Bachelor Blog Catfight!

There can be only one.

It’s true in Highlander. It’s true in the Bachelor, and it’s even more true in the land of Sonoma Bachelor blogs.

It has come to our attention that there is ANOTHER blog that claims to have the inside scoop on both Sonoma and The Bachelor. This blog, cleverly called “bachelor.blog” in a retro cool nod to mid-naughties blog naming schemes, is on a site run by the New York Times Halifax News Company.

To be fair, this other blog has some cool things. For example, they nailed that there was a Bachelor viewing party a the Big 3 restaurant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. We concede, and regret, our failure to cover it.

Also, they tend to write from a news angle, versus a “stare at your own bellybutton” angle, which while highbrow, does violate the central ethos of the blogoshere. (“Maximal output, minimal preparation.”)

We cannot confirm nor deny that Maureen Dowd writes this stuff.

As of this writing, that blog has nine posts, this one now has six.

The game is on. Just as the bachelorettes will use their wits, their wiles and their wares to get to Ben, so too shall the Sonoma Bachelor blog use our amazing knowledge of Sonoma, our terrifying eye for detail and our strong stomach for reality TV to win the rose of attention from you, the internet reading public…

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Balance Ho Rooms = Sonoma Bachelor

Anagrams! Anagrams! A rag man!

Behind palindromes, anagrams are the coolest things word dorks can talk about. Back in the day, you had to sit down with a pencil and pad and just kind of hack away at them. But now, any goofball with the internets and the bookmark to the Internet Anagram Server can start typing in any word or phrase and get, hundreds, even thousands, of witty, ironic or absurd anagrams.

Type in “Sonoma Bachelor” and what used to be a rather innocuous phrase becomes a titillating tumble of phrases and potential guffaws.

To wit:

A Bachelor Moons (aahhhh…)
Cabals Romeo Hon (almost a koan involving a group of sneaky people, a star-struck lover and his one true love.)
Manacles Bro Ooh could be the exclamation of Ben Flajnik’s drinking buddies when they find out he’s engaged
And even Aroma belch soon which would be uttered, Yoda like, by his friends above after they’ve had a coupletwothree too many glasses of local beers. (We’re thinking something from Lagunitas.)

Which reminds us. Ben’s winery used to be called Evolve Wines, showing a rather intelligent design in his marketing strategy. But we’ve noticed the pernicious addition of an “N” to the wine name, changing it to.. Envolve Wines.

Get it?

Oh sure, maybe it’s a clever play on words. But it gets cleverer when plugged back into the Internet Anagram Server:

Seven Line Vow might test the patience of your betrothed, or at least the Best Man
Elves Vine Now would be a command from a stern Papa Noel to his elite team of diminutive ice winegrape harvesters
and the best one, Love Even Wins.

So, maybe you think you already know what happens with the show. Or maybe you just need to see things from a different angle.

Either way, whether we find out if even love wins, which perhaps we all do, we also want to see what happens to Yak Bell, Cake Bi and Try on Cue for the rest of the season.

Blazed Din Inn

Find Blakely in Sonoma!

Blakely has disappeared! Where has she wondered off to?

Near the end of Episode 2 (Attack of the Clones) Blakely hides from the other bachelorettes, and from Ben.

Ben is on the search.

Sonoma County is a pretty big place – more than a million acres! Where can she be hiding?

Here’s three guesses:

1) Armstrong Woods: This place is large, and there are lots of trees and bushes to hide behind. These trees are enormous Coast Redwoods, which means they can be as tall as the soccer field where Ben won his high-school state soccer championship. Blakely could be hiding in a hollowed-out stump, in the gully of a seasonal creek, or even high up in the canopy of these ancient giants. Ben will need some sturdy walking shoes and a sharp eye to see her, especially if she wears forest-green Jimmy Choos to blend in.

You gotta look close. She could be anywhere in here.

2) The Coast: Just like Armstrong Woods, the Sonoma Coast is a large area with a lot of diversity. She could be trying some chowder at Bodega Bay, strolling along one of the sandy beaches at Stillwater Cove, or even disguised as a Russian settler re-enactor at the Fort Ross bicentennial celebration. To find her, Ben will need his trusty truck, his little dog and an hour or so to drive the legendary Pacific Coast Highway on his quest. (And if he wants to surf, he could stop at Salmon Creek Beach on the way.)

