On the way to Lake County for my latest family vacation, I took a leisurely detour to Cornerstone Gardens where I visited their wine tasting room. What a welcome way to cool down on an otherwise painfully hot day! I could instantly see why this place is such a draw for weddings: The outside sculpture garden, which is encircled by lush flowers and art, is simply stunning.
One thing I didn’t realize until I was actually there is that Cornerstone is far more than just gardens— it’s an unexpected shopping destination. Under a canopy of shady trees resides a row of intriguing furnishing stores where you can find pieces to complement any design style: organic materials, shells, light fixtures, tables, windows, or even mermaid statues!
While I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 30 years, I took my very first trip to Lake County only recently when I rented a house on Clearlake for a much-needed family vacation. Now that I’ve finally visited, though, I’m already starting to wonder when I can return to this peaceful region north of the wine country. Of course I managed to scout out some ideal wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner sites while there. A couple of my new favorite places:
Makiivka Estate: Owner Jan Attard’s mission to create a taste of old Europe amongst California’s vineyards has already been achieved in their lovely ranch house, but I learned there are even bigger plans for this property. Situated on a picturesque stretch of organic farmland near Lakeport, Makiivka Estate will soon boast a reflecting pool, a spa and an olive grove for outdoor ceremonies. Proceeds from events will benefit an orphanage in Makiivka, in the Ukraine. Jan refers to this location as her “passion in progress,” and I’m confident that this passion of hers will quickly become the highly sought-after wedding venue she envisions.
Terrill Cellars: If you get a thrill finding places off the beaten path, you might be just as drawn to Terrill Winery as I was. The Tuscan-style grounds include an adorable 22-seat chapel right next to their tasting room. Guests can stay in nearby Kelseyville, where we found a charming vacation rental with sunset views overlooking the entire lake.
I imagine that saying your vows in a place as quiet and natural as Clearlake can be a spiritual experience. If you’ve discovered some of your own wedding locations in this region, let me know so I can have a good excuse to go back.
Whenever I want to plan a weekend vacation with my husband Phil, all I have to do is choose a region and then start browsing the wedding locations we feature on the Here Comes The Guide website that also double as fabulous weekend or honeymoon getaways (hint: there are a lot). On a recent trip to California’s Central Coast, I was practically stumbling over one great location after another. Some of the highlights:
Sycamore Mineral Springs has a stellar bike trail that winds alongside a riverbank. I can see why this getaway would be a lovely wedding spot. The secluded surroundings, abundant wildlife, and indulgent spa treatments could easily help a couple ease their minds before the big day.
Inland in Edna Valley there’s a new Wine Trail that leads you through several of the Central Coast’s breathtaking vineyards. While on the trail, I dropped by Edna Valley Vineyards, which is a great place for wine lovers—and lovers in general. I’m sure anyone who visits appreciates Edna Valley Vineyards’ hospitality center, with sweeping views of the vineyards all around. No wonder Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Edna Valley one of the best places in the wine country to be married! I even found some new favorites once I got there: Baileyana Winery (adorable gift shop) and Talley Winery with it’s historic mission adobe.
The stretch of Highway 1 between Avila Beach and Pismo Beach is just 8 short miles long, so these locations can easily be visited in a day. Get started by dropping your surfboard at the front desk and taking a tour of the SeaVenture Resort right on the beach in Pismo. If you go, and you uncover any other fabulous places in your travels, let us know!