Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

During the height of blooming season, you can see more than 100,000 irises at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden in Somerset, CA, in southern El Dorado County.

On our way back from Toogood Estate Winery in Fairplay, the Vineyard Vixens stopped at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden. We do have other interests besides wine! Bluebird Haven Iris Garden is located on Fairplay Rd. in Somerset, CA, just a few miles down the road from Toogood in southern El Dorado County. It is open year-round but if you are able to visit the garden at the height of the blooming season, usually during May, you’ll be greeted by more than 100,000 irises showing off their vibrant colors. As you drive through the big green gate, you begin to pass by row after row of beautiful blooms. Once you park, you can walk through the rows of cultivated iris to pick your favorites. This gorgeous Victorian show garden is set on a small knoll. The rows of iris surrounding the gazebo and picnic tables make this a very inviting place to enjoy…

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Toogood Estate Winery in Fairplay

In May 2001, Toogood Estate Winery was established on a 40-acre parcel of rolling hills with microclimates perfect for the varietals hand selected for it. www.goldcountrycowgirl.com

Wine Tasting When I was in my 20s and married, my former spouse and I visited north coast region wineries quite often when we traveled to see friends in Petaluma. In Southern California, we had wineries in Temecula which I visited. Somehow, in later years, wine tasting became something I no longer did even though I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t been wine tasting in probably 20 years when I moved to Gold Country, so I was pleased to learn that the area has many award winning wineries. I have heard that wine tasting in the north coast region, as well as their wines, has gotten very expensive. Some wineries there charge as much as $60 for tasting with the average being $40. Here, wine tasting is like I remember it in the 70s. It is low key, with friendly hospitality. Wine tastings are rarely more than $5 and the…

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Not Your Mother’s Oatmeal

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet up in Santa Rosa with a friend from Southern California. It’s almost a three hour drive for me but a lot closer than Southern California so I was excited to get together with her. It was her 65th birthday and she was having to spend it at a work conference. She came up a couple of days early to do a little celebrating and asked me to join her for part of the weekend. After a rocky start, including a three hour wait to get a taxi from the airport and a less then suitable room at the hotel, she finally had accommodations she was happy with, had been out on the town for the evening, and had a good night’s sleep by the time I arrived. She needs two hip replacements as well as a knee replacement and it’s hard for her…

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Volcano, CA: Perfect for a Walking Tour

Volcano, CA is an amazing little town in the Sierra Foothills. It is a living history lesson and is the perfect place for a walking tour.

How Volcano Got its Name When I first moved to Pine Grove in beautiful Gold Country and learned there was a town nearby called Volcano, I immediately wondered if there was an extinct volcano in the area. That, however, is not the case. The town of Volcano sits in a crater-like valley surrounded by small hills. Sometimes there is a mist that sits in or rises from the valley floor resembling a volcano. When the new settlers began arriving in their search for gold, they dubbed the town Volcano and the name stuck. History of Volcano Mi-Wok Indians inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the first white men during the winter of 1848. When the soldiers of Jonathan Stevenson’s New York 7th Regiment arrived and found a few flakes of gold, they decided to make camp until spring when finding gold would be easier. This led to the town’s first…

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6 Ways to Meet New People

To meet new people, you have to get up and get out of your comfort zone. You have to make an effort to connect. Here are methods I've tried to meet people.

Have you moved to a new area and don’t know anyone? Maybe you’ve lived there a while and still have just not met anyone. I know how that goes. I lived in my condo in Southern California for over 13 years and knew only a couple of my neighbors. Or perhaps you have started a new hobby or other pastime and want to meet like-minded people. How do you meet new people? Meeting new people can be hard, especially if you are shy and introverted like me. As I was thinking about this post, I realized that all of my best friends, even my significant others, have always been the outgoing type. They dominate the conversation and everyone remembers them. I am the friend who came along with them. When I moved here to Northern California, I was lucky in the sense that my best friend had lived here for a…

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Start on Steiner Spring Fling Wine Tasting

Start on Steiner is an association of nine wineries located on Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley. The group holds three annual Start on Steiner events.

Start on Steiner is an association of the nine wineries located on Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley in California’s gold country. As a group, these nine wineries hold three annual Start on Steiner events: Spring Fling in April, Summer Faire in August and Holiday Celebration in December. These events historically include complimentary tastings at each winery along with lite bites and wine specials. You can Start on Steiner at any of the wineries but, wherever you start at future events, be sure to pick up a passport. Once it is stamped by 5 of the 9 wineries, you can drop it off and be entered in the drawing for some great prizes. Sadly, none of us won anything. Members of our wine-loving Vineyard Vixens, a special interest group of Mother Lode Newcomers, recently attended the Spring Fling. Eight of us carpooled from Jackson to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley outside of Plymouth, about a 25 minute…

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What Type of Baby Boomer Are You?

Baby boomers seem to fall into one of two categories. Either you have decided to live or you have decided to begin dying. Whoa, what do I mean by that?

Baby boomers seem to fall into one of two categories. Either you have decided to live or you have decided to begin dying. Whoa, what do I mean by that? Astrologers call it the Chiron Return, which occurs around the age of 50. It is the point where we subconsciously decide to carry on living or give up and begin to die. Whether you believe in this or not, I think that any subconscious decision can be consciously changed at any time. Maybe you are sure you fit in the living category but consider these questions. What do you talk about when you are with your friends? Do you talk about your health or lack of it? How about who died recently or has some terminal illness? Do you complain about how old you feel and how you can’t do things like you used to? Or do you talk about…

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Do You Love Craft Fairs?

Main Street in Jackson, CA, for Dandelion Days event with craft fair

Do you love craft fairs like I do? What is it about craft fairs that attracts us? Why do we go? I used to dabble in crafts and often think I’d like to get back into it, but then I tell myself, “Who are you kidding? You can barely keep up with what you already do.” So instead, I go to see what wonderful things other artists have created. Craft fairs range from small local events with a few crafters to huge events with hundreds of crafters that take over entire towns, like in the case of Candy Dance. These larger events usually include entertainment and lots of food. They are almost like going to the circus and are great fun for the whole family. The two-day Annual St. Patrick’s Day Dandelion Days Celebration is a very popular local event. So popular that it goes on rain or shine and, if it…

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