We got a recommendation from a Sacramento local that although Napa Valley is a lovely part of the country (and I agree, I was there a couple years ago), a slightly more down-to-earth and off-the-radar spot is Lodi, California. I had not previously heard of Lodi, but it is conveniently located between Sacramento and Stockton, about an hour east of Napa Valley. In Napa Valley, there were zero Harvest Host locations – in Lodi we found 5. Much more convenient! We chose Jessie’s Grove, a quiet winery just on the outskirts of town.
The grounds were beautiful and I’m still pretty stoked about seeing so many flowers mid November.
They provided us with a nice spot in a field next to the winery, overlooking the vineyard.
There are 85 wineries in Lodi, so there is no shortage of wine to sample and enjoy. And enjoy we did! We went out wine tasting on a Friday afternoon. We only made it to two wineries. We kind of got stuck in conversation at our second stop and the wine was flowing and before we knew it, intoxication set in. Such is the way of wine country.
In a drunken haze we stumbled upon a great little pizza place in Lodi (because of course we did) called SMACK PIE.
Countless tasteless jokes were made in reference to the questionable choice of restaurant name…. But their pizza was the real deal. It was essentially a build-your-own pizza assembly line, and we loved every bite. We might have gone back twice.
I would like to note here that our wine-tasting adventure began around 3pm and ended at 7:30pm, when both Kelly and I decided to call it a night and promptly went to sleep. I think this is a new record for early bedtimes. We both woke up at midnight with terrible hangovers. Ohhhh wine, you sneaky devil.
The next day, the folks at our winery pointed out to us that there is a shop downtown called Cheese Central that we may want to take a look at. We didn’t need much more detail than that, so we set off on a cheese adventure.
The premise of Cheese Central is that you get to taste a whole bunch of awesome cheeses from all over the world in small quantities before making your selection to purchase. You can then bring your cheese to any of the local wineries and enjoy it with your wine of choice.
The lady working there was maybe the nicest lady in the whole world, and we stayed for far too long and tried far too many cheeses.
About $30 and 5 cheeses later, we walked out of the store to go enjoy our purchases.
Wine + Cheese + Sunsets – I think this is what this whole area is about. I whole-heartedly approve.
In RV news, not one but BOTH of our heaters have crapped out on us. The back one blows but never gets hot, and the front one started squealing and grinding and shaking and became instantly unusable one afternoon. Unfortunately these have not proven to be quick and easy fixes (Kelly is working on it, but so far no luck). So for now, we are sleeping with two comforters and in the mornings I have taken to wrapping up like a mummy in blankets and waddling to the computer for my 7am work call.
Darn you California and your 40 degree nights!!
Also, in pet news, we have created a kitty palace in the bedroom where the old TV used to be. Rajah quickly claimed it as his own and is now lording over all of us from on high.
Up next: Bay Area Adventures!