Scott and I tried something new for the updated version of our winter holiday. Though we were unable to fly to Riviera Maya due to his back issues, we decided a short road trip would be just the right idea. Wine country is our favorite Northern California getaway and we thought it would be fun to stay in a vacation rental rather than a hotel this trip. With above average temps and sunny skies we knew we were in for a sunny escape to wine country. The vibrant yellow mustard, brilliant blue skies and puffy white clouds were dazzling.
After a fair amount of research we settled on Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate in Dry Creek Valley. As it turns out, this was the perfect choice for a luxurious, comfortable and private “home away from home” for the long weekend. I love these views up the winding driveway to Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate. The location is excellent just 8 miles outside of Healdsburg.
We took the winding gravel path past the lemon tree, mounds of rosemary and lavender, and the beautiful pool area.
From the moment we arrived at Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate we felt instantly at home. Laurie and Robert, the homeowners, greeted us warmly, and we were directed past the lemon tree to the short, winding path beside the swimming pool, leading up to the private suite.
Laurie familiarized us with the simple details to make our stay comfortable. Luxury linens, fine furnishings, fragrant bath products and a cozy fireplace created a lovely ambiance. A Keurig coffee maker and small refrigerator made it easy to create a light breakfast or afternoon snacks, and to chill white wine. The bathroom area is comprised of two small rooms; with high end stone tiles and finishes, it is compact and efficient. The toilet and small sink are in one room and the shower is in another. There is no counter space but the glass wall shelves were sufficient for storage.
For more details on our stay read my review on Homeaway of Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate.
This view offers peaceful vineyard vistas during the daytime and brilliant stars at night. I can only imagine how wonderful a dip in the pool would be on a toasty summer day in the valley.
After settling into our suite we made the short drive to quaint Geyserville for dinner at Diavola. We don’t splurge on carb-loading pizza very often, but when we do, we always hope it is good as this one. Thanks for the great recommendations, Laurie and Robert!
Following a leisurely morning with coffee and a light en suite breakfast we had picked up at the small market in Geyserville the night before, we were off to lunch at Rustic “Francis’s Favorites” at Coppola Winery. In this lovely hilltop spot, reminiscent of Tuscany, we enjoyed friendly service and fun conversation with fellow diners. (PS-my purse must have fallen off the chair because I’m a bit of a germaphobe who would much rather hold my bag then set it on the ground #winecountrynocares :)
Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola has created a unique concept around the swimming pool with cabines to rent for family days at the pool. This looks like a super fun concept for warm weather fun. It reminds me of throwback summers on the shore. For more details on pools and cabines here.
Our next stop was for a tasting at Matrix Winery. The interior is currently being remodeled into what will become a beautiful tasting room and deck, but the outdoor spaces are still beautiful. We enjoyed some luscious pinot noirs at Matrix on this sunny afternoon next to the water feature.
Scott was getting around pretty well on this day, thankfully. Maybe the sound of splashing water soothed his soul?
Or maybe it was the wine?
This photo is a simply a gratuitous reminder to stick with pilates…DAILY!!!
From Matrix it was a quick trip back to the guest suite for some relaxation before heading out to dinner. Laurie and Robert’s very friendly kitty (pictured above) came inside for a visit. Did I mention Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate felt like our “home away from home”?
After freshening up we were off to dinner in Healdsburg, for our second visit to Dry Creek Kitchen, of Chef Charlie Palmer fame. We had the most impeccable service and delicious bites on this evening. The ingenious sommelier, Rolando, introduced us to some lovely wine and conversation that made for a memorable evening. I was also happy to see that Chef charlie Palmer ‘liked’ my photo of our evening at Dry Creek Kitchen on Instagram.
We found the vibe to be significantly more warm and friendly than our visit here several years ago. We highly recommend you make a reservation here and talk to Rolando about wines (and life).
Another fantastic perk of staying at Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate is that Laurie and Robert graciously offered us a private wine tasting at neighboring Mazzocco Winery.
We scheduled our tasting for noon on Sunday and were lucky enough to meet Mick. He shared a number of delicious pours of Mazzocco wines, some of which were created with grapes grown at Pony Ranch Vineyard. He also shared stories of the local vineyards and the history of the area. If you visit Mazzocco ask for Mick and he will spoil you, no doubt.
Shed Healdsburg-a wonderful place to buy a picnic or dine. We enjoyed a tasty gelato.
All getaways must come to an end. Our thanks to Laurie & Robert for an unforgettable getaway to Dry Creek wine country. Thank you for sharing your lovely estate with us for the weekend. We promise, we will visit again soon!
Our new favorite ‘Home Away from Home’ in wine country: Pony Ranch Vineyard Estate.
H2 Hotel (previous post here)
If you are considering a wine country getaway, I’d love to help you plan it.