Monthly Archives: January 2019

Puerto Vallarta….The Friendliest City in the World

Posted on January 17, 2019 by Michelle

This year my wife Connie and I did something a little different for the Christmas holidays….we left the country and took a sojourn to the beautiful Mexican beach resort city of Puerta Vallarta. Once we landed, we headed North from the airport to the small town of Lo de Marcos and spent ten wonderful days leisurely swimming, bird watching, hiking and sight-seeing. It was both relaxing and educational. Here’s what we learned about “Vallarta”:

  • The town we stayed at is called Lo de Marcos
  • It’s an amazing area for bird watching
  • It has a truly authentic Mexican feel with friendly people and feels “safe”
  • It’s a popular retirement destination for Americans and Canadians
  • PV is known as a “satellite gay space” for LGBTs
  • Yoga on the beach is popular and fun, especially during sunset!
  • It has a lovely tropical climate, but not many hurricanes
  • There are crocodiles!
  • It’s a popular tourist destination for folks like us who want a laid-back, non- commercialized experience
  • It has extinct volcanoes and occasional earthquakes
  • It’s not filled with luxury resorts!
Left: Connie viewing extinct volcano Right: Beautiful Puerta Vallarta Coastline

We were lucky to be staying in a private residence provided by friends. This was our first time not spending Christmas with our two daughters, both of whom were sailing the Sea of Cortez on a rented catamaran with assorted spouses and friends, a trip which they all survived and had great fun doing.

Meanwhile, our time in Lo de Marcos was everything we hoped it would be and helped soothe the sting of Empty Nest Syndrome! I highly recommend it as a great “must see” to put on your bucket list.

–Mark Stevens, January 2019

Left: Connie and I send off our lighted luminario over the ocean on New Year’s Eve….a beautiful Mexican tradition. Right: Yoga on the beach at sunset….fun!



Guide To Mendocino Wine Country

Posted on January 09, 2019 by michelle_magnus

Mendocino County is quickly becoming one of California’s top wine destinations. Featuring the famed Anderson Valley and highly acclaimed Pinot Noir wines, Mendocino is a beautiful mix of charming small towns and rugged nature.

Mendocino seems to have more than its share of natural beauty— the county is expansive, with many diverse regions, ranging from the expansive coast to the warm interior valleys. Defined by soaring redwoods, flowing rivers, an expansive coastline and, of course, lush vineyards, this county will not disappoint.

If you want to make a part of Mendocino County your own, check out our great listings in the area:

Take some time out in Mendocino and be sure to check out the following vineyards and resources as you plan your visit.

Balo Winery and Estate—This ultra-premium winery is located in the in the heart of Anderson Valley—far enough from the city to experience quiet country charm, yet close to the comforts and modern conveniences of town to attract plenty of wine enthusiasts.

Yorkville Highlands Vineyards—These vineyards represent approximately 30% of the entire Yorkville Highlands Viticulture Area. The property is comprised of eight parcels and offers numerous estate-building sites with spectacular views.

Talmage Vineyards—103± acres of premium vineyards in Mendocino County. This property includes 2 homes, an irrigation pond, plus barns and staging area’s developed for amazing events.

Towns and Regions

Check out this guide from to you wrap your head around the various parts of the county. Explore the website to find a ton of useful articles and event listings as well.

“Mendocino County is not so much a place as a state of mind. Spectacular scenery, a sense of isolation, an aesthetic sensibility, and a strong sense of community are the standout highlights of a trip to Mendocino County.” READ MORE


This article is a good overview of the various appellations in Mendocino County. In it you will find descriptions of the AVA’s and which notable producers call them home.

“The overarching “Mendocino County” appellation is home to a total of eleven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

One of them is named, simply, “Mendocino AVA” which largely nests together six smaller AVAs that you may be familiar with (Anderson Valley, Yorkville Highlands, McDowell Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, and America’s smallest AVA, Cole Ranch).

In addition, “Mendocino County” appellation also encompasses “Dos Rios” AVA, “Covelo” AVA, and “Mendocino Ridge” AVA.” READ MORE


This article from GuildSomm describes both the history of wine in Mendocino, as well as a detailed descriptions of the various AVA’s and their exceptional features.

Mendocino is a county with two faces. One face, the softer side, is well known. This is the coastal half that contains Anderson Valley, where delicate Pinot Noir and exceptional sparkling wines are enjoying increasing, and deserving, renown. The other face of Mendocino resides further east, in the cache of old vines that sprawl across the Redwood Valley appellation and surround the towns of Ukiah, Talmage, and Hopland. Here the vines have long labored without fanfare, their fruit blended into anonymity across county lines. But a growing number of vintners, both local and ex-county, are waking up to the remarkable quality contained within these venerable vineyards, and more attention is sure to follow. As exciting as the lacy creations of the coast may be, it’s time to turn our backs to the sea and our eyes toward the remarkably preserved historic legacy of inland Mendocino.” READ MORE


*map courtesy of