Why rent a home for a vacation in Lodi?

Mission Arch, nighttime

This question comes up regularly.  Renting a vacation home meets the needs of many travelers and families.  There are many reasons our guests stay in one of our three homes.  They come for art classes, festivals, to watch the Sandhills Cranes in winter, to have close access for cherry harvest season (brokers), grape harvest, and olive harvest.

liz_card_bk_prfThey offer private get aways for anniversaries, honeymoons, places for families to stay for weddings, college graduations, grandparents welcoming their new grandchildren, grandparents turning their home over to children and grandchildren and finding a quiet place, staff retreats, get aways for pastors and missionaries, and class reunions. Our long term stays are for brokers, winery staff and out of town contractors that prefer something more like home rather than stay in a hotel for months.


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T his is the sixth year that we’ve welcomed guests to our Cottages.  We are the longest operating vacation rental in our area.  We can accommodate multiple families or groups traveling together in our two cottages that share a property and allow meals and excursions to be shared.

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As our local lovely gems become more popular with visitors, more people traveling together look for a shared place conducive to  eating some meals in, more privacy, traveling with children or pets,  and flexible check in and check out times.  Parking behind a gate helpscoa_vine_kit2_2

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with feeling more secure and less exposed to vandalism. Free wi-fi and satellite TV, laundry facilities for the unexpected events, the ability to barbecue after an afternoon of wine tasting on a private patio with a firebox is a very different experience when traveling.  Many times, it’s less expensive for families or friends to rent a vacation home than to reserve multiple hotel rooms.cottages_Mer_frtrm new

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www.wwwwCottagesOnArmstrong/Facebook.com

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I’m glad to say that Lodi offers choice in what type of venue is needed for travelers.  We have luxury accommodations with food and spas on site, we have hotels that offer breakfast and pools and easy access to travel with shuttles for big events, and economy hotels.  There are lovely Bed and Breakfasts nearby in Lockeford and Clements.  And we have several vacation rentals to choose from.  Finding yourself ‘Stuck in Lodi’ isn’t so bad!image

Grilled Artichokes


We have a local restaurant in Stockton that have killer appetizers on their menu and my favorite is the grilled artichoke. I have made several attempts to get close  to their seasonings, and my version is pretty pleasant.

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I start with cleaned prepped artichokes, cut of the bottom portion and snip the sticker ends of leaves.  I either steam them in the microwave covered in Saran Wrap or boil them.  But before I do, I spread the leaves apart and drizzle olive oil and fresh lemon juice down into the centers.  I add lemon juice to the water before placing them in the water.

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After cooking them, I drain them and cut each one in half. I remove the choke and purple tipped leaves and any tough outer leaves. I turn my grill onto medium high, let it heat up, then drizzle more olive oil on the artichokes, along with lemon juice, and generously season with sea salt, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper and Montreal steak seasoning on both sides.

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I place them first leaf side down on the grill, then flip them onto the flat side until the surface is crusty and the seasoning looks grilled.  It’s a few minutes on each side, and they get to be a bit unorganized.  Using tongs, grab and remove them from the grill.  Add a bit more of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and serve! Dipping sauce would be your choice, but there is so much flavor, keep it simple.

Thinning the New Growth

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Yep, old fashioned muscle powered press.

We are fortunate to care for a small Cabernet vineyard near by.  The learning curve for us is caring for the vineyard correctly, as this action affects the fruit quality greatly.  Not everything that grows on the vine produces fruit. Actually only two shoots per spur yield the fruit.  Removing everything else concentrates the vine production to the vines with fruit only.  This past weekend, our team went to work on shoot pulling.  This is round two, and there may be round three.  This was new for me!  Pruning is critical for this stage.  Don’t let amateurs do your pruning! Sulfuring every 12 to 14 days takes place to prevent mildew on the new fruit during this stage.  We have warm weather coming, but we can’t stop yet.

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The trunk, cordons go sideways from the trunk, spurs on the cordons are about a fist width apart on each side. The fruiting canes come from the spurs. Now you see each section of the vine.

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Look at all the growth taken off the vine!

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Close up to show two canes growing from the spur. These green growing canes have the baby fruit bunches on them.

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Another close up showing two shoots.

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The growth is more than six feet high in about five weeks.

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Baby Cabernet cluster

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Shoot thinning on the ground

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This grand dame is more than nine feet high! She’s been here for quite a while.