A New Take on Camping

I don’t usually camp during the summer. For one reason, it’s too hard to find a space (for most campgrounds near SF, you have to reserve far in advance). Even if you get a space, you’re often packed in with everyone else, and usually more than a few gigantic RVs. Summer camping, in California at least, is not always the restful experience one hopes for.

But this summer, I got to spend a night in a tent. I hesitate to say that I went ‘camping’ because this was such a departure from what camping normally entails. For one, instead of being in a state park, we set up camp on the grounds of Scribe Winery in Sonoma.

There was no standard-issue firepit or picnic tables at Scribe. We camped on a recently mowed field. To the left and right of the camping area, there were vineyards and beyond that, there were the rolling hills that surround the Sonoma Valley.

Most camping experiences I’ve had also do not include a team of Chez Panisse-trained chefs making food all night long in an outdoor kitchen — including roasting a pig that had been raised at Scribe (as well as making wine, Scribe also raises some livestock and grows vegetables).

Nor do most camping trips involve wine tasting, or exploring a 100 year old, crumbling hacienda where swallows nest under the eaves and honey bees have taken residence in the walls. Inside the Hacienda, there were art displays set up in the otherwise empty, somewhat delaying rooms. Upstairs, there was absinthe tasting. (The photo, below, shows the absinthe station the morning after).

But despite the luxury of having chefs cooking for us and this make-shift museum to explore, my favorite part of our night at Scribe (aside from simply getting out of depressing, fog-cloaked SF) were the things that were most like camping: seeing the moon rise over the hills, spotting an owl — its silhouette unmistakable in the night, watching shooting stars, and having white-tailed kites hovering above us the next morning as we broke camp.

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One Response to “A New Take on Camping”

  1. In Search of Summer: Sonoma « Whole Hog Says:

    […] Hog I Came to the City and It Changed My Life « A New Take on Camping Police Blotters – August 2010 […]

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