Valley

I had a little more research to do, and this time, it took me south to Anderson Valley instead of north to the Village. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it was a beautiful day for a drive. The ocean looked like a postcard, and it wasn’t long before I was driving past the ancient, sky-high redwoods, with the sun flickering through the tree tops. I was pleased to see that most of the traffic was heading the other way, though I was pretty much taking my time and admiring the scenery as best I could while navigating the curvy roads.

Not long after leaving Navarro, where I noticed that the store once again has their barbecue up and going, it was time to put on the air conditioning and be grateful for modern conveniences.

My destination was The Madrones, where Megan and I explored a couple of years ago (has it been that long?). It is a beautiful, Mediterranean style enclave:

including accommodations, tasting rooms for local wine, charming shops, and a restaurant with an inviting, shade-dappled terrace:

You enter the restaurant through a little shop filled with quirky treasures:

I have to admit I picked up a treasure of my own, a little porcelain chrysanthemum. I just fell for it and decided it would be the perfect companion for the orange vase in my living room, which it is:

The restaurant is famous for its wood-fired oven and for using high quality local meats and produce. They have a pizza night on Mondays which I would like to check out. Pizza made in a wood-fired oven is the best.

I got a fantastic sandwich: chicken roasted in the wood-fired oven with smoked bacon, aioli, lettuce, pickled carrots, and herbs, all on a house-made roll:

I now want to learn how to make picked carrots. My good friend A, the queen of all things gastronome, has sent me a recipe to try, so stay tuned on that.

On my way home, I stopped in at Gowan’s, where I got apple cider, fresh walnuts and almonds, raspberries, and strawberries. Just up the road, I stopped to take a picture of these classic beauties, reposing peacefully in someone’s yard:

I was glad to get back to the sea breezes of the coast, but I love visiting the Valley, despite its oven-like heat. I love the rolling golden hills, the undulating waves of green vines, and the deep pools of live oaks. It’s a special place.

A YEAR AGO: Adventures in baking.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Enjoying the quilt show. And the fact that we still had Star.

TEN YEARS AGO: Jonathan’s dog-sitting was a little too adventurous, even for him.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: It’s good when bad neighbors move out.

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