Posts Tagged ‘Dry Creek Valley’

JULY 4TH WEEK IS HOT HOT HOT IN WINE COUNTRY

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Hillsclouds2

Sonoma County is experiencing a series of 100+ degree days, expected to continue through the 4th. When the “Cool down” comes, it’s only supposed to drop to mid-nineties. We at Sonoma County Vacations would like to provide guests with a couple of items to help make their stays enjoyable.

1. If you have no pool at the home you’re renting, see about turning the hot tub down so you have a dipping pool of sorts;

2. Make sure to turn air conditioners off at night so they don’t freeze up (in which case you’ll have no air or you could break the system).

3. Most home air conditioners are not sized for industrial strength like hotels. When it’s this hot, they lose some functionality, and no matter how low you turn it, it’s not going to cool down. In fact, setting it below 75 could freeze it up. Be sure to give the A/C a break, especially between the hottest hours, 4-8 p.m., set it a little higher.

4. At night, after the sun goes down open all windows and doors which have a screen, and leave open until early morning, then shut everything, close drapes, blinds, etc to keep the house dark and cool.

How to use a vacation rental

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Many of the complaints and bad reviews we get are when we have to withhold a guest’s security deposit.  We HATE withholding money from others, and do NOT keep one dime to pad our own bank account.  It ALL goes to repairs or to the property owners to settle a neighbor’s complaint.

So I would like to write about the proper use of a vacation rental home.

1.  Pay attention to the contract you’ve signed.  Many homes do NOT include heating the pool in the price you’ve paid and you will need to pay extra.  If the pool is heated by propane, especially, it is expensive.  Our start up costs are $300 to bring to temperature and $100/day to keep at temperature, and that’s typically 83 degrees.

2.  Be sure to touch base with the owner or management company for questions ahead of time.  Many times your concerns or extra needs can be handled effortlessly if each party (guest and property owner/manager) has the time to respond.

3.  Get your contract signed and returned immediately, discuss any questions immediately, so you’re not waiting for key or gate codes as you’re trying to arrive.

4.  When you arrive, read the guest book which typically goes over how to operate anything tricky.  Walk around right away to make sure you understand where things are, then call right away if you don’t understand or see something you thought was there or should be provided.

5.  Don’t wait until evening to call for a repair or needed item unless it’s an emergency.  Vacation homes are not like hotels.  They do not have 24/7 staff available for repairs.

6.  When you vacate, follow the list of instructions.  Typically these include putting furniture back where you found it, especially outside, turn off, lock, secure windows and doors and air conditioning or heat.

7.  Vacate when you’ve agreed to vacate.  Housekeepers and inspectors may not be seen, but they’re often they’re waiting for you, and if there’s no agreed delay in check out, guests may be charged for the additional time they’ve used.

I hope this helps, and thanks for reading.

YELP

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Hillsclouds2

An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat recently peaked my interest. It was titled “Is Yelp Really Just a Forum for Blowhards” and I must say, I’ve felt that way many, many times. Admittedly Yelp has been a thorn in my side, as they’ve allowed a former employee to rant about working here, and a post which simply said ‘they discriminate on young people’. These posts are not what Yelp is meant to do, which is help the consumer when considering their purchase. So, with that in mind, and a little taste of lemon puckering my lips at them, here is a summary of the article written by Sandy Banks, appearing in the Sunday, 4/28/2013 print.

It all started when Ms. Banks went into a restaurant, not checking on Yelp first, enjoyed her experience, then saw a sign in the window ‘Stop the Bully. Boycott Yelp’. She uses the site to get the low down on most everything she does, and later found the restaurant was rated a 3 of 5 stars and had 88 Yelp reviews. The restaurant suggested (and two lawsuits have suggested) that if they paid for Yelp ads, they’d be ranked higher, but instead the negative reviews were filtered to appear first.

The restaurant said their customers repeatedly submitted very good reviews that never show up on the web site. Yelp’s response to the restaurant “perhaps if you paid to do Yelp ads, we could help with this” and they couldn’t determine when asked, why the positive reviews weren’t showing up.

I agree. The same has happened here. We’ve had thousands of guests stay with us, most share a positive experience, and yet, the majority appear negative on Yelp. I gave up for a long time, assuming it was part of the new internet experience, where it gave a voice only to those that wanted to be seen, heard, and blast, not offering anything constructive.

