A weekend getaway to Napa Valley. <3
After six years of living in San Francisco, I finally made my way up Napa with Gavin. An hour away from San Francisco, it’s a way to escape the city life. Not to mention getting to sleep in versus waking up at 4am for a flight. Just wake up and throw stuff in a bag versus staying up late and making sure everything that is needed is packed.When planning this trip, we found it hard to figure out how to get around to different vineyards. I hope this travel guide helps you, especially if this is your first time and you’re feeling just as lost in the planning as we did.
TRANSPORTATION: This was the only aspect and key function we needed and couldn’t figure out. Many of the articles that I found talked about renting bikes and biking to and from vineyards.This would be fun for the first two hours but by the end of the day, wine and bikes aren’t a great match. We scratched that idea and some articles mentioned Uber. We originally thought this wasn’t a great idea because we thought we’d be wasting so much money on rides. The third option was to drive your own car, which is obviously a horrible idea because only losers drink and drive!We basically said “whatever” and we’ll figure it out once we are there. Once we checked into our hotel, we asked the concierge and she said she knew a guy that could drive us around. She said all the guests in the past loved him. So we said okay! We asked her how much but she didn’t know. She did mention that there were two other girls that wanted to join the tour. We didn’t mind, but there was still no mention of how much it would all cost. When Manny, our Napa Valley chauffer arrived, he was very energetic and this made us all very excited for the day. We kept asking him how much it would cost for the day because he was taking us to private vineyards where we didn’t have to pay a tasting fee. He never gave a definite answer but that it wouldn’t be more than $100 each.We went to 6 different vineyards and had a blast! We tried so many different wines and got to see so many beautiful vineyards. The best part was that it was only us four, Manny and the owners at each vineyard. It was very personal and fun. At the end of the tour Manny tried to charge us almost $200 dollars each! We were all upset and Gavin told him he needed to lower the price because we continually asked how much it would be and he said no more than $100 each. He lowered it to $120 each, so we said fine, the extra $20 can be considered a tip. This manipulation didn’t really ruin our day but it didn’t make us feel good. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. In hindsight and for the future, getting around in Uber or Lyft and paying tasting fees is probably the best way to get around.
WHERE TO STAY: We stayed near downtown Napa Valley at Old World Inn. This beautiful home, turned into an inn, is absolutely precious. It has a warm, homey feeling.. like walking into a grandparents home. Behind the main home are other houses that sit on the property that are also apart of the inn. The neighborhood is clean, quiet and contains even more beautiful historic homes. There’s free parking and four blocks away from downtown Napa. Breakfast is included in your stay and in the evening they have complimentary wine tasting. Its the perfect place to stay for that historic experience of Napa.
WHERE TO GO: Getting around with Manny was a lot of fun, despite the price increase.He took us to private vineyards that made the whole experience special. Before heading out we stopped at a sandwich place, and I sadly cant remember the name.You definitely want to eat a good meal before a day full of drinking. At each vineyard we learned so much about grapes, types of wine and the effects of the fires.The amount of work that goes into making wine is in incredible and makes you feel more appreciative for each bottle of wine you drink. Head to the Archer Hotel for even more wine and the best appetizers.We ordered rose and lobster corn dogs… is your mouth watering yet?? Both were delicious and the views from the rooftop are magical as the sun sets. You’ll also want to make some time to go visit the castle winery. There is a fee to explore and another fee to do a wine tasting. There’s no rush to walk around the castle grounds, so take your time and explore through each door way.
WHAT TO PACK: Coming from San Francisco, where it seems to always be cold, Napa is the opposite. Once you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, you will feel the difference in the temperature instantly. Plan on packing light layers and summer dresses. Anything that you are comfortable walking in and getting a lil tipsy in. The first dress I wore was from amazon. It was a lace dress with embroidery. I thought there was a slip but turns out its a nude bday suit. It was cute, especial for a music festival but for wine tasting it was very uncomfortable. I had to wear a skirt under it because it was very revealing and I didn’t want to scare all the modest old folks. The second dress was my favorite! I scored it from Nordstrom Rack and it was PERFECT for wine tasting. The best part about the dress was the lower part of the skirt, it was made out of chiffon, so it flows as you walk. The clear and white purse is from Amazon as well. This was just the right size to fit the necessities and goes with ANY outfit.
This trip in all was a great weekend getaway. We came home with three wine bottles that we plan on opening for super special occasions or milestones and we’re looking forward to returning in October.