OUR “TONY’S TURNING 50” TRIP TO WINE COUNTRY – SEPTEMBER 2019: DAY 1

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog. All about Disney. Which is a subject one could write post after post after post about.

Now, please enjoy yet another post about a completely non-Disney trip to California.

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I know. We were like JUST in California. But we kind of had to go. Because it was to celebrate this guy’s birthday.

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Yup, Tony is turning 50, y’all. Which is old. I think in dog years that means he’s like 350 years old or something.

Annnd I am excited to actually be able to talk about this trip. On account of we were under a strict gag order. You see, Larissa was gifting him this trip (yeah, it’s a pretty insane gift and you don’t even know the half of it.) And it was supposed to be a surprise.

Sorry, I meant it was supposed to be a surprise. On account of Nickie and I spoiled most of it in the months leading up to the trip. It’s like we had some sort of mouth disease in which we aren’t able to hold words in there. Which is probably the case. And that means we can’t be blamed. It’s a disease, you guys. How DARE you.

Anyways, on to the trip…

First, the details.

Our trip dates were officially from Friday, September 27th to Tuesday, October 1st. I say “officially” because I actually had to cut my trip a bit short due to some work obligations, but I will get into that in a later post.

Like I said, Larissa had planned this whole thing for Tony. And they, along with Nikki and Chris (who you’ll meet a little later) arrived in Napa a few days earlier than us on Tuesday, September 24th. This post will pretty much cover our POV of the trip, which was Friday-Tuesday, but I am sure I will allude to parts of their trip. On account of we drank their wine.

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I feel like maybe you already got there, but just in case I feel like I should mention it – this was a no-kids trip.  And for Nickie and I, this was the first time we have been this far away from the kids in like 6 years.

OK, on with the trip….

TONY’S 50TH WINE COUNTRY WINESTRAVAGANZA 2019: DAY 1

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Our flight on Friday out of Boston was around 9:30 AM or so. And since we need some time to drink get in the right frame of mind before flying, we wanted to be up and out of the house early. So we were up a little before 6:00. We got ourselves ready and then woke the kids up to get them ready for school before taking off. The plan was for Myles to walk himself to school and thankfully, our awesome neighbor and friend, Stephanie (you guys know Stephanie…) took Owen to school for us.

Our goodbyes were tearful ones, for sure.  And when I say “our goodbyes” I am referring to Nickie and mine. The kids were pretty much fine. We, however, cried in the Uber.

How we roll.

Actually, speaking of how awesome Stephanie is for helping us out. I should take this opportunity to thank everyone that helped us – Nickie’s mom and my mom for staying with the boys, Stephanie and the Chagnons for helping get them to and from school, the Hamelins for also helping with pick-ups and getting Owen to soccer practice, and Diane for helping get Myles to wherever Myles goes.

It takes a village, peeps. It takes a village to get us to wine.

We got to the airport and were through security relatively quickly. If we are talking relative to waiting in line for Flight of Passage during the week between Christmas and New Year’s with NO FASTPASS.

Jokes for all you Disney folks, y’all.

But yeah, the Jetblue terminal at Logan is bananas. Like, always. The line this morning was wrapped all around the terminal, in places where security lines have no business being. Like Hudson News. And the restroom. And Connecticut.

Lines were long is what I’m saying.

Editor’s note – I have since this day enrolled in TSA PreCheck so please refrain from your “enroll in TSA PreCheck, you stupid idiot” emails.

It was nearly 7:45AM when we got near our gate so we decided to go have some breakfast at Vineyard Grill.

We sat up at the bar and the waitress, noticing the cut of our jib, told us we wouldn’t be able to order any drinks until 8AM. Because I guess we NOW LIVE IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA?

Oh well, we could wait. We ordered up some breakfast…

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I ordered the breakfast wrap and Nickie got the ricotta-stuffed French Toast. And as you can see, we had our licenses ready for whenever the clock struck 8AM. It’s good to be prepared. And come 8AM, we immediately yelled “alcohol” and the waitress brought me an Irish Coffee and Nickie a cranberry and vodka. Take THAT Putin!

After breakfast, we then walked over to our gate and took pictures of ourselves. Our vanity knows no bounds.

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Rawr.

 

Our traveling partners, Jess and Ramone, met up with us at the gate and soon enough we were on the plane. Nickie and I were an aisle across from Jess and Ramone, which meant only one thing…

PLANE PARTY!!!

 

And I made sure we were prepped hardcore for the flight. Since she is not the biggest fan of flying, I gave Nickie an airplane survival bag. There were playing cards were in there, a new book, a People magazine, some snacks (including the wonder that is Reese’s Minis), some red wine stain remover (essential!), and a headphone splitter so we could watch movies together a la Spider Man: Homecoming.

Oh, and I mean nips of course. I gave her a couple nips each of some Captain Morgan’s and Grey Goose. We made quick use of them by ordering up a coke (for the rum) and a cranberry juice (for the vodka.) And we made use of the headphone splitter as well, watching Rocketman.

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Ha, no. As much as I do love me some Harland Williams, we watched the Elton John version this time around. And it was soooo good. Maybe even better than the Harland Williams version. Lulz.

After the movie, we decided to keep the plane party going. With some rum.

Well, rummy.

Weill, Rummy 500.

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I know, those cards are amazing right? Best.

And by this time, the nips were gone so we moved on to establishing a co-dependent relationship with our flight attendant, George. I ordered up a Bloody Mary and Nickie kept the cranberry juice and vodka thing going.

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It was a heated game of Rummy, as evidenced by the final scores below.

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Made even more heated by Jess and Ramone….

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…buying us drinks, which in turn caused us to buy them drinks. There was a real lot of drink buying going on. PLANE PARTY!!

