I’ve heard Wine Country described as “Disneyland for adults,” though I’ve never heard Disneyland described as Wine Country for kids. My inner child, the one who stole sips of Carlo Rossi Vin Rose when the parents’ theater troupe wasn’t looking, somehow resents this. Though Disneyland’s adjacent “California Adventure” theme park makes an attempt with its “Wine Country Trattoria” decorated like a mini Sonoma County and boasting a wine list that would make Charles Shaw blush (that is, if Shaw made a rosé), both me and my inner-kid prefer the real deal. Yes, I accept that I’ll never be invited on another press junket by Uncle Walt for saying so, but alas, I’m not 8-years-old either. Besides, I live in the “Disneyland for adults” and seek my immortality whilst bobbing in wine, not liquid nitrogen.
The fact that Sonoma is the destination du jour for our thousands of annual visitors is somehow affirming, though it begs the rhetorical question, “If this is the place to be, why go anywhere else?” Given the current financial climate, we shouldn’t go anywhere else. We should stay put and keep our dollars in local circulation. Having sidestepped my own economic downturn, which accounts for the recent move of this column (call it musical chairs, bed-hopping or both, I’m no longer arranging deck chairs, which is a relief while assembling a crib), I can relate implicitly. Moreover, the marketer in me sees a bounty of opportunity. All we need is our own snappy term to make the place seem perpetually novel to ourselves. Consider the popular “stay-cation” (staying near), or “gay-cation” (staying near a same-sex partner), or the not-as-popular “hay-cation” (rolling around in a field). Forget the so-called “Che-cation” (putting your Che Guevera T-shirt in the laundry) and “nay-cation” (just saying “yes” all the time). We can do better, Sonoma. I suggest losing the “-cation” part entirely and plucking the suffix from “holiday,” the Anglophile’s synonym for “vacation” but redolent of lavender and Merchant-Ivory films. If your room with a view is anything like the one in which I’m presently writing – a garret above a light-industrial facility, sufficient for script to screen gigs and occasional runs to the taco truck – “going on holiday” has a certain ineffable charm.
To wit, I’m going to take a “Nomaday,” a micro vacation that takes the “So?” out of Sonoma while contributing to the local economy. Here are some pocketbook-friendly notions for enjoying your own Nomaday. Sonoma and the surrounding area brims with Bed and Breakfasts, but it’s difficult to justify the expense of an overnight stay when one lives here. However, if our B&Bs offered hourly rates, like the no-tell motels of yore, many of us would gladly visit for a little snooze and a snack. Call it a “Nap and Nosh” and watch the travel mags clamor for the inevitable “trend piece.”
After your Sonoma-style siesta at the N&N, it’s time for a spa treatment, but without the expense of either the spa or the treatment. Somewhere between a spa and schvitz, the Sonoma “spritz” squeezes an entire spa experience into a single, atomized spray, finished with a solid slap on the back to suggest the vague muscular soreness that follows a good massage. Of course, the same effect can be achieved by walking into any of a number of local taverns wherein a common salutation is a misty, beer-tinged greeting followed by a back-cracking bear-hug. Both are cheap and somehow therapeutic.
No Nomaday would be complete, of course, without sampling some of our local wines. Here’s a tip – many tasting rooms waive their fees for locals.
For a deeper pour, drop my name. If, for some unearthly reason, my name isn’t recognized, spare us mutual embarrassment by invoking a foreign accent. Should you be asked your country of origin, say that you’re “from Disneyland.” It’s a small town after all.