The purpose of this trip was not so much photography but rather to assist my daughter with planning for her wedding in late December. She and her fiancé have selected a wonderful B&B called Villa del Valle. Being a very small wedding of 14 or so people (immediate family and uber close friends), she wanted to make simple arrangements and keep the weekend a relaxing mini-vacation for her guests. We did get some shooting in but as I look at the images they are certainly not focused in any way. Rather, we shot what presented itself! Nice change.
We stayed at the Estero Beach and Resort hotel. Nice and inexpensive but the location put us on the south side of the bay and too far away from the wine country area to the north. Lovely grounds, pretty good food and reasonably priced. There is no beach here, just a rocky ledge with clear sea water. Across the small inlet we could spot pelicans in abundance but our glass won't get us there. Every morning there was fog cover to some degree.
We headed out to the wine tour route and stopped for lunch at Monte Xanic. They are a bit different architecturally and with a nice large pond in front they are quite an oasis in the desert. Lunch is served in a garden with a waterfall. The chef, Diego, cooks in a clean shed and everything is grilled to order. Diego is from Argentina and serves up platters of grilled meat or salad. We had the best grilled Romaine salad! I went back to talk to him about how he prepared it. So easy!
As we drove towards the winery we could not figure out what was on the front of the building. It shimmered, had shadows . . . Turns out that it is covered by very thick rope that hangs from the top and is tethered loosely at the bottom. Very different.
Tom loves to ask, "Which do you like better?" It is always a rhetorical question. I have found that the best answer is, "Yes." So, which do you like better?
The next day we finally headed to the Villa to check it out and meet up with my daughter and her fiancé, Bill. The Villa sits atop a hill and to get there we had to drive 4 km on a rutted, sometimes deeply, washboarded dirt road. Think not Prius friendly! Once there, however, we were glad we took it slowly and quit complaining! Of course, we found a few things to shoot along the way.
The inside was filled with details, books, art, colorful and comfortable benches . . . These photos are shared, but they are really for my mom so she can get an idea of what is coming up as she will not be able to make it to the wedding. Mom, this is your heads up!! Erica will be a princess and we will all be taken care of in this royal palace.
We interviewed a florist, a photographer and a guitarist. My favorite was the guitarist who simply took out his guitar and started playing compositions that met my daughter's request for something sort of classical, sort of smooth, out of the way . . . slow before the ceremony and maybe peppier, more celebratory afterwards. He simply played away. Smart move on his part. He is in! Oh, and when not playing solo he has a flamenco band.
Just down the hill from the villa (easy walk) is the Vena Cava winery. Guests get a tasting and tour there as part of the package. We hope to have dinner the night before the wedding inside the winery! Fun or what? The winery is built with reclaimed sailing ships, placed upside down over carefully constructed rooms to create a cave effect. All the materials are reclaimed. It is just awesome to see in person. Four days a week there is a truck that serves up delicious tapas-like appetizers.
We had dinner at the world famous (yep true) Corazon de Tierra restaurant located on the property. If you research it, look for the photos on Trip Advisor. We did not take photos this trip. The food . . . . well . . . . unbelievably great. The villa also has a website at lavilladelvalle.com. Looking for a place to be a prince or princess . . . just might want to check these places out. For now, we are slightly into feeling comfortable that the arrangements are made. Note the word 'slightly' . . . not to be taken lightly. Thanks for sharing.