3) Fremont Diner: An unassuming little stop in southern Sonoma County, if you were going to hide somewhere, it might as well be here. They have great fried chicken and pies.

Is that her lipstick on that mug?

Sonoma Bachelor: Sonoma Locations List

ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that the beach where Ben and Courtney went on their date along the Russian River was Sonoma County’s Sunset Regional Park. Also, the redwoods were indeed at Riverfront Park in Windsor. You read it here first.

UPDATE: There has been discussion on whether Ben and Courtney went to Armstrong Redwoods, Jack London State Park or maybe even a Sonoma County Regional Park for their date in the redwood forests. So far we have ruled out Muir Woods, because that’s in Marin and we aren’t here to talk about that, and we have also tentatively ruled out Jack London Park. Because the next scene, of Ben and Courtney mooning ahttps://sonomabachelor.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=18&action=edit&message=1t each other on the Russian River waterfront, is near a regional park; and because the producers of reality shows try to keep permits and costs to a minimum, we are going with Riverfront Regional Park for now. Further, it should be noted, and we did not, that Ben and Kacie B did go past Mary’s Pizza in Sonoma, and a whole host of other little shops, all of which are near the aforementioned Sonoma Plaza.)

***

After Episode 2 of The Bachelor with Sonoma winemaker Ben Flajnik, everyone’s asking (ok, someone, somewhere is asking) where the show was filmed.

Lucky you. We know.

Here’s a quick list of the locations from the January 9, 2012 episode. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.

Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, CA: the location of the private estate (Vineyard Knoll estate) where the bachelorettes are staying. The villa is available for rental through Sonoma-based Beautiful-Places.com. Glen Ellen, it should be noted, has a cute little downtown area and is the final resting place of author Jack London. (White Fang, Call of the Wild… No word on his thoughts on The Bachelor.)

As seen on TV...

Historic Sonoma Plaza: On Ben’s date with Kacie B., the majority of it was shot right on this historic 8-acre plaza. Historic moments that occurred here include the founding of the last Spanish/Mexican mission in California, the Bear Flag Revolt that led to the transfer of California from Mexico to the United States, and that long, lingering kiss Ben and Kacie B. shared desirously under the elms. The little stage where the bachelorettes first practiced for their play is right behind the Sonoma Visitor Center.

Quaint play written by Sonoma kids for "The Bachelor?" Or revolutionaries intent on Sonoma's independence? You decide.

Ledson Hotel: Just off the Sonoma Plaza, this is where Bachelor Ben and Kacie play the piano. Interesting fact – there is also a Ledson Winery in Sonoma Valley.

Sebastiani Theater: beautiful theater across the street from the Plaza, where Ben and Kacie watch the films of their lives, on their first date.

girl and the fig: a Sonoma institution, and yes, the owner does use the ee cummings capitalization scheme, is where the dinner date with Kacie takes place. Try the cheese tray. It’s awesome. Also where the Sonoma PD go tearing by when the credits roll. Why are they in such a hurry? Slow down there, officers. You’re in wine country.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa:  With a Michelin-starred restaurant and one of the largest spas in Northern California, the Fairmont SMI is a great place to get in hot water. No, literally. There are geothermal streams that feed the spa’s pools. This is where the bachelorettes swam in the pool (one of the private rooms at Sante looks out over this pool. Good to know.) and where things got a little heated among the contestants. Bonus if you can find the actual bathroom stall off the pool area where there was an emergency confab about Blakely.

Riverfront Regional Park: Courtney the model and Ben the Bachelor winemaker head for this Sonoma County Regional Park just outside Windsor.  The redwoods, where they howl together (and no, not read Ginsburg, they were really just howling) is a small stand of trees near the picnic area. The really big redwoods in Sonoma County are at Armstrong Woods if you are the public, or the Bohemian Grove if you are plutocrat. Either way, for only $6 you can get into Riverfront Park. Wanna come back again and again? You can also get an annual pass to all the parks…

A bridge too far? Russian River, Sonoma County

Steelhead Beach or just down from Mom’s Beach: The cool waters of the Russian River looked just as unwrinkled as the brow of Courtney (the model, ibid) when she and Ben took a picnic on the sandbar. While we can’t be certain, we think this is just down from Mom’s Beach which is a spot popular with locals in Forestville. (SEE ABOVE – It’s actually Sunset Regional Park. Grrrr….)

