Saturday, June 25, 2011

North to Alaska

My husband and I have always wanted to visit Alaska. We decided we'd cruise to The Last Frontier to celebrate a major wedding anniversary. Two years ago, we thoroughly enjoyed sailing around the British Isles with Crystal Cruises (see Cruising Into History), and we didn't hesitate to book our Alaskan adventure with them.

Before we departed from San Francisco, we enjoyed a brief visit with my intrepid aunt and uncle, who live in northern California’s idyllic Sonoma County. John and Diane would be cruising with us, and though they were busy packing, they found time for a daytrip to the Alexander Valley.

We visited Geyserville, where, set in the midst of acres of vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola added a park and Movie Gallery to his outstanding winery. Displays of props and memorabilia that include Don Corleone's desk from "The Godfather" and costumes from "Dracula" delighted us. Mr. Coppola’s countless awards had a showcase of their own. After touring the sunny grounds, which included a swimming pool and bocce ball court, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in Rustic, the winery’s restaurant, whose menu ranged from burgers and fries to classic Italian cuisine. And delicious wine, of course.
A Few of Francis Ford Coppola's Awards

Godfather Don Corleone's Desk

Various Movie Costumes

Mike, Me, Diane, and John Outside the
Francis Ford Coppola Winery Guest Reception Area

Our departure date arrived. My husband and uncle did a stellar job of fitting luggage for four into Diane’s car. We drove to San Francisco and boarded the gorgeous Crystal Symphony, which had taken the four of us around the British Isles.
The Crystal Symphony
The crew led us to the main dining room for a pre-departure lunch that included complimentary champagne. It all came back to me: the waiter holds my chair, and after he seats me, he unfolds the napkin and sets it in my lap. Oh, yes. We’re going to have a wonderful time, and I'm going to get lots of writing done!

The Golden Gate Bridge
Once we’d settled into our small but well-appointed staterooms, we made our way to the top deck to watch the Symphony sail from San Francisco Bay. We glided under the Golden Gate Bridge to Crystal’s signature departure song, a recording of Louie Armstrong warbling "What a Wonderful World." Our Alaskan adventure had begun.

♪ Oh, yeah! ♫


  1. Sounds like a wonderful beginning to a spectacular holiday, Pat! I'm envious. Louie Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" was my wedding song, so it must have been a good omen!

  2. Looking forward to the rest of the recap!

  3. Cynthia, it's such a great song. Good choice for your wedding! We couldn't have had a better start to our trip.

    Alexa, I'm looking forward to it too. Thank you both for stopping by.

  4. Looks like fun, Pat. btw: I covet the Godfather's desk.

  5. It is gorgeous, Dawn. I easily pictured both Marlon Brando and Al Pacino sitting there!

  6. You were in my neck of the woods, Pat. I grew up in Santa Rosa, which is in Sonoma County, we lived up in Lake County and my hubby worked at the geyesers. You were about a three hour drive from where I live now. So glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing.

  7. And a beautiful neck of the woods it is, Paisley. My aunt and uncle moved to Santa Rosa from San Francisco a few years ago, and we enjoy visiting them and seeing the sights. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Will Talty be having Alaskan adventures in the next series? I think she'd love it there!!!

  9. Awesome pics and recap, Pat! I look forward to seeing more.

  10. @Kathleen, even Talty doesn't know where she'll end up!

    @Nicole, Alaska is rugged wilderness, worlds away from Scotland, but lovely in its own way. More to come.

    Thank you both for dropping by.