Since my 48 Hours in Paris feature was so popular, I’ve decided to do more posts like this as a permanent series. This time, I am featuring Napa Valley where we spent a few days last week. While I wish we could have spent longer than 2 days in Napa, it’s a destination that can be enjoyed for a short trip or long trip.
Where To Stay
On our recent trip to Napa, we had the privilege of staying at Meadowood (check out our Meadowood feature here), which is really the best spot to stay in our completely honest and unbiased opinion. It is located in the town of St. Helena within Napa Valley, and St. Helena happens to boast some of the best restaurants and wineries. It also has so many on-site activities, too, leaving you in a position never to be bored. It also features a car service that takes you to and from the hotel to any restaurant or vineyard in St. Helena.
Just to note, if you’re looking to fly instead of drive like we did, there are four possible airports: San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa (also known as Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport). Out of all four, our driver at our hotel said Santa Rosa is the easiest. It’s a local airport, not a major hub, so you’ll most likely have a connection somewhere like Los Angeles, Seattle, or Las Vegas. However, it’s the closest of all four and saves you from potentially being stuck in 3 hours of traffic.
We arrived in Napa just around lunchtime, so we will start there! After checking in, you’ll probably be hungry, so thanks to a reader’s tip, stop at Gott’s Roadside. Only in Napa is it typical to find a drive thru burger and shake joint that also serves wine. Three of my favorite things right there! After filling up with some good food, it’s time to hit up the first vineyard. I HIGHLY recommend Newton Vineyards. Tor and I had heard about their famous unfiltered Chardonnay (and English gardens), so we were overjoyed when it was the first glass handed to us upon our arrival to their estate on top of picturesque hills overlooking Napa Valley. It was a drizzly, cloudy day, but nobody on our tour seemed to mind at all. That’s the beauty about Napa – it can be enjoyed rain or shine especially since a lot of wine tastings happen indoors anyway. Most vineyards require an appointment, so be sure to check when you select your vineyards for your trip. Newton requires a reservation (also ask for JJ – he was our tour guide and he was beyond rad!).
After indulging on delicious unfiltered wine at Newton, you can continue on to another wine tasting (I recommend Spottswoode, Stag’s Leap, Frog’s Leap, or Beringer), or you can wander into downtown St. Helena and shop along Main Street, or you can head back to your hotel for a pre-dinner swim or hike through the grounds.
For dinner, make a reservation at Press (note: they are closed on Tuesdays). Tor and I absolutely loved it here, and our waiter was a Napa local so he was kind enough to suggest which wines were delicious and which ones weren’t worth their price. Tor and I shared a delicious chicken for two filled with incredible flavors as well as a lobster and crab crab-cake, broccolini with cheese, and a sinfully decadent truffle macaroni and cheese. For dessert, we opted for their dark chocolate cake which they adorned with a candle since it was my birthday. It was the best way to end our first day in Napa.
Rise and shine, my fellow eager wine enthusiasts! While most vineyards open at 10 am and most people think Napa is all about getting drunk all day on wine and hit up all the wineries, there’s still so much more to Napa Valley and once you are there you will feel this immense sense of just wanting to relax. Order room service or head to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, and then pamper yourself at Meadowood Spa if you’re staying there because it really is one incredible experience that needs to enjoyed. After your spa treatment, relax in the spa’s designated relaxation gardens and float about in their mineral pool.
After your relaxing morning, it’s time for lunch! Head into town and enjoy lunch at Market on Main Street. I’d make a reservation in advance, just to be safe! After lunch, head on over to one of our favorite vineyards for wine tasting – Davis Estates. Davis Estates is new, only about a year old, but you’d think they’ve been there for years. You will need to make a reservation in advance, and when you do I would request having your tasting on the swinging chairs that overlook the valley. Tor and I were initially supposed to sit there, but heavy rains earlier in the morning had us relocate closer to the fireplace. We went with their food and wine pairing, and I cannot recommend it enough (so don’t fill up too much on lunch!). Our favorite combination was this cauliflower and goat cheese dish adorned with cinnamon that when paired with a divine merlot, it was so smooth like silk and butter. What’s funny is Tor LOATHES goat cheese, but he really enjoyed it in this dish with his wine! If you opt for the tasting and tour package, you’ll get to see some more of the grounds, including a barn from the 1800s that they have completely refurbished inside.
After Davis Estates, head across the way to Castello di Amorosa. You can actually see it from Davis Estates tucked away in the hills. This is an extremely popular spot and is one of the few that allows kids, so just be prepared. In the evening at sunset, the castle looks incredibly romantic plus there is more wine tasting inside.
For your final night in Napa, head on over to Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Definitely make a reservation in advance, as it was quite busy when we were there on a Tuesday night. I highly, highly recommend their burrata (squeeze the roasted garlic on it for extra garlicky-ness). I watched Tor melt as he dived into their meatballs, and I really enjoyed my outstanding vegetarian risotto. Our favorite side dish is their cheddar biscuits… oh my goodness. We took some to go in a box and saved them for our drive home to Los Angeles the next day!
Thank you to Meadowood Napa Valley for hosting us. Photos by Torrance Coombs.
Look 1: J. Crew blazer (currently on sale) and gingham top, J Brand jeans (currently on sale), Frye boots (last worn here), Gucci bag, Jo Malone Garden Lily perfume
Look 2 (at Press): Banana Republic cardigan, BB Dakota dress (last worn here), Valentino shoes
Look 3: REDValentino dress c/o (coming soon, similar dress version here and skirt version here), Blush oxford shoes (similar here and here), Preston & Olivia hat, Chanel bag