A random vineyard somewhere: There are about 60,000 acres of vineyards in Sonoma County total, and the county itself encompasses about a million acres. Somewhere, in all the crazy vineyards in all the county, Ben and Courtney rode a front-loader at night through the vines during harvest. This might seem like an odd first-date. It is. Usually in Sonoma, you have to pick a few tons of Pinot at night before you can ride the tractor. For Courtney, looks like we made an exception.

I knew we shoulda taken that left turn at the Alicante...

If you want to find out how to get to Sonoma, and start planning your own trip, you can get a guide and map here.

But don’t ask for your own Sonoma bachelor. They don’t have one. We asked.

Better Sonoma Bachelor Roses

At the end of “The Bachelor,” the young winemaker-turned-Bachelor Ben Flajnik has to give out roses to the bachelorettes he deems should move on to the next round.

Sadly, not every young woman can get a rose. And though the final moments of the show are fraught with reality-TV orchestrations (the piano and violin during the final goodbyes always bring a briny tear to our jaded eyes…) we have good news, bachelorettes! You may not have found a rose at the hands of Bachelor Ben Flajnik, but here are…

Three Other Places to Find Roses in Sonoma:

1) Compass Rose Gardens in Bodega Bay. Wanna get married? Or, want to find a place that would be a great spot to pretend you are getting married, but not have to worry about inviting your weird cousins? Then check out this secret garden tucked into a hillside in Bodega Bay. As they say on their website: “Azaleas and ivys, lavender and lacecaps, impatiens and iris, rhododendrons and roses, ferns and flowers of all sorts have been patiently planted around, between, and beneath native willows along the spring-fed creek that carved the canyon into Sonoma County’s spectacular coast. Willows, Japanese maples, ferns, and a multitude of seasonally changing blossoms provide the perfect backdrop for your special event.” 

Somewhere in that horticultural menagerie was mentioned roses, and there are some great ones to see, and maybe even touch. And the best thing? You don’t even have to get in a hot tub to get one.

Compass Rose Gardens
Bodega Bay, Sonoma County, CA
www.compassrosegardens.com

2) Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County, and has a lot of rose-affiliations. For starters, the name, which is one of the last Spanish place names in California as one heads north. Santa Rosa is home to the Luther Burbank Rose Parade (take that, Pasadena) and the amazing gardens at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. There are roses, but better yet, you can learn about the man who helped make french fries so awesome by “inventing” the Russet Burbank Potato. Also in Santa Rosa is the historc Hotel La Rose, in Railroad Square. Quaint, intimate and romantic, the Hotel La Rose is exactly the kind of spot to linger over a nice Sonoma County wine and learn more about your partner before leaping into ones betrothal.

Santa Rosa
Just 60 minutes from San Francisco
www.visitsantarosa.com

3) Speaking of wine, Bottle Barn is one of those places where there are LOTS of rosés. And pinots. And zins and chards and cabernets. And just about any other wine and spirit you can think of. Tucked away behind a futon warehouse and light industrial manufacturers, this mega-wine shop is a well-kept secret. Spoiler alert: you can often see winemakers themselves making deliveries of their small-batch wines direct to Bottle Barn. No word on how to intercept the single ones. Perhaps riding a horse in from the parking lot?

Bottle Barn
Somewhere in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County
www.bottlebarn.com

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Sonoma’s Bachelor Winemaker

Ben Flajnik, Sonoma winemaker and this season’s Bachelor, is nice, cute and cuddly. But is he ready to show off his hometown of Sonoma, and can he work his way past his earlier heart-break (for shame, Ashley!) to find the love of his life among the vines of Sonoma County?

Ben... with a nice rose to boot.

Stay tuned, dear readers. It’s going to be a crazy season…