If you are a basic weekender like myself, there is nothing quite like a trip out to the wine country. Between tasting rich pinots, hitting on some attractive sommeliers, and wandering through some vineyards questionably sober, Napa Valley never wanes as a great destination. Thousands flock to one of the most famous northern California hot spots each year for the experience alone. As fate would have it, I live within driving distance, which is great for traveling but painful for my liver. So what does one do with their time in Napa Valley? I have laid out a makeshift weekend of the best wineries, cuisine and lodging that will surely leave your friends and family green (or purple rather) with envy.
The old adage "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" was written for myself and my mother. Besides the fact that the woman can out drink me on any occasion, which I mainly attribute to her college days at Chico State. You really don't get the same binge drinking experience in private school, thanks Obama.
The occasion for a trip to Napa Valley was a cocktail of her birthday festivities as well as her best friend's as they tend to celebrate birthday month's instead of one day. If you plan to stay anywhere, I highly recommend the Napa River Inn, located in downtown Napa, California set right on the Napa River. Say Napa one more time. Napa.
Besides the obvious charms of how absolutely adorable this hotel proves to be, the staff/service are parallel to the likes of the Ritz Carlton franchise. I would know guys, I worked there. Every room comes with plush robes & slippers, luxurious amenities and with views of the courtyard (above) as well as the Napa River.
Yet, the best part upon arrival? Sarah, the lovely staff member of the Napa River Inn actually baked us cookies. From her oven. I barely do this for myself in real life, let alone for my guests. Our previous trip to the Napa River Inn was so wonderful that we decided to come back for a second stay and Sarah proceeded to go above on beyond. Our stay was again, so special that it is hard to imagine staying anywhere else.
For dinner I suggest a visit to Ristorante Allegria when staying in downtown Napa. We opted here for a birthday dinner and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with pristine service, delicious pasta dishes as well as a nice blueberry sorbet clad with a birthday candle for mom. As if that was not enough, our server went out of his way to make sure I had a dairy free appetizer without even asking me. This has literally never happened to me at a restaurant before, and I could not describe to you how rare it is to have a server that truly cares about your dining experience like that. If Italian isn't your style, Napkins is a great alternative in downtown, with American style dining (the ahi tuna salad is my favorite!) or Mango on Main for an alternative Thai option. Please ignore the slightly (but immensely) crappy iphone photo of my pasta, I know it looks bad but my pasta was delicious so jokes on you.
Complimentary breakfast in bed. Do I need to say much more about this hotel? You receive a card upon arrival with options of your choice for a cozy breakfast in bed experience. Once again, very much compliant with dietary restrictions and are insanely delicious. My egg white breakfast sandwich with a side of bacon fueled my day full of wine, because they cancel each other out right?
Full disclosure, I stalk wineries for ideal photos. I'm not a picky wine girl and never will be, as long as it tastes somewhat like a grape that has been fermented count me in for a glass. Not only is Stag's Leap wine delicious, but their new tasting room boasts large pane glass windows overlooking rows upon rows of grapes. Tasting fees are about $55 (ouch) however, if you are looking to taste some one of a kind wines (Faye is my absolute favorite) the fee is certainly worth the experience.
Besides looking like I'm late to my husband's ground breaking launch into Space, Clos Du Val is hands down one of my favorite wineries to visit. The friendly staff, the crisp Sauvignon Blanc, & shady cabanas in the heat of summer are just a few impeccable qualities that make this winery so dynamic. Tastings are $30, affordable in comparison with vineyards around the area. Visit in the month of September to pick grapes literally off the vine and eat them. There is nothing more magical than that.
When you aren't drinking like a fish and eating, enjoy the Napa General Store, which has vintage decor for sale or any wine gadget you could possibly imagine. They also serve up a killer brunch if your stomach isn't on the verge of bursting. Window and potential shopping goes to the Cake Plate Boutiquewhich probably has the most adorable dressing room I have ever set foot into. For a late night drink by the water, I suggest Angele Restaurant & Bar for a romantic ambiance.
When you aren't drinking like a fish and eating, enjoy the Napa General Store, which has vintage decor for sale or any wine gadget you could possibly imagine. They also serve up a killer brunch if your stomach isn't on the verge of bursting. Window and potential shopping goes to the Cake Plate Boutique, which probably has the most adorable dressing room I have ever set foot into. For a late night drink by the water, I suggest Angele Restaurant & Bar for a romantic ambiance.