Off the Hook: Wine Country and a Wedding

By Jim Dickens

Off the hook is a term that older people have coopted from the younger. We tend to over use it but it is what I think when describing the Ridgeline Tour in July.

Just before July 4, Lori and I went with 4 other couples for a week in Sonoma County, CA. We rented a home with bedrooms and bathrooms for each couple, a pool, a hot tub, a bocce court, a steam room, a sauna and a full indoor outdoor sound system. Great views, chamber of commerce weather and lifelong friends made the stay.

Rented House in the hills 1000 ft above Santa Rosa

We biked the Dry Creek Valley and stopped at a couple of wineries, Capo and Dry Creek. Capo was built over the last couple of years by two Naperville sisters, one who sold a radiology practice and the other left an engineering manager career. We liked their wine and really liked them, a great experience. I would recommend only visiting one winery while biking. People started getting lost and wrecking after the second winery. However, it did make for interesting stories.

We paddled canoes down the clear sandy Russian River with redwoods and wineries on the banks. We hiked the scenic coast line where the river enters with eagles and harbor seals resting.

Jersey Tom took us to 5 wineries while giving the history of Sonoma County. It was 2 too many wineries but very fun. And we completed the World Cup of Bocce playing at different wineries with the finals at home. We also had a chef come in and do dinner for us and masseuse man the extra bedroom for an afternoon. It was perfect and just short of decadent.

Upon returning from wine country we unpacked then repacked and headed to Philly for my niece Teresa’s wedding to Matt.

I would describe Teresa’s wedding as tastefully lavish while being totally comfortable. There was no drama, the toasts were thoughtful, entertaining and well spoken. The reception music had broad appeal. The wedding party was elegantly dressed. The venue, the food, the string quartet were special in a good way. Lobster, crab and champagne at the reception cocktail hour and filet for dinner. We had a string quartet during the reception cocktail hour that had a little backbeat or a syncopated jazzy style. It was all hosted at The Ben in downtown Philadelphia, a room featured in the 2018 hit movie Silver Linings dance competition scene. It was a three story vaulted roof beautifully lit with lavender highlights and decorated immaculately.

The bride and groom families were accomplished socially and made everyone welcome, included and comfortable. My 90 year old parents enjoyed. My children and nephew motivated Lori and I to after party on the roof of the Logan Hotel. We closed down that bar looking down the avenue at the museum steps made famous in the movie Rocky. It’s been a long time since I stayed up that late. It was so fun I may do it again soon.

Well, meticulous planning by the experienced with a great eye for style made for two jet setter weeks from California to Pennsylvania. Thank you Denise, Janet, Teresa and Nancy! For me it was truly off the hook. It’s time to shift gears and tone it down a bit by driving out west.

Walking on water

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