The ramblings of a woman,
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Taking Kids to Wine Country

August 26, 2014 - 1:06 PM

The French Laundry is a world renowned restaurant, ranked one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and is located in Napa Valley in the city of Yontville. The last day Josh was attending the Web 2.0 Conference in downtown San Francisco, one of our employees had mentioned the French Laundry. Having previously worked as a chef before working for us, he told a story of how his friend worked as a newbie chef at the French Laundry for a period of time. (I also heard that the newbie chefs who work at the French Laundry don't get paid. The experience is their payment. Crazy!)

Shortly after having this conversation with our employee, Josh walked out onto the city streets of downtown SF. As he walked down the sidewalk, a large piece of worn paper caught his eye, he picked it up and read, "The French Laundry... October... 2009." And of all things, when Josh talked to our employee again he learned that was the time his friend worked there. The crazy coincidence of having a conversation about the French Laundry, finding a two year old restaurant menu on a city street, and knowing a person who worked there during that time frame baffled us. But, it also made a trip to Napa imminent.  

napa

For our last weekend in the bay area we decided that taking our kids to Napa was a perfect idea. Napa isn't necessarily a kid friendly place, but our kids are great about going along for the ride and we tried to make it enjoyable for them and us. We found an amazing restaurant for lunch (best salad ever!), a fun park to get some wiggles out at, a castle vineyard (complete with portcullis, sheep, chickens, and draw bridge), a 125 year old winery (and learned about old winemaking techniques), and ended the day at a delicious tasting room that gave huge pours (that even offered grape juice, crackers, and chocolate for the kids).

yum

napa

napa

napa

The above photo I found online, but imagine this space PACKED with people, Josh and I standing to the far left with our children huddled/hidden between us eating mounds of crackers and chocolate. 

By the time we left Napa, me having a hilarious tipsy text conversation with my friend, driving through an insane traffic jam, and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, it was late and we were starving. We ended up visiting a hip and modern Thai place in downtown SF that, with its 9pm on a Friday night dining crowd, felt like a discoteche restaurant. Once again, the kids loved it and it was the perfect cap to a very posh day in our normally low maintenance lives.

To contrast, the next day my sister, sister-in-law, and I went to a massive flea market in Alameda (on the same location Mythbusters does their car experiments!). From antiques to handmade tables to curious characters wearing full fur suits with top hats and canes, this place was a stark opposite from Napa. For all my talk of being alone, we truly weren't. Having my sister and family nearby was so much fun, and we did meet genuine people at church, and we had a family of old friends that lived nearby and our boys loved swimming with, etc. This wonderful day; however, closed out our last weekend in the area.

alameda

Our time in California was over. We had been away from our home for over 5 weeks. We were packing and mentally psyching ourselves for getting back to "normal" but with a twist. Our adventure out west taught us that we could create a "new normal," a new reality for our family. We had successfully taught our children on the road, my husband could work remotely like our employees did, our business was successful while my husband was physically out of town, we could manage bills and logistics, and we could find communities of people to interact with.

We were going home to a place of normal, a city we loved, a community of people we loved, but we now had the entire country as our playground, no longer confined to city limits or state lines.


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Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

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   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
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Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
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