I think Napa is my new favorite city in California. What's not to love about it? Great wine, beautiful scenery, great weather, it's a dream come to life. My parents and I had a blessing to be able to visit for a few days after our time in San Francisco. I loved Napa so much, it was like The Parent Trap but without Dennis Quaid!
We got to Napa at an early time and the temperature change was drastic. SF was so foggy and in the high fifties that morning, but Napa was super sunny and in the high eighties. Talk about an escalation! But of course, the beautiful scenery was even harder to ignore.
My dad had to golf for his business trip once again, so my mom and I went out to explore the valley. Our first stop was the famous Castello di Amorosa which was celebrating its 10th anniversary. It had great wine tasting (with a cute French guy who served us!), a little farm with goats and poultry, so much exquisite beauty in one building. It was just absolutely cool to explore a medieval-like castle. I kind of got Romeo and Juliet vibes while walking through! Thankfully, no one died.
After the castle, we took a ride on a gondola to Sterling Vineyards for a few more wine tastings. Personally, I thought going up and down the gondola was more enjoyable than trying different varietals of wine! The winery is close to Calistoga, a shopping plaza, which we went to afterwards to walk around. I thought it was cool, it's something I would recommend if you haven't had too much wine before. Not that I went overboard with the tastings, I just felt a tad but tipsy ...
The rest of the day wasn't too much on our schedule. My mom and I freshened up at the hotel to go out to dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant called Tarla in Downtown Napa. After that, we got a cupcake to share from the Oxbow Public Market before returning to our hotel and calling it a night. We didn't want to stay up too late because the next morning we had to get up early for a wine trolley ride through the valley!
The trolley arrived around 9:30 AM at the Meritage (our hotel) and we were the very first guests, so we talked to our tour guide/driver Leif as he drove to pick up the other guests.
The trolley looked exactly like a San Francsisco cable car, except for the fact that it wasn't attached to the street at an point and drove freely!
We met some very nice people who toured multiple wineries with us, which included Mario Andretti's, Concentino, Raymond, etc. We tried a variety of wine from Cabernat to Moscato, both reds and whites. I was most fascinated by the amount of vineyards covered in grapes used to make fresh wine, all together it could make more than a million wine bottles! And of course, consuming a reasonable amount of wine while observing never hurts.
Of course after a perfect day full of a great variety of different wine tastings, we bought some of our favorites that we tried to take home, at least four bottles. We're still surprised that our suitcase managed to not break them on the flight back to Ohio!
My mom and I were "wined out" for the day, so we decided to cut out any boozy drink for fresh water at dinner instead, even if it involved Italian food. We went to a restaurant in Oak Knoll called Bistro Don Giovanni where I had a delicious spinach cheese ravioli dish. Trust me, I'm half Italian and I thought it was so good.
It was unfortunate that we couldn't stay for another twenty-four hours, but my dad's business trip had come to an end and it was time to come home to take care of the dogs. Plus, the Fourth of July weekend was coming up and my sister was coming home from Chicago, so we had to be in time after our landing at the Cleveland Hopkins International Aiport to take her home. That we had to look forward too, as well as the U2 concert at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday!
S/O to my amazing and hardworking parents for allowing me to explore the world through my own eyes, especially with the company of loving family and friends. California was as always a wonderful experience and I cannot wait for the next family trip!
Maybe Europe possibly next time around? Just a random suggestion ...