An Adult Fall Drink: Cider Champagne!

A few weeks ago my other half and I headed up to Apple Hill in Northern California.  For those that reside in NorCal, this is the place to go to get your fall apple fix on.  Homemade Apple Cider Donuts, Apple Cider, Caramel Apples and so much more greet you in this area.


The area has over 30+ Apple Orchards within the area that showcases its plethora of fruits.  Some orchards have you pick your own, others have the caramel apples, donuts, and everything else apple waiting for you.  It always makes for a fun weekend during the fall with loved ones.


While visiting one of the Orchards, we ran across Cider Champagne! We were hooked instantly and knew we had to recreate the fall beverage right at home:



Apple Cider/Apple Juice

Champagne (we used Cook’s Dry Brut)

Apples, to garnish


Pour 1/2 Cup of Apple Cider/Apple Juice into glass

Pour 1/3 Cup of Champagne (Brut Style) into glass

Stir together then Garnish with Apple Slices.

Then enjoy!  We were pretty amazed on how well Apple Cider tasted with Champagne.  This has easily become one of our new fall favorites.  We’re hoping it will become one of yours too!

If you want to make an non-alcoholic version we recommend mixing together Apple Cider with Sparkling Apple Cider, that combination will make a sweet sparkler with a bit more flavor.





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Experience a Progressive Wine Dinner in Livermore Wine Valley!

Disclosure: I was invited out to experience Taste Our Terroir in Livermore!  This is my story and experience. All opinions are my own. 

Every July, the Livermore Wine Valley comes together to offer a fun event (Taste Our Terroir) focused around Food, Wine, and Fun showcasing all the offerings that their Livermore Wine Valley has to offer.  The Main Event, which helps to open up the Weekend Festivities happens on Thursday Evening with their “Grand Tasting.”

Area Chefs/Restaurants come together to offer some of their best bites paired with some of their favorite wines within the region.  Making it a fun night of food and wine, and it pretty much SELLS out every year!

The weekend events continue Friday through Sunday with fun seminars, lunches, and dinners at local wineries in the area.  This past year’s events included: A fun Wine Blending Lunch paired with Pizza, Several Wine Tasting Seminars, and Saturday night held their first annual Progressive Wine Dinner.


The Progressive Wine Dinner included 3 stops at local area wineries.  Between each stop, the Livermore Wine Trolley, which has been around for a little over a year, would transport us between each stop.

The night started off at Garre Vineyards and Winery at their new Restaurant location, Cafe Garre, at the top of the winery.  The restaurant is open year round offering fresh California Cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. The best part: Homemade foccacia bread.


Many locals of the area were apart of the Progressive Dinner, and remininsced on when the Cafe use to be down on the grounds of the Vineyards, right next to the house.  The first course at Cafe Garre included an appetizer along with a beautifully made salad:


The Second Stop along the journey included a nice family seating dinner at Les Chenes Estate Vineyards. The couple behind this winery, Richard and Candice, are very hospitable and make lovely hosts.  Candice, sharing her homemade Chutney, which is also sold right on the property, along with a lovely dinner amongst the grapevines.  The perfect dinner right in their backyard with Cordon Bleu with their own homemade Chutney spread atop:


And of course, a favorite part of the evening were the views:


The Golden Hour at the Les Chenes Estate Vineyards.  Very beautiful especially right after dinner.

The Third Stop of the evening took us to Eagle Ridge Vineyards where we were unloaded the trolleys and stepped inside a Garage.  Yes, a Garage.  The Garage was filled with a variety of antiques.  The owns of Eagle Ridge Vineyards kind of fell into winemaking, but their passion comes in creating Port Wines, which has become pretty popular in the Livermore Valley area.

This was our final destination of the evening, and also, the dessert round.


As Ports are known very well as a dessert wine, it only made sense that this is where we would end.

It was such a fun evening.  As you went to each stop you’d sit by new people, converse, and by the end of the night, possibly walk away with new friends, or a memorable evening.  The wineries really stepped up, and showed us an intimate view of their wines and their world.  I’d highly recommend partaking next July.

Livermore Wine Valley has some fun annual events every year including Taste Our Terroir Every July

The next big event is: Holidays in the Vineyards: December 5 & 6: 12-4:30pm each day.  A great way to shop for the holidays while enjoying the area wineries.



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A Bit of Historic Charm in Downtown Placerville: Cary House Hotel

Since last year I created an annual fall tradition of heading up to Apple Hill for a weekend to explore the areas apple orchards.  As its one of my favorite times of the year.  After first exploring the area in one day last year, I knew, this year, I wanted to try something a little different.  Instead of overworking myself in just one day, I knew I wanted to find a place to stay overnight.

The question was where?  I did a quick search on Placerville, and came across the Cary House Hotel. At first glance, the hotel does not look too fancy.  From the outside, not the best perspective: cary-house

But once inside, an entirely new story unfolds.  A bit of a historical past.  A place that holds so many memories from Placerville (an old, historic mining town/aka Hangman’s Town.) There are 3 floors within the historic hotel.  Each floor having a different theme.  The 2nd Floor named after Wine Varietals, The 3rd Floor named after area’s Mines, and the 4th floor named after Historical People that had an impact on Placerville or stayed at the Historic hotel.


In the lobby area, lounge chairs, beautiful stained glass windows, and many historical items GREET you.  Make sure to spend some time reading about the various articles found throughout the lobby.

And then you head to your room.  Each room has a different name related to the theme of the floor you’re on.  We resided on the 4th floor and were given the Mark Twain Room:


And the theme continues once inside the room.  In our Mark Twain room, a beautiful historical writing desk sat in the corner (filled with Mark Twain books) and a very comfortable bed.  They even transformed the refrigerator to look like an old fashion safe.  Pictures of Mark Twain were hung throughout the room.


But my absolute favorite feature of the room was something very simple:


A journal where former guests of the room could write about their experiences.  Rumor is there’s very friendly spirits that haunt this historic hotel.  Guests are encouraged to share their stories about the hotel, about their stay, or any experiences they may have encountered with spirits.

A few things to note:

There is an elevator, but it’s VERY old.  2 People Maximum or 1 person with Luggage.

Complimentary Parking given at Check Out to the lot directly behind the lot.

Coffee is served from 6am to 9am every morning in the breakfast nook area, but JUST coffee.

There are no Vending or Ice Machines in the Hotel, but water is given out in the lobby area.

And complimentary coupons are given out with discounts to various Downtown Eating Establishments (we recommend HeyDay Cafe!)

BUT, with that being said, we truly ENJOYED our stay at the Cary House Hotel, so much, that I had to write about it.  And yes, we paid for our own room.  And loved that it was in such close proximity to many great restaurants, and the Downtown Area so you could spend some time walking through the various shops of Downtown Placerville during your stay, or even run across a hometown festival like we did (Oktoberfest!)



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