A little over a week ago I was basking in the California sun taking in the amazing sights and sips of Napa Valley. It was a long overdue trip with two of my lifelong girlfriends, and it was as close as it could get to perfect!
This was my first trip away from Skyler, so I was slightly freaking out about leaving him for four nights. The other girls on the trip are also moms to young ones, and they assured me that everything would be okay at home. It was. Also, the quality time with them paired with quality wine helped me to really live in the moment and reconnect with the Heather outside of the mom that I’ve (happily) morphed into these days.
The trip wasn’t a cheap one, but it was well worth the investment for a break from everyday responsibilities and long weekend refresh with my friends Brittany and Melissa!
Longtime readers might remember that we’ve actually known each other since we were two and three years old! We were all in the same first dance class together, went to the same pre-school, then grew up in school and dance together until we parted ways for college. Since we all live in different states now, we try our best to see each other for a girls’ trip at least every other year.
We previously met up in Scottsdale where Brittany lives for a weekend in Pine, Arizona that included a day trip to the Grand Canyon. The next trip brought them to visit me in New York City, and we had a blast!
Our time in Napa was truly amazing, and this post is covering the highlights from the first two days. I’ll be sharing more about the winery tour soon!
We all flew into San Fransisco and didn’t get to spend more than a few minutes outside of the airport until we were on our way to Napa Valley. We originally planned to rent a car for the hour and a half drive, but we decided against it once we realized that we would probably only use it for getting to and from the airport. (And yes, I typed airport(s) because we all flew out of different locations based on ticket pricing!) And in regards to opting out of our car rental … visiting #allthewineries is the definition of what Ubers and shuttles are for, am I right?
We were able to cover our stay at the beautiful Marriott Napa Valley Hotel & Spa for four glorious nights thanks to some frequent traveler points from Melissa. We had access to the Concierge Lounge too, which made our experience that much better. Enjoying made-to-order omelets with my coffee sitting poolside every morning followed by complimentary wine tastings and snacks by the bonfires every afternoon wasn’t the worst itinerary.
As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel offered free access to their spa eucalyptus steam room, gym, bike rentals, and poolside yoga classes every morning. It’s like they designed the amenities around everything I wanted to do at my hotel while on vacation.
I woke up super early the day after we arrived, so I took the opportunity to find my zen and kick the trip off shortly after the sunrise with a poolside yoga session with Missy.
We got breakfast afterward and took our time getting ready to head out for the day and visit our first winery. We stuck with one major winery stop on Day One followed by exploring the Downtown Napa area because we scheduled a full winery tour for Day Three.
We had our eyes on Chanteau Montelena (looks gorgeous right?), but decided on Artesa Estate Vineyards & Winery instead since it was closer to where we were and where we wanted to go after. Talk about some views!
I probably didn’t take as many photos as I should have, but they wouldn’t do the scenery justice anyways. It weather was fantastic, and we ended up spending close to two hours sipping on wine and snacking on a charcuterie board on the outside patio.
Pro tip: you usually need reservations for things like this at the popular wineries, but we got lucky with being able to walk in and find a table that wasn’t already reserved. We might have been enjoying ourselves a little too much because our oversight to wait for the umbrella seating bit us the next day when we had sunburns. We clearly left our “mom hats” at home, but it was so worth it.
Ahhh, there’s nothing like sipping on a delicious glass of wine in beautiful weather!
After our first Napa winery experience, we took an Uber to the Downtown Napa area to walk and shop around. Several people recommended that we check out the Oxbow Public Market, so we arrived in search of hearty snacks for lunch. There were plenty of options!
I could have spent more time looking around at the local vendor set-ups if I had more room in my suitcase, but we just walked around and took in the atmosphere.
We found lunch at Live Fire Pizza (the pizza and side of Brussels sprouts were delish!), and couldn’t leave without trying Three Twins Ice Cream. OH my goodness that ice cream was incredible. Do yourself a favor and try it immediately if you’re near a location that serves it.
You can also find the brand sold at supermarkets throughout the US! You better believe I’ll be on the hunt for some. Special shout out to the “Cookie Jar” flavor that tasted like those vanilla and chocolate cookies you’d find at your grandparents’ house mixed with vanilla ice cream. So good!
We eventually made our way back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner followed by a fun night out. We didn’t do a great job at researching where to eat dinner, so we made a last minute reservation at Napa Valley Bistro back in the Downtown area to be able to walk around to different spots afterward.
It was good, just not particularly notable. Maybe we were all just tired at this point from the wine earlier in the day?
With full bellies, we took a short walk over to Archer Hotel to visit the highly recommended Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar. Again, we didn’t make reservations, but we got lucky and only waited a few minutes for seating in the lounge by the firepits.
I absolutely love rooftop atmospheres. This one had three different areas to pick from including restaurant seating, bar seating, and the lounge with fire pits. There were also board games like giant Jenga to keep you entertained! We had a wonderful time fireside and shut the place down. (Whoops.)
Not quite ready to go home, we stopped by a restaurant turned nightspot called Napkins and were definitely part of the “older” crowd there. Ha! It was fun though!
One thing that I was really looking forward to during this trip was time to sleep. No alarms were set, no children were waking us up (although morning cuddles with Skyler are my favorite), and it was a treat to be on anything but a schedule. We were slow to get moving on Day Two and my body appreciated the extra snooze time with a late-morning wake-up. I headed down for breakfast and FaceTimed with my boys at home to start the day.
Really embracing a slower-moving California lifestyle, we walked over to the spa and took in some quiet time in the eucalyptus steam room. It had been ages since I’d been in one and it was so relaxing.
We finally picked up the pace around lunchtime and decided to take a short bike ride around town. We were in dire need of some sunscreen (the sunburn struggle was real) and beauty essentials for the rest of the trip, so we took advantage of the complimentary bike rentals at the hotel and rode to Target and back. That was an adventure!
I’m not the biggest biker these days. In fact, I’m terrified to ride in NYC and have avoided it altogether. It was nice, however, to take things one pedal at a time in a less populated area and get out in the sunshine and fresh air!
We grabbed complimentary snacks and beverages on our way in and took our time relaxing, hanging by the pool, and getting ready for dinner.
We made reservations at Ristorante Allegria in Downtown Napa for dinner, and I was looking forward to getting out and about. We all came with bigger appetites this time around and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and dishes. It was fun to get all dressed up and trade in my diaper back for a (borrowed) Louis purse for the night!
Our dinner was fabulous, and we decided to shuttle back to the hotel and hang low for the rest of the night after walking around. We had a busy day ahead filled with multiple wineries the next day!
I’ll be back to share the details of our Winery Tour and Day Three of our time in Napa soon. Thanks so much for reading about our trip so far!
Also … is it time to go back yet?