only, if you please, and a minstrel to entertain while you eat.

Afterwards, you slowly wander back to your colonial home with lights twinkling in the windows and you swear you’ve gone back in time.

(Click to make bigger and better see the candlelit windows.)

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Have I enticed you to go to Williamsburg?  If so, more information HERE.

Books will return to Book Barmy in the coming days.   I read a strange, but interesting, book and am halfway through a time travel novel.  So that should keep you coming back.

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A Change in Altitude ~ part two

Having just started to feel better, and with a renewed ability to breath, I realized I hadn’t posted some other tidbits about our non-hiking trip to the Eastern Sierras.

We stayed in the historic Heidelberg Inn which boasts an impressive open-sided fireplace in the lobby…imagine this in the winter with a roaring fire and cup of cocoa…yumm.

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Many films in the 1930’s to 40’s were filmed here including Road to Utopia with Bob Hope.  They say the bear on top of the lobby fireplace, has been there just as long.  I must say, he was a little creepy coming up the stairs at night.

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The Inn also has a great sense of humor…

 

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I also didn’t share other photos of our hiking adventures – our first day out and then our forced march hike around the lake.  Now that my head has cleared, I realize from looking at these photos that it was a lovely area, hot with no oxygen, but a very nice place to be.  Evidence below:

Maybe Husband is right, next time take two weeks…

Over and out…

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A change in altitude …

Husband and I just returned from a week up in the Eastern Sierras, namely, a place called June Lake.

june-lake Pretty right?

What you don’t see is the 8,500 foot altitude.  We live at sea level, a few blocks from the ocean, so we expect to spend our first day acclimating.

From experience we’ve learned to take it easy that first day, wander around the area, taking short walks, gulping both water and oxygen.

Day 2 – we decide on a 4 1/2 mile round trip hike up (yes up!) to a hidden lake.  The trail is described as moderate with a only a few steep grades.  We agree it’s a perfect first hike.  As we hiked we both realize something is wrong, we have sore throats, pounding headaches, and we are coughing loud enough to scare away wildlife sightings.  I unearth our first aid kit from the pack and we gulp down aspirin and carry on.

A pretty hike, complete with visiting ducks for lunch —

img_1877but we are feeling poorly and stumble gratefully back down to our car.  We have an early dinner and crawl into bed. We are unable to sleep, probably because we are unable to breath.

We finally admit, uh oh — we both caught colds.

I root through our seldom used travel medicine bag (we never get sick) and find two desiccated cough drops and some Sudaphed that expired in 2014.  We throw caution to wind and gamely use both.  (Note to self, perhaps it’s time to update said medicine bag.)

Day 3 – We slowly make our way through breakfast, heavy on the orange juice.  We are staying here and thankfully have a little kitchen.

indexBut, even our home base is in a plot against us –  with an impressive amount of gasp-inducing stairs and no elevator.

We drive into the closest big town which boasts a Rite Aid with ski resort prices.  We buy outrageously expensive (but unexpired) cold medicine and head back.

Day 4 – We do nothing, oxygen deprivation is serious, consider calling for emergency helicopter evacuation, but solider on drinking liquids, blowing our noses, napping and watching mindless daytime television.

We have a lovely view of the lake from our little apartment — but realize gazing at the view actually makes us feel worse.

Day 5 – Cabin fever has proven more serious than our colds, so we drive around and visit some little lakes that we can walk in and out of — never far from the car, water and Kleenex.  Because we are able to breath a bit better today, we gamely decide to take a short hike tomorrow.

Day 6 – Husband gets up early and wanders down to the lake, upon returning, he declares that a hike around the lake would be perfect.  A flat, nice, easy afternoon stroll.  Did I mention we’re still at 8,500 ft? Well, I’m mentioning it.

So we set out.  And it’s nice, we are actually able to talk, breathe and walk all at the same time.  We watch a bald eagle careening in the blue sky and start to feel human again.

img_1910Dun Dun Doh…we come upon a huge rock face that is blocking our lovely little stroll around the lake.  No problem says Husband, we’ll just go around.

So we clamber straight up this rock face until we find a service road and follow it until we can get back down to the lake.

Did I mention it’s 95 degrees and there’s no shade?  Well, I’m mentioning it…

The lake continues to beckon, but we just can’t get back down to it for a least another mile on the service road.  Back down at the lake, we make our way around until — drat — again rocks.  Climbing back up now to the main road into town…another mile of hot tarmac until we can find our way back down to the lake again.

Did I mention, one half of our intrepid hiking party is an Eagle Scout and the other half is not amused?  Well, I’m mentioning it.

We stagger into the lake’s marina, where Husband has a beer, and while I’d hoped for an icy cold Margarita, I settle for an ice tea.  (I’ve discovered in these fishing towns the adult beverage of choice is beer, beer or beer.   Trust me on this one, never order the house white wine.)

Thus restored, we climb the endless steps to our apartment.

Day 7 – Wake up feeling great, sun is shining, sky is blue and it’s time to pack and head home. On the drive back, Husband suggests “maybe next time we come for two weeks – that way we’ll have more time to get acclimated!”

Did I mention the other half is not amused?

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California spring trip

Husband and I went down to the central coast of California for a few days to see the wildflowers, after all our rain and do some wine tasting (naturally).  I’ll quickly share some photos (click to enlarge)

We took the back roads where spring has definitely sprung– yellow fields of wild mustard, western lilacs in bloom and even the live oak have green leaves.  By June or July, all the green fields will turn brown in the brutal 100 degree heat of the central coast.  So this is the time of year to go.

We went to one of our favorite wineries, Dark Star, to celebrate both the Paso Robles Zinfandel weekend and the owner’s birthday…there was even a very good band.

We slowly roamed the area, visiting different vineyards – one filled with lavender plantings and another with a view of Heart Hill.  Everything was green, there were lambs frolicking in the fields, and we were ever so happy both from the beautiful weather and scenery and our afternoon wine tasting.  Not a bad way to spend a couple of days in the central coastal region of Paso Robles and San Louis Obispo.  This — we reminded ourselves — is why we live in California.