Just after Labor Day, during full-on Covid Season, I was in the middle of a project rewriting a book I had written in a weekend retreat during March 2020. Revision is the hardest part, and I needed to stick it in a drawer for a minute.
My book Shine: When Chasing Sacred Spaces Goes Dark was that project. What happened when Shine came out, which wasn’t something I’d predicted, is that she hit #1 bestselling position in multiple categories for several months. Each morning I would check the rankings, and I am humbled to say, since the day it came out, Shine still remains on the bestseller list in at least one category. As this stat is updated hourly, I never know where it will land and I try to not hold attachment, but I think the day I look and she falls off that list I will feel sad because I want more people to read her words. I feel like she can really help a reader’s personal journey. Many people who have read Shine have told me they love her, that the book is a gift in their lives. (https://tinyurl.com/BuySHINEBOOKHERE.) And this promo you witness here, my friends, is the reason that I am only today returning to Region 2 of that tour: Amador County. (Region 1 was So Oregon. You can read that one here. In fact, we have since returned to that winery and joined the wine club!)
We needed to get out that September 2020, to go see what was happening in the Covid World, and I was very curious about how the rest of the people that weren’t working on a book were doing. Like many, we had multiple trips cancel and were trying to figure out where to go and what to do where we could practice precautions for ourselves and others. Originally we were headed to Hawaii for September, but that was off the table due to travel restrictions. What came to me was a 3 Week Tour through 6 Wine Regions in So Oregon and California where we would see how the wine and spa industries were pivoting during these times. We’d set up a safety protocol of some kind. We’d see how they were doing the same. I figured they would be great teachers in this time, and this would be a Master Class in Covid Life, an option to sitting in a dark cave on Zoom calls. Amador County was our second stop on that tour.
We’ve been back to Amador since that Covid Blog Tour. In fact, we’ve been to Amador around 20 times. I’ve written about it here and then again here. We first discovered Amador when some friends were living in Sacramento and invited us to come, stay, and go wine tasting for the weekend. That began one of many trips to this region. It reminds me of the Wild, Wild West and in fact more than one winemaker I’ve interviewed has called it that (both in and out of the region.) The open spaces and street fronts give it this feel. We’ve gone with large groups of people, with our family, with our dog, and just my husband and myself. It lends itself to all these formats because of its roomy spaces, its open wineries, and its ranch-like setting. This is gold country, and you are reminded of this often by companies that tour you down beneath the earth into the cool, blackest black spaces where hopes and dreams of discovering gold once thrived. Here live caves with stalagmites and stalactites reaching down and reaching up to hug you.
Plymouth has become our favorite town in Amador, especially in Covid Season. There are many reasons for this, but overall the sleepy town holds wide streets, a library front from what feels like at least 200 years ago, and a nice parkette and walk through “town” where you may see one or two other people. The historic buildings take you back in time and space and allow you to imagine another dimension.
And yet, in this teeny-weeny town, is this amazing combo of a boutique hotel and incredible restaurant where we’ve celebrated many occasions called Taste. The last of these occasions was a combo birthday celebration for my daughter (30) and my husband (58) in Scorpio Season. Chef Micah made the most beautiful meal, accommodating all our dietary restrictions from vegan to meat eater and the in-between pescatarian. He prepared a printed menu of multiple courses and wine pairings and created the most delicious evening you can imagine.
There are so many gratifying sides to incredible Taste, but one of the greatest is that it is next door to (same owner) REST, the boutique hotel which has become our default. After your multi-course pairing at Taste, you do not want to drive, so you walk literally ½ block back to REST.
We’ve come to love the suites there as our first pick because of their great bathtubs and roomy spaces, but we’ve stayed in every type of room at REST, including the pet room in which Kai is very comfortable.
The breakfast choices, the people, the S’more kits for gathering around the fire pits, and again, the feeling that you are there alone even when you aren’t are my favorite parts of Rest.
After our special birthday combo dinner at Rest, the king suite living room gave us plenty of room to try out the new and improved “Clue” and build our domino train in any direction!
You do realize I haven’t even got to the wineries yet, right? There are so many of these centered in Plymouth. In fact, it’s rare we leave this area as we find our favorites are all within a few square miles.
The style of wine tasting we’ve come to love is not the “limo” kind where people set out to fall down. It’s the kind where you hear the story of the people, of the grapes, of the battles over who has the oldest vines and who gets the winery in the divorce and how it’s split up and the way that changes the names. It’s the story about where the grapes are going and where they are coming from. (Allegedly, the bulk of Amador’s grapes go to Napa, and while the number changes based on who you ask, it’s north of 70% at last visit.)
I will start on my favorite wines right now in Amador in my next blog, but before we leave Plymouth, you must also know about the market across the street from REST with the most delicious perfection of truffle potato chips you have ever tasted. In fact, you need to get in the store after they are freshly fried or they will be gone. We discovered these in a restaurant in Sutter Creek about ten years ago and have never come home without them. That’s not all Vintner’s Market has though. They have delicious sandwiches, salads, an artichoke dip that you’ll go back for, chocolate toffee heaven, and awesome hummus with homemade (sort of) spicy pita chips. Are you hungry yet?
In the next blog, I’ll tell you how we used all that deliciousness, but for now, just know everything you need is right there for you in one square block in the center of tiny Plymouth which includes this parkette.
My oldest son has been nudging me to offer my services for a fee because of my planning abilities, connections, and extensive experience at these places. This last family trip we took to Plymouth was so much fun and he reminded me about that offering. If you would like to take advantage of that service, email me and let me know. I’d be happy to help you plan: firstname.lastname@example.org.