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Oh, wine country – Napa and Sonoma. We like ourselves some wine, but not totally “Sideways.”

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I really just wanted to see what the whole experience was like – wine and beyond.

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I expected it to be quite a beautiful and posh experience. I would have to say the beauty was there. The row crops of vineyards adding textures to the valley along with the changing tree leaves.

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The pacific ocean and Russian River vistas just an hour away.

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The quaint little towns with boutiques and fresh food.

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Fine art and museums.

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Reacquaintance with nature (and a petrified forest to boot).
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Lots of beauty… but it was the posh that was lacking.

Most places in the valley felt kind of hollow in that tourist trap kind of way. Like a ski resort town, where it lacks that authenticity that anyone really lives there. Where the mix of store fronts is strongly in favor of wine shops, restaurants or art galleries.

Now I’m not saying I’m totally surprised. But, the nice side of the stereotypical tourist destination is the service you receive as said tourist. I figured a world-reknown region would be up on its service game, especially during its busiest time of the year – “Crushing Season”

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Take this sign for instance.

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At first glance, it’s just a parking sign right? Well, like the quality of service we received, it’s misleading. When’s the last time you saw a sign posted using the number 24? Naturally you think “24” hours as you drive by searching for any parking spot, right? Whose idea was it to make these meters 24 MINUTES? Why not 25, 30 minutes… something that makes sense…

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Or Avis at SFO who falsly advertised the luggage capacity of our convertible. Sure, bags might fit, but you have to keep the top up. What’s the point? And let me say, they were VERY polite and helpful with arranging our other ride (a caddy cruiser). I’m turning my preferred Avis card in.

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Our hotel in Sonoma – granted it was a Best Western, but like the priciest one ever. The front desk couldn’t have cared less about the quality of our stay. AND we’re staying IN Sonoma. What the heck? Tourists must grow on trees.

Or the hot air balloon company that had us drive an hour at 5am only to get stood up when they canceled due to weather. We were the only suckers that showed, b/c we were the only ones that didn’t get a call. “Every attempt was made,” our company rep squeaked on the phone from the comfort of her own bed.

The incidents keep stacking up. Restaurants, wineries, etc. It’s not that I expect everything to be perfect, but this destination is lacking.

We didn’t let it get us down. Good times. Good people. And the wine – not too shabby.

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