California Spring . Flowers, Wine & Water

March brings Spring to Northern California.  Everything, I mean everything has buds and flowers; trees, ground cover, bushes, roadsides.  Being among this beauty reminds me again how grateful I am for the natural world.  If you are looking for a way to have a positive affect, consider joining Up On Green, Nature Conservancy, or Defenders of Wildlife to name a few.

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Mustard in Bloom, Sonoma
Trail into Calistoga Hills, Oak Trees
Trail into Calistoga Hills, Oak Trees
Flowering Fruit Trees, Napa Valley
Flowering Fruit Trees, Napa Valley

Picture 6My eyes & nose were on high alert driving through Napa Valley, the air hit with mountain freshness, eucalyptus, flowering fruit trees & that clean country dirt air mixed with ocean mists.  We stayed in Calistoga at Dr. Wilkinsons Hot Springs for a rejuvenating mud bath. Calistoga restaurants are amazing, and people are very welcoming. Check out Jole Restaurant for their farm to table organic tasting menu.  They get 5 stars from us on service, ambience, taste, and eco-friendly!  I recommend a leisurely country drive through Sonoma County with plenty of stops:  Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Sebastopol, Occidental, Fort Ross.

drivenapaI can’t say enough good about the hardworking people striving to save the planet in California.  That’s not everyone of course, but there are many in Northern California.  ZD Winery in Napa is sustainable organic.  Their trucks run on vegetable oil, power is solar, organic farming, no additives to their wine.  They compost & cover crop to enrich the soil, which grows vigorous plants to withstand pests & disease opposed to pesticides & herbicides.  By the way, you do know that non-organic wine can and does have additives & preservatives.  These additives are NOT required listing on the label!! But, ZD wines are clean, pure, organic and amazing..visit there when in Napa, order some on-line, or even better; beg your favorite restaurants to offer it.

ZD Winery uses cover crops between the rows of grape vines to enrich soil
ZD Winery uses cover crops between the rows of grape vines to enrich soil

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Highway 1 up to Mendocino County
Highway 1 up to Mendocino County

The Ocean has many different moods, north of Jenner on Highway One (ps. watch for cows in the road, not kidding)

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Most of these views were taken at Timber Cove Inn where we stayed North of Jenner on Coastal Highway One.  Very comfy place with amazing views, quiet, beautiful, great food and pleasant staff.  Highly recommended.  Finally, the trip ended with San Francisco…a bustling Bay City with so much going on, one would have to stay a lifetime to fit it all in.  We stayed near Fisherman’s Wharf.  Green’s Restaurant at Fort Mason was our favorite with fresh, organic creative dishes after a walk along the Bay.  The seals hang out on Pier 39, a protected area set aside for seals only, a nice little jaunt along the boardwalk in the morning, but by afternoon it’s full of tourists – go early.

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The Bay Bridge at night is mysterious and friendly, quaint and impending, romantic and thrilling.  Pictured is the Bay Bridge, Chinatown, Biker’s Pub, and Museum of Modern Art.

IMG_4615bayIMG_4601chinaIMG_4568artlauriecameraPhotography Tip: This trip was a pleasure.  No professional camera gear, just a little consumer Canon G9 Powershot with one fixed zoom lens, slow reaction time, and minimal focusing ability.  It’s not the tools, it’s the eye that sees a great shot.  I learned on a fully manual SLR and it taught me to see light and color in a way I would never have learned on an automatic.  Something that enables me today to intuitively know settings and work quicker.  The Powershot forced me to work harder to get the shot; an exercise sure to improve my craft.

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