Taking in a county fair starting with our Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, Iowa, and whenever we get a chance when we are traveling, is a treat for Dan and me. Last Sunday we visited the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Fest in Boonville, CA, while on a trip to northern California to attend my nephew’s wedding on Highway 1 in Albion. We took the wind-ey Highway 128 for 28 miles through Anderson Valley (I love that name) to Boonville where the fair was held.
Boonville is an agricultural town (with its own jargon called Boontling created in the 1890s) that is nestled amidst apple orchards, Coastal Redwoods, wineries (we stopped at Lula on the way back to our rental home in Albion). It is surrounded by gorgeous hills that look like a gentle mountain range in the distance. It was a tad different from the usual backdrop for a fairgrounds we have in the Midwest but much about the fair landscape was familiar. We enjoyed some yummy food, ag and home arts displays, and a rodeo complete with mutton busting. My favorite fair activity was, of course, the chance to hear some good live country music.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jamie Floyd gave a great set of original music sprinkled with a few covers honoring Dwight Yoakam and Janis Joplin/Faith Hill. Ms. Floyd also showcased the original Mississippi Flood, a song she co-wrote for Juliette Barnes to belt on the Nashville TV show finale. She also sang Trouble Get Me Off Your Mind, a song she wrote for a Dolly Parton movie which was performed by Brian McKnight. She shared her experiences writing the song tracks and appearing in Burt Reynolds’ last movie. My favorite was Grammy nominated song, “The Blade” she wrote which was recorded by Ashley Monroe a few years ago and more recently by Ronnie Dunn. It truly demonstrates her poetic touch on the heart breaker of a song.
It was fun to listen to her music and stories, and I loved meeting her and talking about some other Nashville songwriters I have met along the way (Morgan Myles, Elise Davis, Hailey Whitters, and the late Luke Bell) and we encouraged her to come to Iowa. She signed a CD for Hope. She has a great bluesy style for a pretty sunny afternoon in Cali.
We enjoyed our time exploring the gorgeous rocky California coast and ate some scrumptious seafood at the Princess market in Fort Bragg and Ledford House in Albion, then drove north to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Avenue of the Giants to see some magnificent trees in Founders’ Grove. We stayed the night in the quaint town Ferndale at The Gingerbread Mansion before looping over to Redding to visit family and then back to Sacramento to fly home.