Archive for 2012

It’s All About the Bubbly

We spent our Labor Day Monday exploring some of the best (in our opinion) wineries Napa Valley has to offer. Waking up at 7AM after hiking was difficult, but it was worth it knowing we had a FREE tour of Mumm Napa waiting for us! Mumm does one free 10AM tour daily, which saves you from $10 - $25 depending on whether or not you do a tasting. The tour was great! We had a phenomenal guide, Penn, who taught us everything we wanted to know and more about sparkling wines – take note (as Penn informed us) that Mumm, and all other “champagne” manufacturers in the US are actually producing “sparkling wine,” and true champagne can only come from Champagne, France. As bartenders both Kyle and Megan were entranced by the process of how this sparkling wine is made, and the many steps from production to extracting yeast with the Madame Clicquot’s (Veuve Clicquot) method of six rotation yeast sediment extraction. After our tour we did a tasting, where each of us picked a different flight that allowed us to try every sparkling wine Mumm had to offer. Our gracious server, James C. even allowed a sample of a sparkling Pinot Noir, which was not on our flight list. We concluded that this Pinot Noir was by far our favorite – and if you ever come across it we highly recommend trying it! The tab for the four flights was minimal, and coupled with the free tour entirely worth every penny.

With a slight buzz on we left Mumm and headed off to Megan and our old roommate Nikki’s favorite red wine maker, Ménage à trois, which also makes Folie à deux and shares a building with Napa Cellars. There the two Megan’s shared two flights of wine, at a 2 for 1 price, and Kyle bought some BBQ sauce. We were excited for our third stop because Megan had heard many good things about Turnbull Wine Cellars. The stop at Turnbull quickly became one of our favorites because of the amazing staff, not to mention delicious wines – and again a 2 for 1 flight tasting! Our two servers, Abby and Burroughs helped the two Megan’s to more than their fair share of Turnbull wines – which left them giggly as could be. As the boys noticed the girls slipping away they hauled them off to the Farmstead Restaurant, at the advice of Abby. The four of us fell in love with this amazing boutique restaurant, with farm fresh vegetables, obviously great wine list and an ultra clean menu, what wasn’t to love?! We especially like walking up and smelling the fresh herb garden right outside.

Our final stop was Sutter Home, who shares free wine flights daily. Unfortunately this winery left much to be desired – unless you’re on a tight, tight budget we recommend avoiding this winery! By the time we had visited Sutter Home, our fourth winery, the Megan’s had, had enough. The couples said their good-byes as Megan and Kyle left to Rohnert Park, where they had booked a hotel for the night. All in all our day in Napa was to be treasured. We had come across many wonderful wineries that offered great specials and allowed us to discover that we like red wine over white, and Mumm sparkline Pinot Noir over everything else! We highly encourage anyone taking a trip to Napa to do a little research on winery specials, and of course stop by the wineries we were lucky enough to try – you will certainly not be disappointed!


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A Picture of Paradise

The next morning we woke before the sun, 4:30AM to be exact, packed up our belongings and tiptoed out of Avi and Kayla’s house. We applaud their apartment facility for having an excellent coffee machine in the lobby, because without it there is no way we would have made the early morning drive to Sacramento. Two hours and a few McGriddles later we found ourselves in Elk Grove, where we picked up Travis, Kyle’s very good childhood friend from Indiana, and his amazing fiancé Megan. The four of us headed off with the Jeep packed up with water bottles, sandwiches and healthy snacks, Tahoe bound on a beautiful Labor Day weekend Sunday.

When we got to the lake reality set in – it was Labor Day weekend, meaning people had off work, which translates to traffic! We waited and waited for a place to pull off and park but even during the lull no one seemed the slightest bit upset. The stunning views of pine trees, backed by a crystal clear bright blue lake kept all our spirits high. After securing a parking spot we began our hike down to the water, laughing and talking, the boys reminiscing on old times and the Megan’s (who had just met for the first time) found many things to connect on. Everything was perfect - until we stumbled upon a nude beach! Hikers beware, the East side of the lake has many nude beaches and sunbathers are not of the Candice Swanepoel caliber, instead imagine saggy gravity stricken grandparents with bad sunburns!

We searched the shoreline for a place to stop and enjoy our lunch but unfortunately we had no luck. Every rocky cove and sandy beach had people on it, so we left to see what the rest of the lake had to offer... what we found was the beautiful Emerald Bay. Of course we had to battle traffic once again, but the scenery of the South Side of the lake can only be described by one word: Breathtaking. We were all very anxious to get out and explore the trails around the Bay. Travis and Megan showed us up as they glided alone the trails without being winded – take note, this is a very fit “running” couple and Megan has completed a marathon or two in her day (did we also mention this other fabulous Megan is a Doctor, as in MD)! Noticing the lack of stamina on our part, TITM’s Megan decided she would do what her counterpart Megan has done and take up running – even to the point of entering the LA Marathon in March!

