Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holidays on the Sonoma Coast

Retail is a world of never taking off on holidays. Yes, yes, we close on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we are open the days before and after both. Which means we don't get to travel too far from the shop. We are blessed to have multiple invitations for holiday meals and get togethers every year. And we have to start coordinating several months in advance to make sure that one of us doesn't accept an invitation and forget to tell the other - we overbooked one year!!

This Thanksgiving, our great friends Penny and Gil have invited us to Sea Ranch to celebrate with their family. We are so excited and look forward to a fabulous meal at The Black Point Grill.

We've created a family away from home out here in California.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weather Patterns

It's true, Bodega Bay is not always the sunniest locale. We've come to learn and appreciate the "seasons" here and even to anticipate them. We now know to have the sunny clear skies means we'll endure some serious wind conditions. And the with the fog comes a calm that can be down right eerie. We literally watch the fog roll in over the head and then roll back out again, sometimes repeatedly, till it finally takes over the entire town and moves several miles inland. We share our funky weather with San Francisco. You know the famous Twain quote about the coldest winter ever seen was a summer in San Franciso...that's almost as true for Bodega Bay.

We do get our fair share of those perfect days - light breeze, clear skies, 75 degrees - they happen in middle of winter between the major, electricity-ending storms that last a few days at a time. We get enough of them to know and remember they exist when we are socked in with a fog so heavy, the seawall three feet outside the door is hardly visible.

Ahhh, mother devil, you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Anniversary Celebration!

Last night Bob and I shared a beautiful meal with our good friends Eric, Matt and Pam. We are so lucky to have landed in a place with people like these three! We toasted 3 years on the Sonoma Coast and enjoyed a great bottle of wine and a not so great bottle of wine (it happens) and most of all, the company of great friends.

Friday, July 15, 2011

3 years time...

So we have been here 3 years and it feels as if we've always been a part of this community. It's time to start recording our life here and the journey we are creating. It took awhile to get into a groove and work out all the kinks. Working with your spouse is challenging, to say the least. We both needed to find our own spaces and figure out how to let go. Anyone who's ever been in retail can tell you the ups and downs are brutal - never knowing whose going to walk in the door (or not!), being buried under paperwork and figuring out how to staff the shop so you can take a day off. That's a whole other kind of blog, I suppose.

Back to our journey through this life in Bodega Bay. We're really getting to know the folks who live here. There's the Supper Club, the Book Club, the Business Man's Golf League, the Wine Tasting Group...don't think I'm forgetting anything. Each group is a world unto itself with some overlap of people and ideas, but mostly autonomous. I'll delve into each one going forward as we attend events and enjoy outings. We will be hosting Supper Club soon and there's always a funny story or two to share.

Another part of our lives involves getting out of Bodega Bay and discovering Northern California - at least the part we can get to and enjoy on overnight trips during our 24-48 hour midweek work breaks. We are so looking forward to a short trip to Mexico after Thanksgiving (a much needed break in the warm sunshine after a long, busy season). Bob is hoping for a 2 night trip somewhere close between now and then. Lake Shasta, maybe?

And then there are the customers and clients that frequent our establishment. Between the first timers discovering Gourmet au Bay has been here for 17 years and they just can't believe they have never stopped in and the friends who come in 2, 3, 4, 5 days a week just to say hello and have a glass of wine on the deck, we get to enjoy a lot of interesting conversation!

Between all this, we exist in our little downstairs apartment, soaking in an amazing view out the back sliding door, looking over the harbor toward the Bodega Headlands. Life is good and we are so glad we are taking the long way!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time Flies

I probably said this the last time I blogged, but time really does fly by! We are loving it here in Bodega Bay and getting into the swing of things. Of course, as busy as it's been over the last 3 months, we are being told by the locals that winter is coming - and they remind us all the time. Lots of storms, wind and no traffic. Bob and I just keep working on all the plans we have to keep the people coming in. And they are! The new signage that Tammi and Steve installed is working nicely. We've been doing some advertising and working on getting some editorial press. We sent out a press release and got a pretty good response from that. All in all, we are happy with sales thus far and looking forward to a busy holiday season.

Living in west county is very interesting...we're getting to know all the locals. It's a really good week if we get to see everyone - some more than once a week! And we've had some visitors, too! Our neighbor Karen Banks from Orlando was in the wine country with some friends and brought them all out to the shop to see us. And of course Mom and Dad were out, too. We think they figured out why we love it here so much. The weather was perfect and we got to visit some really great places. Hopefully, neither of them will ever look at a bottle of wine the same.

