I have hesitated to post about our trip to Napa Valley and San Francisco, because I did not want to make light of the devastation from the fires there recently. We were heartbroken to hear about so many people losing their homes, vineyards, and especially loved ones. The natural disasters this year in our country have been awful. But, we have received emails from the places we have stayed and the wineries we visited. So far they seem to be okay, besides some grapes lost in certain places. They were all far more concerned with their employees and their families. The community is strong, and people have rallied together to help. Thankfully most of the grapes in the area, besides some cabernet vines, had been harvested prior to the fires. They still need support and visitors, so I am hoping that this can spread the word about how amazing of a place it is!
We truly fell in love with Napa Valley, and I would go back in a heartbeat! We honestly enjoyed every single minute and were in awe of the beauty everywhere. It is such a peaceful setting, with picture-perfect landscaping, sunshine, happy people, and of course the best food and wine. Being able to get away with Todd for a romantic vacation to celebrate our 11 year anniversary was so incredible.
I have had several requests for tips of where to go, and what to see in the area. When we were planning our trip, it took a good amount of research, planning, and making reservations.
Here is our (very detailed) itinerary with links to where we stayed, ate, and tasted. I’m going to break this up into a few parts: Napa Valley (Yountville); Napa Valley (St. Helena and Calistoga); San Francisco. I’m also going to include a separate post with extra tips for traveling in this area.
The main way that I planned our trip is through pinning posts from other bloggers to my “Around the World” board. I added the collage below to hopefully help people do the same type of planning. So feel free to pin away! It can always be on a “Someday” board, which is what most of my travel board consists of. 🙂
Flew into San Francisco and rented a car.
Arrived in Yountville around 3 pm.
Checked into The Napa Valley Lodge.
-This hotel was lovely and within walking distance to everything in Yountville. The
breakfast was very nice, and included with our stay. I would highly recommend it.
-We stayed here on Sunday and Monday nights.
-It is much less expensive on certain nights of the week. You’ll need to call and ask about
After checking in, we decided to check out the town. We walked out of our hotel and all through Yountville. It’s basically one main road (Washington St.) that leads you past plenty of tasting rooms, restaurants such as R & D Kitchen, Bottega, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, Bistro Jeanty, and others. We also got to see The French Laundry culinary garden, which is right across the street from the famed restaurant.
Dinner that night was at Mustard’s Grill. We ordered the rabbit and the roasted chicken. Both were fabulous. The server was great as well.
I couldn’t sleep. I told my mom that I felt like a kid at Disney World! Between the excitement and jet lag, I was wide awake at 4:30 am. We finally gave up trying to sleep, and left our hotel for a run at 6:45.
We ran through Yountville, and happened upon the hot air balloons going up! They are in the parking lot near Bottega and the V Market and were really neat to watch.
Breakfast was included by our hotel (a very nice mimosa brunch). We stuck with espresso, but it was still a nice perk!
We had a driver this day, who drove our rental car. We were really happy with Manny’s Wine Tours and I think spending a little extra for this was definitely worth it!
Our first stop was Domaine Chandon. We tried 2 different tastings, and walked around the grounds. Breathtaking!
Next we went down to Napa to Oxbow Market. We bought some spices for our moms, and had tacos for lunch from C Casa. We tried all different ones, and they were great. Plus it is a gluten free restaurant!
After this, our driver, Hans, took us to his friend’s vineyard! Maroon Winery is up on a hill in Napa in the most picturesque setting. Paul Maroon, the owner, sat outside with us and let us taste his wine. It was really so special, and such a neat opportunity to hear his story.
The big event of the day was a tour of Palmaz Vineyards. Several people that Todd works told him this was a must-do! It is a 2 hour tour and food and wine pairing (that was delicious). The technology here is unreal, and unlike any other winery! The customer service was wonderful and warm. We would highly recommend this! (Dr. Palmaz invented a vascular device that is a part of what Todd works with in the medical device field, so there was extra interest here).
We had dinner reservations that night at Bouchon Bistro. This is a French restaurant owned by Thomas Keller, and the menu had many classics. We were able to dress up more for dinner, which was fun. They even had an anniversary card on our table. We were able to walk there from our hotel.
We had breakfast at our hotel again, then headed north for our first tour.
We pulled off on the side of the road to take a quick picture with the Napa sign!
Our first tour was at Turnbull. The architecture, grounds, and wine were all lovely. We really enjoyed it, but I think next time we would try and do just a walk-in tasting there. It was just a bit pricey for the tour. But the wine was wonderful!
We headed north a bit to St. Helena and stopped at V. Sattui for a picnic. This is another must-do if you’re in the area. It’s one of the very few wineries that is allowed to sell food. They have a large cheese selection, along with desserts, olives, and charcuterie. You can also buy composed salads and sandwiches. We gathered our picnic items, purchased a bottle of wine and sat outside to enjoy it. The Napa Wine Train rode by a couple of times while we ate.
From there we headed north toward St. Helena and Calistoga. I’ll stop here for now. More to come!