When you think of the Northern California Wine country, chances are you think of wine. Maybe even grapes. But not kids and not Segways. Things are changing in wine country. Visitors of all ages are welcome.
Gone are the days of leaving the kids at home. Families are on a roll and sipping their way through adventures worth bragging about to family and friends.
Everyone Can Do It
Part of the beauty of a Segway is that just about everyone can do it. I don’t consider myself particularly coordinated, and will admit to being slightly concerned. It was a feeling similar to the first time I went zip lining, and since I lived to write about that, I figured getting on a Segway wouldn’t be any different.
There were a handful of adventurous seniors on my tour with Segway of Healdsburg, one couple in particular who had come for the adventure after dropping their grandkids off at school.
Speaking of kids, they’re welcome on the tours. The only requirements they must be 12 years old and 100 pounds and 3 feet tall.
When you arrive for your tour, you’ll fill out some paperwork, be fitted with a helmet and then given one on one instruction on how to Segway. There are specific ways to step on and off and to stop and go. There is definitely some balance involved, but the Segway does a majority of the work for you. You’ll spend about 15 minutes getting a feel for your new form of transportation before you graduate from turtle mode.
What’s turtle mode you ask? When you first start learning how to maneuver on a Segway, it will be in turtle mode, which essentially keeps you from going too fast too soon. If you look down toward your handle bars you’ll be able to see a little turtle on the digital read out. Once you feel like you’ve got a handle on it, the turtles disappears and you’re ready to roll through wine country.
Single file you’ll take off, headed for your first winery. For most of your journey, you’ll be traveling on low traffic roads, just like a bike would. You will definitely see some cars pass by but don’t be concerned and don’t be surprised if you get a few waves from curious onlookers, just be careful steering if you wave back.
Enjoy the View
Any nerves you might have had will disappear once you start rolling. Chances are, you’ll get lost in the scenery. Sonoma County vineyards change season to season. Whether bursting with grapes ready to harvest in the fall or sleeping for the winter, the views will impress.
Raise a Glass
Our first stop was Christopher Creek Winery. After getting a few tips on how to charge uphill, we headed up the winery’s steep driveway. Success all around. Everyone made it up without a hitch and the view was an additional reward. It was harvest time and we watched as the grapes were separated from their stems and started on their way to becoming wine. Be sure to look for the vines that are more than a century old. If you can’t find them, just ask, folks are happy to point them out.
My husband and I enjoyed wandering around the winery so much that we never actual made into the tasting room, which in my mind is a good reason to go back. Kids on the tour will not be bored. They can learn Segway maneuvers while their parents sip with a smile on their face.
In less than a half-an-hour we were back on our Segways and off and rolling to take in more scenery. Along with endless rows of vines, you can look forward to seeing horses and gardens that will impress. Taking pictures during the tour is frowned upon. Guides don’t want folks taking a tumble when they’re trying to snap the perfect picture, so they do it for you. Guides are armed with cameras and are snapping pictures as you go. A few days after your tour all the photos will be available online, free of charge!
Our second tasting stop was Limerick Lane Cellars. The tasting room is bright and airy, but I was particularly impressed by the winery’s pourer. Along with informing us about the day’s selection of wines, he was also incredibly helpful, offering dining suggestions and recommending other activities to the out-of-towners in our group.
The two-hour tour goes by incredibly fast. As we left Limerick Lane and headed back to the stretch where we first learned how to Segway, I was disappointed we didn’t have more time and I don’t think I was the only one. Overall, the group had become more comfortable and confident on their new set of wheels. I guess that just means I need to book another tour. As luck would have it, there’s a tour to one of my favorite places, the amazing redwoods of Armstrong Woods. Stay tuned.
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann
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