My sister’s boyfriend was visiting from Ireland a few weeks ago, so Thomas and I played tourist for a few days in SF and Napa. I always get excited when we have out of town guests because it’s the perfect excuse to go visit all of our favorite places. I’ve been working on putting together my list of favorite wineries, restaurants, hotels and activities in Napa Valley, which I’ll be sharing later this week on GMG Now, but in the meantime this post is filled with a few of those places that will be listed. We stayed in Napa for one night before they went and did the beautiful drive along Highway 1 and we went back home, so you can easily fit this all into two days (one night).
It’s hard for us not to stop at Fremont Diner on the drive out to Napa Valley (last seen on the blog here). It’s definitely high up on our list of favorites for brunch or lunch. Take a peek at the menu filled with decadent comfort foods and start off with a thermos of hot coffee for the table while you decide what to order. We actually ended up stopping back here on the way home for pie and milkshakes seen here.
On this trip we stayed at Carneros Inn, which is another favorite of ours. We had stayed here last spring (seen here), loved it and knew we wanted to bring my sister and her boyfriend back. The view from the pool is possibly one of the most ideal views when you think of Napa Valley, especially at sunrise with the light beaming through the rolling hills.
We set up a car for the day so the four of us could relax and not worry about driving. One of the great things about hiring a driver is that they are full of knowledge and have a lot of ins into different wineries and restaurants. We sort of booked the trip last minute and didn’t set up many reservations, so we let our driver take us to some of his favorites. Our first stop was at Redmon Wines, a small production, family winery. We loved having a much more intimate experience learning their story and tasting their wines, which were delicious.
For lunch we stopped at Archetype in St. Helena. This is probably my favorite brunch spot. I love the ambiance, decor and more importantly the food! We ordered a bunch of different things – lemon pancakes, grilled artichokes, pizza and donuts all topped off with bellinis. I don’t think there was a crumb left after we devoured everything. It’s definitely an unspoken rule to indulge a little when you’re in Napa.
The following morning, Thomas woke me up at sunrise to go out and explore and shoot. The other two were fast asleep while we found some of the most scenic spots just down the street from our hotel in Carneros. The fields and vineyards were filled with mustard, which glowed in the early morning light.
Once the other two woke up, we grabbed the hotel bikes and rode around the quiet country road to Artesa Winery. I don’t know how Thomas and I had missed this gem before because the views are unbelievable. It’s about a 10-15 minute bike ride from Carneros Inn and a beautiful one at that.
We got back to the hotel and had one last sugar filled brunch (you can’t pass up the cinnamon rolls!) before heading back to our rooms to pack up and leave. It was a quick 24 hours in Napa, but we definitely made it worth it!
Since Napa recommendations is one of the most popular emails I receive, stay tuned for my list of favorite restuarants, hotels and wineries in the area. In the meantime, here is an older post I did on “Packing For Wine Country”.