Come summertime, everyone wants a change of scenery, but the cost of practically everything, including travel, prompts most of us to vacation a bit closer to home these days.
Yet we do live in Wine Country, where a "staycation" is a very appealing prospect. People travel from all over the world to come play in our backyard.
We'll be offering a series of ideas for spending your time off a short drive away, starting today with the obvious option of visiting some of our wineries.
While dozens of wineries make good destinations, some offer the added attraction of fine art exhibits. It's a "two-fer": first you drive out to the winery to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the scenery, and then the art you find there transports you again.
"I think enjoying art at a winery adds to the ambience of the whole experience, which leads to more appreciation, hopefully, for both art and wine," said Rene Byck, co-owner of Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, known for its outdoor sculpture.
Here are some destinations you won't want to miss:
Clos Pegase Winery, 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga. 942-4981, clospegase.com.
Visitors to the winery are greeted by "Gaia," a statue inspired by the Earth goddess of Greek mythology and created by late English artist Henry Moore, world-famous for his abstract sculptures based on the human figure.
The winery's grounds also feature a Renaissance bronze fountain from 17th-century Italy, as well as many other pieces from founder and proprietor Jan Shrem's personal collection. Tours are available.
The Hess Collection Winery, 4411 Redwood Road, Napa. 255-1144, hesscollection.com.