if you love red wine, you MUST travel to napa valley. are you listening? i mean it… you absolutely have to go there at some point in your life. it’s so amazing and one of the few places hubby and i have traveled to that we said we want to go back.
we booked this trip as a mini honeymoon and it was so perfect. picture this… oversized sweaters, rainy days exploring one winery after the next, a glass of cabernet in your hand always, a cozy fire to end each night and your husband by your side. it was heavenly. even the rain made our days seem more romantic as we huddled close under a big umbrella.
we visited the valley during off season which was ideal for us… no large crowds to fight, no lines and no reservations at a single place (except 2 wineries that took us on a tour). even though there is usually rain to contend with, i highly recommend planning your visit between january and march!
we stayed at harvest inn which is situated just about in the middle of napa valley in saint helena. the rooms were clean, the bathrooms massive (with 2 shower heads, each with a separate control for water temperature… amazing since i love scalding hot water and ben likes to shower in an ice bath), a restaurant that served delicious breakfast (and i’m sure dinner but we didn’t try it), a pretty bar and beautiful grounds overlooking a vineyard.
our room was nestled here, the fitness center and pool were just across the way.
the rooms were large and complete with our very own fireplace which we took advantage of most nights. other than restaurants, there is not a lot of nightlife in napa which was fine by us… after drinking wine from 10am – 5pm we were perfectly content relaxing in front of a fire after dinner.
our hotel had so many orange and lemon trees… i’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to pick them but we had to try!
this is the backside of our hotel! endless vines and mountain views.
we didn’t arrive to our hotel until monday night and were exhausted from traveling and exploring san francisco for the day. we showered, put on our pajamas and enjoyed take out pizza from pizzeria tra vigne. our hotel gave us a mini bottle of wine from a winery called merryvale which complimented our pizza perfectly.
tuesday morning we woke up bright and early and started our wine adventure off the right way.. with breakfast sandwiches, lattes and baked goods at model bakery. i’m a sucker for coffee art and napa definitely didn’t disappoint.
after visiting two wineries, we headed to brasswood for lunch. since they are also a winery, we each tried a glass of their wine with our meal and ate my favorite food from our trip.. this burrata toast was to die for. we finished off with bourbon creme brûlée (we got dessert with just about every meal during our trip) and the manager brought us over to their tasting room for a complimentary tasting.
tuesday night we ate dinner at goose and gander.. for some reason i never took pictures at dinner.. all pictured out for the day. the food was flavorful and they have a super cool bar in the basement that i wish we knew about when we sat down because we only had a peek after dinner.
wednesday morning we started off at southside cafe in downtown yountville. i would not recommend staying in napa when you visit because it is very much like a small city, but yountville is lovely. every building is so pretty, so many shops, cafes and restaurants and this breakfast place was super cute. more pretty lattes, breakfast sandwiches and strawberry toast for dessert (see, i told you… every meal).
we weren’t all that hungry for lunch on wednesday and decided to stop at bottega for a couple appetizers since it came highly recommended. they have an outdoor seating area with large fireplaces which was really nice but, honestly, i didn’t love the food.
kollar chocolates, however, i did love.
wednesday night we headed to cook for dinner located in downtown st. helena. a small location and the only place we weren’t able to get a table at without waiting so we headed to open bar seats and were perfectly happy. have you ever had balsamic dressing and sea salt on your gelato? me either until this place. sooooo good! plus, there are lots of locals at cook which has to mean it’s good! i’d recommend reservations!
thursday morning we decided to try breakfast at our hotel because many people recommended it.. they were smart. the food was very good and we actually ate a normal breakfast instead of mostly bread and pastries like every other day!
but don’t worry, we made up for our healthy breakfast at bouchon bakery for lunch. we overheard some local people talking about this spot and knew we had to try it! the french macaroons were so yummy!
our last dinner was at rutherford grill and were we very impressed. lots of seating, lots of locals, really good steak and an oreo dessert. most nights we didn’t drink with dinner because we drank all day but thursday night we each had a port with dessert which was perfect.. until we got home and decided to drink port.. a whole bottle in one night.. turns out, you should probably only drink one glass of port because it’s heavy and sugary and we woke up with major headaches the next day. oh well, ya live and ya learn.
friday morning came too quickly and it was time to head home. we had to drive back to san francisco early and stopped at another model bakery location in yountville. equally as delicious as our first morning and next door to a hotel made from railroad cars.. so cool!
at the end of our trip, ben’s favorite food was dinner at rutherford grill and mine was the burrata bread at brasswood. we had such an amazing trip! i can’t wait to go back! stay tuned for a post on all the wineries we visited!
California is pn my bucket list and we’ll most definitely visit Nappa Valley. Looking forward to reading all about the wineries from your visit.
It’s an amazing place! You definitely have to visit!