Archive for the ‘Item of Interest’ Category

A Few Tips For Your Lawn

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Do you have a dead spot on your lawn? We found a few tips for you to replace that dead spot, and it only takes a few minutes to do it- plus growing time, of course!

For this project, you will need a rake, shovel, and a hose. You will also need to purchase top-soil, turf-grass seed of the same variety as the rest of your lawn, and peat moss. You can find these at Home Depot or your local hardware store for cheap.

To get started, you have to pull away the dead turf grass with a rake or with your hands. If working with your hands, we suggest you wear gloves. Remove a couple of inches of soil using a shovel and replace it with a couple of inches of fresh topsoil. Afterwards, sprinkle grass seed over the topsoil and cover with peat moss. It is important to use peat moss because this will keep the seed moist and protect it from birds.

Water the spot you’ve worked on every two or three days, depending on rainfall and fog. In two weeks, the seeds will begin to germinate and in a span of a month, you’ll have a sweet spot to lay in the sun or to have a picnic with family and friends.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

A Great Article From The Press Democrat

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Hi everyone! We just wanted to share with you a wonderful article from The Press Democrat that explains why you should visit Sonoma County!

Happiest place in California
Study: Sonoma County ranks first in state, fifth in nation for well-being


Do you have a smile on your face and a little extra pep in your step? Well, so does your neighbor.

A massive study released Monday determined that people in Sonoma County are happier and healthier than anywhere else in California — and ranked fifth overall in the nation.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on interviews with more than 353,000 Americans during 2009, asked people to assess their jobs, finances, health habits, mental attitudes and communities.

People in Sonoma County assessed themselves as having especially healthy behavior: meaning they ate healthy, consumed fruits and vegetables every week, exercised weekly and didn’t smoke.

The Boulder, Colo., area ranked first in the nation overall. Also ranking higher than Santa Rosa overall were Grand Haven, Mich., Honolulu, and Provo, Utah.

Three other California areas ranked in the top 10: Santa Barbara, San Jose and Thousand Oaks.
At the bottom of the list was the area of Huntington, W. Va. Overall, the Southern states ranked worse than other regions.

Gallup surveyed 753 people in Sonoma County. The survey consisted of 42 questions that indexed results into five categories: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behavior, and basic access to things such as clean water, safe neighborhoods, fruits and vegeta-bles, and health care.

Sonoma County ranked fifth overall in healthy behavior and 16th in work experience, which measures job satisfaction. It ranked 32nd in physical health and 33rd in emotional health.
You can reach Staff Writer Nathan Halverson at 703-1577 or


Planning A Special Event?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

If you are planning an event in wine country, we encourage you to have the event in Bistro Des Copains in Occidental! Occidental is a quaint, small town and is 30 minutes away from Healdsburg. The food at Bistro Des Copains is absolutely amazing- you’ll love everything from the freshly baked bread and tapenade to their scrumptious desserts. The restaurant is very cozy- perfect for an intimate dinner or gathering.

Bistro Des Copains serves Provencal cuisine, and they can host your event- holiday parties, wedding receptions, and even for private parties for lunch and dinner. A professional staff will be on hand to attend to every detail including decor, accommodations, and of course, full service. They can accommodate parties up to 48 people, and the event fee includes event coordination, appropriate tables, china, silver and crystal stemware. Parties will also include a personalized menu.

For more information, please visit Bistro Des Copains.

Super Bowl Sunday Treats From the Jimtown Store

Friday, February 5th, 2010

One of our favorite stores out here, the Jimtown Store, will have a Super Bowl Sunday menu for those watching the game this weekend! These are all yummy treats, so go ahead and contact the Jimtown Store to place your order!

