Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vacation Post #1 – Sonoma, CA - August 14th and 15th

Vacation Post #1   Sonoma, CA - August 14th and 15th

I decided to do something for myself that didn’t involve gardening or working on the house over this vacation. So I splurged and got a room at theFairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa for a couple of days. This is way more than I would usually be comfortable spending on a hotel room but my life has been so busy the last 7 months that I decided to do it. The hotel is one that has mineral water in all the pools and a giant spa so I just did it. The hotel itself is impressive, very big but keeps that mission charm to it. The staff is wonderful and my room was great! The only issue was the cost of everything there, but what do you expect at a Fairmont? I did book a spa treatment and it was so worth it! The spa area is as large as some hotels with 2 swimming pools, a mineral pool, a Jacuzzi and 2 steam rooms. There were as many men there as women which is was surprising. They even have a café and a store if you would like to buy some over-priced swim wear. I got a hotel signature treatment which started with mud being painted on my body and then I was wrapped in plastic and warm towels. It was like a cocoon or a burrito, imagine whichever makes the most sense to you. The mud was not some local farm mud, oh no.. it was mud from the moors of Hungary. Finely ground until it is like a talcum powder feeling and then mixed with warm water until it resembles a really thick pudding. Then after you steep in the mud burrito for about 15 mins or so, you get to wash it off. The guy doing my treatment helped wipe it off my back and then I got to get in the shower and scrub it off. It doesn’t come off easily and I was finding small mud spots for days. After that, you get into a bath with bubbles and mineral salts and soak for about 15 mins more. Then you get a massage! So the whole thing took about 90 mins and cost me about $300.. but my skin was so smooth that it was ridiculous. After that I swam and lounged by the pool and even had a beer while I talked to a nice lady visiting from Seattle. It was so relaxing that I had to go take a nap! One thing I took a picture of was these chair and table sets that were all around the resort grounds under the trees. They are cleverly made from wine barrel pieces of wood.

I also spent time at the plaza in Sonoma where the last mission in the state resides. It is mission Solano and I went through a tour of the mission and the soldier’s barracks next door. It is a very nice little town square kind of feeling with the old mission and new shops and wine bars and restaurants etc..
When I was driving home, I stopped along the way at a wildlife viewing area and took some pictures of the landscape. The area used to be mainly marshland and there was enough water in the sloughs to have flat bottom boats come in from the bay to deliver items to Sonoma and pick up things to bring back to San Francisco. There wasn’t any bridges back then so the water was a key to supplying the area and commerce. Then levees were created to drain out the water and allow it to be farmed so that entire area is gone. However, a movement in the bay area is underway to purchase any of these tidal areas and restore them. Down in the south bay, there are old salt ponds that aren’t needed any more and they are being restored as well. What has been discovered is the tidal marsh area served a vital purpose in filtering out the brackish water and providing shelter for lots of animals and birds. It is nice to see these areas being restored again, and you can see in the pictures, the marsh area and the farm land and vineyards, all playing nice together.

Old Theater in the plaza

Sonoma Mission

Adobe Walls

Courtyard fountain that I assume use to be a well

Oven in the courtyard



Soldiers Barracks

Soldiers Barracks


Marsh Area

View from the marsh restoration area - next to a field of hay and the vineyards

It was a wonderful trip and I am glad that I did it… I hate spending money like that but I think it was well worth it. I came back relaxed and ready to go to Tucson to see Nick.


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