I have a son that works here that has a traumatic brain injury. Now he is not necessarily the best in customer service, but he tries damn hard, and it’s part of his recovery to work. So push come to shove, who will I chose, even if my business suffers? Of course all the mothers out there know, it’s going to be my son.

But let me explain what happened with one review. A guest checked in early, miffed they couldn’t get into the home ahead of time. My son had his lunch on the desk, finishing up while leaving the door open (it was a Saturday and a very relaxed day with us) for potential customers.

Long story short, they gave us a bad review because he was eating his lunch, and delayed them getting in (even though they were early, mind you).

So that’s my bias, I admit, with Yelp. Too many people post to tear people down, rather than give constructive advise.

But on the other hand…????

ZIN Taste

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Sonoma County is the best place in the world to grow Zinfandel, so a few wineries here in Healdsburg want to put that to the test! On July 29th, Thursday, everyone over 21 years old is invited to go Affronti Restaurant in Healdsburg to have a taste test of zinfandels from various wineries from Dry Creek and Alexander Valley.

This will be a live wine tasting event to determine whether your favorite zin comes from Dry Creek or Alexander Valley, hosted by Alexander Valley Vineyards, Ridge Lytton Springs and Seghesio Family Vineyards.

Here’s the line up:

Alexander Valley
~ 2008 Ridge Geyserville
~ 2008 Seghesio Home Ranch
~ 2008 Sin Zin – Alexander Valley Vineyards

Dry Creek Valley
~ 2006 Redemption Zin – Alexander Valley Vineyards
~ 2007 Ridge Lytton Springs
~ 2007 Seghesio Cortina Dry Creek Valley

If you’re on twitter, add the hash tag #ZinTaste and taste along with us.  Get your friends together to taste all six or simply choose a few.  Affronti has a live performances every Thursday, so stay a while to enjoy the music and have something to eat.

Have fun and taste responsibly!

Rental Scams

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

The latest scam on Craig’s List and other free listing sites involves trying to get an unwary propect’s identification. A reputable property management company or property owner will never or should never ask for the application before you’ve seen the property and will never be in Africa or the UK trying to do it online.  Never send money, never fill out their application.  Here is one that just hit today — looks like it could be legit, right?  Has my supposed e mail in it, but it’s not me.  It’s a bogus.  Has an application, but it’s not ours.

Beware of the free listing sites for this kind of stuff — Craig’s List, Oodle, Kijiji, hot pads, and many many more.  Do your homework and don’t be caught.  We report these things to the various listing sites and the FBI, however they are overloaded and flooded.  The FBI says it’s the number one problem occupying their time, so it’s up to us to be deligent.

From: Pamela Taeuffer [mailto:pamela.taeuffer@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 6:52 AM
To: James Bateman
Subject: Re: $800 / 2br – 2 Bedroom Home in Healdsburg!!! (Healdsburg, CA)

Hello Dear,

Thanks for the email. I and my husband own the house and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer to ( West Africa , Nigeria ) that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person and God
fearing person who can take very good care of the house in my absence.we are not
after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the person
that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.
So for now, I am  here in West Africa and will be staying here for the next 3
years in our new house and also with the keys of the house for rent, we try to
look for an agent that we can give this documents and the keys before we left
but could not find, and we as well  do not want our house to be used any how in
our absence that is why we took it along with us.
We came over to Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us
that you will  take very good care of the house. So get back to me if you know
you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home.
Hope you are okay with the price of $800 per month and  the security Deposit
is $600.You are advised to go and view the property exterior before getting back to me with the rental application.

My Husband Contact Number:  0112348122598647 or +2348122598647


Bedrooms:2     Monthly Rent:$800
Address:14635 Kinley Drive, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Bathrooms:1        Deposit:$600
Type:House


Utilities:
Air Conditioner Dishwasher Walk-in Closet     Disposal
Microwave    Views    Playground  washer/dryer    Public Trans.

Pets,Dogs, Cats, Other Pets ok..

Rental Application

Applicant Information

Name:
Date of birth: Cell: Phone:
Current address:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Own( )     Rent (* ) Monthly payment or rent: How long?
Previous address:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Owned*  Rented (Please circle) Monthly payment or rent: How long?

Employment Information

Current employer:
Employer address: When did you intend to move in?
Phone: E-mail: Fax:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Position: Hourly  Salary   (Please circle) Annual income:

Emergency Contact

Name of a person not residing with you:
Address:
City: State: ZIP Code: Phone:
Relationship: friend

Co-applicant Information, if Married

Name:
Date of birth: Cell: Phone:
Current address:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Own      Rent*  (Please circle) Monthly payment or rent: How long?
Previous address:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Owned*  Rented    (Please circle) Monthly payment or rent: How long?

