What do you think of when you hear the 4th of July? Sparklers, bottle rockets & BBQ’s? How about award winning vino, poolside service and a band playing amongst Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning vineyard backdrop? That’s my kind of Independence, living the good life on Coppolas resort-style patio. Sipping my margarita. The one time I will make an exception to my “strictly a wine girl” claim. 

Peter and I hesitantly decided to shut down our restaurant for this holiday, mostly because every employee asked for the day off and I was starting to feel a tinge of guilt for keeping them from celebrating with their families or maybe it was a dash of “crap nobody is going to show up to work” if we open.

Our friends, who are members of the winery, invited us along to spend this fourth with them poolside. Since our only other option was watching Flipping Out reruns and eating Double Doubles from In & Out , it was a fairly easy choice. Even though Jeffrey and Zoila make me giggle to the point of where snot may come out my nose. Gross. We arrived at the pseudo-mansion at 10:30 in the morning to a controlled line of about a dozen deep. We had been told over the phone that the day was sold out but we snuck in early enough to take the spot of a no-show. Suckers. We purchased four pool passes & a cute cabine (miniature cabana, sans the cabana boy…whimper) for $67. Cheaper than just the pedicure I got at Sanctuary Resort in Phoenix. We quickly chose some shady lounge chairs amongst the almost 100 that were available.

Let the relaxation begin.

Rovetti & the Meatballs were playing cover tunes in the background while servers took the many drink orders, bocce balls clinked in the distance and people slathered themselves in sunscreen. It was hard not to feel like this was vacation. The pool was large and surprisingly vacant, not overrun by kids or drunk party goers; a splendid mix of quiet couples and families trying to behave themselves. Not once did I think about other peoples kids potentially peeing in the pool…okay, maybe once. But I was comforted by the “Pool Disclaimer” stating that all children must wear swim diapers. Do they make those in adult sizes?

We ordered lunch from a young girl subjected to wear a theater ushers uniform that looked way too hot for this 101 degree day. Please, give her at least short-sleeves and a pair of capris. You won’t find nachos and corn dogs on this menu. Nope. Not a dog in sight. What you will find is the abridged version of the wineries Rustic restaurant menu which was just a hundred feet away. We settled on the Muffuletta sandwich and a Prosciutto pizza with arugula. The sandwich came to us solo, wrapped up in a paper shell that’s writing indicated what was to be expected inside. Though I prefer to make my Muffuletta a day in advance, giving all the flavors a chance to soak in, this one was still a freshly prepared medley of cured meats, cheeses and olive tapenade. The pizza was just how I like it, wafer thin and crunchy, topped with quality products. It doesn’t come much finer. Not even…dare I say it…on our trip to Tuscany.

We reluctantly concluded our Independence Outing after 7 potent margaritas, 1/2 of a fresh muffuletta, 2 crispy pizzas, 4 refreshing dips in the pool, 3 bocce ball competitions (in which I lost…barely), 6 hours and a tab of $155.00.

Now you will know, if I am ever gone missing on the summer weekend, where to find me when I am taking a breather from checking off my bucket list goals. See you there. Please buy me a Margarita. I’m still thirsty.