We started off the day by gathering our remaining group – Andrew, Connie, Rob, Janet, Cece, Pat, Nancy and me – and heading down to the Plaza for breakfast at Sunflower Caffe, where the morning was warm enough to allow us to eat out on the back patio (and enjoy yet another of their aptly-named Monster Mimosas!).
Then we split up – Rob, Janet, Cece, Nancy and I heading down Broadway to Sonoma Train Town, and Andrew, Connie and Pat heading back to the house.
Sonoma Train Town is an amusement park that features a miniature narrow-gauge railroad that runs over a 1 ¼ mile route through the park. We enjoyed both the train ride and the carousel, plus a bit of animal feeding (quite aggressive those goats!).
Then it was back home for lunch. In the afternoon, we split up again. Rob, Janet and Cece headed off to the Matanzas Creek winery in the Bennett Valley northwest of Sonoma, which is known for both its wine and lavender.
Andrew, Connie, Pat and I drove south to the Roche Winery vineyards in Carneros just a bit north of the Infineon Racetrack, where Andrew had arranged for us to go horseback riding. We were met by the winery’s foreman, Javier, who drove us up to the corral, introduced us to our mounts, gave us some cursory instructions (e.g. don’t let Finbar eat grass during the ride!), and then led us on a ride through the vineyards.
Our riding outing included a free tasting at the new Roche tasting facility just off of Sonoma Square so we stopped off there on our way home.
For our last dinner of the vacation we drove over to Petaluma. Della Fattoria is a family bakery which distributes its products around the Bay Area and also has as small retail bakery in downtown Petaluma. For several years after playing golf in Petaluma on the weekend I have been stopping off at Della Fattoria for breakfast on the drive home. Their pastries and breakfasts are fantastic, and for a long time I have wanted to attend one of their special dinners on Friday night – the only night of the week when they serve dinner. At the beginning of each week they send out an email advising of the menu for the upcoming Friday night, and each week I have had to read it with a sign of disappointment.
However, this Friday was different and I received their weekly email with great anticipation for a change.
We ordered all of the main dishes on the menu and, while they were all good, the Gruyere & Cheddar Mac 'n Cheese with Braised Pork & Breadcrumbs was our unanimous favorite.
We will be leaving Sonoma tomorrow morning to head home. Although the weather could have been better, it was a great vacation and wonderful to get everyone together under one roof if even just for a few days.