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Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WINE COUNTRY CONCIERGE

 
Erin, Farmhouse concierge

I would like to introduce you to our newest concierge.  Erin Hartman is a recent addition to the Farmhouse Inn concierge team.  She came to us with some inn and hotel experience but was a little amazed about the layers of service and luxury offered here at Farmhouse Inn and how much planning goes into the personalized itineraries we set up for our guests and their perfect wine country vacation. I asked her for a contribution for this week's Wine Country Blog so here's Erin... and thoughts about her new position.

SONOMA WINE COUNTRY IN MAY... WHAT'S YOUR SPEED?

 
Butter and Egg Days, Petaluma

Spring in Sonoma is the kick off for all kinds of fesivals and parades-
This weekend brings the Butter and Egg Days Parade in Petaluma and the Fisherman's Festival in Bodega Bay with the blessing of the fleet and the boat parade.  Both great events...so hard to decide- just might be able to fit them both in.











SONOMA COUNTY CYCLING HEAVEN- AMGEN 2012 SANTA ROSA

 
Amgen tour 2012

May 13th- mark it on your Calendar- The biggest and baddest cycling event- first stage starts and ends in Santa Rosa (our backyard here at Farmhouse Inn).

The Amgen Tour of California  (this is the seventh consecutive year for the race) has definitely put California on the world biking map.  Here in Sonoma Wine Country there have always been the avid cyclers - you see them on all our backroads and bike trails every weekend but this event features elite professional teams and athletes from around the world.  With the scenery of California as a backdrop this race from it's inception in 2006 is bound to soon rival the Tour de France.



The first day of the race starts and finishes in Santa Rosa, the city that helped establish the race and home to three time race champion Levi Leipheimer (our local hero).  His GranFondo event in September is a well known charity event and is also known as "the greatest day out on two wheels".  The GranFondo event in 2011 raised more than $250,000 to support various charities  including Sonoma County Elementary Schools,  Sonoma County Emergency Responders, and the LIVESTRONG foundation.  Three amazing routes for different levels of expertise-  I will see you at the Piccolo Route...32 miles for recreational and beginner cyclists. no big hills for me...just keep me in the flat valleys through the gorgeous redwoods and vineyards.  (No way on that 103 mile Gran route no matter how beautiful.)

MORE WINE COUNTRY... and BARREL TASTING IN PARADISE!

 
Joe's new puppy "Cookie"

Last week was all about the very unique Patrick Amiot sculptures sprinkled around Sebastopol...this week a bit more elegant with a lovely Sonoma County Sculpture garden at one of our favorite wine country hangouts.

Paradise Ridge Winery has a very interesting sculpture garden but even better they are perched up on the hill above Santa Rosa with a view over the city that is just amazing.  In summertime  (May through October) their Wines and Sunsets is just the place to be on Wednesday evening. Pick up a picnic and head up to catch the amazing western sky with a bottle of wine available for purchase after 6 pm on those evenings.  A few things this week brought our focus to Paradise Ridge. 

One- Joe got a new black lab puppy (yet to be named- see the Farmhouse Inn Facebook page for the scoop on that).  He and Catherine are good friends with Sonia and Dan Barwick over at Paradise and they had some wonderful puppies available.  Sonia is an old friend of Cath's (and part owner at the winery) and Dan is her husband and the winemaker. 
 

Farmhouse Inn, More Romance and "(in)famous" Waiter Rob Loughran

 
Rob Loughran and High Steaks

Had enough romance? 

Taking a little break from it myself but I promise by the end of this post to share a little Sonoma wine country romance with you to wrap up Valentine's and all the romantic furor from last week. 

Love, Love, LOVE in the Sonoma Wine Country

 
TripAdvisor Most Romantic HotelsSo much going on in the wine country this weekend after a wild week of Valentine's Day (and weekend) planning for our guests here at the Farmhouse Inn. The romantic dinners are going all weekend long in the restaurant with the finale on Tuesday. We have a couple of proposals in the works over the weekend and a couple more checking in for Valentine's Day and then on the day itself...one of our fabulous elopements- our tiny weddings - they are just dropping in from Delaware for a little Farmhouse romance!

Last week we had all the excitement from BedandBreakfast.com when they recognized Farmhouse as one of the Top10 Most Romantic Inns and then again we got noticed as one of The Most Romantic Inns in the U.S. from FathomAway.  Right after I wrote the blog last week...TripAdvisor came out the 2012 Traveler's Choice Award for the 10 Most Romantic Hotels...

You guessed it- Farmhouse again!

                                    

 And Then...

CNN Travel came out with an article "Choose Your Own Romantic Adventure"  - tips on making new romantic memories.

 Oenophile bliss...Sonoma County Wine Country, California                   

"What better way to reconnect than while driving through Sonoma wine country, stopping to taste the terroir at wineries along the way? Visit Copain for the views and the pinot, Arista for the Japanese gardens and Lambert Bridge for intimate barrel-room tastings. Then settle in at the Farmhouse Inn in the heart of the Russian River Valley.

Crab Feed Strategy in Sonoma Wine Country...add some Sparkling!

 
Preparing boatloads of dungeness Crab

Now it feels like winter...It finally started raining, football weekends, and crab feeds everywhere!

One of my favorite foods is plentiful this time of year and crabfeeds are one of the favorite fundraisers for so many of the the nonprofits in Sonoma County.  You think the wine country is just about the wine...this time of year we are crabaholics!  Some weekends there are even several all-you-can-eat feeds to choose from.  Dungeness crab is one of the sweetest, most succulent seasonal prizes from the Northern California coastal area.  Everyone seems to have their own little secrets...for crab maximization!

Sonomagic - Sonoma County Holidays...Festive up!

 
Farmhouse cookies and milk

At last, lights and stockings are all hung, shopping and wrapping is done, the goodies and treats are baked...though I see kitchen Elves very busy in the restaurant getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner here at the Farmhouse InnThe concierge staff have processed literally hundreds of gift certificates...I hope you are one of the lucky recipients.

Farmhouse Inn Concierge Explores More Wine Country at Chalk Hill ...

 
Anna at Chalk Hill

This time of year the Farmhouse Inn concierge team tries to get out and about exploring anything new in Sonoma County that they may want to share with our guests. Remember last year when our Anna went out to Sonoma Canopy Tours to explore the new ziplining experience in the Russian River redwoods. Many of our guests have made their way out that way after hearing what an amazing experience it is.

Wine country reviews...Farmhouse food and wine!

 
Farmhouse Frutti di Mare

This has been a crazy week...first we had a big lifestyle article about Catherine & Joe (the brother and sister team that own the Farmhouse Inn) come out in Better Homes and Gardens ("Innkeepers Recreate Their Wine Country Childhood" -page 50).  And then on Sunday Jeff Cox of the local Press Democrat reviewed the Farmhouse restaurant  (called it an "exquisite experience").  Monday night Catherine and Joe went with the chefs to the Zagat release party and out dinner to celebrate the Zagat reviews (27 for food and tops for service- Yeah!).  And yesterday Joe came in waving the new Sunset magazine issue with the Best of the West hotel awards and there we are...again!  (Specifically mentioned for best for Food & Drink.)

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