Weekend getaways are a way to rejuvenate one’s sense of wellbeing and ‘refill the cup’, so to speak. A recipe of equal parts location, activities, food, and people can enhance your health and create lasting memories Even better is when there is just the right amount of indlugence balanced with the right amout of mindfulness to have a special experience without ending up too full, too tired, too sunburnt or too broke, or too…whatever!
Last weekend’s Wine Country adventure with 5 of my Davis friends set the stage for a pairing of mindful indulgences. We coined it our ‘shabby-chic’ weekend because of the mix of roughing it and enjoying the finer things in life all at the same time. Sugarloaf State Park, just 90 minutes from Davis, was our chosen venue.
Sugarloaf is set in the rolling hills overlooking the Napa valley in one direction and the Sonoma valley in the other. The campsites are equiped with fire pits, picnic tables, cupboards to evade the hungry woodland creatures, and plenty of shade. 25 miles of hilly trails gave us plenty of opportunity to get some good old-fashioned exercise with the reward of spectacular views. The new shower facility at Sugarloaf makes it possible to get dirty by morning (shabby) and hit the wineries by afternoon (chic).
Wineries are inherently relaxing, inspiriting, and invoke a sense of pleasure. I simply feel indulgent just being on the grounds, even if I don’t drink the wine. Kenwood Vineyards in Kenwood was hospitable and had a great sparkling wine that I bought to go with our s’mores by the campfire later that evening (see what I mean about Shabby-Chic). 5 tastes of our choice (including reserve wines) are only $5, which is a steal for the region. Chateu St. Jean offered the most aesthetic appeal and they had Bacchi ball courts for some afternoon leisure.
Back at camp we indulged even more with great food, and afternoon Frisbee. Homemade whole grain bread, watermelon, homemade turkey chili, quinoa veggie salad, chicken and carnitas tacos made up the weekend’s menu. Forget the junk food and sodas when you camp – bubbly water, wine, and great beer are much tastier, healthier, and a fun way to compliment camping snacks like multi grain chips and salsa or veggies and hummus. If you have an ice chest and a few basic utensils, there is no reason you can’t have vegetables in the great outdoors!
My favorite treat when camping is always the s’mores. It’s the one time I think it’s okay to eat marshmallows, but we always use dark chocolate (85%). The bitter chocolate and the sweet marshmallow contrast is absolutely divine. It went well with my sparkling wine!
Rounding out the weekend were a few naps, a game of scrabble, and a lot of laughter… all this less than 2 hrs from Davis for less than $50/person. Delightful!
To tempt your palate, try this quinoa salad recipe, which pairs well with camping in beautiful places:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or veggie broth
1 avocado, chopped
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
1 med cucumber, chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
Cook the quinoa like rice: 1 part grain and 2 parts water/broth. Add a bit of sea salt if you are using water. Once cooked, let it cool and then mix with the other ingredients, saving the lemon juice for last. Refrigerate and serve chilled. This is a low-fat, high-fiber, high veggie treat!