It’s Friday which obviously means one thing, it’s time for a G&T! OK, two things, it’s also the second part of my little USA road trip travel series. Last week I covered what to do, see and eat in San Francisco and I’m going to do the same for Napa Valley because this is THE place to head to if you get the chance. Most people go to Napa Valley for a day trip from San Fran, but there was no way we were going to wine country without staying over!
Now, I’m no wine connoisseur but heading to the countryside for a couple of days was exactly what I needed after a hectic few days in the city. The drive is beautiful as you head over the Golden Gate bridge (epic in itself!) and straight into rolling fields, gorgeous sunsets and animals aplenty! So, here’s a few things we did while we found ourselves in Napa Valley…
WHERE TO STAY
It’s not surprising that most of the hotels in Napa have their own winery, which is so heavenly and means you get to sample lots of different blends. And crawl back to your room afterwards. Ours, however, didn’t. But that was absolutely fine because it was probably one of the best hotels of the entire trip. The Farmhouse may sound a little rustic but it was far from, in fact, it was pure luxury – from choosing our own bath products on arrival (hello sugar scrub and organic soap) to homemade cookies in the room.
Ah the room, it was actually a huge suite that embodied everything I would want in my own home. Sliding barn doors to a walk-in wardrobe? Yep. A large private balcony with open fire and cosy wooden armchairs? Yes indeedy. A walk-in steam room shower and jacuzzi bath? Unbelievably, yes!
I’m lucky enough to stay in ALOT of hotels and travel between 8-10 times a year. It takes a lot to impress me and those few seconds when you walk into your hotel room are the most important. When your room has its own hallway, you know there’s only good things to come. What The Farmhouse lacks in affordability (expect to pay upwards of $40 for breakfast), it makes up for in the small details that make a stay so perfect. Pristine gardens, the scent of lavender in the air and soft cashmere blankets will stay in mind long after we check out. I can honestly say the one night we spent there was utterly perfect.
But, this isn’t a sponsored post and there are plenty of other places to stay in the area! Some that I looked at which looked amazing are Milliken Creek, Silverado Resort, Hotel Heraldsburg and Candlelight Inn.
WHAT TO DO
I think we all know what I’m going to say here. You can’t come to wine country and not have a little tipple! I’m not a big tour girl but when Toff told me I could wander around in the sun and have a glass of wine at the end, I was in. We went to the Robert Mondavi winery for a tour of the vineyards and estate for a couple of hours and I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. We had a fantastic guide who was so passionate about the Mondavi family and wine industry itself that you couldn’t help but get sucked in.
But, if vino isn’t your bag, there’s so much to do in Napa Valley that’s often overlooked. We sadly didn’t have time but I was desperate to take a hot air balloon over the county to see the beautiful countryside in all its glory. You can also take an olive oil tour (complete with the softest bread and tastiest crackers ever!), go hiking in the hills, take a picnic out or get dirty in Calistoga’s natural hot springs and unearthed mud.
WHERE TO EAT
We were only in Napa Valley for two nights so we didn’t get to eat out as much as we wanted. Especially because we got some bits from the local deli on one of the evenings which was delish. But, we did have a date night at the beautiful Restaurant at Meadowood. Boasting a Michelin-star, it’s where food is the focus and the atmosphere is quiet and decadent.
For something more casual, we grabbed lunch at Fremont Diner. It may look a little rustic from the outside but is quaint and charming inside. Here you’ll find more
traditional cuisine such as homemade pies, fried chicken waffles using the freshest, local ingredients. On the final night we fancied something with a bit more livelier so headed to Bottega. With twinkling fairy lights and a welcome mixture of tourists and locals, it was fun and had the best gnocchi I’ve ever had.
Surprisingly Ubers are around in Napa Valley (handy when you realise that second glass of Pinot has rendered you grounded). Make sure you ask your driver for any recommendations. They all live in the area and have amazing knowledge of places to go and things to do.
A lot of hotels have their own fire pit so marshmallows are a must if you’re passing a local supermarket. There are deli’s a plenty and the local produce is delicious – we even took some roasted pecans for the road!