Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | December 31, 2018

Sunshine and Wine, Two-Zero-One-Nine: Entry #1

Wedding Table

Family weddings are fun – at least in my family, because my family is a blast!

It just so happens that I’m on an adventure again, this time extending a family event trip to get a little time to relax in warmer climes. My trip started with a jaunt to a family wedding – my lovely cousin got married, so I flew to Calgary, picked up a rental car, and drove to Canmore. I stayed in a condo unit with my parents, a cozy little place with a loft bedroom for me and the master for them, and our own bathrooms for each of us. The wedding was beautiful and it was good to visit with the family that could go, and to dance even though I didn’t even come close to lasting to midnight.

The day after the wedding, I made my way to Banff to have lunch there with the family that came to the wedding. I didn’t realize one had to pay to get into the area just to have lunch, which can be a hassle, though it was only $10 and I managed to skip the line a little by realizing it after I drove through, calling my cousins to confirm I should have paid and then driving back to the kiosk to walk and get my ticket. I felt like a jerk skipping the line, but it was an honest mistake. Finding parking was a nightmare, but the food at the Maple Grill, where I met my aunts/cousins/partners was awesome and it was a nice quiet space to visit. The mountains in the area were beautiful too!

Banff Mountain Range

The light wasn’t great, but the Rocky Mountains certainly are lovely!

After that it was back to Calgary for an overnight near the airport, at the Ramada. The internet was slow because of some changes going on including upgrades to the elevators that left only one to my floor, but it was very inexpensive and slow internet isn’t a reason I’d cancel!  The food was mediocre, though; nothing particularly wrong just nothing to write home about either.

Yesterday was pretty much airport all day, on my way to Napa Valley for the sunshine and wine part of my break (not that there wasn’t wine on the first part!).  My first plane was delayed and I was already early at the airport, so I finally took advantage of the priority pass I got with my Mastercard and enjoyed the lounge, where it was comfortable and quiet, and there was free food and wine. My first leg was to Salt Lake City, Utah, and since the plane coming from there was delayed, I missed my original connection. Delta rebooked for a later flight automatically and was very helpful overall with boarding passes and questions, and the only thing that was difficult was that it meant a long day and a late night, because my plane didn’t leave for Sacramento until 10:25.


My hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and Spa Napa Valley

I took an Uber from the airport to Napa Valley, and I have to say I’m loving it as an option. It was easy to find the designated pickup spot, it was cheaper than a cab, and I knew exactly when the pickup was happening. Renting a car would have not only been expensive from Sacramento, it would have meant trying to navigate myself and then also parking it anyway because I’m in Napa Valley, and there will be wine drinking, and wine drinking means no driving!

It was one in the morning by the time I reached the Doubletree Hotel, where I was greeted with warm cookies (which I saved because late at night) and a bed that feels like a cloud.


A little bird I ‘met’ on my walk today.

I’ve puttered about most of the day, taking a walk in the sun to the Wetlands Edge Road (I’m in a town called American Canyon) and eating at the hotel restaurant, Table 29, when I was done getting my steps in.  The food was very, very good – it’s tempting to just eat here forever. I went in with a headache and it was gone when I left, partly because I think I’d gone too long without eating. I had an olive and cheese plate starter, and that helped, and the Prosecco didn’t hurt either. Then it was a Capellini (angel hair pasta) with vegetable rags, with the perfect amount of oil and garlic. I followed this with creme brûlée and port, and now feel relaxed and glowy. And now I’m ready to head to bed shortly, because I’ve booked a wine tour and tasting for tomorrow. I’m excited to try the wine and take pictures and get some more sun, because we didn’t get much of a summer at home this year (nothing but cloudy days when it wasn’t raining for the most part), and this is going to get me through the long, dark winter.

So off to my cloud of a bed – seriously, well done, Doubletree – until tomorrow’s entry!

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