December 2002

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Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
"An Oasis of Indulgence in Comfort and Sensibility..."
The Napa Inn presents The Buford House
A New Napa Valley B&B
Dining Recommendation
Celadon - Napa Valley
Recipe of the Month
Flash Fried Calamari with a Spicy Chipotle Chili Glaze
Tasting Room Recommendation
S. Anderson Vineyard
Lodging Recommendation
Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg
Events for December Drawing
Win a Wine Country Gourmet Getaway

From all of us at FreeRun - Thank you for using our sites!
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Clarion President Inn
"Christmas in the Park"

Clarion President Inn - Christmas in the ParkDo you know the way to San Jose? Every December, over 400,000 people make their way downtown to discover one of San Jose's best family traditions: Christmas in the Park. Yearly, the two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 60 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, and carnival rides. Click on the following link for further information:

Do you know the place to stay in San Jose? Just a few minutes from downtown is the Clarion President Inn. This AAA 3-diamond Inn has 46 well-appointed rooms and suites. After dining in one of San Jose's fine restaurants and exploring the sites and sounds of Christmas in the Park; return to the Clarion for complementary hot apple cider in the lobby. You may also wish to bring your bathing suit and soak in the hotel's heated pool and jacuzzi. In the morning enjoy a complementary deluxe continental buffet breakfast. Then, visit one of the local attractions such as wineries, shopping, or even visit the Winchester Mystery House. Click the attached link for further information: Weekend rates from $74.50. HINT: Call directly (408-972-2200) and reserve Clarion's Winchester Mystery House package, which includes 2 adult tickets for $99.00 weekend and $119.00 weekday. Happy Holidays!


The California Wine Club
"Don't panic, there's still time!"

The California Wine ClubDon't panic, there's still time! Even though the number of shopping days is 4 days shorter this year than last year, The California Wine Club is here to help! Each month your gift recipient will receive two bottles of award-winning wine, hand-selected from the best of California's boutique wineries. These are wines they won't find in their local stores! Included in each shipment is Uncorked, an upbeat and entertaining 8-page newsletter.

Monthly shipments start at just $32.95 plus shipping. Send as many months as you wish. Special discounted prices on gifts of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Corporate discounts are also available. For more information call 800/777-4443 or visit our website at


Shady Oaks Country Inn

"The Best of Both Worlds"

Shady Oaks Country Inn - The Best of Both Worlds This is the best of both worlds; Shady Oaks Country Inn, located on a quiet country lane just two miles from historic downtown St. Helena. We are knowledgeable and happy to act as your personal concierge for dinners, winery tours; anything you may want or need.

We are famous for our full gourmet champagne breakfasts and the Roman pillared patio where breakfast and "premium wines and cheeses are served each evening with warm hospitality!"

Each guestroom at the Shady Oaks Country Inn boasts its own private bath, antiques and fine linens. Three have fireplaces and two have their own private entrances. The owners are also winemakers and will be delighted to let you taste their wines and sample right out of the barrel.

It is our sincere wish that your stay with us be romantic and memorable.

Shady Oaks Country Inn
99 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa

Sonoma Mission Innn"An Oasis of Indulgence in Comfort and Sensibility..."

It seems like everyone you meet has a story about the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Recently renamed the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, this grand dame of Sonoma Valley carries special memories for many within its pink walls through which time does not seem to pass. For some the memories are of their wedding or honeymoon. For others perhaps a marriage proposal over a romantic dinner, or attendance at a grandiose event. Established in 1927 the property sits grandly in the middle of the region Jack London dubbed the Valley of the Moon, perfectly situated for you to explore all that this beautiful area has to offer. This month a member of the editorial staff decided to see for themselves what this Northern California historic Wine Country resort has to offer.

Golf CourseBuilt on an area once revered by Native Americans as a sacred healing site, the resort is an oasis of calm. The Inn derives its name and architecture from the Spanish Missions. Lush landscaping, beautifully manicured grounds and sparkling fountains grace the outdoor spaces. The natural subterranean hot mineral springs bubbling beneath the grounds are the heartbeat of the Inn. There are a variety of rooms and suites from which to choose, all beautifully appointed and meticulously clean. Many of the suites feature fireplaces and decks or patios, and offer luxurious surroundings in which to relax after experiencing the soothing thermal mineral water and myriad of treatments offered by the Spa.

