Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kibble and Bids - Autumn in the Hamptons - Get your tickets today!

Kibble & Bids™ is Homeward Bound's premier, annual fundraising event featuring silent and live auctions, gourmet food, great beer, fabulous wine tasting, raffle, award-winning classic car display … and Golden Retrievers! Kibble & Bids is in their ninth year and this year promises to be spectacular as they present their own version of "Autumn in the Hamptons"! Again, Kibble & Bids will be held at the beautiful, private estate owned by Doug Alcorn (Kibble & Bids Co-Chair) and John White, located just a few minutes from Downtown Sacramento on the Garden Highway. We just were guests at a friends wedding at this estate this last weekend, and I'm telling you, It's Gorgeous! What a great day it will be!

Last year they raised over $100,000 and all dollars were devoted to the 810 Golden Retrievers (and other dogs in need) that crossed their doorstep and into their temporary home, the Homeward Bound Adoption Center and Sanctuary. Did you know that Homeward Bound is only one of three Golden Retriever non-profit rescue organizations nationwide that owns and manages a sanctuary? They are very proud of this distinction, but with it comes responsibility, maintenance, and considerable attention. Your support of Kibble & Bids helps the many volunteers do what they need to do for these wonderful, incredible dogs: routine veterinary care, non-routine surgeries of all kinds, heartworm treatment, medications, food, treats, and "lodging"! 810 dogs marked a milestone for us as the largest number of dogs rescued in Homeward Bound's history, almost double in volume in comparison to all preceding years. In these challenging fiscal times, the need – and your help – is greater than ever.


Kibble & Bids 2009 Tickets are Available Now; Tickets are $55.00 per person in advance and $65.00 at the door. Homeward Bound Members will receive a discounted ticket price of $50.00 per person.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Portola in Monterey Goes Pet-Friendly

Next time you travel to Monterey, bring your best friend along -- because pets are welcome at Portola. If they want a bit of pampering, they can take advantage of Pet Spa services. If they want to accompany you to dinner, Jacks and Peter B’s offer pet dining areas on their patios. If they prefer to relax in your room, the hotel will happily provide food & water bowls...as well as pet beds, and even leashes if you like.

Pets also receive a welcome treat and letter from the Personal Pet Concierge upon arrival, plus a complete guide to pet activities around the Monterey Peninsula. And their owners are assured of services including pet walking, doggy daycare, veterinarian and pet sitting.

It’s all part of the pet-friendly environment at a property that’s been independently certified by PetsCanStay.com, so tell Fido or Fluffy to start planning a visit to Portola Hotel & Spa.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Home Again, Home Again... a tired pooch dreaming of her "Travels with Stella" Pacific Northwest Road trip.

The end of our trip...Beautiful Bend Oregon

We set off for Bend Oregon on Friday September 11th for a weekend stay with Dad & Dawn. Before we left we had to tour the Whitman College Campus and find Sigma Chi, where our friend Kevin once called home.

The ride to Bend was uneventful, but once there...ahhh, relaxing! After unpacking we settled in the back patio with a bottle of wine and conversation with Dad & Dawn.

That evening we dined at Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails, a from-scratch kitchen focused on freshness & quality ingredients. When possible their foods are organic & hormone-free. Each of our plates were equally delicious.

From there we went to Mc Menamin's Old St. Francis School. The Old St. Francis School has undergone a transformation from 1936 Catholic schoolhouse to fun destination hotel complete with classrooms-turned-lodging rooms, a pub, brewery and bakery, a movie theater, private meeting and event space and a awesome soaking pool! We settle in at Mc Menamin's Pub, O'Kanes, for a pint or two to cap off the evening.

Saturday was a fun filled day of kayaking and paddle boarding at Elk Lake on Mt. Bachelor. What a gorgeous day! The sun was out, the water refreshing, and the company spectacular! Stella followed Jessie's lead and tried her paws at Kayaking. Not quite her thing but she enjoyed it!

Tired from the sun and Friday nights activity, we got our second wind and cracked open a bottle of Washington wine and changed for dinner at Joolz, a Middle Eastern Restaurant with Central Oregon influences, featuring Meza Plates, Flatbread Pizza, Wonderful Mediterranean Salads, Kebabs and Ribs, Elk Burgers, Falafel and yummy Desserts. After dinner we went home and opened a bottle of wine, say on the the upper deck and watched the Oregon night sky....a perfect ending to a wonderful night.

Sunday it was time to pack and say good bye to Dad & Dawn and head back home to Sacramento. It was hard to call an end to our Travels with Stella Pacific Northwest Road Trip, but as they say..."all good things must come to an end." We have great memories and fabulous pictures to keep the trip fresh in our minds.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wine Tasting in Walla Walla

Arriving in Walla Walla, we headed straight to the Walla Walla Inns at the Vineyard. BEAUTIFUL!

We quickly settled in, poured ourselves a glass of Olsen Hills Chardonnay and enjoyed the sunset. The Walla Walla Inns feature two locations, the vineyard and historic downtown. Our Guest House at the Ahler Vineyard is clean, contemporary, and comfortable. We dined at the Creektown Cafe which is close to Whitman College, where the food was fabulous, service spectacular, and atmosphere charming.

Thursday we spent the day in historic downtown Walla Walla. The tasting rooms are quite unique, offering food, art, and music. We visited Ash Hollow, Skylight Cellars, and Sapolil Cellars where we sat around a piano and had fun conversation with the owner. Small world...her son lives in Elk Grove and her daughter lives part time in Manhattan Beach. We had a fabulous lunch at Brasserie Four, a casual French brasserie serving classic French country style dishes, local and imported wines and beer. Lunch was Oh La La!

