Smiles (and wine) always make a difference

We see them everywhere we go. In coffee shops and line-ups. In stores and on the streets. They’re waiting for us at the B&B we’re staying at, and at the wineries we’ve visited and in the restaurants we’ve frequented.


They sure make a difference.

And yesterday, our smiles were as wide as the ocean stretching out to the west, flowing all the way to China. Our smiles were deep, like the roots on the Redwood trees we  wandered amongst in  Armstrong Forest where we ate two sublimely delicious sandwiches from the Big Bottom Grill in Guernville.

Stopping there to pick -up a picnic lunch before exploring the Woods was the recommendation of the vintner at Arista Wineries, a small family run business on the East Side of the Russian River. They only  make five kinds of sandwiches, he told us earlier in the day as we stood at the bar and sipped on some of the house speciality — Pinot Noir and a desert wine/sauterne varietal to die for.

“I’ve tried three of their five sandwiches and each one was the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life,” he said with enthusiasm, and a smile.

My curry chicken sandwhich may not have been “the best” sandwich I’ve ever eaten, but sitting at a picnic table beneath giant Redwoods, the wun filtering through the branches in dancing waves of light and shade was definitely one of the more suul-filling moments in recent memory.

This place is heaven on earth — I wrote about its relationship to Eden on my Recover Your Joy blog last night. ( ) and about the delightful couple and their friend we met at Arista who shared many smiles and laughter both there and at Iron Horse Wineries where we met up to share a sip or two of bubbly – all of which made our smiles brighter still.

Even Shannon, the 13 year-old resident cat at the Sonoma Orchid Inn where we are staying, wears a perpetual smile, albeit a tad smug. He doesn’t have to do anything for his living. Just lay about in the sun. “He doesn’t even mouse,” said Brian our affable Inn host. “But he makes our guests smile, and that’s what it’s all about.”

And he’s right. Smiles make the day feel oh so right.  I think it might be why the sun feels as though it shines brighter here  — it’s reflecting off all the smiles everywhere!

And what a beautiful day full of smiles it was yesterday. Roof down, sun above, trees forming a leafy canopy above our heads, we drove along country roads, up into the hills, along vineyards and olive groves and old forests. In Armstrong Woods the Parker Tree stretches 81 feet into the sky and is estimated to be 1300 years old. Imagine all the smiles it’s created on the visitors who have stood beneath its towering shade and felt the rich soils of the past beneath their feet.

We are all smiles in this magical place and loving every moment of it

Today, we’re off to visit more vineyards and to taste Olive  Oils along Burgundy Road. C.C. has a yearning to visit Caliistoga where we’ll hopefully find a late lunch delight and then who knows what the  day will bring..

My favourite kind of travelling. No concrete plans. No destination in mind. Just freeform exploring of what the land has to offer, and plenty of smiles to share and enjoy.

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