The full service Spa has something for everyone. Whether you wish to just take a dip in one of the pools, enjoy the Bathing Ritual or indulge in a full day of treatments, you will come away feeling revived, rejuvenated and ready to enjoy a round of golf or explore the surrounding Wine Country. The Inn’s concierge service can arrange a multitude of activities ranging from wine tours by limousine, guided hikes, biking tours, and balloon rides to a suggestion of where to find a private picnic spot for two. Just take a look around their website…and you will want to make your reservations and start planning your trip.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

The Napa Inn presents The Buford House

The Buford HouseA New Napa Valley B&B

The Napa Inn, "Napa's most romantic bed & breakfast inn," has opened a new B&B, The Buford House. Located right next door to the main house, this Romano - Tuscan Italiannate Victorian home in downtown Napa was built in 1877 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Innkeepers Brooke & Jim Boyer spent nearly three years restoring and remodeling The Buford House into the magnificent inn it is today.

A member of the editorial staff attended The Napa Inn's grand opening celebration on September 25th. The open house was complete with delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, entertainment, and a ribbon cutting by the Mayor of Napa. What a splendid way to introduce The Buford House!

Buford House Simeon Room Lovingly remodeled into a charming bed and breakfast by owners Jim & Brooke Boyer, The Buford House boasts eight elegantly decorated guest rooms - each with its own personality and charm, many with original artwork created by Brooke, adding unique character and style. The Garden Cottage, decorated in French Provincial prints, overlooks a private flower garden. Most of the rooms are named after members of the Buford family or the Boyer family.

All rooms in The Buford House have private baths, heating and air conditioning, telephones, TV's with VCR's, refrigerators, irons, and hairdryers. Most have fireplaces and four have two person whirlpool tubs. Rooms are also thoughtfully appointed with modern amenities such as direct-dial telephones complete with modem connection and voice mail.

Breakfast at the Buford House
The Napa Inn, an elegant Queen Anne Victorian built in 1899, and The Buford House share a lovely serene and relaxing garden. A delicious gourmet breakfast, often five separate dishes, is prepared by the innkeepers each morning and served by candlelight in the Victorian dining room. Teas and liqueurs are offered in the afternoons and evenings.

For more information on the Napa Inn & the Buford House, visit the web site at

Dining Recommendation

Celadon - Napa ValleyCeladon - In Historic Downtown Napa

The revitalization of Downtown Napa is alive and well, and quite evident if you visit Celadon. This fabulous dining experience, right here in Napa, is truly one you won’t want to miss. A favorite of Napa locals since its opening in 1996, Celadon recently moved to a new location in the fully renovated and historic Hatt Marketplace along the Napa River in Historic Downtown Napa.

Recently a editorial staff member joined friends for a dinner party at Celadon. Great service combined with exquisite ambiance, delicious food, and elegant French Art Nouveau décor all contributed to make the evening a memorable occasion.

Sparkling Napa Valley wines were enjoyed with varied starters, all with exciting flavors. One in particular, a specialty of the house, Flash Fried Calamari with a spicy chipotle chili glaze and pickled ginger was excellent (recipe to follow). Grilled Quail on balsamic lentils with a frisée and fresh herb salad, and a starter of Macadamia Crusted Goat Cheese with port-poached figs and crostini - a dish that is also often served as a dessert - were also marvelous choices. Fresh salads served were the Mixed Greens Salad with cherry tomatoes and champagne vinaigrette and the Endive and Pear Salad with blue cheese, candied walnuts and honey-mustard vinaigrette.

The entrees were extraordinary. Each dish was elegantly prepared and done to perfection. Many in the dinner party ordered the splendid Filet Mignon, served with a rich cabernet sauce on a bed of foie gras, horseradish mashed potatoes, and spinach. Others enjoyed the Grilled Rack of Lamb, outstanding with a wild mushroom risotto and thyme. Equally impressive was the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast complete with garlic polenta, sautéed onions and sweet peppers.

