My husband and I had such a great time, and I still can't believe we experienced so much in six days as I look over our photos. We spent most of our time in Napa Valley since I have wanted to go there for years after reading a magazine article about a family who owned a winery there. They were pictured celebrating harvest with a picnic in their vineyard and the scenery took my breath away. I saved that article for years, but it disappeared somewhere when I moved into this house. Since I rarely take trips without the kids, I was starting to wonder if I'd ever visit Napa and put it on the back burner until some friends of ours mentioned they were going to get married near wine country and my husband just happened to have business out there at the same time. I had no reason to wait any longer!
My husband has been to Napa Valley before and suggested we stay in Yountville instead of the town of Napa. I wasn't too sure about it, but I trusted him on this one and I'm so glad I did. Yountville is the most picturesque town with the best restaurants and everything is in walking distance. I wish I could describe how wonderful this town smells too because of the honeysuckle planted everywhere. I'm going to be planting it at my house as soon as possible!
Our B&B, Maison Fleurie
I've never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, but I just loved the French country appeal of this place. Our room was not in the main hotel like most B&Bs, but in a cottage on the property. It was nice to have the privacy without sacrificing the charm. And, that it just happened to back up to Bouchon Bakery was nice, too.
Street View of the Town
Cute, cute homes...
We had dinner here our first night because I fell in love with the exterior. Thankfully, the food was great, too. It was just like being in a Paris cafe.
There were some seriously swanky people chowing down on pizza here. I have always wondered what kind of place women wear their Louboutins to and I finally found out. Here! I'd be afraid to wear them out of the house if I ever owned a pair.
Casual dining...because sometimes a girl just needs a hamburger.
Now, on to the entire reason we came to Napa. The wine, of course! There are so many wineries and I had no idea where to start so we decided to take a wine tour our first full day. I wanted to be careful and have a designated driver even though I had no plans to get snockered. We were picked up in a limo along with three other couples for a full day of wine tastings. I only requested one place in the hopes it would be on the list. I shouldn't have worried because the other couples never requested any particular wineries, so our first stop was the one I chose, Castello di Amorosa.
That's a real stone castle. I thought it might be a faux castle with concrete etched out to look like stone when I saw pictures of it since we're in California. But, our driver said it was a real castle in Europe that was taken apart and put back together here.
Can you believe they don't do weddings here?! Talk about missing a great opportunity for income.
Going down to the dungeon for wine tasting. The man pouring the wine was hysterical. He asked where everyone was from with the same response in an Italian accent,"Oh, we ship there, very cheap." It really was the best wine we had on the trip and we will be buying more from their website since you can't find it in stores. If you go to Napa Valley, definitely put this one on your list.
Remember my dream of a picnic in a vineyard? Well, I can now check that one off my list. I knew lunch was included on our tour, but I didn't think it would be just like I imagined it.
I had so much fun with my wine tour cohorts. The couple on the left is also from Texas and were so funny. The Australians on the right are our new friends and we went out the next night to dinner and a food and wine festival downtown with them. The couple across from us are from NYC. They were quiet, but really nice. I'm sure they were thinking what the heck did we get ourselves into with loud Texans and Australians, lol.
We toured eight wineries all together. Five of those were on the wine tour. Yes, five wineries in one day! My husband and I learned to share a tasting after the first one. I also skipped out of a couple because I didn't want to be laid out on the floor of the limo since that wasn't the look I was going for. ;)
I have so many photos of the landscape and vineyards. I just couldn't stop taking pictures! I have a ton of the hot air balloons, too. We chased these down in the car one morning so I could take pictures. You know how some kids won't leave Disney without seeing their favorite character? I wouldn't leave Napa without seeing hot air balloons. My husband was meh about it, but indulged me at 7am to follow them.
We decided to stay an extra day instead of going to San Francisco so we booked a hotel in the town of Napa. Check out this amazing view from our balcony.
It was so nice to lay out by the pool after two days of wine tasting. I think that's the perfect number of days to spend in Napa Valley or you'll be broke with a hurt liver if you stay longer.
We also headed down to San Francisco, Monterey/Carmel, and finally to our friends' wedding near San Luis Obispo.
Big Basin Redwood Park
Carmel-I took this picture with a point and shoot camera so you can only imagine what it looked like in person.
I fell in love with the storybook homes in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I didn't get a chance to take pictures, but I found some photos of the homes there.
Aren't they cute? Most are perched on a hill overlooking the ocean, too.
Sorry, for the long post. Everything was so picturesque that I just kept taking photos. It was a great trip, but I'm so happy to be home and see my kids, puppy, and enjoy my own house. Now, if I just had a view of a vineyard or ocean...