Dips, Nibbles, and Spreads:
Chickpea Chipotle Dip – $5.95/ ½ pint
with Jimtown House-Cut Tortilla Chips – $14.00/ 2 lb. bag, $2.00/ ¼ lb. bag
Jimtown “Stand-up” Salad with Green Goddess Dip (minimum 6 people) – $6.00/ person
Jimtown Chopped Olive Spread (7 oz. tub) with 1/3 lb bag of Crostini – $8.95
Jimtown Artichoke, Olive, & Caper Spread (7 oz. tub) with 1/3 lb bag of Crostini – $8.95
Jimtown Spicy Olive Spread (7 oz. tub) with 1/3 lb bag of Crostini – $8.95
Jimtown Fig & Olive Spread (7 oz. tub) with 1/3 lb bag of Crostini – $9.45
Spicy Pecans – $6.00/ 4 oz. bag
Sweet & Spiced Nuts – $6.00/ 4 oz. bag

Chain Gang Chili (serves 4-5) – $17.50/ quart
with New Mexico Chilis, Mexican Oregano, Fire Roasted Pasillas, and a touch of Masa
with toppings: Shredded Cheddar Cheese & Pickled Jalapeños

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili (serves 4-5) – $15.95/ quart
with 3 Beans, Vegetables and Bulgur Wheat
with toppings: Shredded Cheddar Cheese & Pickled Jalapeños

Delicious with our Hand-Cut Tortilla Chips – $14.00/ 2 lb. bag, $2.00/ ¼ lb bag

Split Pea Soup -$12.00/ quart
with Smoked Ham Hocks and our Home-made Chicken Stock

Skillet-Baked Cornbread with Honey Butter -$16.00/ skillet

Mom’s Potato Salad (serves 4-6) – $15.00/ quart
Red Potatoes and Sweet Peas in a Light Mayonnaise Dressing

Buttermilk Coleslaw (serves 4-6) – $15.00/ quart

House-Made Cookies – $12.00 per dozen
Espresso Brownies – $2.95 each

Have fun!

Discover Healdsburg’s Historic Homes

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In our opinion, Healdsburg is one of the most beautiful towns in the North Bay. We’re biased, of course, but if you’ve never been to Healdsburg, we sincerely encourage you to come visit- even just for the weekend! There’s a lot of things to do in the town of Healdsburg. You can start by walking around Healdsburg Plaza- a great place to try local wine and great food. There are a lot of small boutiques as well, perfect for doing a little shopping. During summer, the plaza holds the farmers’ market every Tuesday, and after a certain hour, a live band plays great music and everyone joins in the middle for a little dancing. Definitely an activity worth experiencing if you’re in the area.

Healdsburg is also home to a number of beautiful historic homes. The best way to explore these historic homes is by foot. You can join the Healdsburg Walking Tour- they have 1 hour or 1.5 hours tours daily starting at 9:00AM. Or, you can go out and discover on your own. Healdsburg is a small town, and it’s fairly easy to find your way back to the plaza.

We assure you that you’ll fall in love with these homes as soon as you see some of them. So, what are you waiting for? Healdsburg is waiting for you!

Wine Country Driving

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Hello! Hope you all had a great weekend! It’s been raining for a week now in wine country, and the vineyards, trees and plants are sure happy!

Anyway, we have a few friendly reminders for driving around wine country. We’ve noticed that a lot of people who visit the area have difficulty driving, or are simply oblivious to road rules and proper road courtesy. Driving in wine country is very different from driving in the city or the suburbs. Most of the roads are very narrow yet are two-lane. There are a lot of turns with blind corners, so we encourage you to stay on the right side of the road to avoid any accidents.

Remember, drive slow. Narrow roads usually have 15-25 speed limits. There are also a lot of cyclists on wine country roads, and we encourage you to drive even more carefully when cyclists are around. And remember, share the road. Cyclists are also expected to ride in single file and not side by side.

There is also a bridge in Healdsburg called Lambert Bridge that leads to different wineries such as Quivira, M. Schlumberger, and A. Rafanelli Winery. We would like to remind you that this is a one lane bridge, and cars are to pass alternately, one car at a time. Please be reminded that you are to drive slowly, and you are required to stop a few yards away from the entry of the bridge, and whoever stops first gets to pass first. We have seen a lot of cars driving very fast without stopping whatsoever, leading to collisions.

Hope these tips would be of help! Please drive safe and have fun in wine country!

Maintenance Tips

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

There are a lot of tips to keep your carpets free from all those stains and unsightly spots before your annual carpet cleaning. The general rule of thumb for spot cleaning is never scrub any kind of stain. It’s best to blot the spotted area, and to work from outside-in. Here are a few tips for dry spills and water-based spills.

