cashing in on valentine’s day

the word of the day was…

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this past valentine’s day, my sweet boyfriend snuck into my house and left a big bouquet of flowers along with a couple groupons that i would like — one was for a visit to chateau st. croix winery & vineyard, which included a tour, a cheese plate, wine tastings, and two souvenir glasses to take home. the winery was across the river in wisconsin, so we decided to make a whole, fun day trip out of it.

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we paused in st. croix falls at a scenic overlook since we were a little ahead of “schedule.”

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i think this photo is hilarious because it was my idea to look DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN so of course i’m making a stupid face and ruining an otherwise pretty darn cute photo.

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i’m now not sure if those (off to the left of the photo) are taylor’s falls or st. croix’s falls.

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king of the world! … or at least of this rock.

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look at all that lichen.

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zooooom!

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jason risked his life for this photo. i almost had to leave him behind. (but he had the keys to the car…)

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james knox polk: thank you for making wisconsin and for providing a name for a great street to live on (twice).

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chateau. lions everywhere. i loved it.

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now entering narnia!

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our first tastings: 2006 atelier alexander valley zinfandel (the zin) and jaune d’or port (“like drinking a sugar cookie”). both very delicious. i liked most of what we tasted, and i went home with a bottle of the 2009 wild river rose.

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oh, now we’re on the tour.

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it would be fun to volunteer on bottling day/weekend in september. who wants to join me?

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jason got on the floor for this photo, reviewed it, then proclaimed he was a genius. yes, you are, sweetie.

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the cheese plate for two. you mean i have to share this?!

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jason was even gonna eat the whole plate, too!

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super cute bottle. i would’ve bought a bottle if i had a “wine fund” set aside.

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knights like us, baby we were born to runnn… to the winery… to drink wine…

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this photo was an “accident” but it’s evidence of the face that i make at jason most of the time. it’s my i’m-falling-more-in-love-with-you-right-now face.

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dead wine barrel converted into a charcoal grill = totally awesome! can also be used as a smoker.

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it was a special festival weekend at the winery, showcasing some of the local artisans and businesses. the sun came out just for us to wander around the booths and take it all in.

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at this booth i informed jason of my plan to some day have my own sheep and my own wool-spinning machine. heck yes, i’m gonna make my own yarn. maybe i’ll get a llama, too (that is the yarn used for the hats in the foreground).

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i liked the chardonnay and roasted garlic marinade.

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meow!

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i wanted to steal this puppy.

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this is his (her?) “good side.”

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see? more lions!

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hello, wisconsin.

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this is in the bathroom. sort of rude, but sort of funny, too.

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vineyard birds.

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sign says: “open wine”
i say: “okay, i will!”

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then we stopped at this goofy little sculpture park on our way to stillwater.

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this is the work area. there was some art in production as we walked around.

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jason told me i live here. it doesn’t even have a floor. 🙁

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there wasn’t any gold leaf left for us.

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hey, then we got to stillwater! the river here was really high — the muddy area is where it had been in the last couple weeks.

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strawberry/banana malts at leo’s.

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obligatory photos of the stillwater lift bridge.

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see the water? those steps are supposedly leading down to a lower pedestrian pathway. i will have to imagine…

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this photo is mostly to show the streetlamp in the water.

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this is the one place on gowalla that i didn’t check in. dang!

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all in all, it was a pretty perfect day with my sweetheart — good weather, good scenery, good wine…

thanks so much for the gift, jason. i love you.