We all went to the Iron Horse Winery for a tour of the vineyards. Iron Horse is most well known for their sparkling wine. David Monksguard is the winemaker and he spent the better part of 4 hours explaining the root stock of the vines and how sparkling wine is made. And there were samples - lots of samples! There was also a barrel tasting at Hauck Cellars. Greg and Jennifer Hauck moved out to Sonoma County from Georgia in 2004. They started their own wine label and make fantastic wine. Even though they are Bulldogs, we still sell their wine in the shop ;-)

Bob is starting to play golf a little more. I've got a bad case of tennis elbow and have had to put the sticks down for awhile. We did get a couple of kayaks so we could explore the bay. We went out this morning for the first time and it's a lot more intimidating than it looks. There are harbour seals and sea lions in the channel and they pop up with no warning. They are so cute from far away and so BIG up close!! There's lots of adventures ahead and I hope to get comfortable enough to take the camera out there one day.

Here are a couple of pics...

This is the view on a foggy day from our living room - normally you can see the Bodega Head:

This is my friend Katy and I at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair - so many wines, so little time!!

Steve and Sarah are two of our favorite wine folks. They are with Hook and Ladder Winery, owned by Sarah's grandfather, Cecil DeLoach. They are smiling so wide because their wines won a Gold Medal and a Best in Class!

A foggy day in Bodega Bay...

We rarely have clouds and visibility...

These two pics are of the same bird:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Talk about taking the long way....

It's taken me a whole month to find some time to sit down and update this blog. What a whirlwind! We are still a little crazy and discombobulated, but managing to sell a ton of wine and ship a lot of Sissy Tags! Work is what we do - all the time. We have managed to squeeze in a few fun things that I'll tell you about.

I guess what I need to do first, though, is let everyone know that we are here and loving it!! Bodega Bay is such a great little place and we can't believe how lucky we are to live here. Mo loves it too, and has already become a star around the shop. She has a bit of a fan club and likes it when other dogs come around to say hello.

Bob has become quite a 'wineaux' and really keeps the wine side of the shop filled with amazing wines. We thought we were pretty knowledgable about what was out here till we arrived. There is literally no end to all the wine available. It's so amazing! Every week, winemakers come into the shop to taste us on their products. We've even brought in some local brews for the beer lovers. Which has proved to be handy since the heat kicked in last week.

Typically, Bodega Bay is no warmer than 80 and quite windy. August brought a ton of fog and it stayed cold. The indian summer has really taken off, and we're having a heat wave! Can't imagine how hot it must be in the valleys...

We are totally into the busy season here and the weekends bring a packed deck of locals and travellers. Lots of people are finding Gourmet au Bay for the first time and loving it.

We are still trying to get the apartment set up and all the moving boxes removed. We have our priorities straight, though - Bob ordered the ESPN Gameplan from the cable company so we can watch some real football!! So, and it is very important that no one calls us or texts us to let us know about the results of FSU or GT games as we will be watching them after we close on Saturday nights!!!

So in the middle of all the hard work, we've also found time to get out to some local events. It's not too hard as they have them every weekend - all shapes and sizes. We've been to a pancake breakfast, "the Big Event", and the Oyster Fog Fest. All three events were fine examples of pure, unadulterated Americana at it's finest. And at the Big Event in Bodega, a llama got loose after the parade - it happened to be the vary llama that won the loveliest llama contest. You can see, with all this excitement how hard it is to find time to blog. People out here really embrace community and enjoy celebrating it!

But I will and I will post photos of the shop. It's coming along and we have lots of plans. It may take us ten years to implement them all...

Till next time! Here is our new contact info:

Shop phone - 707-875-9875
PO Box 604
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life in NorCal

Hello All! Well, we made it and we've been working really was our first day off and we worked all day ;-)

I was going to wait to post until I had a couple of pictures, but haven't had time to get any shots. Will put that on the to do list. We are still waiting for the washer/dryer to be delivered and trying to get settled into the apartment. It's slow going, but we'll get it done eventually. I promise, Mom and Dad, that you will enjoy your upcoming visit and not have to help us with a list of projects. Except that Bob needs help with a couple of electrical things, Dad....

So we took over the shop on Friday and the former owners invited all the locals for a farewell/welcome event. I think there were about 85 people in the shop and it was so nice to meet everyone. A couple of the local ladies invited me to play 9-holes with them on Saturday morning. The local course is a links style course, so I lost a ton of balls. But it was fun and I'm looking forward to going out again - maybe even with Bob!

Today, we got up early and went into town for our weekly grocery/bank/errand run. Now we won't have to get in the car again till next Wednesday. Well, that's not true, we do run to the post office everyday because there is no mail delivery here. There's also not any cell we'll be getting a land line in the apartment soon.

We haven't had a chance to really get around the town yet. On Friday, the new owners of a local restaurant came in to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. Andrew and Liya are Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park grads. And Andrew also happens to be a Georgia Tech grad!!! So we went down and had dinner at their place - Terrapin Creek - and it is delicous!! Now, I'm not sure how a Computer Science grad from GT ends up going to the CIA and opening a place named after the University of Maryland mascot, but I'm sure glad about it!

Stay tuned for photos of the shop and some great scenery! It's beautiful here and there are some amazing vistas....