Perfect Country Days

By Kate Riley October 17, 2011

The in-laws came for a visit this past weekend. My MIL brought her homemade lasagna which was the beginning for me. The beginning of a two day relaxation coma which I just awoke from this very morning. 

The thing I love the most about having out of town visitors is how they force me to get out of my paint splattered yoga pants and head out into the nearby countryside to adventure and explore. Our visitors couldn’t have come at a better time, October in this region is simply divine. 

pumpkins on table cg


We headed up to Healdsburg to attend a ‘Pizza and Pinot’ event at a winery owned by a friend. Our Saturday consisted of apple picking, pizza eating, pinot drinking, roadside vegetable stand sampling, and a serious bocce ball competition.

This is De la Montanya Winery, and this property has it all: picnic tables in the apple orchard, vineyard all around, a fired up pizza oven, and bocce ball court. They’re home to the best Pinot Noir in the Russian River valley, it’s pure bliss!

barn and sky

wine tasting de la montanya

de la montanya tasting

fresh pizza

bocce balls in basket

boy and bocce

apples on ground with leaves

old truck


West Side Road in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley is covered with wineries both large and small, and this time of year is especially pretty, with the leaves on the vines changing color before your eyes and the fruit nearing harvest, ripening in the sun. 

rock wall and vineyard healdburg

rock wall fallen leaves

child running in vineyard

fall leaves vineyard

color fall leaf

wine grapes cg


I can’t resist a roadside stand, and this one did not disappoint. We were surrounded by fields of heirloom tomatoes, zinnias, gourds, and gorgeous purple hyacinth beans. 

farm trails zinnias

pink zinnia

purple hyacinth bean 2

heirloom tomato on vine

rows tomato vines

yellow tomato

striped tomatoes

french butternut squash

weathered bench

zucchini in tree

pumpkins on hay bales

pumpkins on barrel

pumpkins on hay

There’s nothing quite like a perfect fall day spent in the country.




  1. We live ten minutes north of Healdsburg and absolutely love all the charm it has here. Glad you were able to enjoy it for the weekend too.

  2. utter GORGEOUSNESS! I want some purple hyacinth beans and those striped tomatoes look amazing!

  3. What a marvelous weekend! LOVE all the photos! :) I live in a teeny town in the country if that makes sense. The speed limit is 25 and the closest thing to a stoplight are the railroad track lights. :)

  4. Oh my word, I just fell in love, again. Apples, pumpkins, vineyard, bocce, pizza, WHAT??!!! I would never ever leave there…

  5. Wow, you seem to have such great outings whenever someone comes to visit! Can I be your friend?! :)

  6. Gorgeous foto’s Kate! You have such an eye. Your photograph’s are the best of any blogger I’ve seen and are better than some I have seen in magazines.

    Also, that pizza looks so yummy!

  7. divine is right! We were supposed to come your way in October, but we have postponed til the spring…I’m definitely going to have to see you!! lovely photos!

  8. Beautiful!!!

    Here in Central Florida we are just now starting to feel a little bit more like fall.

    I do miss all the wonderful colors like this from up north.. thanks for sharing..

  9. Your pictures are gorgeous! This is exactly why I LOVE fall! It sounds like you all had a great time there, especially since there was many things to go out and do and see! Thanks for sharing:)

  10. You are so lucky to live in a beautiful place. Can you tell me what kind of camera you use? I love your photos. Thanks!!

  11. All the photos are beautiful…but those purple beans look amazing! Seeing pictures like yours makes me wish I lived near the country. Looks like you had a great day.

  12. Looks pretty close to perfect to me! Great pictures. :) It must be close to dinnertime here b/c I totally zeroed in on that pizza. ;) California looks beautiful! The leaves are changing a bit here in Virginia, but it’s still on the warm side.

  13. We live in SF and head up to Sebastapol almost every other weekend.
    Which Farm Trails farm was this trip? would love to stop in some time.

  14. Gorgeous photos! This is my favorite time of the year here! It sounds like you had the perfect Fall weekend. Your kids sure are cute!

  15. It has long been my husband and my dream to own a working farm, and the farm that you visited looks just like my dreams. Glad you had a great time!!

  16. Your photography is do die for. I want to learn to take better pictures. Don’t know if my little camera is enough, with instruction, or if I need a more expensive one with different lenses to get those kind of shots….but boy…..great! One of my favorites is the old truck….just love it.

  17. I hope that you know that you live in paradise! Seriously, my husband and I vacationed in Sonoma before we had kids and we still talk about that trip. Picture perfect! You are such a lucky lady.

  18. Thanks so much Denise!
    Melissa and Becky, I use a Nikon D90, see my FAQ page for more details!
    Emi, that Farm Trails stand is along West Side Road between Mill Creek winery and downtown, you won’t miss it if you follow that route.
    Laura, you’re welcome anytime!

  19. These posts about local places to see get me so excited it’s ridiculous! Adding this to the list of places to go check out, gorgeous!!

  20. What beautiful pictures! It is interesting watching the seasons change over there as we move through Spring towards Summer here in Australia.

  21. You said it best. Simply divine. October is nice here too in Nashville, but I would rather be in Northern California any day. I’m a wine love, produce lover. Nuff said. Pics are great.

  22. What a fabulous post!!! It makes me want to move to CA and have weekends like yours! :)

  23. Several years ago my husband built me a bench almost exactly like the one you photographed! The only difference is he tilted the seat a bit for comfort, and carved our initials on one of the arms!

  24. What beautiful photos! My housekeeper keeps bringing me those Sucrine squashes- I had no idea what their name was and didn’t take time to research it before; I bake and puree them and have been putting small amounts in our spaghetti sauce for an extra vitamin boost.

  25. Wow! What beautiful memories this brings back to me. I was born and raised in Northern California (relocated to Austin, TX, last summer) and I miss the beauty of wine country. Thanks for sharing the photos of the beautiful fields and the delicious tomatoes. I totally agree that Fall is one of the best seasons in the Bay Area and wine country.

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