For my 30th birthday (yes, I'm 30 and I'm not going to lie about it), I wanted to do something "different." I had thought about throwing a big party (you know how I love to plan those) with a "Club 30" theme, but I was feeling a little birthday-ed out. We had celebrated one or more friend's birthdays every weekend since the beginning of the year, and had not had one weekend "off."
Because we haven't had much luck in the house searching department, I decided to splurge while I still could. Because I needed a vacation, I planned a day trip to Santa Ynez Valley. I reserved a Hummer limo to take us there and back so no one had to pay for a hotel or be a designated driver.
I called several wineries after doing a lot of research, but many of them did not want to accept our large party. I was, however, able to secure two wineries.
When the day finally came, we boarded the limo, and headed to our destination. Since it was morning (10 am), I served bagels and cream cheese and orange juice and mimosas after we settled in our seats. Although I am not usually a fan of paper plates, it was nice to be able to toss the plates and plastic knives away in the same bags we brought the plates and bagels in.
We hit some traffic on the way up, so we did make a brief stop for anyone who had to use the restroom. After everyone boarded the limo, we passed around trail mix and fruit leather strips to keep everyone full (we didn't want anyone getting sick from drinking all day).
We really enjoyed the breathtaking views as we headed north. The highlight was the 154. I have driven up this road several times, but it was amazing to be able to watch it with a front facing view to the windows.
Finally, we had arrived (although somewhat late) at our first stop - Bridlewood Winery.
We enjoyed a picnic on the beautiful grounds, and then took turns wine tasting. There was also plenty of time to take romantic strolls around the grounds. The property even offered a horse and carriage ride (although we didn't take advantage).
- Mandarin Spinach Salad
- Corn Salad (with avocado and mango)
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Potato Salad (mayo free)
- Baguettes from Bay Cities
- Assorted Cold Cuts
- Assorted Condiments and Toppings (avocado, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, different kinds of mustards, etc.)
- Potato Chips (assorted flavors)
- Cheese Puffs
So, we packed everything up and headed over to Foley in the Santa Rita hills, enjoying the scenic drive.
We wandered a bit around the grounds, and I couldn't believe I was still in California. Some claimed we were in Tuscany, others in Ireland, but wherever it was, it was breathtaking.
We took a bunch of group pictures (which I wish I could post, but that would ruin the whole anonymous thing) and then headed back to the limo for our journey home.
On the way home I passed around plates, and then I served dessert. I bought various ready made cookies, mini cakes, and chocolates from Trader Joes and Wholefoods, and it was a real hit.
When we finally made it back home, some people stuck around and had leftovers from the picnic, and others headed home.
All and all it was the best way I could have spent my 30th birthday. Although it was a bit pricey (and we probably could have gone away for the weekend for the same amount), I figured that I would rather go on vacation for one day . . . and bring all my friends.