What's better than having a really good friend to have fun with? Having FIVE good friends who share common passions and love hanging out together, that's what. On Friday, Rita, Pat, Janet, Gerrie and I set out on our holiday spree....and what a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays together.
I, as designated driver (and owner of the largest vehicle, I think) picked everyone up at Pat's house. After oohing and aahing over Rita's recently completed "Dot com" quilt (fabulous!) we loaded into the car and headed south.
Our first destination was an art center in Mill Valley, about an hour away, where we thought we'd see an exhibit of art quilts by a quilter Janet knows from Berkeley. (Having been a founding member of the East Bay Heritage Quilt Guild in Berkeley, Janet knows pretty much everyone in quilting...We teased her that if we ended up in Siberia, Janet would say, "I have a good quilting friend who lives on that ice berg over there...") We weren't daunted by the drive...we manage to talk the whole way there, often simultaneously. Janet knit all the way there, working on a fuzzy scarf she's making for her niece.
We found the art center tucked back among redwood trees in a residential neighborhood. Turns out that the exhibit was a small show of quality work of all media...Although there were only 3 quilts (and they were beautiful), there were other fascinating pieces to look at as well. We had a good time there, even if it wasn't what we thought it'd be.
From there, we headed north to Larkspur, where Gerrie had made reservations at the Lark Creek Inn. What a lovely restaurant! We entered a charming, yellow-clapboarded house and were greated by a cheery fire in the lobby fireplace. ...then seated at a booth tucked into a windowseat, where we had a perfect view of a Christmas tree decorated with irridescent gold ribbons. Very elegant and festive. We ordered a bottle of champagne (inspired to drink an irridescent gold beverage), toasted our friendship, and proceeded to order a lovely lunch. We all had butternut squash drizzled with sage butter...it had us all moaning with pleasure and trying to figure out how to lick our bowls without looking rude. Most of us had the crabcake entree (topped with a delicious citrus aoili and surrounded by a mango salsa...yum). And, although we were quite happy with that, we couldn't resist sharing dessert. We ordered a chocolate "bombe," a perfect half-dome covered with dark, gleaming chocolate and filled with layered white, milk, and dark chocolate mousses...it was the most luscious dessert I've had in ages, and a pear upside down cake, which I never tasted as I felt compelled to save every last bit of room for the chocolate. (I am, after all, no fool.)
We rolled out to the car and drove to San Rafael, where Janet's good parking karma won us a space smack in front of Pumpkinseed Quilts, my new favorite fabric store. What an eclectic and appealing assortment of fabric! We all found fabric we couldn't live without, and we have impeccable taste. Believe me, we know our fabric.
We stuffed our bags into the car, then walked two blocks to the Dharma Trading Company store up the street. I'd never been to the store (although I adore the catalog) and I was delighted to find that the whole front half of the store is YARN! Luscious, bright, soft yarn of every texture and color...We spent an enjoyable time wandering around stroking the yarn (a very pleasant feeling, indeed) and managed to select some to bring home, of course. Now we'll all look stunning in new scarves (except for Pat, who will look stunning in a new poncho).
Then, back to the car and home...Janet still knitting, Pat graciously sitting in the "way back" -- as the most (ahem) height-challenged of us, and the passenger least likely to get carsick, that's her spot. We returned happy, with new projects, new inspiration, and smiles on our faces.
I'm already looking forward to our January outing!