The flight was in total about 6 1/2 hours, but the company definitely made it go pretty fast. And the vodka.

We landed in SFO at around 1PM PT, went down to grab our luggage in baggage claim, and met with our pre-arranged driver, Moon.

Now, traffic today? It was…

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It was looking like at LEAST a two and a half hour drive up to Wine Country. Which was not the best. Since we were intending to go directly to a tasting to meet up with Tony, Larissa, Nikki, and Chris. Because of the traffic, it was looking like we weren’t going to make that so we asked Moon to take us directly to the house.

But yeah. Traffic.

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No matter though. We were in good spirits.

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Well, at least for the first hour and a half or so. Being that we left pretty much after breakfast and missed lunch, we were all getting a little hungry. Thankfully, Moon and I were BFF at this point so I asked if we could make a slight detour to grab some grub. He obliged and within about 20 minutes or so, we were here…

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Yup. In-N-FRAKKIN-Out Burger.

Was it good? Is that what you just asked me, voice in my head?

You stupid idiot.

Pfft, of course it was good. Nickie had a Double-Double plain cheeseburger while I of course ordered a Double-Double Animal Style. Because that’s what you do at In-N-Out Burger.

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Jess and Ramone split a fry because they were worried about spoiling their dinner. It’s a good thing I never have to worry about such things. Food never spoils other food for me. It’s a blessing and a curse.

However, we were worried what Larissa would think since she had a personal chef coming to the house to prepare dinner. We all vowed to tell her after we ate. Because we are good friends.

OK, so the house Larissa rented. Located in Santa Rosa, place was RE-MOTE. Up this…well…mountain, I guess, the road to the house took us perilously close to some cliff edges. Which had Moon nervously laughing. And nervous laughter from your driver? Not a good sign.

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But we made it, safe and sound.

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We bid our new friend Moon a tearful goodbye and walked on in.

And this house. Oh man. Like, being Larissa and Tony’s friend is its own reward and all. But this was a nice bonus. Place was AH-MAY-ZING. When we arrived, it was full-on Real World. Lots of “Whoa”s and “wow”s and bedroom-claiming. But when it came to bedroom picking, there was really no wrong answer since they pretty much all French doors opening up to this.

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And beyond that awesomeness was this. Which is a hot tub. And anyone who has read any of my trip posts know I enjoy hot tubs thoroughly. But hot tubs with this view? Well,  I also enjoy them thoroughly. But like, hella-thoroughly.

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But enough about the outside. Well, actually. One more thing about the outside. On account of there was a bocce court.

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I know. Cray.

But onto the inside. The house itself sleeps 12 which meant that since there was 8 of us, space was plentiful as shizz.

There was a fireplace, of course.

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And a big TV in the living area.

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And an even bigger TV in the dining area.

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The kitchen was sooooo nice. I wanted to live in that refrigerator.

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There was a blackjack table.

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And a foosball table.

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And a pool table.

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Both a sauna AND a steam room. And me in a mirror. Which is obvs a plus.

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And of course, Larissa plussed the place up with a full-on Happy Birthday Tony photobooth banner. And props, obvs squad. Because she’s Larissa.

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Such an insanely impressive house. #blessed.

Nickie and I and Jess and Ramone each set up in our respective rooms and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We got the text that Tony, Larissa, Nikki, and Chris were coming up the hill to the house. Which meant we would be seeing them in a couple hours, maybe?

Seriously, it was a big hill. With multiple gates.

OK fine. It wasn’t THAT long. They soon made it to the house and “Hi”s and hugs were exchanged as they made their way into the house.

Larissa quickly opened up a bottle of champagne and we toasted Tony and each other, feeling so lucky to share in this experience together.

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Again, with Larissa being the person that literally thinks of everything, she also had some gift bags for all of us, containing the essentials –

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In it there was a water bottle, a “50” cookie, Advil, Tums,  a Tide stick, and a “Cheers to 50 Years” coaster. Have I mentioned how amazing Larissa is?

Soon enough, the our chef – Chef Tiffany Friedman – arrived for her first of two nights at the house. And while she got things set up and set out some charcuterie, Chris made up some super delicious Manhattans. Which may seem redundant – “delicious Manhattan” – but these were very good.

For dinner, we opened up a couple bottles of wine from Tres Perlas and La Jota (which, btw, was the vineyard we missed out on because of traffic.)

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Both were lovely and definitely contributed to A LOT of laughs that night. They also contributed to me not completely remembering what we laughed about, but I know for a fact there was a good amount of laughter.

For dinner, Chef Tiffany served us family style tonight. I wish I could remember what was all in that salad, but I really can’t (again, wine) but look at how pretty it was.

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And on the right there was some kind of veggie mix – squash, potatoes, carrots, etc. Delicious.

For the main course, she served some amazetown short ribs. Like, these things were rull good – full of flavor and all kinds of tender. They were also served with a side of broccolini. Sooooo good.

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If I was an old timey food critic, I would say something like, “These ribs were definitely not short on taste.”

Then, I would probably be fired. Promptly.

Whatevz though. They were really good.

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For dessert, Chef Tiffany served a chocolate tart situation with raspberries and salted caramel filling. I believe some people said they were too full to finish it. I am not “some people.”

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The filling in this thing was LE-GIT. I even ate the raspberries and usually, I think raspberries and chocolate is some sort of joke society is trying to play on me. But here, it all worked perfectly together.

After dinner, Tony brought out some cigars and we enjoyed them by the outdoor fire pit before joining the girls in the hot tub for a little bit before heading to bed. At like 9:30 PM. Raging.

But yeah, that was Day 1. I hope you enjoyed my vineyard-less Wine Country post. I aim to disappoint. See you soon for Day 2.

 

 

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