One of the great joys of living in the San Francisco Bay Area are day trips to the two great wine regions of Northern California, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. A Sunday trip with some friends might involve having a light brunch in still foggy San Francisco, crossing the always gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge, and driving a 90 minute trip up scenic Route 29 through Napa Valley. Along the way we would always stop for some cava and wine tastings at one of the scores of famous name establishments along the way. The highlight of our Sunday trips would always be lunch at the magnificent Auberge De Soliel, eating unbelievably good California/French inspired food, and having a completely magnificent view of the sunny Napa hills and fields of grapes growing in the valleys below.
Now that I have probably made you either hungry or resentful that you have never toured gorgeous Northern California, we do have a virtualization of a Northern California landscape in Second Life. The reason why I say Northern California, and not some areas such as the Bordeaux region in France, is the proximity to a gorgeous coast with one of the best lighthouses in Second Life. Driving from San Francisco to wine country does take you over the Golden Gate -- you can hear the fog horns warning ships not to hit the rocks of Alcatraz Island on most days and watch the fingers of fog enter or leave depending on the time of day. Checkmate reminded me very much of the combines ocean coast / wine country experience.
Explore Checkmate, and you will see grape vineyards and arbors in abundance, in addition to several delightful buildings devoted to the joys of wine production and wine drinking. You can literally smell oak barrels of sweet and yeasty Cabernet Sauvignon grapes aging in cool cellars are they start the process of final fermentation before being bottled. An occasional sunny house or two, and a few horses, ad up to that upscale and fanciful landscape of Northern California Wine Country. This is a gorgeous destination, and highly worth of a visit. Just make sure you have a handy bottle of California Merlot available to complement your trip.
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