Celadon features an eclectic, comprehensive, and award-winning wine list. On this occasion a Saintsbury Pinot Noir was chosen - a lovely wine that truly harmonized with all of the selections.

The tempting dessert menu was complete with port and sherry, sweet dessert wines and various coffee drinks. We chose several Sweet Plates, including an Espresso Crème Brulee, Celadon Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier crème anglaise, and more! All were thoroughly enjoyed and provided the grand finale for a dining experience at its finest!

Greg Cole, owner and executive chef, offers Celadon - "a neighborhood restaurant that over-achieves."

Recipe of the Month

Flash Fried Calamari with a Spicy Chipotle Chili Glaze and Pickled Ginger
By Celadon

Chipotle Chili Glaze
1 7-oz. can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 lb. orange blossom honey
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Combine the above ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

2 lb. fresh squid, cut into rings
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
salt and pepper
peanut oil for deep frying
1/2 cup pickled ginger
1/4 cup chopped chives

Heat oil to 375 F. Season the calamari rings with salt and pepper. Toss the squid in the flour to coat evenly, shake off excess. Deep fry until golden brown, about two minutes. Drain the squid and combine in a bowl with one cup of chili glaze, sliced pickled ginger, and chives. Arrange on a platter or on plates with reserved glaze for dipping.

Makes six to eight appetizer portions.

Try this delicious recipe provided by Celadon and let us know how it turned out! Send responses to

Visit Celadon's web site at:

Tasting Room Recommendation

S. Anderson Tasting RoomS. Anderson Vineyard in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley

For visitors looking for an intimate winery experience, S. Anderson is the perfect place. Away from the crowds, guests will find a friendly, relaxed atmosphere at this family-owned winery and enjoy some of the valley's best still and sparkling wines. Located on Yountville Cross Road, at the northern border of the renowned Stags Leap District appellation, S. Anderson is a jewel-like 47 acre estate owned by Cliff Lede.

Members of our editorial staff recently visited the beautiful grounds for a tour and tasting, and are proud to report an unforgettable experience. Tours are offered twice daily, beginning on the terrace, surrounded by magnificent rose gardens, fountains, and statuary. Looking up, one quickly recognizes the surroundings and picture perfect views of the gorgeous hillside vineyards as a true taste of the Napa Valley!

S. Anderson Cave CellarsTours vary slightly depending on the time of year and the current stage in the winemaking process. The S. Anderson staff will take you on a stroll through the vines, allowing you to witness the activity of the winery, while telling the stories of S. Anderson's past and present. S. Anderson’s caves were the first newly-mined in the Napa Valley in the 20th century, and the first machine-drilled caves ever in the Napa Valley. Your path will lead to these stunning caves, with century-old cathedral ceilings and cobbled floors.

S. Anderson Sparkling varietals are available for tasting in the candlelight of the caves. During our visit, the tasting included a 1997 Napa Valley Brut, a perfect blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with tiers of green apple and Asian pear. This was followed by a 1995 Napa Valley Blanc de Blanc, a spectacular bubbly with pear, lemon, and mango aromas.

The WineryAlong with a tour, guests are invited to enjoy the award winning S. Anderson wines in a charming, nineteenth century stone pump-house. Wines are poured by the friendly and educated tasting room staff. Be sure to take home a bottle of the highly rated (94 points Wine Spectator) 1999 Stags Leap District SAV Cabernet Sauvignon, displaying the complexity, elegance and velvety texture of pure Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon. S. Anderson still and sparkling wines are also available online at

S.Anderson operating hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Tours daily at 10:30am & 2:30pm
Private tours by appointment.

Lodging Recommendation

Grape Leaf Inn – A Luxury Bed & Breakfast in the Wine Country

The Grape Leaf InnThe small town of Healdsburg is located in the heart of the Wine Country between three prominent Sonoma County wine growing regions: the Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, and Alexander Valley. Tucked away in this charming community you will find the Grape Leaf Inn, a romantic 100-year-old rare three-dormer 1900 Queen Anne Victorian. A staff member recently stayed at the Grape Leaf Inn, and found the experience to be superb.

