Susan Miller said that November 8th and 9th would be Gemini’s best days for love this month, that the 9th might turn out to be “a four-star night to remember,” that Aquarius might want to take a short trip “with a sweetheart to a beautiful location,” and that November 8-11 would be a “divine weekend” bringing “all kinds of love and romance.” 

So we took her advice and rented a cottage in Monte Rio, about two hours north of San Francisco, for Thursday and Friday night. On Friday we took a scenic drive to the Sonoma coast, hiked around the Armstrong Redwoods, drank wine in a hot tub under a redwood canopy, and had dinner at Bistro Des Copains. On Saturday we had brunch at Howard Station Cafe, then drove to Scribe for their wine club member pickup party, went to a friend’s birthday party at her parents’ house in Napa, and then drove home to watch SNL with Deco and Luna. It was divine and beautiful and romantic, so I guess astrology is real.

It’s funny how I got so much drunker on wine with my parents than on vodka cocktails with my best friend. Regardless of how sophisticated your palate may be, or how thoughtfully appreciative your approach, drinking wine all day fucks you up! Although I feel like I was actually fine until we got to the port.

We drove down through Big Sur in order to reinforce how beautiful and amazing California is and how my parents should seriously at least consider moving here, stopped for lunch at Nepenthe, and then kept going down the coast to Cayucos for dinner at Cass House Inn — a four-course prix fixe menu on par with any fine dining experience I’ve ever had.

Then, wine tasting in Paso Robles. First, a vineyard and winery tour followed by tasting at Tablas Creek, which was pretty good. Then tasting at Villa Creek, which was better. Then more tasting with lunch at Denner, where family friends introduced us to the winemaker, who poured us two additional wines that won’t be released until late September. Then more tasting at Epoch, which was good but expensive. Then wine and cheese at the family friends’ bed and breakfast. Then a “winemaker’s dinner” at Cass Winery (no relation to Cass House Inn, apparently) with good food and better wine and many glasses of port.

The next day we headed north, encountered a terrifying band of squirrels that surrounded and charged at us until we fearfully fled their scenic lookout, visited Hearst Castle, which…I don’t understand why, whenever you ask people if Hearst Castle is worth seeing, they always say, “Sure, it’s interesting, and it’s cool to wander around the grounds,” and nobody ever mentions that it is a hideous, hodge-podge monstrosity that represents everything wrong with America, but whatever…stared directly at the solar eclipse from outside a fruit market in Monterey, and made it back to San Francisco in time for burgers and pizza at Starbelly.