Girlfriend Getaway in the Wine Country
Starting the New Year with a Girlfriend Getaway to the Sonoma Wine Country was one of my best ideas ever. Fitting relaxation and fun into 48 short hours was the predicament. Our priorities were simple – time at the spa, wine tasting, great food, and shopping. The Flamingo Resort, conveniently located close to Sonoma wineries, was the top choice for all of the adventures that we had planned.
First up was time at the Spa at Montecito Heights, located at the Flamingo. We had arranged to spend the afternoon getting scrubbed, massaged and pampered while enjoying our favorite champagne. The adventure concluded with a 50-minute decadent foot massage. Read about the blissful spa experience.
After an extraordinary time at the spa, all we could think about was getting back to our lovely room at the Flamingo and donning plush robes. Our upgraded room included a pool-facing patio, which was perfect for sipping a glass of wine before sunset. The rooms have comfortable beds, luxurious linens and pillows, and comfortable robes. We opted for dinner from the room-service menu so we could linger in our robes and savor the relaxation from our spa treatments. The other dining choice was the Terrace Grill and an after-dinner cocktail in the Flamingo Lounge while enjoying live music. The Flamingo also serves a Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet that is popular with locals and guests.
The next day we were up early for an adventurous day of wine tasting. We ate breakfast at Viloa Pastry Boutique and Cafe in Montgomery Village. Their pastries and desserts are oh so tempting. We opted for individual servings of Quiche Lorraine accompanied by a green salad and our coffee choice, a cappuccino. Our plan was to be well-fueled so that we could enjoy drinking wine at 10 am.
We had arranged to visit several wineries in Sonoma during the weekend. There are 10 wineries to choose from in Glen Ellen and Kenwood that are a short drive away. The best deal is the Heart of Sonoma Valley Wine Trail pass which allows visits to 17 participating wineries, while enjoying complimentary tastings and discounts on wine purchases.
The first stop was BR Cohn Winery, producer of award-winning wines and olive oil. While we were interested in sampling the wine, I was thrilled to talk with founder Bruce Cohn, a legend in his own right. Not only is he a visionary winery owner, he is also the manager of the Doobie Brothers. After tasting BR Cohn wines and touring their property it was off to lunch.
The Vineyards Inn was the perfect place to take a break from the rigors of wine tasting. Their Spanish tapas menu includes a selection of small plates, perfect for sharing, as well as offering heartier portions. Wine is on tap, keeping prices affordable and ensuring the wine is always fresh. Chef and owner Steve Rose (Chef Esteban) joined us to talk about the restaurant. They grow their own produce and source local ingredients, which is one of the reasons their food is so delicious. They have also received an award for being the Greenest Restaurant in the Bay Area. The grilled Calamari and Kale was outstanding, but so was the Paella Valenciana, Gambas al Ajillo and the Lamb. It was if we had been transported to a cafe in Spain, lingering over a delicious feast, savoring good food, wine, and friends.
The next winery on our list was VJB Vineyards and Cellars, a family operation focused on Italian varietals. When we arrived, they had a table for our Reserve Tasting set with antipasto, bread, and house-made pesto and artichoke spread, which perfectly complemented their wine. The tasting included a selection of their most popular and awarded small-production wines, including Chardonnay, Barbera, Zinfandel, Primitivo, and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. We concluded our tasting with cappuccino.
It was back to the Flamingo for a nap before our evening on the town. There are numerous dining choices in Santa Rosa to try. Downtown Fourth Street has a plethora of restaurants and bars, as well as Montgomery Village and Railroad Square. Monti’s Rotisserie and Bar, the locals’ favorite, was a good choice for a glass of wine and a light meal – its close proximity to the Flamingo Resort made it an obvious choice.
The next day there were a few things left to do before our drive home. Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe was the choice for Sunday brunch. This friendly locals’ spot was a great choice for a hearty breakfast. It is not surprising that this is a popular choice, specializing in gourmet comfort food using fresh, local ingredients. The chef was recently with John Ash and has a strong local following. The Chilaquiles were served with a Chile Verde sauce, feta cheese, black beans and choice of eggs, so delicious. The fresh coffee and mimosa were the perfect accompaniment to the meal.
Ledson Winery was the last stop on our wine-tasting adventure. This beautiful French Normandy castle located in Kenwood has three tasting rooms and ample space for picnicking under their heritage oak trees. Fortunately their deli has an array of food products with which to assemble a gourmet lunch, to be enjoyed with a bottle of their wine on their lovely grounds. Join them for Bachelors’ Nights on Mondays at the Ledson Hotel Centre du Vin.
The final destination was Montgomery Village for a little shopping before heading back to reality. The outdoor center has a mix of national retailers and local shops, making it an ideal place to shop and dine. After strolling through the center and visiting the shops, it was time to head for home. With as much fun as we had on this girlfriend weekend, we are already planning the next one.
Details: The Flamingo Resort and Spa is the perfect destination for a wine country adventure. It is conveniently located near ten Sonoma wineries and lots of restaurants. Their day spa, fitness center and pool are additional reasons why this is one my favorite resorts. Located at 2777 4th Street Santa Rosa, CA CA 94505. Phone (800) 848-8300.