As the day came to a close we headed back to Elk Grove as the orange harvest-moon ushered us home as it took over the night sky. We were thankful that the wonderful couple put us up for the night. The plan for the following day was to put our winery finding skills to work and have a tour of Napa Valley. It was another night of early to bed, early to rise as we dozed off before midnight while visions of wine grapes danced in our heads!


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If You’re Going to San Francisco…

I would like to say that our lack of updates has been due to the fact that we spent the last week moving from Arizona to Los Angeles – but let’s be real, we keep a TRAVEL blog, therefore we should be posting despite traveling and being busy or pressed for time!

After our epic Euro-Trip we had planned on taking some time off to relax, catch up on sleep and unwind. We spent our first few days back home getting over jet lag and catching up with friends. During one of our lunch dates with our friends Kayla and Avi they informed us that they would be moving to San Francisco - and requested our help... Of course we accepted the offer, how could we resist a trip to California! They picked us up on a Tuesday night and helped them finish packing up and cleaning their house (those little bums were only about 2/3 of the way done when we showed up)! Nearly 24 hours later the four of us had managed to pack up a 14’ U-Haul, attach a trailer for Avi’s BMW, load up Kayla’s Passat and prepare a boxer, kitten and two chameleons for an 18 hour car ride. Kyle and Avi piloted the U-Haul, while the girls took the animals in Kayla’s tiny Volkswagen. The first night we made good time, arriving at the halfway point Valencia, CA, and staying the night at a Days Inn. It was comical sneaking all the animals into a hotel and up to the second floor – and then of course out again the next morning in broad daylight. Day two of our journey was a little rough, Kayla and Megan somehow got lost when they missed a turn off for Highway-152, drove 20 miles out of the way and couldn’t catch up until San Francisco. Aside from getting lost, CA Highway-152 is an awesome drive, the garlic fields in Gilroy and multiple roadside fruit stands are so cute, and hard to resist passing up!

When the four of us rejoined in San Francisco where we checked into a Travelodge near the airport for the night – the plan was to stay in a hotel for a few days until they found a place to stay… that’s right, not only were we movers we now were assistant realtors! Thursday morning started off rough, our two lovely friends got into it over places to live – this is where we graduated from realtors to relationship counselors, of course moving is stressful and usually brings out the worst in people so who could blame them? After looking at only two places they decided on a beautiful apartment near Candlestick Park, where the 49ers play. That night we celebrated with multiple pitchers of Long Island iced teas at a bar near the airport, toasting to their new and prosperous life in San Fran.

Friday we rented a car and drove around the city while they unpacked. Our car rental was a STEAL, a green 2011 Jeep Liberty that we would have for seven days at only $5 a day! Hertz does a drive for five deal twice a year – and we were more than willing to capitalize on, on top of that the Foursquare App gave us an extra 10% off at the SF Airport. Once in our car we started our city tour at near Ghirardelli Square, walked to the Maritime where we watched swimmers glide through the freezing water back and forth between the buoys. We snaked on seasonal Pumpkin Spice Carmel chocolate at the Ghirardelli factory, and browsed the shops and restaurants. Megan had insisted that she eat authentic Chinese Food from Chinatown, so our second stop was “Chinatown Restaurant” on Washington St. where we took our meal ‘to-go’ and sped off to the Golden Gate Bridge. Once across the bridge we wandered around the “Muir Woods” snapping photos of the clouds as the poured into the valley over the mountaintops. As the temperature dropped off we drove back across the bridge, take note fellow travelers there is a $6 fee entering San Fran on the Golden Gate, but no fee for leaving.

Back in the city we cruised through Golden Gate Park and onto Haight Street. Of course we visited the Haight-Ashbury district before returning back to Kayla and Avi’s new pad. When we got back to their lovely new home they had moved in all of their furniture (with the help of their other roommate Ryan), and the place was beginning to take shape. That night as they unpacked we disappeared into their apartment community center and did research on Napa Valley and the many wineries – and winery discounts. For Wino’s like Megan we recommend two things an app, “Winery Finder & Tasting Pass Finder” and the website These two resources kept us busy all night planning a day trip there for the following Monday with our other NorCal friends, Travis and Megan. A few short hours helped us outline a plan with some amazing winery tours and tastings for people on a budget! We tucked ourselves in to bed early that night, of course everyone in the apartment, including the animals, were exhausted from the busy day. Sleep was important because we would be off at 5AM the next morning on our way to Sacramento to pick up Travis and Megan for a Labor Day hike in Tahoe!

Our assistance as movers to San Francisco with Kayla and Avi was great, we had so much fun helping out some awesome people get their life started in a new city – plus it was good practice for us because (at the time) we were planning on moving to Seattle just a few weeks later. We definitely plan to spend more time in the bay area, hopefully before Megan’s San Francisco marathon in June! It was also a great kick off to our California trip, that little did we know would be changing our lives forever. Until Tahoe…


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Header image:Arizona Roadtrip Sunset, By: Kyle Ledeboer
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