Trip date: September 2020
I met Aaron in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, after spending some days hanging with redwoods and in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the drive direct from Fortuna to Sebastopol is only 3+ hours, I had been in and out of the car for almost 9 hours with all my tree-hugging stops.
It was also very smoky for most of my drive as the forest fires were all around the area. Luckily the highway wasn't closed and I showed up at the Marriott Fairfield Suites in time for Aaron and I to make our wine tasting appointment. All of the places we would be visiting for the next few days had outdoor seating (inside dining was nixed at this time still), masks/gloves/sanitizer protocols, and social distancing set up.
Pax winery had us set up outside with some tasty snacks to go along with our wine choices. They make some really unique white wines using grapes such as Trousseau Gris, Petite Mansang, as well as more typical reds with Syrah and Gamay Noir. It was a fun way to kick off our trip!
We walked across the street to Fern Bar where a couple of Aaron's friends met us, again we had a table outside and spaced away from others. I had been wanting to try the cocktails here for some time, and they did not disappoint. Well maybe the disposable glassware was disappointing but it was a pandemic after all!
Dinner at Fern Bar was excellent! Especially the hand-pulled dan dan noodles with lamb. Swoon.
Day 4. Sebastopol, CA to Elk, CA: ~2 hours
The next morning we had a quick breakfast at the hotel, made a stop at Whole Foods, and hit the road. Highway 1 to be exact. We were driving the coast road up to Elk where we'd spend the next two nights.
It was about a 3-hour drive due to the very twisty turvy road. But the misty views of the ocean, and the fact that Aaron was driving, made it worth it. I had left my car back in Sebastopol and it felt great to be a passenger!
This road had been closed just a week before due to forest fires, the damage was very evident!
We arrived in Elk at lunchtime and stopped at the Elk Store for some yummy sandwiches, which we ate across the street at Greenwood Creek State Park. A hike down to the beach after, as we had a bit a time before our Airbnb check in, was the perfect way to stretch our legs. It's really a pretty spot!2-bedroom house on 85 acres of cliffside property. Social distancing taken to the max! The house itself was old and in need of some TLC, but the location was perfect for us.
We dropped our bags and went off to explore. First up we visited the cute Mist Farm farmstand in Mendocino and picked up some eggs and jam. This is what foodies do!
Next up we made our way to Cliff Glover Pottery where Aaron had made us an appointment to view his work. Cliff creates a lot of pieces for Harbor House, where we would be dining the next night. We expected just to meet him, and do a bit of shopping. But Cliff is such a gracious host, he welcomed us in his Japanese garden, brewed us cups of matcha, and sat and chatted with us for about an hour.