Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Napa Adventure for Geoff's 30th bday!

Vacation is too short and infrequent when you own your own business.  I always want to make sure I'm doing it right so here are my notes on Napa just in case there are other vacation deprived folks out there who are wondering how much is too much in Napa!  Wish I could go back this week...

Stayed:  Napa Westin, in Napa
What we liked about Napa:  it’s the biggest town in the valley so there are plenty of things to do at night.  We loved the Westin because if you didn’t want to do anything, it was quite and peaceful anyway and had a great pool, lounge, and hotel dining options.

July 28th Day 1:  Fly into San Fran and hang out downtown
            Arrive at 2pm and upgrade rental car to a cheesy but awesome Mitsubishi convertible then struggle to stuff luggage into the backseat and non-existent trunk
            Walk around and grab a snack in San Fran

            Drinks at Zeitgeist-cool place but I think I got high off of second hand smoke at 5:30 on a Thursday afternoon – California J
            Dinner at Chilango - great Mexican place within a 10 min walk
            Drive to Napa around 8:30pm and pass out!

July 29th Day 2 – Driving tour of Napa Valley
            8:30am – workout at hotel
            11:00 am Cake bread tasting and food pairing in Rutherford, CA (part of the napa valley
            Lunch at the pizza part of Tra Vigne and walk around St. Helena, Ca
            3:30pm – Olive oil tasting at Round Pound Rutherford CA
            5:30 – Somerston Wine Co tasting and cheese plate (groupon), Yountville, CA
            Dinner at Oxbow market

July 30th Day 3 – Wine tasting on Bikes!
            Sleep in!
            Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, CA.  Amazing – must visit!
            10:00 – farmers market in Calistoga to pick up a picnic lunch
            10:15am – check in at Calistoga bike shop to get itinerary and bikes for the day and our self guided wine tour!
            10:45am – geoff rides around trying to get used to a non-competitive bike and we check out the real Calistoga

I'm already seeing double!  Geoff can never do anything slowly :)
            11:15am – Lava Vine – great small vineyard!
            Noon – Dutch Henry – skip it!
            12:45 – Frank Family – I had heard great things so we added this to the tour even though it wasn’t included in the price of the bike rental.  It was one of my top 3 vineyards for sure!  Amazing wine, amazing grounds.  We had our picnic here and it was great!  They let us share a tasting so it was $15/person for their fabulous reserve wines!
Our picnic lunch courtesy of the Calistoga Farmers Market!  Hummus, wheat pita, Smoked Salmon, strawberries, raspberries, and white raspberries.  Geoff is half bear!
Beautiful picnic grounds leading right up to the grapes at Frank Family!

Happy Geoff at Frank Family!
            2pm-decide to try to get up one of the biggest hills just for fun at the “castle”.  The winery was a tourist trap but we got up the hill!

I think the large hill wiped the smile off Geoff's face.
We had perfect weather the entire time we were there!  Can I go back now?
            3pm – Twomy.  I swear I had heard of their wines and was incredibly disappointed by our tasting, the atmosphere and the women pouring the wine.  They were not pleasant and quite bitter.  The wine wasn’t much better I thought
            3:45pm – biked by another vineyard and we discovered we were tipsy
            4:15pm – back to Calistoga bike shop to turn in the bikes and get some ice cream.
            4:45pm drove back on the parallel rd to 29 and flew home
            5:30-7pm – pool time!
            8:30 – drinks at Fish Story followed by dinner at Zuzu tapas – skip the tapas place-more fried food than needed!

July 31st- spa day!
            11:00am – spa date in Calistoga at Golden Haven Hot springs

This is their explanation…

At Calistoga’s Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa, couples can enjoy the mud baths together. Each of our treatment rooms accommodate two persons so you can share this wonderful Napa Valley spa experience in privacy with your companion only a few inches away. And, if there are 3 of you, and you all wish to do your mud baths together, we can also accomodate groups of 3 in a private treatment room.
Calistoga mud baths have been a tradition, a way of life since the time of the Mayacamas Indians. The combination of clay, peat and hot springs mineral waters in the mud bath relaxes muscles and joints, detoxifies, and leaves the skin soft and renewed.

The treatment begins as you immerse yourself into your individual tub of warm mud. This is the premier Calistoga spa experience.

Your mud bath includes a nourishing clay mask that cleanses and softens the skin.

Relax as the mud treatment detoxifies, soothes aching muscles and leaves you feeling fresh and renewed.

After your mud bath you enjoy a refreshing hot springs mineral water shower.

Next is your private hot Jacuzzi using Calistoga hot springs mineral water.

Your treatment ends in the blanket wrap room as you relax under the attentive care of our trained staff.

When your mud bath is over, you might be in the mood for a soothing massage or herbal facial. Or perhaps, a few laps in our pool. But no matter what you choose to do after your Calistoga mud bath, you will have known true relaxation by enjoying the premier natural and detoxifying Napa Valley spa treatment loved by thousands each year.

Might have been the grossest experience of my life and I still can’t believe we did it– skip it!

Tried to buy a picnic and have lunch at Via Sattui but it was swarming with people so I started to get cranky and geoff got the message.  We went up the road instead and bought a picnic at dean and duluca and walked over to halls and bought a bottle of wine and enjoyed our picnic.  Hall’s was very nice and had a cute little outdoor area although not the prettiest grounds we’d seen.

3pm-vincent arroyo- best wines!  We called 20 minutes before we got there without a reservation and they let us in.  82 acre vineyard and the wines are outta this world!
4:15pm  tried to stop by pima but they closed at 4 – sad- that was our friends favorite.  I guess next time!

5-7pm pool/book/family phone call time
9pm birthday dinner at Morimoto – the iron chefs place

August 1st – fly home – sad!

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