First off, thanks to everyone on this board who have contributed. Our trip would not have been possible without all the help. Thanks!
Our goal was to relax and see new things...We achieved that and loved every minute of it!
July 3 - Friday
We arrived early into SFO where we took a taxi into the city (to avoid airport surcharge and returning to a different locale charge) to get our rental car. In celebration of the weekend, we decided to rent a candy apple red 2010 Ford Mustang. It looked fantastic. We quickly pointed our car north and headed towards the Napa Region (snapping pics of the Golden Gate as we crossed).
The weather was slightly overcast but it was not long before the sun made an appearance. By the time we arrived at our destination, Yountville - the sun was warm and bright and stood prominently in a cloudless sky. Yountville is quaint and beautiful. It is away from the main highway and walking in/around is very soothing. In the sunshine, Yountville was perfect.
We drove into the driveway at Bardessono - which was to be our home for the next two nights. We were greeted by a valet attendant who took away our bags and car in an unobtrusive and efficient manner. The hostess who checked us in was also very friendly. Bardessono is spectacular and if I can describe it in one word - "sexy". It is in contrast to anything else in the Napa Region where the typical is "quaint and cozy". Its lobby and common rooms were layered with dark wood and chiselsed stone...it looked wonderful. The rooftop pool deck, which overlooked parts of the valley, was inviting and surrounded by numerous oversized cabanas. It looked as if it belonged in Malibu/Santa Monica. The room was also beautiful, in a minimalist manner. There is a sitting area with a comfortable chaise lounger...and a very modern fireplace with a flat panel just above. The low profile bed, with its crisp white linens, was so comfortable it made getting up that much more difficult. The washrooms are amazing as they take almost half of the square footage - his/hers vanities, walk in shower and jacuzzi tub. We loved our time at Bardessono and can't imagine staying anywhere else. The proximity (across the street to Bouchon Bakery) to the numerous world class restaurants is so convenient. Everything within town is less than a 5 minute walk.
We quickly grabbed sandwiches at Bouchon Bakery before beginning our afternoon...this was soon to be habit during our stay. Our concierge, Marina (who is so knowledgeable and patient), arranged for a tasting at Cakebread and a couples massage in Calistoga at the Lincoln Avenue Spa. We tried some amazing wines at Cakebread and purchased a 2005 Private Reserve Merlot - our wine for dinner. Cakebread's grounds are beautiful and one can only access it via appointment. The couples body masque and massage combo - their july special - was amazing. You cover one another in mud soaked in essential oils and lie under a chamber with aromatherapy steam for about 30 minutes. After a thorough rinse, you receive side by side massages. It was spectacular.
It took us 15 minutes to drive back to Yountville where we did some reading by the pool before preparing for our dinner at Bottega. We loved this restaurant. The ambience - the lighting, the sounds, the smells - all perfect. And the food is exactly as we like it...intricate yet homely. We enjoyed our time there and highly recommend it to others.
Saturday - Independence Day
We went for a brisk early morning bike ride(Bardessono provides bikes made of carbon fibre and they are maintained meticulously) through the Stags Leap region which is very close to the hotel. Another stop at Bouchon Bakery and back to wine tasting again...This time we tried the Stag's Leap Region - where our favourite wineries are located. We visited Chimney Rock and Stags Leap Wine Cellars where we were able to taste and purchase some incredible cabernets. We spluged a bit a bought the Cask 23 2005 from Stags leap Wine Cellars - which was to be our bottle of wine at dinner. These two wineries have amazing Cabernets but the grounds and surround do not provide as much stimulation. We also visited Darioush briefly and found that it provided a bit more splash than substance. Just our opinion.
After the Stags Leap Region, we drove to Auberge Du Soleil for lunch and had lunch on the patio on the pub-side. The formal side had a tasting menu which was $55/person. The price was not the deterrent...instead, we did not want to overeat as were to have an early dinner. Fantastic vineyard views. I am glad that we chose to stay in Yountville as Auberge was our other choice but it is very secluded and walking to dinner or through town is not an option.
Dinner that night was at Redd. We enjoyed the sophistication of the production and appreciated the intricacy of the food. Redd definitely has a more formal/gourmet feel than Bottega.
We were back on the rooftop of Bottega, in time for the July 4 fireworks at the Veteran's Home. It was an ideal place to watch - void of traffic and commotion.
Sunday - July 5
Another morning bike ride...and Bouchon Bakery...and we were off to San Francisco. Yountville is about an hour away from the core of downtown SF. We checked into the St. Regis mid morning and loved the modern architecture (yet comfortable) of the hotel. The service is over the top and worthy of the five stars.
The hotel is a five minute walk to Union Square - and we spent a good portion of the afternoon shopping there. We walked to Chinatown and had dim sum at Oriental Pearl. It was outstanding!!! Very affordable and very authentic. We shopped in Chinatown briefly and loved the character of the place...we bought a beautiful chinese cheung-sam (fuschia pink dress).
We took a trolley bus on Market Street to 8th Street where the Orpheum Theatre was located. At 5 PM, they do a lottery for last second tix to see Wicked. We were fortunate to be called and was able to purchase tix at $25 per. After finishing our shopping, we stopped into our hotel briefly where we were able to have the hotel car take us to the theatre. We have seen almost every musical out there and were completely blown away with the production of Wicked. The crowd was enthusiastic as were the performers...For those who are thinking about seeing it - you should :-) After the show, we sent to Zuni Cafe (recommendation from our concierge at the St. Regis) as it was one of the few restaurants still open after the show. We walked through a less than ideal place - in the strong wind and darkness along market street - in SF to get there - something, we will not soon forget. The restaurant was very eclectic as were its patrons. The food is creative and very good.
Finally, home to get some sleep...we had to fly and work the very next day. Can't wait for our next adventure.
Thanks again for all of your help!