John and I had been throwing around a vacation for our 1 year anniversary before we even left Mexico last year! We were set on going back to Dreams and even contacted our travel agent to research prices, but with me starting a new job in May, it wasn't doable because of my time off situation. So we were on the hunt for a fun weekend getaway to a place we had never been and that had good weather in December. Which left us with not many options! Napa came out in a conversation some how and it stuck! It took forever to decide on where to stay and what to do because there are so many options there. In fact we booked a tour a few days before we left!
Like my usual vacation posts, I'm dividing this up in to 2 parts - the first 2 days and then the last 2 days. And be prepared for picture overload! :)
We left Houston Thursday night after work and got in to San Francisco about 8:30. We rented a car and then drove the hour and half drive up to Napa. Our first stop was at In N Out for dinner!
We stayed at Napa Valley Lodge in Yountville. Yountville is just north of downtown Napa. I loved our hotel!! What I didn't love was Yountville. There is a small downtown area within walking distance to our hotel, but not alot of choices for food if you don't want really fancy.
So we made it to our hotel around 10, checked in, opened the complimentary bottle of wine and started a fire in our fireplace!
Friday morning we woke up early and enjoyed our hotels complimentary champagne buffet breakfast. Delish! Then we hung out in our room for awhile and enjoyed the views of the vineyards from our patio. Even though all the vines were dead, it will still so beautiful there! I can't even imaging how pretty it is in the prime season!
Then it was time for our first wineries! We decided to spend Friday on our own and really just decided last minute where we were going to go. I had heard a lot of good things about Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga because of the view so we decided to start there. I wasn't crazy about the wine there, but the self guided tour was great and the views couldn't be beat! You ride up to the winery on a little gondola/tram so you get amazing views of wine country!
We decided to visit Castello di Amorosa, also in Calistoga, next. If you can't tell by the name, it's a castle and apparently this is a very touristy place because of that. I was not impressed with the self guided tour here. I felt like we were just wondering around everywhere and there was no direction or education at all. However, I changed my mind about Castello di Amorosa after our wine tasting. Even though the guys doing the tasting were pushy about their wine club and you stood around a bar and there were no seats, the wine made up for it! I liked this tasting because we got to pick which type of wines we wanted. I like white/sweet so that's what I tried. John tried reds. We ended up leaving with 2 bottles of wine from this winery. I got a sweet red and John got a cab.
After our two tours we were hungry so we stopped at a popular place on the side of the highway called Gott's Roadside or Taylor's Refresher to the locals. It was literally on the side of the road in St. Helena. This was a perfect stop for us - greasy to soak up some of the alcohol, casual and on the way back to Yountville to our hotel. It was really good! And I made a friend while we were eating ;)
We went back to the hotel, took a quick nap, then walked across the street to "downtown" Yountville. There really wasn't a lot to see except for a bunch of Christmas lights. We also visited the famous Bouchon Bakery. Then we went to dinner right across from our hotel at a place called R+D Kitchen.
And that ended our first day in Napa Valley. You don't want to miss what's up next!
**make sure to check this blog post if you are interested in a career change to nursing! It is one of my favorite posts to date and Kaplan is making it possible for people to make that change to nursing!**