Monday, August 6, 2012

Congratulations ~ You're Our Big Winner ~ August 3, 2012

When I'm out in my studio I always have the radio tuned into 95.9 the KRUSH. One day early last week, listening to the Blues with Bowker, I heard him say something about Blue Wing Blues Festival and be the 5th caller to qualify. On a whim I counted to five and dialed. Lo and behold I'm caller number 5 and in the running for a mystery package, since I hadn't heard all of the lead in.

I came home from my errands run on Thursday morning (2nd) and there's message from the KRUSH "Congratulations, you're our big winner, call in for details". What we won was BBQ dinner and concert tickets for the Blue Wing Blues Festival opening night and overnight accommodations. A spur of the moment adventure is our favorite kind, so we pack Friday morning and head out around noon. First stop is lunch at Cousteau Bakery in Healdsburg. 

Our destination is the historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. It's just our kind of place: small with a colorful history. Despite occupying a prominent position on the main street of town, the hotel property had, for over 40 years, been vacant and uncared for prior to its purchase by Lynne and Bernie Butcher in 2003. With the contributions of local craftsmen they undertook a 2 year restoration, upgrade and expansion. For more about the hotel, it's history and upcoming events go to http://www.tallmanhotel.com ~ it's definitely worth a visit.

Our room is one of the upstairs garden rooms with a porch that looks over the shaded venue between the main hotel and the Blue Wing Saloon. Rooms are decorated in period style and very comfortable.


The bands set up on the porch of the hotel and seating (for about 100) is arranged in the shaded courtyard between hotel and saloon. Music starts about 5:45pm and is over by 10pm. We can still party hardy, but not as late as we used to, so this is a great idea. 


Twice as Good 2XG (http://www.twiceasgood.org) opened the show with the blues and had everyone rocking in their seats. About half way through the set, the BBQ fare was laid out and guests got up in sections to serve themselves. Most of us were dancing as we worked our way through the line.

By the time the Zydeco Flames (http://zydecoflames.com) were half way through their set most of the crowd was on their feet dancing. The old knees got a workout, but weren't complaining, dancing is good for the soul and good medicine.

The "Winners" with our host Bernie Butcher

The acoustics and performances were nothing short of amazing. This is a great small venue, along the lines of Sebastopol's Studio E, Rancho Nicasio or Petaluma's Mystic Theater. The final event of the Blue Wing Blues Festival is Labor Day, September 3rd. Might want to put it on your calendar.

After breakfast on Saturday we headed out to Fort Bragg on Hwy 20 for lunch at the North Coast Brewery and headed down the coast for home. It's a beautiful drive and about 30 degrees cooler than Upper Lake. Checked a small flea market on the way out of town and found some treasures. Once home: dinner, a hot tub and early to bed. Sunday we made Gravenstein apple sauce and watched some of the Olympics. A weekend well spent.

A special shout out to the KRUSH and to Diane and George Rawls (Allora Da Car) who donated the tickets that made our weekend.