Trying Something New in Sonoma on a Vacation of a Lifetime

After a delicious buffet at the Wine Country Inn and a gift of their tasty granola, we packed up and continued exploring northern California. We stopped at Castello Di Amorosa, a modern day Tuscan castle that closely resembles those built in medieval Italy. The tour of the castle revealed a moat, amazing murals, thousands of barrels of wine, and even a torture chamber.

Vacation of a Lifetime Wine Tour

After exploring the neat little town of Calistoga, it was time to head to Healdsburg and check in at the Honor Mansion, a B&B in Sonoma wine country.

Pictures of this Sonoma bed and breakfast cannot do it justice. It looks deceptively small from the front of the inn, but we were in for a surprise after we checked in to our Vineyard Suite. The Honor Mansion has a pool, beautiful grounds for formal croquet, a putting green, tennis court, and a place to play bocce ball. It also has colorful koi fish that guests can feed. A beautiful hedge surrounds the croquet grounds, and four times around it enabled me to get a mile walk in that evening and the next morning.

Honor Mansion Grounds

After a delicious breakfast of pancakes and a gift of a bottle of Chardonnay, we said our goodbyes and headed to the Inn at Occidental, also in Sonoma wine country.

The weather in northern California was a little colder than I expected, but we got a very warm welcome at The Inn at Occidental from innkeepers Jerry and Tina.

Rosy Entrance to Inn at Occidental

Tina noticed my shivering and promptly loaned me one of her sweatshirts so I could warm up. Tina suggested we go see the Armstrong Redwoods, which are not as manicured as Muir Woods, and we were glad we took her advice. That afternoon over appetizers, we visited with a couple from Alaska who were biking the wine country and obviously younger and more athletic than we are!

The next morning we headed to Alliance Redwoods to do something I have been wanting to do for several years — ziplining! It was an amazing experience to be up among the tops of the redwoods, step off the platform, and end up at the next redwood intact. I am proud to say that I didn’t back out, although I did question my sanity when I was up in the first tree!

We then headed back to the Inn at Occidental for an extra night to enjoy the beautiful gardens there and the quaint town of Occidental, a relaxing finish to an exhilarating day.

- Janet

Inn at Occidental Garden

Gardens at the Inn at Occidental

Janet and Warren are the lucky winners of the 2013 Vacation of a Lifetime, which took them on a tour of California’s Wine Country. For a chance to win a Vacation of a Lifetime of your own – one free night at every Select Registry property – join the Select Registry Rewards Program.

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