Settling back in at the Vineyard, we played cards sipped wine, watched the sunset, and Stella met Redwing (aka Red) the owners retired racing Greyhound who lives on the vineyard.
That night we marveled over how many stars were out in Walla Walla. What a great location! We certainly will try to visit again!

Packing for Bend today for our visit with Dad & Dawn.

See you next post!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wines of Yakima Valley

Wine, Wine, Wine, and more wine. What a place! So many great vineyards, so little time. We managed however to find some great wineries to spend our time. We stayed along the Yakima river at the Oxford Suites. Great location along a running/bike trail. Oxford Suites offers a wine happy hour, and full hot breakfast in the morning...and of course, pet friendly.

We started off heading south toward Posser for our wine tasting venture. First of all, I have to say EVERYONE was sooo friendly and welcomed Stella, the wines tasting dogggie, with open arms. We began at Windy Point Vineyards. A very contemporary building with a birds eye view of the Yakima Valley. We particularly like the Exclamation Point and bought a few bottles to begin our Washington collection. From here we hit Silver Lake...which I would not visit again and the friendliness seemed to disappear and we did not enjoy a single wine. We loved Piety Flats Winery, a historic mercantile store/tasting room. Janeen Spurlock was our tasting guide and we had a blast talking and learning about the mercantile store the way it was waaay back when.

We also enjoyed Severino Cellars, a turn of the century farm house with a view of Mt. Adams. It's was at Severino where Stella got to hang with a celebrity. Brody the Highland Terrior is featured in the Winerery Dogs Book.
We headed back to the hotel hungry for dinner. We were told of a great sushi restaurant called New York Teriaki that once was a Denny's. Yes, it was fabulous! Fresh, fresh hamachi and maguro. Yum!

Waking up to overcast skies the next day, we packed for our drive to Walla Walla stopping in Prosser for more tasting. Sooo glad we stopped! We found a beautiful park like area which is home to some 7 or so wineries. We spent some good time at Airfield Winery who's estate winery is locally grown and who's story reflects their aviation roots when their family's 1,000 acre vineyard served as a WWII airbase. This is where Stella met Jax and Kevin & Kelly fell in love with their wines!

Next post....Walla Walla

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good-Bye Portland...Hello Lopez Island!

All packed and ready for our 4.5 hour drive to Anecortes to catch the 2:30 ferry to Lopez Island, we said good-bye to Portland and were on our way. I think Stella was happy to go...she couldn't figure out the big moving box that took us from the Lobby of the Hotel Monaco up to our room.

The drive was uneventful, the ferry ride fun, arriving at Mom & John's even better! Ahhhh, finally on the island for a relaxing beautiful stay with Mom & John!

Lopez Island offers so much outdoor activity, it's hard to do it all! We walked on the beach, checked out the Island, found GREAT local produce locations, played games, drank wine, and ate great food! Saturday night we had dinner at the Bay Cafe, a local culinary experience not to be missed! The Bay Cafe has been featured in many "foodie" mags such as sunset and Travel & Leisure. A+ Crab Cakes, great soups, and oh so fresh salads....all locally grown. YUM!

Stella loved being free to run and run around Mom & John's place exploring all the island smells and creatures. We visited Lopez Island Vineyards where Stella met her new friend Jessie. Stella & Jessie played and we tasted wine. Our favorite...the 07chardonnay with a strong flavor of toasted wood and the 07 Merlot that boasted flavors of berry, smoke, cherry, chocolate, and anise. We did try a very interesting and quite tasty raspberry wine made by raspberries grown locally at the Broers Family Farm. We thought this one would be great with a nice French vanilla bean ice cream and bittersweet chocolate.

One of my favorite things we did while on Lopez Island was having a Mac & Jack on the back deck in the sunshine at the Islander. Cheers!

Monday morning it was time to say farewell to Mom & John and Lopez Island. We waited for our ferry back to Anecortes and we're off to Yakima Valley for more wine tasting experiences.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stella Hits Hotel Monaco Portland, Oregon

Whew! After a long drive through California to Portland Oregon...we made it safe and sound at Hotel Monaco.

Upon arriving we were greeted by the friendliest staff we have ever encountered! We were surprised to see a large "dog shaped" chalk board with "Welcome Stella" printed in colorful chalk at the entrance of the Hotel Monaco. We're here! As we checked in I over heard the front desk clerk say they were sold out for the weekend. No doubt, the place is great!

As Kevin took Stella for her post drive potty break, I checked in and was taken to our room. WOW! We were upgraded! Thank you Kimpton Loyalty Program! Beautiful Room! Stella had a basket with a Zanies stuffed toy, dog cookie, dog mags, bowl, and wonderful doggie bed all ready for her arrival. The cookie, quickly eaten..by Stella :-), and the toy was initiated with frivolity and slobber. the doggy basket by-the-way, goes to every room where a dog is checked in. Nice! We also received upon checking in a nice on-sheet on pet friendly dining in the area, dog parks, shopping, etc

After freshening up and a cold beer, we went for a walk to find THE BEST POSSIBLE POTTY SPOT. Stella found the place she liked, got business done, and we were relieved and happy. Happy Dog, means Happy Dog Owners!

Tomorrow we are up early for our drive to Anecortes to catch the ferry to Lopez Island where we will spend Labor day weekend with Mom & John taking in the beauty of the San Juans...and a Mac & Jack or two!

Stay tuned...

Portland Here We Come...

Packed and ready to go! Travels with Stella Pacific Northwest Road Trip has officially begun.

First Stop Portland Oregon, where we'll stay at the Pet Friendly Hotel Monaco Portland - a Kimpton Luxury Boutique Hotel.

We are looking forward to cooler weather, a cool Northwest Brew, and fun with Stella!