Co-applicant Employment Information

Current employer:
Employer address: How long?
Phone: E-mail: Fax:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Position: Hourly      Salary     (Please Circle) Annual income :

References

Name: Address: Phone:
I authorize the verification of the information provided on this form as to my credit and employment. I have received a copy of this application.

Signature of applicant:

Date:

Signature of co-applicant:

Date:

Hello, Spring!

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Spring is officially here! The weather in Sonoma County is warming up, and more and more people are walking around the plaza, enjoying the sun! I’ve also noticed an increase in number of people who go wine tasting in various wineries in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. It’s getting busy around here, especially during lunch or dinner time- restaurants are usually packed, and during the day, lots of people have their meals outside to enjoy the sunshine with their families, friends, and even their dogs.

The buds are starting to break on some of the vines as well, and sooner or later, leaves and tendrils will appear. Watching the grapevines grow is simply amazing, and to the cycle of their growth is humbling. It’s going to be an even greater year here in wine country, and we’re so excited for you to come visit! If you’d like to visit during an event weekend, we recommend visiting on the weekend for Passport To Dry Creek Valley on April 24th and 25th. This will be a weekend filled with amazing wine, fun activities with good music, good food and great company! This is one of the most fun events of the year in wine country, and tickets are almost sold out so please start planning soon!

We also encourage you to take a look at our site and view our newly added vacation homes such as Starr Vineyards Home, Villa Grossi, Kenwood Hillside Estate, Hidden Garden, Sonoma Siesta, Vintage Hills, Calluna Vineyards Guest House, Calistoga Cottage, and Picnic Cottage.

Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, of if you need any recommendations on restaurants, activities, shops- we’re here to help! Hope to hear from you soon!

Friendly Reminders For Winter Wineland

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Winter Wineland will be held this weekend, January 16 & 17, from 11:00AM to 4:00PM on both days. We’d like to give you a few reminders when you join this event.

 

•Be prepared to show your photo I.D. at all times. Remember, no I.D. = no admittance.

•You need to show your wristband at each winery you visit to let the staff of Winter Wineland know that you’ve checked-in.

•Keep your wristband at the end of Saturday. You will need to keep your wristband on for both days.

•If you break your glass they’ll gladly replace it, but if you lose or forget your glass it will be $5.00.

•Remember that all the Wine Road events are for adults only… NO ONE under the age of 21 is allowed to attend Winter Wineland – no babies or children of any age.

•Please be reminded  not to bring dogs to Winter Wineland. Some wineries welcome dogs on NON-EVENT days.

•Each person in your party will need to be present when checking in, so the winery can check ID’s and attach wristbands to each attendee.

•Anyone that purchases a Sunday Only ticket will need to check in on Sunday…and everyone in the party will need to be present to have their wristband attached and ID checked.

•Participating wineries will stop pouring at 4:00 on event weekends, even if their normal tasting hours are later.

 

Winter Wineland will push through, come rain or shine. We are expecting rain on both days, so be careful driving, and remember that you need a designated driver at all times for both days. Have fun and be safe!

Watch Starlings In Ballet Over Dry Creek Valley & Alexander Valley

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

One of the most amazing things you could see in your life are a flock of starlings fly in the sky altogether- a movement so fluid and majestic.

300,000 starlings fly as one in the most amazing and graceful set of moves. They fly above Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley (in Healdsburg) all day long, and it’s best to find a spot overlooking the valley and sit there for a few hours- and we assure you, it will be the best few hours of your life.

We would like to invite you to visit Healdsburg this weekend, when the sun’s out, and watch the starlings do their magic in the sky. Starlings migrate to Healdsburg during fall and winter, and you definitely wouldn’t want to miss this experience! This is such a wonderful experience for you and your family that you shouldn’t miss! We have a few homes overlooking Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley, perfect for Starling watching!

If you’d like to have a feel for what starlings look like, you can go to YouTube and search starlings ballet and you’ll see what we’re talking about. We hope to hear from you soon! Please don’t miss out on one of nature’s most amazing gifts!

