What a crazy, wonderful summer! When last I posted we were on the road home from a long road trip to Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Alabama visiting family and friends and celebrating two wonderful graduation ceremonies. Just a few short days after we returned home we were off again to visit family and friends on the west coast.
In just four days we emptied our suitcases, laundered all our clothes, opened all the mail, paid the bills, checked the lawn, went out to dinner with our friends and then packed our suitcases once again.
We flew on Virgin America Airlines. I was impressed with the seats, leg room, flight attendants, service and the entertainment units on the back of each seat. I usually read, or do crossword puzzles when I travel but I must say I found it relaxing to stop every so often and watch the news or a movie. The flight was smooth and before we knew it we were in Los Angeles and waiting for the courtesy bus to take us to the car rental office.
After a considerable wait at the car rental and a two-hour drive, we finally arrived at Randy’s sister’s home in Carpinteria. It was late and Brian and Antoinette had already retired for the evening so we made our way to the guest house, dropped our suitcases and fell into bed.
After a good night’s sleep we awoke to a foggy, chilly California morning. But sunny or cloudy I love the beautiful view from the guest house porch. The yard is a beautiful verdant field of tropical plants and flowers. As I looked over at the main house it brought back memories of many beautiful Hawaiian style homes we saw while on our honeymoon. The house is a multi-level home with a wrap-around porch on the main level with views of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, today all we could see from the porch was coastal fog.
We made our way up to the main house to share hugs and kisses with Antoinette and Brian and then sat down for a lovely breakfast. During breakfast we discussed plans for our visit. Today Randy and Brian would go to the shooting range while Antoinette and I would make our way to the town of Ojai to visit the weekly farmer’s market and walk around town.
Antoinette and I had a very nice time walking through the market checking out all the beautiful fruits, vegetables, flowers and jewelry. There was quite a bit of organic and gluten free products at the market. We then walked over to a small pedestrian area lined with many wonderful shops. We wandered leisurely through many of the shops and even purchased a few goodies to take home.
After we had walked the entire area Antoinette wanted to know if I wanted to stop for ice cream. While waiting for her to finish looking at one last shop, I walked into a small, beautiful shop called the Casa Barranca Organic Winery & Tasting Room and suggested that we treat ourselves to a glass of wine. Both wines were delicious.
While we were enjoying our glasses of wine, Randy and Brian had driven to Brian’s gun club to do some shooting. Randy enjoyed riding up the mountain. He was surprised that when they left the house the weather was in the 50’s but by the time they reach the shooting range the temperature was in the 80’s. “Seems like it was backwards,” Randy remarked during dinner later that evening.
I asked Randy how he did. “I was having trouble concentrating and was pulling my shots low and to the left with both guns. Brian was right on target,” he replied. He went on to say that Brian wanted to do some skeet/trap shooting. They moved on to another range but Randy explained that he was just too tired and begged off but enjoyed watching Brian.
By the time we all returned home there was a surprise waiting for Randy. Randy’s cousin Bill had been invited to spend the night and was waiting for everyone to return. Randy was so excited. It had been at least 12 years since Randy and seen his cousin and was looking forward to catching up and sharing stories of good times growing up in San Diego.
Brian and Antoinette prepared a wonderful grilled dinner and we spent the evening talking, drinking and enjoying a beautiful sunset over the cold Pacific Ocean. On our way back to the guest house Randy said with a smile, “What a wonderful day!”
The second day of our visit started just like the first with cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60’s. We made our way to the main house and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before Bill continued on his trip to Northern California to pick up his partner.
Once Bill departed, we took a slow drive in the shadow of the coastal mountain range to visit wine country. The sun was out and everywhere you looked was various shades of green.
We stopped at a small, quaint town in wine country called Los Olivos. We stopped to get a quick bite to eat at a little restaurant called Panino. After eating a light lunch, Antoinette and I took a walk around the town while the Randy and Brian relaxed under an umbrella and talked.
Antoinette and I visited a small shop called the Artisan Gallery and browsed their leather goods, clothing and jewelry. Outside the store was a fascinating tree sculpture made of horseshoes. I found it very interesting.
We continued our walk visiting the J.Woestse Home & Garden Treasures. This garden was full to capacity with fun and fascinating home and yard décor.
What struck me most about this little town was the smell of jasmine bushes that were outside many of the little shops that lined the streets. I was also fascinated at how many wine tasting rooms were in this little quaint town. Unfortunately, it was Monday and the tasting rooms were closed.
We finally parted from this lovely town and made our way to the Demetria Estate to enjoy an afternoon relaxing on the patio and sampling several of their wonderful wines.
We visited this winery on our last visit to Randy’s sister’s family several years ago. We sat at the same table enjoying the view of the vineyard and the new areas that had been planted since that visit.
We arrived late afternoon and settled in one of their picnic tables. Antoinette brought along some nibbles for us to enjoy with our wine. We sampled five wines including a white, rose, and three reds.
While I do not favor whites I found the 2014 Chardonnay SB County to be very light and refreshing. The 2016 Grenache Rose was a very good dry wine. The “Le Belier” Pinot Noir was a very good hardy red. The 2014 Pantheon, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, had a bit of a bite to it. The 2013 Cuvee Constantine, also a blend, was my favorite of the reds. The attributes of each wine was explained between each pouring. What a lovely way to spend the day!
It was hard to do but we finally left this beautiful setting and made our way along the coast enjoying the beautiful scenery of the coastline. We enjoyed a nice dinner and lively conversation. Randy was fascinated that Brian cooked the corn-on-the-cob husks and all on the grill. “The corn was great,” Randy declared.
Tomorrow Randy and I strike out on our own to visit Hearst Castle.