For dry spills:

  • The first step to tackling dry spills is thorough dry vacuuming. It’s best to use the hose attachment to avoid working the spill deeper into the fibers of the carpet.
  • If the spot remains, apply a water-based spotter to a white cotton towel and gently rub the are from outward inward.

For water-based spills:

  • As soon as something spills, quickly place a cotton towel on the area to let the towel absorb as much as possible. Afterwards, follow the procedures for dried spills.
  • For spills that have dried up, dampen the area with warm water but don’t use too much! Press a cotton towel to the spot to absorb the moisture. Repeat this rinsing process.
  • If a spot remains, dampen the area again, then apply a carpet spotter and blot.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Press Democrat Article – Party gone Wrong

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Jan. 12 — Article in Press Democrat sensationalizing results of a party of teens and young 20’s gone wrong –  I just want to comment, being a vacation rental management and company owner.  There is  lot in the news lately about vacation rentals and the press hasn’t been too kind about the subject.  This event is a perfect vehicle to further sensationalize and continue negative reporting about the hazards of vacation rental.  You may have read it — an unauthorized rave was held with an LA DJ at a rural location where several hundred people were invited and attended.  The article says about 80 people were dancing on the deck when it collapsed.  The article also says there was drugs and alcohol.

A couple of things here:

1.  I personally know the owner of the vacation rental company to be an honest, fair and trustworthy person who would never authorize such a thing;

2.  80 people on a deck, any residential use deck, is dangerous, let alone when there’s shaking, dancing, etc.  It’s common sense.

3.  The use on this property was illeagal and unauthorized – why is this anyone’s responsibility except for the renter?

4.  This is exactly why, when the public, as interested renters, has to go through screening, security deposits, strict contracts, etc. and why we as an organization have developed a code of conduct when renting vacation rentals (see earlier blog).  It’s unfortunate the few make the many pay — that’s the story of our legal system, though.

5.  What the public never hears about are the tens of thousands of rentals that do go off without complaint, damage, neighbor nuisance.  Believe me, there is that number every year of rentals and most are just friends and family wanting to get away, attend a wedding, visit and relax.   As this industry helps support the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau with significant tax contributions (20% of the budget), and drives people to local business such as shops, restaurants, parks and more, you would think the news might be more positive.  But that’s not headlines these days!

Goodbye, 2009. Hello, 2010!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Happy New Year everyone!!! 2009 has been a year of ups and downs, and although this year has been difficult and challenging, we’d like to think that we still have it better than millions of other people in the world. We have to keep a positive attitude no matter what happens, and once we embrace this way of thinking, we actually see that things aren’t so bad, right?

With this being said, we know and we feel that 2010 will definitely be a better year for all of us! The Sonoma County Vacations team would like to wish you a prosperous new year filled with joy and love!

Please take care and be safe!

Favorite Movies For The Holidays

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

I can’t believe it’s just a day before Christmas! Time sure flies! I’m sure most of you are spending the holidays with your family and your loved ones- the one time of the year where families get to be complete again. Aside from all the delicious meals your dad, mom, grandfather, or grandmother makes, I’m sure Christmas is that time of the year where some of you may all gather in the living room to watch your favorite Christmas movies!

My favorite Christmas movie is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. The part where all of them are dancing- each to their own beat, is something that instantly makes me smile and giggle when I think about it. This is just a classic movie that everyone simply loves.

“Miracle on 34th Street” is another classic holiday movie that brings me back to my childhood. My family and I would bring our dessert to the family room right after Christmas dinner, and the adults would bring their coffee and biscuits. There’s just something about these old movies that always makes you feel good after you watch them, especially when you’re with the company of your loved ones.

How could we forget about Macaulay Culkin’s, “Home Alone”? Everyone loved this hilarious movie, and I even know people who memorize all the lines. Don’t you just want to say “aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!” when you think of that movie?

Other great holiday movies that are worth watching on our list would be Bill Murray’s Scrooged, Cameron Diaz’s “The Holiday”, Vince Vaughn’s “Fred Claus” and Reese Witherspoon’s “Four Christmases”.

What are your favorite movies? Hope you can share them with us! Have a wonderful day with your friends and family everyone! Happy Holidays from Sonoma County Vacations!