Friday, May 24, 2013

26 hours and 200 miles later

 Getting out of town these days is more difficult than you would think so when my wife decided to arrange an out of town overnight er for the both of us for our 24th anniversary I had to oblige.  My son and daughter volunteered to run the shop for the day (Sunday) and I am closed on Mondays so it worked out just fine to make the trip.  Our plan was to head to Occidental (where ever that is) for the night and make it out to Marshall the next day to our favorite hang out Hog Island Oyster Co.  I have the sense some relaxation and good eats is in store for the both of us.  Oh and by the way 24 years was not an easy task but glad my wife has decided to keep me around.  Here is us crossing the Richmond/San Rafael bridge.
Our first stop not scheduled of course was this little place called Jewels to Junk.  Since my wife had taken on the driving duties I had a chance to check out the scenery.  I noticed this sign and had to take a look see, well I asked the boss first and she said OK.  I ended up finding a few little treasures like a crawdad wire cage and cement deer.  We also checked out the shop next door called Gulick's Antiques.  If you are driving down Gravenstein Hwy in Cotati it's worth a look.  I found another cage at Gulick's, I guess they have a lot of Crawdads in Cotati who would have known.
See the little guy on the right that one belongs to me now.  This is the sleeping deer I picked up at Jewels to Junk.  Guessing he is a jewel since I don't sell junk in my store.  Kidding I do actually sell junk, good junk.  The deer has a broken ear but he will fit in just fine with all the other misfits at my store.
  Our next stop was this little place called Nothin' New the owner was super cool even though it was about 4pm and she was hitting the bottle a little early.  Still she was very bubbly, could have been the wine and was pretty generous on the pricing guessing the wine helped with that too.  I ended up picking up some broken shutters and a rusty wire basket.  Trust me there was plenty more to buy but since we were driving in our Camry only smalls were purchased.
 These are the babies I really wanted to own.  The doors here, awesome, chippy, and missing the glass.  I might just have to make a trip back for these well if they are still there when I return.  The only negative about the place was that all of these goods are sitting outside in the elements.  Some pieces if left outside can handle the elements others don't do as well.  I can imagine lots of inventory gets trashed after a while.  Oh and another thing prices get much higher inside the store verses outside, guess it makes sense you pay for protection.
Look at all of this junk at Nothin' New.  My wife gave me a 15 minute time limit and for good reason.  I could have spent hours here.  Next time I will allow for more time and come on my own until then.
We made one more stop actually to use the facilities at the Antique Society I think they have about 100 dealers selling out of this place and they have a public restroom to boot.  The place was on the expensive side and my guess is they cater to designers, still it was great to look around at all of the displays and see what direction we are all headed.  Here is one dealers space.
Here is another space, some great displays to look at some better than others.  This one was my favorite.  Not much to buy here just eye candy as they call it.
 So after our bathroom break we finally reached out destination The Occidental Hotel and Lodge.  The place was nice and clean and they had a pool but I didn't find the "lodge" part of the hotel.  I always think a lodge should have a fireplace and communal place to relax you know for sipping wine and such.  Thinking they should probably loose the lodge from the name, just saying.
 So right across the street from the hotel was Union Hotel and Italian Dinners.  It was recommended that we try the place out and we did, it did not disappoint.  My wife and I both had the steak.  Maybe we should have shared a meal since along with the steak came bread, we love bread, salad, dish of kidney beans, dish of salami and cheese and then clam chowder and pasta and vegetables.  I know, I know we just want more but the food just kept coming.  Have you ever seen that Gumby and Pokey episode where Gumby gets stuck in a dream and they just kept bringing him food, that's what we felt like.  Oh and of course we had a bottle of wine to wash it all down.  I know extra sit ups.  After dinner it was time for bed we crashed early, comatose I think.
 The next morning we got up and had breakfast at Howard's in Occidental.  Great food, great service and great coffee a must stop if you are town and don't forget to try the coffee cake it's the bomb.  After breakfast we headed to the Russian River here my wife is standing on the bridge overlooking the river.  Yes boring to most but beautiful to us.  After walking around Del Rio here and visiting the old Rio Theatre and other road side adventures we decided we will return to this area in the future.  This place in the summer is a popular destination for swimming, canoeing, hiking, biking and just relaxing fun. 
 After the Russian River we checked out of the hotel and began to head out of town but first I needed to take a snap shot of these mailboxes on the side of the road.  You know I sell them in the shop and they have other uses other than holding mail.  I decided since no one was looking to take one of these ha did you really believe that.  Anyways just beyond the last box we discovered Freestone Artisan Cheese. 
 Here is the front view of the place, super clean inside and full of goodies to taste.  We both like tasting so we decided to check it out.
 Inside they sell bottle your own Olive Oil.  You fill it up and seal it yourself and off you go.  Among other things they sell besides cheese are crackers and serving dishes and cook books.
 My wife decided to try the Triple Cream Cowgirl Creamery cheese.  She ended up buying half the round for our special day.  The only drawback to the place was that we thought they made the cheese there not true.  Still worth a stop if you want to taste some local cheeses he carries.  Here assuming this was Omar (we never asked) he sliced us some samples, yumm.
 After the cheese adventure I wondered around the place only to find an artist working on her piece or art.  She allowed me photo it though she wasn't done with the piece.  Ya I know it needs a little work but its art, right, looking through the eye of the artist.
 She wasn't the only one painting.  Guess it is the spot for inspiration and art.  I am sure they were annoyed with me since I kept asking questions but they answered all my questions and I was out of their hair before you knew it, good bye ladies.
 So the guy at Freestone Cheese recommended this place called Wild Flour Bread not Wild Flower.  There was a line to get in the place, not sure why it was just bread.  They do have samples to try and that's how I got hooked and am sure everyone else.  The place is in the middle of nowhere land but lines out the door that must tell you something.  We ended up buying a loaf of the Olive loaf and some Lime, Ginger, Coconut Scones.  I checked out their website today and they have tons of write ups on their bread.  A must check out.

