On our way out of San Francisco, we made one more stop by the Golden Gate Bridge before heading out to Napa Valley.
We also stopped by Muir Woods, which is sort of a scary drive with all the twists and turns. But it was Sunday, and gorgeous, and therefore we couldn’t find a parking spot at the park to even park our car. Well okay, that’s a lie. We found one, but it was about one and half miles away from the park entrance and it was so hot, we decided to save that excursion for some other time.
The further out of the city we drove, the hotter it became. We drove through Sonoma and then into Napa to our hotel. The Silverado Resort was everything the pictures showed it to be. Even better was the complimentary room upgrade to a Jr. Suite and the surprise fruit basket, cheese platter and bottle of Chardonnay delivery we received just minutes after settling into our room. (side note: I had been corresponding with the resort’s resident Twitterer prior to our trip, which is how we even found out about the resort in the first place. She was kind enough to arrange some of those special extras and we couldn’t have been more impressed. Thanks Erika!)
Since we now had everything we needed in our room, we saw no need to leave the resort. So we walked across the street to the spa and made appointments for our couples massage that evening. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool while we waited. (Both the resort and the spa have a pool, plus the spa has a jacuzzi, so we pool-hopped for a couple of hours.) I haven’t been to many spas in my life but this had to be one of the better ones. Robes and slippers waiting for me in my own locker, steam rooms, saunas, hot tea, citrus water…I could’ve lived there.
After our massage we simply walked back across the street to the resort restaurant where I had the best corn and crab chowder I’ve ever tasted. I need to learn how to make it. Soooo good.
The next two days were all about winery hopping. We visited:
Whitehall Lane Winery (we had two free tastings vouchers)
Markham Vineyards (also free tastings voucher)
Castello di Amorosa (my favorite. No voucher. I bought a bottle of wine calld “Fantasia” to bring home with me.)
Chateau Montelena (of the movie “Bottle Shock” fame)
And since it was crush season, we got to see the wineries in action as they literally crushed the grapes to extract the juices.
Day 2 of winery hopping:
Domaine Carneros (great for Champagne lovers)
We sat on the patio and enjoyed the view
Artesa Winery (just look at the view beyond the fountain! We were told this place had the best views of the Carneros region and I’m willing to bet they were right.)
Simply gorgeous! I think we picked the perfect time to year to see the valley and the weather was wonderful. And with more than 350 wineries in Napa Valley, there’s enough there to hopefully make a return trip some day. If you’ve never been to Napa, note that everything closes pretty early. Most of the wineries close at 5 or 6 pm (and open as early as 9:30 or 10 am!) and the restaurants stop serving food after 9pm. Not much night-life in the valley, presumably because everyone is already passed out or drunk from the full day of drinking. Since we only did tastings, and even shared tastings at times, neither of us ever got drunk so the nights were kind of boring after dinner. Except for the last night when we met a couple from Louisville, Kentucky at the local bar (one of only two bars in the downtown area that stay open past 10pm) and spent the entire evening hanging out with them until about 12:30 when the place closed. They were a lot of fun and we exchanged contact info so we can potentially meet up in the future when we pass through that way (which we do a few times a year to visit the in-laws and my parents).
Though it was one of the most expensive trips we’ve ever taken (maybe more than Hawaii), we had a blast and hope to go back some day.
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