Magnificently restored and surrounded by lush evergreen trees and beautifully landscaped grounds, this exquisite bed & breakfast inn has twelve luxurious suites, each filled with beautiful antiques. The rooms feature splendid Victorian décor, true to the times, and offer amenities such as whirlpool tub/showers, private fireplaces, king-sized beds, and skylight windows. The Syrah room has a two-person Japanese style soaking tub and steam shower for a unique to relax after a long day of wine tasting. Hosts, Richard and Kae Rosenberg, are gracious and the elegant surroundings are relaxing and soothing.

As the day draws to a close, enter a mysterious portal hidden behind a bookcase and step down into the secret cellar ‘Speakeasy’ to enjoy a wine and cheese tasting, complimentary for all guests. This evening event is unique to the Grape Leaf Inn, and very popular with the guests! During the wine tasting, guests find themselves getting to know each other while exchanging Wine Country stories over a glass of fine Sonoma County wine. By morning, you may be enjoying your country gourmet breakfast with friends!

In the Speakeasy you will find rare boutique wines available for purchase. Take one of these extraordinary wines with you to dinner at one of the fine local restaurants. Perhaps you will want to take a bottle or two home to linger over by the fireside while you reminisce about your stay at the Grape Leaf Inn.


Grape Leaf Inn offers several exciting and romantic specials throughout the year.
Current specials include a "Pre-Holiday Winemaker's Dinner Weekend with Michel-Schlumberger." Check the details on the Grape Leaf Inn's web site:

Events for December


December 11 - 13 -- 14th Annual Candlelight Inn Tours
Come and join us for open houses with Christmas refreshments and decorations. Bring the family, or just go with your friends, either way you will be doing a good thing and having fun. The proceeds benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters and The Children's Fund. This event will be taking place in Albion (12/11), Mendocino (12/12), & Fort Bragg (12/13).
Fee: $15 Per Person Time: 4 PM to 8 PM Phone Number: 707-964-1228

December 16-17 -- Holiday Concert
Handel's Messiah. A Benefit for Symphony of the Redwoods. Saturday performance at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg; Sunday performance at Gualala Art Center, Gualala.
Fee: $12 Adults; 18yrs and under Free; call for season ticket prices Time: Saturday 8pm; Sunday 3pm Phone Number: 707-964-0898

For a complete calendar of events in the Mendocino Region, visit:



December 7 -- Holiday Celebration
Mark your calendar for this festive holiday celebration at Galante Vineyards, 18181 Cachagua Road, Carmel Valley.
Fee: Call Time: Call Phone Number: 831-659-9525

December 8 -- Holiday Homescapes
Warm up your home for the holidays! New festive ideas are presented by our local experts - table settings and floral decor in the morning (9:30 - 12 Noon) and cooking demonstrations in the afternoon (1 until 4 pm). At Chateau Julien Wine Estate, 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. Call for reservations.
Fee: $49 per session or $86 all day Time: Varies Phone Number: 831.624.2600

For a complete calendar of events in the Monterey Region, visit:


December 6 -- Bordeaux Wine Tasting
Back Room Wines will host an open tasting of wines from Bordeaux for their Friday Night Tasting. A "Bordeaux Taste Tour," taste wines from all around the appellation, including White Bordeaux and Sauternes. 10% off all imported wines during the tasting. Back Room Wines is at 974 Franklin Street in Downtown Napa.
Fee: $15.00 Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Phone Number: 707-226-1378

December 14 -- Holiday Gala Dinner in the Cask Room
Merryvale’s 'Seasons of the Napa Valley' dinner series offers the public a chance to enjoy the exquisite ambience of the Historic Cask Room, normally reserved for private parties of 50 or more. December 14th: Cuisine by Chef Joe Scarpone of Tra Vigne restaurant with award-winning Merryvale wines.
Fee: $125 / person, all inclusive Time: Reception begins at 7pm Phone Number: 800 -326- 6069 ext 429

For a complete calendar of events in the Napa Valley Region, visit:


December 14 -- Pretty-Smith Holiday Open House
Stop by the Pretty-Smith Tasting room for some complementary hors d'oeuvres, taste the new vintage, and get a few holiday gift ideas from Lisa Pretty & Victor Smith. Winery tours will be available throughout the day. 13350 North River Road, San Miguel.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Call Phone Number: 805-467-3104

