Monday, April 22, 2013

Windsor, CA

I've driven right past Windsor every time I've headed north along Highway 101 toward Healdsburg and all those other lovely towns along the winery trail. Since I never took the time to stop off and have a look around, I had no idea how cute Windsor was until I actually ended up staying over night there, which in itself was purely coincidental. 

The town was named after Windsor Castle. The town's first postmaster, Hiram Lewis, came from England and apparently thought that the surrounding landscape was very similar to the grounds of the famous castle back in his homeland.  And he was right about that. Windsor sits right smack in the middle of the beautiful, verdant wine country of the Russian River Valley.   

Now the town consists of orchards, vineyards, farms, and housing developments. What was of interest to me was its Old Downtown. It's not really all that old but was planned and developed several years ago to serve as a focal point for the residents and visitors. I was impressed with the architecture and layout of the downtown. It's very pedestrian friendly, has lots of shops and restaurants, and most importantly plenty of parking. Above most of the stores are apartments/condos. There's also a huge community park - the Town Green - with a playground, several ball fields, and plenty of picnic areas. Come have a look around...

It really does look like an old historic town, doesn't it! So next time you're heading north along the Redwood Highway, be sure to take the exit and make a quick pitstop in Windsor. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guerneville, CA

Guerneville is a small town with a charming bohemian atmosphere. It's nestled along the Russian River and has wonderful views of the densely forested coastal mountain range. It's a tiny place filled with colorful shops, eateries, and motels. There are also numerous cabins right alongside the river for rent. And there's plenty to keep any outdoor enthusiast occupied. We came here to go to Lester Chambers & the Mud Stompers' CD release party and concert at the old River Theater. What fun that was! Anyway, before and after the music, I was able to check out some of the local flavor...

I can see why this area became such a popular vacation destination for wealthy San Franciscans back in the late 19th century. I'll have to come back too - especially during the warmer summer months - so that I can splash around in the Russian River and enjoy the towering redwoods.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tulip Town, Mt. Vernon, WA

Springtime in the Pacific Northwest mean tulips, and there's no better place to view tulips than in the Skagit Valley near Mt. Vernon. This year I made a visit to Tulip Town. It was a bit dreary and overcast  on the day of my tour, but the tulips - which were just starting to open up - brightened the landscape immensely. Click on the images to see the tulips better!

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs through the month of April and can be very crowded on weekends, so try to visit on a weekday if possible. Click HERE and HERE to view last year's tulips.