Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

Monday, April 13, 2009.

Russian River Thousand Trails/NACO, Cloverdale, CA

Jelly Belly Factory & Napa Valley

Tom got up earlier than any of us of course. I hadn't slept well so he let me sleep in until Jonathan came in then we got up and got going. After breakfast, I packed lunches for Jonathan and I and we headed out the door to the Jelly Belly Factory. There was a road on the map marked as a scenic road that ran from Cloverdale down to Napa. It looked like it might be a nice way to get to Fairfield and hopefully see some of the wine country along the way so that was the goal for the day.

The drive through the valley took a little longer than I thought it would but it was worth it. There were grape vines and wineries around every corner. All the grapes are just starting to leaf out so all you see are row after straight row of bright green leaves on the dark vines with high rolling hills in the background. Very pretty. Many of the homes are old but have been refurbished and look very classic. A scenic drive all right!

We arrived at the Jelly Belly factory around 1:30 so we decided to eat our lunch in the car before we headed inside to take the tour. It was a beautiful day. When we got inside, the lobby of the building was decorated in candy colors from top to bottom and there was all kinds of natural light.

We got in line for the tour and the guide began handing white hats out to everyone. We donned our hats. One of the employees was passing out lime flavored jelly beans as we were waiting for our tour to begin. They showed us everything from how they pour the jelly mixture into the molds to form the beans to how they color and flavor them to how they sort, stamp and package them. It was really very interesting.

Jonathan and I stopped in the candy shop after the tour and had fun picking out flavors that sounded good. We meant to get some Belly Flops but forgot all about them in the end.

When we arrived back home, Tom was washing the front window of the RV. He fixed the tire on Jonathan's bike so Jonathan could ride around the campground. We all walked down to the playground for a little while. Jonathan met a friend, Kie, so they rode bikes and played for the rest of the evening.

You can take the Jelly Belly virtual tour at the website.

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