December 14 -- Tobin James Holiday Open House
Complementary holiday cheer and treats in the Tobin James Tasting Room. Taste all your favorite wines and enjoy shopping for your family and friends. No Bah Humbug shopping here!! Tasting room open 10 am – 6 pm. 8950 Union Road, Paso Robles.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Phone Number: 805-239-2204

For a complete calendar of events in the San Luis Obispo Region, visit:


December 7 -- Winter Murder Mystery Dinner at Gainey Vineyard
Join our cast of ne'er-do-wells and femme fatales for a devilishly fun evening of wine, food . . . and mystery! Enjoy a wonderful four-course dinner paired with Gainey wines as you try to figure out "whodunnit" and "why". Special prizes will be awarded to the top sleuths – an unforgettable evening of comedy and murder! At Gainey Vineyard, 3950 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez.
Fee: Call Time: 6:30 PM Phone Number: 805-688-0558

December 14 - 15 -- Santa Ynez Valley Chorale concerts
The Santa Ynez Valley Chorale, Youth Chorale and Orchestra, under the direction of composer/conductor Chris A. Bowman celebrate the holiday season with two concerts, Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 and Sunday, December 15 at 3:00 at the Solvang School Pavilion, 565 Atterdag Road, Santa Barbara.
Fee: $10.00-$8.00 (children/seniors) Time: 7.30 PM 14TH Dec and 3:00 PM 15TH Dec Phone Number: 805 688 8966

For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Barbara Region, visit:


December 12 -- Caroling Under the Stars - Santa Cruz Wharf
Family and friends celebrate the holiday season at these annual community events. Free caroling books and goodies from Hobee’s Restaurant and Marini’s will inspire singers! Dress warmly, grab a flashlight and come rain or shine. At the Santa Cruz Wharf.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: 7:00 PM Phone Number: 831-420-527

December 18 -- Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley Presents "The Nutcracker"

"The Nutcracker", the perennial holiday favorite is back for a two-week run in downtown San Jose. An amazing journey begins when young Maria joins her family and friends at a holiday party and is given a nutcracker by her beloved godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer. Set to Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's immortal musical score. Nahat's sumptuous production is danced by 40 professional dancers and more than 60 young dancers and students in the advanced program at the Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley School. 408 Almaden Blvd., San Jose.
Fee: $22.00-$65.00 Time: Call Phone Number: 408-288-2800

For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Cruz Region, visit:


December 20 - 21 -- Weekend Jazz at Hotel Healdsburg
On Friday, solo pianist, Jason Sherbundy will perform. On Saturday, piano and bass, by Greg Huster Duo with Steve Webber. Stop by and check out the new place to be on the weekend! Located at 457 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg.
Fee: Call Time: 7:00 PM-10:30 PM Phone Number: 707-431-2800

Continuous -- Cooking and Wine Classes at Ramekins
Sonoma Valley's only facility dedicated to the education of the home cook, from amateur to the aficionado. Renowned chefs, authors and culinary experts teach their styles and techniques with class participants. Located just off the Sonoma Plaza, Ramekins features all types of cooking and wine classes year 'round.
Fee: $35.00 - $65.00 per class Time: Varies - Call for Schedule Phone Number: 707-933-0450 x3

For a complete calendar of events in the Sonoma Region, visit: Info Sweepstakes:

Win a Wine Country Gourmet Getaway for Two!

Relax and let your worries melt away... Journey by rail while you tease your palate with a delicious and decadent five-course gourmet dinner… Sample world class wines… Learn the secrets of Wine Country gourmets …

You could win a the Wine Country Gourmet Getaway for Two, including the Stress Stopper Package from Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort, a five-course gourmet dinner on the famous and historic Napa Valley Wine Train, vineyard and winery tour tickets from Robert Mondavi Winery, and tickets for a gourmet cooking demonstration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone!.

No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected February 7, 2002 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.

Visit Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort at:
Visit the Napa Valley Wine Train at:
Visit Robert Mondavi Winery at:
Visit the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone: Info...

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