Thankfully, There's Healdsburg

A trip to Healdsburg is not complete without a visit to the town square.  I dragged my dad along for an afternoon of coffee and shopping - similar to the torture he endured when I was younger (a typical weekend outing was 2-3 hours inside a Barnes & Noble followed by a rom com).  Downtown is quaint, cozy, and incredibly walkable; the streets are lined with tasting rooms, amazing restaurants, and immaculately laid out shops.  We spent most of our time browsing a couple of bookstores (goodbye, all my Christmas money), and my suitcase ended up about 10 pounds heavier on my return...

P.S. Stealing my subject titles from the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce website is really working out for me, I think

A Small Town for All Seasons

I always travel to visit my dad's family during the holidays and was happy to have a few days in Healdsburg - the land of wine, and with my family: the time to eat all of the things.  I adore the cozy town square with its quaint (and expensive) shops, leaves that actually change colors and narrow roads that lead to dozens of wineries.  The wineries in the photos below are Hartford Family Winery and MacRostie (if you're ever searching for a gift for me, I'm fond of their 2014 Goldrock Ridge Pinot Noir...just sayin').

P.S. - the title came straight from their website, and I kinda love it

Children of the corn (and apples)

I'm very lucky to have friends who tolerate me forcing them to wake up earlyish the day after we all attend a crazy Halloween party together so that I can make them waffles and shove them in a car for hours to go apple picking.  We headed out to Riley's Apple Farm in Oak Glen where we wandered the corn fields, apple orchards, and enjoyed the clean air.  It was quite a treat to see leaves changing color, hang out with horses, and enjoy the fresh air.  The field of zinnias was absolute heaven!

Unmarked Trail

Around midnight on Friday night, I was driving home with Kim from an all-things-pumpkin-party (complete with a viewing of Hocus Pocus) and spontaneously decided to call our friend Cat for a Saturday morning hike.  We ended up taking a route that wasn't actually a trail and ended up being very steep, and about halfway through I panicked as I realized I didn't bring my inhaler and couldn't get air to my lungs. Bonus points for the panic and anxiety my friends lived through as I also realized I forgot my epi-pen at home (the bees, they were aplenty).

I especially love these women because they make me laugh to the point of belly ache.  They will loudly sing pop songs of decades past and tolerate my stupid snapchats and they are pretty much the best people ever.

Post-hike we drove to Chinatown and devoured a giant table of dim sum.  I took my camera there as well but my hands were too full and greasy to think about removing it from my backpack.

Ferries and French Markets

I don't have DSLR photos of day 3 because it was spent searching for alligators in the bayou (we managed to sneak a peek of a 13 footer and a wild board).  Afterwards, we loaded up on crawfish etouffee and crab stuffed shrimp and I had my 10th bloody mary of our vacation.  Our evening ended up with dinner on a balcony on Bourbon Street, and dancing to jazz and blues on Frenchmen until the bars closed.

Day 4 dealt us some thunderstorms after a morning in a local coffee shop, but we did enjoy a tour of the old US Mint as well as a repeat trip to the Mint for some educational lectures (what can I say, we're nerds).  Dinner was fried chicken and possibly our first vegetables (which were of course covered in bacon fat).  The day ended with yet another  Frenchmen trip to hit up any of the bars we haven't made it to yet...and made it to Dat Dog at the end of the night.

On our last day, we were positively exhausted but managed to walk several miles throughout the city.  Brunch was amazing, we went to Mothers for some debris, bread pudding, and one last bowl of gumbo.  We hit up the casino, as well as a trip on the ferry for a quick stop in Algiers.  Five days in 60-90% humidity was really getting to us, so we decided to relax for a bit and take in a movie.  After our last plate of oysters and another walk through the French Market, we finally made it back to the Snail House (our Air BnB) to uber back to the airport.

A Taste of Bourbon Street

After a morning in The Marigny and an afternoon in the Garden District, Prestyn and I went for oysters at Acme (her first!) and did our first tour of Bourbon Street.  We felt it was best to ease into it before full dark, and I have to say, I will definitely miss the privilege of being able to drink in public.  After a brief nap, we went out for drinks and music on Frenchmen and made friends from a couple of guys from Dallas who supplied us with lots of whiskey and got me onstage belting out my go-to karaoke song (Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World").  We ended our night in the wee hours of the morning eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde and honestly it was more fun than I've had in ages.

Photo of me by Prestyn McCord