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Stay Inside a Wildlife Preserve

December 27th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman) 

Northern California has so much to offer especially their animal experiences. I drove around three hours from the San Francisco airport to Point Arena to see the B. Bryan Preserve Wildlife Foundation. 

They are dedicated to the conservation of African hoof animals. Dr. Frank Mello, the founder, explained, “This is not a zoo but a private breeding conservation center where we focus on three species of zebra and three species of antelopes which are rare and endangered.

We can’t get close to the animals because they are all wild and we want to keep them that way.” Frank does stay away from the animals!

The preserve provides a lot of space similar to their native habitat. With 110 acres, each species of animals live in large fenced areas but only the zebras are allowed out at night to roam around the cabins and near the exceptionally large pond.


California Wild Animal Tours

December 7th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Seeing all of the wild animals at Safari West is very exciting but you should take time-out to dine at their restaurant. 

Mark De Witt, Restaurant Manager, feels, “We have the only restaurant in Sonoma County without any wall paper you can just look out at 180 flamingos, 13 giraffes, and other wildlife.”

What a wonderful outdoor setting! Dine outside with nature all around you or in the dining room.

With a change of menus every day, their African dinners include an all-you-can-eat gourmet salad buffet, several BBQ entrées, vegetables, potatoes, rice and desserts.

The family-style 12’ long tables allows you to meet people and get together, for families and friends just like in the luxury tent camps in Africa.


Visiting an Organic Winery

November 30th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Whenever you are near Northern California’s wine country it is time to visit one of the 350 wineries!

I stayed at the Farmhouse Inn, in Forestville, a great location for a quick 15- minute drive to the Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Wine Estate close to Sonoma.  Michel-Schlumberger is an organic winery with an entirely different approach to growing grapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Direct Consumer Sales, walked with me on a tour of the vineyards. “In organic farming everything is about building soil health and building nutrients in the soil naturally. Instead of using pesticides or herbicides, our winery uses nature in planting, farming and a lot of different ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


From the Farm to the Table

November 4th, 2011 • by admin
Seared Diver Scallop with Mashed Potato and Squash Carpaccio (Photo by Farmhouse Inn) (Art by Sandy Zimmerman)

 My trip to northern California had so many surprises. I was impressed by the Farmhouse Inn, even breakfast was an event!  Yes, Inns are usually known for their breakfast but here they served a complimentary two course made-to-order gourmet meal. 

I had a first course of Donut Muffins and strawberries with golden balsamic vinegar. Then there was a choice from two second- courses. Either Huevos Rancheros (Eggs Rancheros) poached fresh eggs from their own farm along with black beans, chorizo, queso fresco, home- made salsa and fried tortillas or baked Blueberry French toast. The French toast was different from any other French toast I have ever tasted with their nightingale baguette, blueberries, salted pecans, Chantilly whipped cream, blueberry-maple syrup, and cherry wood smoked bacon.  It was so tasty and such a flavorful combination! Another breakfast featured Mascarpone stuffed French toast.

Lamb Chops with herb curry Couscous- (Photo by Farmhouse Inn) (Art by Sandy Zimmerman)

Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, the owners of the Farmhouse Inn, offer such great menus which change daily so you should be ready for spectacular taste treats.  Catherine feels, “A farmhouse is what everyone dreams a farm house could be. The experience we are offering is unique. Our food is wholesome and nutritious.  Most of the time, the eggs are from our own chickens and the produce from our gardens.”

Murals of five generations of the Bartolomei family. (Photo by Sandy Zimmerman)

Joe discussed their Executive Chef, “We have a Michelin Chef who spends half-a-day stopping at 4-5 gardens while getting from his home to work. He returns with boxes and boxes of produce and decides his menu each day. No menu stays longer than a day. The fruit you eat was on the vine eight hours earlier. It is that quick and that fresh.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit- (Photo by Farmhouse Inn)- (Art by SZ)

 

 

 


Africa is in California!

November 2nd, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman) 

I found some very exciting attractions while touring northern California! Safari West is compared to the African Serengeti! The sounds of animals greet you at the entrance.  Safari West is not a zoo.     

Terry, one of the guides, drove me up to the mountains around the 400 acre wildlife preserve in an authentic Safari vehicle.  It was an eerie feeling when he got out to open the gate, drove in and closed the gate behind us. We were in the enclosure with the wild animals! The public must stay in the truck during the tour and are not allowed to walk around.  There were antelopes and giraffes close enough to take their pictures.

 We could see how the animals live in their environment. The rhinos sat sunning and rolling around in the mud but they were too dangerous to allow anyone to enter the gate.  Some of the other dangerous animals were the Cape Buffalos.

Terry discussed interesting background facts, (Continued)


Luxury in the Forest-Farmhouse Inn-#1-Northern California-

October 16th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman
  

The Farmhouse Inn (Art 3-D Photo by Sandy Zimmerman)

(Photos by Farmhouse Inn except where indicated.)

The couple’s Jacuzzi offered a windowed view of the private porch and forest while they bathe. There were more choices in the shower with either steam, or a regular shower, or both at the same time.  

  
 
 

Enjoy the fireplace in the bedroom or on the porch.

The fireplace worked either in the bedroom or on the private porch for romantic evenings. My suite had a weather vane on the dresser, farm implements and other interesting decorations. I was happy to see their television brought all of my favorite programs even though I was busy with so much to do around the area.     

(Art/ 3-D Photo by Sandy Zimmerman)

Joe Bartolomei explained, “We have a total of 18 cottages, main house rooms and barn suites on our six acre property. Our guests really get personal attention with six concierges and three bellmen for the 18 rooms.    

The Barn Suites

 



The James Bond Wine Table

May 15th, 2010 • by admin
When you visit Del Friscos, do not miss seeing the most amazing $1.2 million dollar James Bond table. Looking like a normal table at first, Jacque touched her remote control pad and the table suddenly opened to present the James Bond OO7 Films Wine Collection. Eighteen magnums of Cabernet wine from Napa Valley wineries each represent different Bond films. These one- of-a kind bottles are each laser-edged.

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