Napa Valley is a destination that will never go out of style. For girls or guys trips, couples retreats, spa getaways, bachelorette parties or a weekend away - it was the perfect #luxelistapproved next stop on our Honeymoon in California.
Half the fun of a trip to Napa Valley is getting there. We were recommended by several friends to drive over Golden Gate Bridge and stop in the sleepy little town of Sausalito. From the unique architecture to the quaint downtown shops - we loved every second of our time in Sausalito! Not to be missed is a stroll along the waterfront and a bite to eat at the Barrel House Tavern. If the weather is good, sitting on the patio of the Barrel House Tavern provides an incredible view of San Francisco. I highly recommend trying a few of their local oysters on the half shell and splitting their delicious cheese plate with a glass of wine on the side!
Next up on the way to Napa Valley was a quick trip through the Muir Woods. Although not as big as some of the redwoods you'll find further north in the state, the trees in Muir Woods are breathtaking. Parking can be a bit rough so be sure to get there early enough, or wear shoes comfortable for walking. The main trail is a quick little loop where you can be in and out in about an hour. I highly recommend going past the last bridge and looping back up along the cliffside. It provides a slightly elevated view that is completely worth it!
When heading to Napa you have a plethora of places to stay. A majority of the wineries and vineyards run along one of two main highways leading out of Napa north to Calistoga. For that reason, I recommend staying either south in Downtown Napa or north in Calistoga. This way, you can work your way up/down the wine trail with ease.
My favorite #luxelistapproved hotel in Calistoga is the Calistoga Ranch, quite simply - there is nothing like it. Calistoga Ranch boasts 50 stand-alone cottages on 157 acres including its own private lake. Designed to provide the utmost in relaxation, there are four room categories including the deluxe lodge, one bedroom lodge, one bedroom spa lodge and estate lodge that offer from 600 to 2,400 square-feet of indoor and outdoor living space. Each guest lodge features an indoor bath and outdoor bath garden where guests can shower under the stars. The true gem of Calistoga Ranch is it's spa. Their Spa features a natural thermal mineral pool, quiet treatment rooms, outdoor garden showers and private soaking tubs as well as outdoor relaxation areas complete with fireplaces and views of Lake Lommel.
Photos courtesy Calistoga Ranch
Down in Napa, my favorite #luxelistapproved hotel is the Andaz. With a location that provides walking access to amazing restaurants and wine bars as well as easy access to the Wine Trail, it's a perfect choice. Andaz's are known for their hip vibe and upon entering the Napa Andaz, that can be seen from the mobile check-in complete with welcome glasses of wine to the plush velvet sofas. Their Mercantile Terrace is a wonderful spot to grab a glass of wine while staying warm by the fire pit at the end of the day. As for the rooms, their suites are incredible. With free standing soaking tubs, oversized rainfall showers, and the Tower Suites panoramic view of Downtown Napa - it's the perfect spot to unwind after a day of wine tasting.
Photos courtesy Andaz Napa
With over 600 wineries and tasting rooms in Napa, not to mention the restaurants, how do you chose which ones to go to? Here are my top 5 #luxelistapproved to-do's when visiting Napa Valley:
Schramsberg Vineyards - Where to even begin… hands down, this was our favorite stop, tour and tasting in Napa Valley. Schramsberg is not only one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, but it is one of the original sparkling wineries in the United States. After a beautiful drive up to the property their educational tour starts out by taking you through the original 125 year old caves. I do not want to ruin any of the surprises along the way… but let's just say we were astounded! Our guide was so informative and the history was truly impressive. Once the tour was over it was time for the tasting. From the blanc de blancs to the rose's their sparkling wines were delicious and their cab from the Davies line was one of the best we tried during our trip. Let's just say that Schramsberg came highly recommended to us, and we will continue to pass the recommendation along.
Zuzu- The concierge at Andaz Napa referred us to this small little tapas bar in Downtown Napa, and it did not disappoint. Being the foodies that we are, tapas are a perfect solution to try lots of different food paired with that Napa wine we love so much! I highly recommend the Ceviche, Flat-Iron Steak and the Three Chocolate Custard… seriously SO good!
Hendry Winery - We did the owners tour which came recommended to us as being the most scientific tour that broke down the wine making process and explained the chemistry behind it. It was SO informative, the property was beautiful, the wines were delicious and they waive your tasting fee with an equivalent purchase of wine. The owner's tour and tasting was around 3 hours long so it ate up a good portion of our tasting day but they offer two shorter tours that I highly recommend. Their barrel fermented chardonnay was our favorite wine of the entire trip!!
Clif Family Winery - Yes, this is the same family that produces Clif Bars. We were lucky enough to stop by on a day when they had the food truck Bruschetteria there. Just in time for lunch, we stopped and ordered our food then headed inside to do a tasting. Not only was the food from Bruschetteria SO good but the Clif Family Wines were the perfect pairing! Our favorite was the Gewurztraminer - just pronounce it "girls are meaner" REALLY fast and they will know what you're saying!
Grgich Hills Estate - At Grgich Hills we did a seated tasting where we tried several wines paired with cheeses after a tour of their facilities. Halfway through our tour we were surprised to find out that the Granddaughter of the original winemaker was our tour guide! The wines were delicious - highly recommend the legacy selections - the cheeses were paired well and we loved the family feel that we got from Grgich Hills.
Napa Valley was our FAVORITE stop on our Honeymoon. From the amazing wines, great food and unbelievable scenery it provided so many wonderful memories that we will always cherish.
With SO much to do and see in Napa Valley, it is hard to narrow it all down. My best suggestion is to plan a few important tours that require reservations ahead of time, and let the rest come naturally. Most tasting rooms are open for walk-ins and will even recommend others for you to go to! When all else fails, start planning your next trip back to Napa to experience even more from our #luxelistapproved destination.
I cannot wait to plan our next trip to Napa, and if you would like help planning yours please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,