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Trip List by lalagirl22

Collected Thoughts on Napa

16 Mar 2007  Frequent Visitor to Napa
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 5 votes

A collection of my best (and worst) experiences from one of my favorite places on earth.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga, Yountville, Rutherford, Oakville, St. Helena
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. The Carneros Inn
    Carneros Resort and Spa, Napa, Napa Valley

    (August 2004 and May 2006) This is our favorite place to stay in Napa when we can afford a special splurge. My favorites include the heated bathroom floors, deep soaking tub, and five-head shower. My husband is partial to the outdoor shower and the flat screen television. Whenever we stay, we have a romantic and relaxing time. See my full review for more details.

  • 2. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Spa
    Willow Stream Spa, Sonoma, Sonoma County

    (August 2004) The Bathing Ritual in the Bathhouse was one of my all-time favorite spa afternoons- it involves a shower with a grape seed oil scrub, steam and sauna, and two mineral soaking pools. After dragging my now-husband to the spa, I had to drag him out of the mineral pool! Use of the spa is available to non-hotel guests for $85pp (less if you schedule a treatment). We also had massages, which were just okay.

  • 3. Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa
    Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) We spent an afternoon at Golden Haven to try the famous Calistoga mud bath. I have to say we weren't fans. Had I done more research, I would have realized that this was real mud - not the aromotherapy clay mud I was used to. Again, I had dragged my now-husband, so he made me get in the tub :) Some people swear by it, but I'll stick to the fake stuff. My husband assured me he saw a special on television about how the mud is sanitized, but I have to wonder - suffice to say the mud is not changed after each use. Not something I'd do again, but it's good for bragging rights, and our friends the next day (between teasing) swore that we had a glow to our skin!

  • 4. Artesa Winery
    Artesa Vineyards & Winery, Napa, Napa Valley

    (August 2004) Go to Artesa for the architecture, not the wine. It is an amazing design space that you should not miss if you have the time. We did not like the wine at all, though Artesa Chardonnays are receiving some recent praise.

  • 5. Domaine Chandon
    Domaine Chandon, Yountville, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) Chandon is a solid recommendation if you enjoy sparkling wine. The setting was beautiful, and you can sample so many varieties. One tasting tip - split the tastings with a friend so you can sample a broader variety of wine. We purchased several bottles during our trip.

  • 6. Niebaum-Coppola Winery
    Inglenook, Rutherford, Napa Valley

    (June 2005) We basically went to Coppola to say we had, but it was fun. The grounds are pretty, and you can walk through the small museum on the second floor. The tasting included a souvenir glass, which is a negative or positive depending on your personality.

  • 7. Regusci Winery

    (August 2004, June 2005, and May 2006) We first visited Regusci at the recommendation of the concierge at the Carneros Inn, and we have been going back ever since. Regusci is a smaller winery located two miles north of Napa on the Silverado Trail, in the Stags Leap District. Every time we visit, we have a wonderful time - the wine is plentiful (and of course deliciious) during the tasting, the staff is laid-back and friendly, and sometimes, the cellar is open and you can walk through the rows and rows of wine barrels. The 2003 Cab is still one of our favorites. Although the tasting was still fun, we didn't purchase many bottles during our May 2006 visit. I'm looking forward to tasting their recent releases!

  • 8. Robert Mondavi Winery
    Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) Mondavi was one of the more traditional and touristy places we visited during our trip, but we went early in the day to avoid the larger afternoon crowds. The standout was the 2004 Moscato d'Oro, for only $18 a bottle!

  • 9. Rutherford Hill Winery
    Rutherford Hill Winery, Rutherford, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) We had a great time at Rutherford Hill, and absolutely loved the wine, especially the 2003 Malbec! The tour is fun and informative, but it fills up quickly in the day during busy season so plan ahead. Our limo driver took us by early in the day and we reserved a tour for later in the afternoon. We plan to make Rutherford Hill a repeat visit!

  • 10. Silver Oak Wine Cellars
    Silver Oak Cellars, Oakville, Napa Valley

    (August 2004) We went to Silver Oak because we wanted to ensure we included a solid choice on our self-guided tour. The wine definetely lived up to its reputation, but the atmosphere was a bit stuffy. I recommend visiting the winery, but you might have more fun (and find less expensive wine you like better) at other wineries. We purchased a few bottles to give as gifts.

  • 11. Sterling Vineyards
    Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) We really loved this relaxing and beautiful self-guided tour. The line seemed long but we were heading up the mountain on the tram within 20 minutes or so. You can stoll through the tour at your own pace, watching videos on different topics and tasting wine from different stations along the way. The setting is beautiful - we used one of our pictures for save-the-date cards for our wedding. The tour ends on the patio where you taste a few more samples. We enjoyed the wine, and If you choose to purchase, the vineyard will have your wine available at the bottom of the hill when you exit the tram. The whites carried the day for us at Sterling - we purchased Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Malvasia Bianca.

  • 12. V. Sattui Winery
    V. Sattui Winery, St. Helena, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) The famous V. Sattui was a great stop. We came in a limo for lunch. Tastings are free, but it was so busy inside, we just purchased a few bottles, along with lunch, and sat outside for a picnic. The tables are often taken, so come prepared with a blanket. You can purchase picnic lunch packs, so no need to drag a stocked picnic basket. Some meat and cheese leftovers from lunch came in handy later in the afternoon after a few more tasting stops!

  • 13. Vincent Arroyo Winery
    Vincent Arroyo Winery, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    (May 2006) We were in Calistoga for our mud bath and Sterling visit, so we decided to stop by Vincent Arroyo. It is a very small vineyard, but they are extremely friendly. We weren't impressed with the wines they offered for tasting, but upon a recommendation from one of the staff, we grabbed one of the last bottles of the 1999 Petite Sirah Port. The highlight of our trip was actually their dipping sauce - it's absolutely delicious and we purchased several bottles. The sauce has been a hit several times during dinner parties, and I marinate in it as well.

  • 14. Compadres Mexican Bar & Grill
    Compadres Rio Grille, Napa, Napa Valley

    We have yet to have the foresight to make a reservation at one of the gourmet Napa staples, but Compadres is a great standby. We love the fruit-infused margaritas - they infuse the actual tequila with natural fruit, so you get the flavor with the sugary artifical flavor - so yummy!