Our last day in wine country was not to be wasted. In fact, we booked a red-eye flight home so we could enjoy the full day before heading to the airport.
First stop: Paradise Ridge tasting room in Kenwood. Truth be told, the main reason we went was on recommendation that they would ship all of our purchased wine (even from other wineries) back home for us for a reasonable fee. Last trip, Hubs very much enjoyed their Pinot Noir and I fell for the Blanc de Blanc bubbly, and we shipped home some of both, along with our other treasures.
This trip, we were a bit ferschnitzeled to find out they no longer shipped wine other than their own. Along the way, a few customers received some bottles that had broken in shipment. The owners of PR had to pay to replace these (not inexpensive) wines out of their own pockets. Even though you sign a waiver with the understanding that PR isn’t responsible for shipping damage, I guess these few bad apples made a stink and spoiled it for the rest of the bunch. I can’t really blame them for the change in policy, but what were we to do about getting our wine home on a Sunday?! Happily, PR will sell a box with the foam insides for shipping a case of wine – for only about $12. And, that box can be checked as baggage. Since we only had one checked bag to begin with, and each of us is allowed one bag free per our United Club membership, we actually spent less to get the wine home than we would have if we’d shipped it. Problem solved!
Walking in, we knew we were going to take some bubbly home. But, the tasting menu had a few other surprises as well.
The white above (top left) was probably Chardonnay, though I don’t totally remember (this is what comes of slacking). We had a couple of reds. The Convict Zinfandel (I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a Zin before) and Elevation Cabernet Sauvignon. Considering how unimpressed I was with their reds last trip, I was pleasantly surprised this time – enough to buy some of both reds. After tasting all the wine and packing up our new and old purchases, we went down the road apiece for lunch at Cafe Citti.
After lunch, we started making our way back to San Francisco. Once there, we spent some time walking around Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, like typical tourists.
After all of our wine tasting, we stopped to indulge in a taste at Beer 39 (on Pier 39 – get it?). I tried (L to R below) Hefeweizen Bavarian Wheat, Radler – Grapefruit and Blood Orange, and Cali Coast Kolsch. Note: The gallery images tend to be cropped, so please don’t forget to click/tap to embiggen.
After our beer, we continued to take in the sights of the Wharf.
Of course, we had to stop and enjoy the local wildlife. There weren’t a ton of sea lions hanging out on this day. Many were off doing their own thing.
Next up – dinner at Scoma’s, recommended by friend and hairdresser, Jean.
Outside Scoma’s was a super cool bike. Aside from the take on the Fighting Irish,Check out the kickstand.
Then, we happened upon the Musée Mécanique, one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines. One of San Francisco’s most nostalgic landmarks, originally located at Playland at the Beach from 1940 to 1972, Laughing Sal, also known as the “Fat Lady” has made us smile and/or terrified children for over fifty years.
Finally, we retrieved our rental car from the parking lot and headed to the airport. We figured we’d get there early return the car, and maybe take advantage of our United Club passes. Alas, that would have not been exciting enough. Instead, while waiting to make a turn, we were hit by a car backing out of a parking spot perpendicular to us. He smashed right into the driver side door handle.
Thankfully, no one was injured. But, being in a rental car, we wanted to make sure we followed the correct procedures. So, we called the police, who don’t come out unless there is an injury. Then, we called the rental car company while exchanging insurance information with the other driver (who was very polite and originally from our home area). After lots of back and forth on the phone, we got the info we needed to file a claim and not get dinged ourselves (no pun intended).
By then, we needed to get a move on. Lollygagging time had been eaten up by the accident. Unfortunately, Hubs’ door would not close all the way. This did not make me too comfortable about getting on the highway. I made him keep trying until it did close, so of course he couldn’t open it when we got back to the airport. The guys at the rental car check in were a little confused when he climbed over and out my side. Truth be told, I felt a little weird as we nonchalantly said, “Oh, we were in an accident,” and then took off (ha!) to find our gate.
We made it in time, only to find out they’d changed planes and we were no longer sitting together. Crap. I really did not want to fall asleep leaning on a stranger in the middle of the row. Hubs went up and asked if there was anything they could do. The woman at the desk said there was nothing at the moment, but she’d hold on to our tickets and see if something came up. My best guess is that someone on an upgrade list didn’t materialize, and lucky us – we got the upgrade! Not to first, but Economy Plus. Meaning we got extra leg room. We just had to agree to help in case of emergency because it was an exit row. Yeah, yeah, sure. We’ll help.
We both dozed on and off all night, and woke to some fabulous views on our descent.
We deplaned, got our luggage, staggered to the far parking lot, and drove home. And went straight to bed.
And that’s the end of our 2018 wine country story.