Wednesday, May 1, 2013

San Fran/Napa Part I

Last week Jeremy and I took a trip to San Fran and Napa for our 5-yr. anniversary (which was in Feb., but we didn't want to travel then). This was a much needed time away where we could just focus on each other with out a crazy toddler monopolizing our time and attention. It was our first trip away from Quinn and we all did great. She stayed w/ Nannie Mae and Papa D and she was in spoiled heaven.

Napa Day One

We got up Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. Austin time and headed to CA. We flew into San Fran and drove to Napa straight to our amazing B&B. We were so spoiled the whole time we were there because we rented a convertible. Now, I've decided that's a must when you go out there! Jeremy did really well on the B&B. I highly recommend Churchill Manor and I would love to go back sometime. The room was great, service was amazing and the food was fresh and tasty. They even had a wine and cheese happy hour each evening.


We had lunch at a local place called Hurley's and it was awesome. I came to realize there's something about food in CA that's just different...fresh. After lunch we started the wine tastings at several different wineries. 

First up was a small winery called Elyse. I was glad we started w/ a small one since I'd never done that before. The wine guy there taught us a few things and I felt more confident going into the others.


Second for the day was Chandon, which is a sparkling winery (don't call it Champagne unless it's really from Champagne...c'mon people). :) I liked it okay, but I'd rather have red wine than the bubbly stuff. My favorite part of this one was the beautiful grounds. Oh, and I love their slogan - "Life Needs Bubbles".







Third was Mondavi. It was recommended by several people just because it's sort of a must for first-time Napa visitors. This is your typical, big, fancy winery in Napa. The tour was awesome and the wine was REALLY good. Not surprising, I liked their pinot noir the best.









After Mondavi, we were tired and headed back to the B&B to have more wine and cheese and freshen up for dinner.We met up w/ my friend from college, Aruna, for dinner at Goose and Gander in St. Helena. Jeremy had escolar and I had steak...AMAZING. It was so good to catch up w/ Aruna and just hang out in a nice restaurant. After our day of wine-drinking, all I could have was water, but Jeremy and Aruna enjoyed the fancy cocktails from a ridiculous menu.


Napa Day Two

Needless to say, I slept so well. I'm pretty sure I didn't move after a long day of travel followed by wine tastings. We took our time getting up, got to FaceTime with Q and went down to have breakfast in our PJs on the porch of the B&B. It was heavenly!





Our first stop was another recommendation called V. Sattui. It's a family owned place and they have a big tasting room along with a deli and market. We didn't do this, but it would be perfect for buying wine and food and having a picnic on the grounds. We also went down to their wine cellar and they had a neat little wine museum.




After that, we decided to head over to the Russian River Valley to check out some places there. The drive was so pretty (again, a convertible is a must) and I couldn't get over the huge redwoods. This West Texas girl isn't used to trees that big...trees in general. 

On our way up and over to the other valley we stopped at a great place recommended by Aruna on the top called Pride. It was interesting to see the vineyards there along the sides of hills and the climate felt really different. We got to see the wine cave there and the wine was great too.






After that, we headed into Healdsburg and have lunch. We ate at a brewery called Bear Republic and Jeremy was really excited because he recognized the beer from having it at a place in Austin. After lunch, we hit up a cute little cupcake/ice cream shop and took some for the road. I got an ice cream sandwich that had salted caramel ice cream inside...yum!!


Jeremy was really excited about the next winery. When he was in college he worked for Grapevine Market and he got turned on to Seghesio by the wine guy. We visited that winery which was kind of odd because it was sort of in the middle of a neighborhood. It was fun and we actually bought a bottle there to take home. (We may or may not have already consumed that.) :)

By the time we were finished there, I was done. I spit a lot and dumped a lot out, but wine makes me tired so I slept while Jeremy drove back to Napa.


On our way into town, he decided to stop at one last place called Peju. This winery is beautiful and unique-looking because it has curved sycamore trees framing the entrance. We didn't do any tastings, but we walked around, saw their cellar and took some good photos. I love imitating sculptures. It started in Europe when I studied abroad and now I can't stop. Classy right?



The only bad thing that happened on the trip was that our car got dinged in the parking lot of Peju. Luckily, someone saw the guy so we were able to get his information, but it was a little bit of a downer having to spend part of our trip collecting info, making a claim w/ his insurance and trying to get a hold of the rental car company. It all turned out fine and I can't complain...I mean really, I was in Napa. 

We got back to the B&B and had our wine and cheese snack and headed to our room to catch Q before she went to sleep. For dinner, we decided to walk into downtown Napa to the Kitchen Door. The food was good, but we were just so full from wine and cheese all day that we were both miserable after the meal. I hate feeling that full, but I guess we sort of walked it off going back to the B&B.


Our last morning in Napa, we woke up a little early we could get dressed and go enjoy breakfast on the porch before we had to leave for San Fran. I gave Churchill Manor lots of five-star ratings on its comment card and we packed up to hit the road to San Fran. 


The Houses

What a fun trip! We love that area of the country. We're happy you were able to get away for a few days, and you didn't miss Quinn too much! By the way, we also love taking pictures like statues... glad we're not the only ones! ;)