12 August, 2011

HONEYMOON - Day 7, Local Wineries

We started again this morning with a lovely breakfast (omelet, toast, tomatoes & feta, warmed grapefruit) and today we shared our table with another couple who had stayed at the B&B last night: Marion & Rosa. I really love staying at B&Bs. I love the interaction with the homemakers, I love their cozy feeling, and I usually enjoy chatting with the other guests at breakfast. But I must say that I enjoyed this couple the most. They got married last summer; they are both musicians (pianists); and they had a wonderful sense of love and faith and "joie de vivre"... sharing a meal with them and learning a bit of their lives was a wonderful way to start the day.

Then we spent a few morning hours reading by the pool before we headed off on our tour of local wineries in the town of Mariposa. We stopped at Starbucks first, of course, and then we were off - down a new (and just as beautiful) winding highway. And after about 40 minutes, we saw the small sign for our first vineyard: Butterfly Creek.

We slowly found our way down the narrow "two-lane" road just off California 140 and pulled into what looked more like someone's home than a winery... and it was. We were greeted by 4 sweet dogs and then by Bob, the smiling and friendly owner of this family vineyard (his parents started the business, his college-aged daughter does the artwork for the wine bottle labels). He warmly invited us in to have a tasting of a few different wines, describing each of them with knowledgeable but common enough language that we really got a sense of how he grows and picks the grapes that go into his beautiful wines. After purchasing a fruity, refreshing white and a bolder red - we got back into our fun convertible and Bob walked the 50 feet back to his house, all dogs following behind their kind master.

After a quick stop at a local pizza chain ("We toss 'em. They're awesome.") we explored the town of Mariposa... window shopping - and buying a few things, too - in some adorable mountain stores along the small main street in this town of less than 2,000 people. We also spent some time in The Country Store, where Harold & Kris sell their Mount Bullion Vineyard and Casto Oaks wine. Harold was a wry, large man who seemed to smile at a joke while he thought of it - and would then share the secret he was chuckling at with us. He and his wife saw a For Sale sign on their vineyard lot just over 10 years ago as they were taking a drive... and within one month, they owned the place. He seemed to make wine just for fun. And lucky for us, it also turned out to be quite good! We picked up two more bottles and were on our way.

We liked it so much the first time, that we had dinner at El Cid again - enjoying our taco salads while talking about our favorite parts of our trip. Without a moment of hesitation, I can truly say that my favorite "part" of this week has been the luxury of having seemingly endless time to be with the man I love - to sit next to him by the pool, to be winded with him as we climbed mountains, to see his wide grin as we drove through this beautiful country, and above all, to have several deep and meaningful conversations with him about life and love and this journey that we're taking together. I am so blessed.

Our last honeymoon night wound down with stop at Queens Inn to hear a local cover band play a few songs (and to watch cute couples awkwardly dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves). And we had to linger in the jacuzzi just one more time... the warm water bubbling up around us as the full moon shone brightly through cool night air.

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