Weekend Along the Farm Trails

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Trails,  Open Farms welcome the public Saturday Sept 26 and Sunday Sept. 27 from 10-5.  Dozens of local farmers and artisan producers throughout Sonoma County from Healdsburg to Petaluma will open their doors to tell the behind the scenes story of local food during Weekend Along the Farm Trails.  Tours, Artisan foods, hands-on activities, cooking, pick your own, demonstrations, music and harvest.  From Hayrides to cheese-making — Farm Trails offers a chance to experience Sonoma County’s agricultural heritage.  Learn how and where the food is grown, and meet those who produce it.  Admission is free to most farms.  Tour info and map available on www.farmtrails.org or visit Farm Trails FACEBOOK page for tales from the farms.  707-837-8896.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival

Monday, July 27th, 2009

IT’S JUST OVER A WEEK AWAY!
Locals Summer Jam, August 2
The biggest summer jazz benefit in Healdsburg is coming up faster than double-time tempo. It’s the LOCALS SUMMER JAM, an afternoon of tasty barbecue, good company and great music at a private garden in Dry Creek Valley. Save the date: Sunday, August 2 from 3 – 7 pm More on our website

Just added: Noam Lemish, an incredibly gifted pianist and composer who will surely become an international name in a few short years, has just agreed to join us.

And it’s for a good cause — the Music in the Schools program, one of the cornerstones of the our mission. As Healdsburg High School’s music director Randy Masselink said about one aspect of the program, the Oaktown Jazz Workshops “become highlights of the school year. These are experiences that really stick with the kids and mean something to them.”

And Elizabeth Haze Vega, Healdsburg teacher, author and musician, likewise sings the praises of the festival’s educational mission. “I recognize that this wonderful program is unique to our town and is one of the finest cultural gifts Healdsburg offers to her children.”

Since 1999, our Music Education Programs have touched thousands of area school children, from elementary to high school — and beyond. As education budgets are cut it’s ever more important for generous people to step forward and share your support for our children’s education. More on our website

As long as you agree with that — let’s have some fun doing it! Gather together at the Fagan home in Dry Creek to absorb the beauty of this charming location, hear the best musicians our talented community can offer, and join like-minded music fans knowing every note you hear goes to support jazz education in our schools.

Just look at this lineup!
The lineup of local talent who will share the stage on Sunday, Aug. 2 just got better, as Noam Lemish has found time to participate before his departure for Bhutan. He’ll join our previously announced musicians Shea Breaux Wells (vocals), Susan Sutton (piano), Bill Fouty (bass), Lee Charlton (drums) Gary Johnson (saxes and flute), and, at last count, four jazz guitarists: Carl Vast, Christian Foley-Beining, David Howard, and Healdsburg High’s own Kai Devitt-Lee.

Tickets are available at this web page – but there’s a limited number available. Please, do your kids a favor and give your community the gift of music by supporting the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s LOCALS SUMMER JAM!

Upcoming August Highlights
Palette Art Café: Next Thursday, July 30, be sure to catch the Randy Vincent Quartet from 7 to 10 pm. The following Thursday, Aug. 6 brings us an amazing trio from New York, featuring bassist Essiet Essiet. And later in the month, Aug. 20 marks the return of Walter Savage, a veteran of our Education Program in years past, now living in Arkansas. He’ll come back to town on Thursday, Aug. 20 at Palette with a full quartet playing music from his two new CDs.

Don’t forget the Palette’s new Sunday Brunch menu, with Healdsburg’s teen talent, guitarist Kai Devitt-Lee (read more about Kai here), every Sunday this month from 11:30 am – 2 pm. And check out our website for more events at Palette Art Café.

Hotel Healdsburg Lobby: A full menu of local combos plays every Friday and Saturday nights at HH’s Lobby & Bar, from 7:30 – 11 pm. Some highlights: The Terry Henry Trio Aug. 1, Stephanie Ozer and Chuck Metcalf Aug. 7, and (what’s this?) Walter Savage Trio in the Lobby on Saturday, Aug. 8. Visit the website for more music at the Hotel Healdsburg Lobby.

Murphy-Goode Tasting Room: There’s no better way to greet the weekend (and say goodbye to your workweek!) than to sit in the sun at Murphy-Goode and listen to jazz. From 5 pm to about 7:30, ease into it with the Tyler Blanton Trio (July 31) the Sylvia Cuenca Trio (Aug. 7) and — now here’s a familiar name — the Walter Savage Quartet (Aug. 14). Visit the website for more info at the Murphy-Goode Tasting Room.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival | Upcoming Events | Become a Member

Healdsburg Jazz Festival
www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org
PO Box 266
Healdsburg, CA 95448
United States of America