Just back from vacation! I thought I’d write about it. Sonoma and Napa Valley can be a bit rainy this time of the year but still it was a wonderful trip to California. We stayed in an outstanding bed & breakfast in Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County. I highly recommend the Grape Leaf Inn where you will enjoy a gourmet breakfast and afternoon wine tasting. The best meal came in St. Helena at Tra Vigne. Try the beef short ribs with polenta and you will be awed. The scenery is spectacular. I loved the drive over from Sonoma into Napa Valley and also Silverado Trail. Plus the drive through the Russian River Valley to the Pacific coast was also thrilling. My favorite part was visiting the smaller wineries in Sonoma. They dot the landscape and there are so many great stories behind the different wine blends and how people get into the business. In a way it reminds me of the pottery industry in NC. The product comes from the soil and takes shape with human hands. I love the personal nature of the business. There are also the grand wineries with their tram tours and mansions out front with touristy trinkets for sale. They’re fun and educational but I really preferred the small and more down to earth winery eager to meet new friends and converts. I ran into a family from Raleigh. “Aren’t you Bill Leslie?” So I have to be on my best behavior – even in California wine country!