Ok, so I can’t really write this whole thing in storybook form. But yes, after about 4.5 years of living in California (and many, many times of driving through Northern CA but never stopping), I finally made it up to Napa. In fact, in the April-May time frame I took a lot of trips to places around California and realized I had been MISSING OUT on fun weekend get-away ideas for nearly 5 years. But this post is just about Napa. And I highly recommend a weekend getaway to Napa to pretty much anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery and good food. (However, if you are looking for wild, fast-paced party-city type environment, Napa is probably not the place for you).
The drive to Napa is around 6 hours. Some people drive from L.A., some people fly. You can get tickets for like $59 each way (+tax) and it’s a quick flight (compared to the 6 hour drive). However, if you fly you have to rent a car to drive out to Napa, and worry about luggage/taking wine back/etc. Personally, we wanted the flexibility of time and being able to go wherever we wanted, and we also wanted to shop and buy wine and not have to worry about fitting things into our luggage to get back. (And honestly, even with gas prices at the time overall it was cheaper to drive and despite being well paid lawyers we both love a bargain). So we drove.
Unfortunately, our drive up was fairly traumatic involving a failed attempt to rescue a stray dog on the freeway and witnessing a road rage incident resulting in a car flipping multiple times and landing upside down. Needless to say, by the time we reached Napa we were ready for some therapy. If our mental states from our job wasn’t enough of an excuse, that car ride put us (or at least me) over the edge.
Before engaging in multiple forms of therapy, we stopped to check in at our hotel- The Ivy Hotel Napa. It’s a newly renovated Best Western Plus hotel. Not in the center of the action, but the price was great, the decor was gorgeous, and my two favorite words: complimentary breakfast. I highly recommend this hotel, unless you want to be able to walk to things besides Mexican food and a convenience store (more on that later).
So after unloading, we were off to begin our therapy.
First form of therapy? Retail therapy. That’s right, our first stop (after the hotel) was the Napa outlets. Mucho dollars were spent. Matching outfits were acquired. (Not intentionally, we just like a lot of the same clothes).
Second form of therapy? Mexican food at the restaurant in the parking lot of our hotel. Yes, we drove SIX HOURS to WINE COUNTRY which is known for amazing food and wine, to down chips and salsa and margaritas at some random Mexican joint next to our hotel a la Dennys & Days Inn. You know what? It was delicious. And we enjoyed it 🙂
Third form of therapy? Purchase cheap bottle of wine and fudge grahams from the convenience store on the other side of the hotel, and retreat to our room to relax and watch a movie. That’s right, we know how to keep it classy. This is making it people:
The next day, however, we were legit Napa visitors. We had scheduled a wine tour with Platypus tours. It picked us up at our hotel in the morning, and we spent the day with 4 or 5 couples. Clearly more of a couple thing to do, but our tour group and guide were fantastic and it didn’t feel awkward at all. Unfortunately, since we were not a couple, we did not opt as many of the couples did to share their tastings. So we may or may not have ended up consuming a little too much wine. But the tour was great and so worth it. We got a beautiful drive through the valley and learned a lot of fun facts from our guide, visited four wineries, lunch and snacks were included.
I would definitely recommend a guided tour. It’s a great intro to the area and nice to not have to worry about driving. However, I wish we had an extra day so we could spend the next day driving around and checking out places on our own. So that would be my recommendation to other Napa visitors… plan a tour and plan for a day that you can travel around on your own.
Now, I’m too tired to continue with details, but here are some pics. All are taken with my iPhone which doesn’t completely do it justice, but the iPhone camera ain’t bad 😉
And lastly, one of me and my faithful companion 😉