 They also have a garden to explore, do this if you want to be inspired.  I did and I am now.  My guess is that they use some of these herbs for the bread and other recipes.  As I walked around I noticed they use recycled piece to hold up the plants. 
 Another photo just lovely.  Here's the one I posted on Facebook.
 So still not at our destination for this day we decided to take a side trip to Bodega Bay.  Being in my top 3 movie category of all time The Birds was filmed here.  This place called the Bodega Country Store has tons of Birds memorabilia.  If you like the movie check out this little place it will take you back.  Really we needed something to do since our reservations for lunch were not until 2.  I have pictures of the church and the schoolhouse from the movie as well just across the street from this place.  Sad to say the Tides Restaurant from the movie was burned down and the Post Office scene I thought was here was actually a set in Hollywood, damn.

So finally from Bodega we reached our destination Hog Island Oyster.  I love this place and the food.  I had a birthday party here once in November a few years back and it rained on my group.  The funny thing is that no one even cared.  We were all wet and still having a great time.  That's what kind of place this is.  You just get lost in time not thinking about the world around you. 
It is best to reserve a space even on a Monday (today).  You can shuck you own oysters or have them do it for you.  Cheaper to do it yourself.  They run about a $1 an oyster much cheaper than buying at your local market and much fresher.  The farm is somewhere out there in the bay behind the sign.  They harvest them and bring them back to land for us land lovers to enjoy.
 Here is our proof of purchase for the tables that is.  You must have a reservation and they do check and you get a stamp.  It is official, shucks.
 Surprise, look what they had waiting at our table.
 A shot from the farm looking just East.
 Here we are together.
 Our lunch, oh was it great.  Champagne and oysters some cooked, some raw with our bread we purchased earlier in the day from Wild Flour and cheese from Freestone.  Wake me up when it's over.
 Our make shift ice bucket donated by the table next to us.  I am sure there were wondering how we did it.
 So sad all good things must come to an end.  Back to reality 26 hours later but with hopes of returning someday soon.  Thank you for reading.  Cisco

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