Traveling Tuesdays: Napa Valley

Round Two with Rusty: You can’t hardly go all the way to San Francisco and not spend a little time in wine country. Here is part two of my parent’s trip to San Francisco (as told by my dad).

Lodging: We stayed at the Silverado Resort because they offered an amazing golf and spa package. The course is excellent and feels like it sits in the clouds. The ladies vowed that the spa was first-class and loved the day of pampering. We also took full advantage of the private verandas in each room, enjoying cigars and cocktails while overlooking the No. 10 tee box on the North Course.

Wineries: We spent two of the greatest days of our trip in Napa Valley. We drove straight through the gorgeous valley on Highway 29 to St. Helena where we took a tour of and did a tasting at Beringer Vineyards, the oldest continuous winery in the valley with a superb mix of white and reds and the best gift shop we found. After that, we headed to the Del Dotto Caves to visit one of Napa’s newest wineries. Del Dotto had a venetian elegance about it. We drank straight from the barrels, bought wine futures, and sampled some prosciutto and cheeses (and drank a lot of wine). The next day we hit Robert Mondavi’s Vineyard, which had a very classy and artsy atmosphere. Then we headed to Francis Coppola’s Inglenook; a beautiful stop with a great tasting room that is full of story telling and history.

Dining:

We had a late lunch after our first tour winery tours at Tra Vigne where we tried everything from BBQ spare ribs to the fig pizza and grilled mozzarella, which was the perfect compliment to our day of wine. Then, we continued our drive through the Valley on the scenic Silverado Trail that is an absolute must for a trip to Napa. That evening we dined at the Rutherford Grill located in the Silverado Resort. The menu was extensive and the drinks and wine were all excellent. We finished the evening outside in rocking chairs by the fireplace to remove the mid-July evening chill.

The next day we traveled to Yountville where we found the gustorry highlight of our trip at the Mustards Grill. The ingredients are as fresh as the come with a huge vegetable garden on the property. Everything we tried from the burger to the pork loin to the salads were top notch. After a few more wine tastings we explored Downtown Napa and visited the Oxbox Public Market at the big curl in the Napa River. There are dozens of eateries and wine-tasting bars in this area. It was a great finale to our trip and encouragement to revisit. We will be back!

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Fredericksburg – Birthday in TX Wine Country

I’m a little slow with this post, but several weekends ago we headed to Fredericksburg with our friends Jon and Candace to celebrate Jon’s 30th birthday. Fredericksburg is in central Texas just north of the Austin and San Antonio areas and about a 4-hour drive from Fort Worth. This area has really become a Texas attraction and for good reason. There are 15+ wineries along a beautiful stretch of road, countless antique shops and boutiques and cute little B&B’s tucked in everywhere in between.

The first morning we did tastings at Becker Vineyards and Torre di Pietra. Then we broke for lunch (and the Irish rugby game that was unfortunately cancelled) at the Altdorf Restaurant & Biergarten and a little shopping along their Main Street. On the recommendation of Daily Candy, I made a point to visit Red and then walked by Dogologie, which were both adorable and where I picked up a cute little engagement gift for my friend Michelle and a new girly dog collar for Ms. Sigma. The Husband and I also found the perfect sideboard piece for our kitchen that we didn’t buy, but that we can now not get out of our heads.

We still had enough daylight to fit in two more wineries – the Woodrose Winery, before a super yummy dinner at Mamacita’s Mexican Restaurant. After this we were in a food and fun coma. But the best part about traveling with really great friends is that when you are too tired and full from a day of fun and a great dinner, you can just buy two bottles of wine and a six-pack, head back to the hotel room, play games and just enjoy each others company.

The next day we stopped at the Pedernales Vineyard who then recommended nearby Williams Chris Vineyards (have to love that friendly Texas business spirit) before heading home. The Enchante we bought at Williams Chris was excellent. We had such a great little weekend with great friends. I highly recommend it as a long-weekend getaway.

I hate this picture of me, but since the other three of you look great I'll suffer through.

The spotted dog's new spotted collar.

Image Credit: Woodrose Winery

Mid-Atlantic Engagement Party: Washington, D.C.

I completely underestimated how much I missed it. I just LOVE this city. We met a wonderful friend of mine, Jeanna, for dinner at Matchbox, which is in my old neighborhood and had great food, wine and conversation. By the way, they have expanded this place since I lived there. The upstairs was way bigger and much more accommodating than it used to be. We then got drinks at a new bar in Chinatown across from the Verizon Center and then at Post in Hotel Monaco. Jeanna and I had a lot of catching up to do!

Image Credit: historicdc.com

(Speaking of wine…I totally forgot to mention this but it is very noteworthy – the night before Michelle introduced me to one of her favorite white wines – Conundrum – and it was delicious – so delicious that we got it again the next night at Matchbox. I highly recommend it. It is a blend that is flowery but not as flowery as a Sauvignon Blanc and buttery but not as buttery as a Chardonnay – it was just excellent. Come to think of it I think we might have even got it the next night at Vinoteca – Salud!)

Saturday morning, the Husband and I got up and out and went to watch the Irish Rugby game at Fado’s (at 8:30am!). I frequented Fado’s –  when I lived in D.C. so it was really fun to revisit and unlike Texas they serve Guinness before 10am so the Husband loved it. After that we went to Ford’s Theatre and the brand new Lincoln museum that they just opened in February. The Husband just read Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln, so he really got a lot out of the museum and I was really impressed with what they did with it.

After the Lincoln museum, the Husband headed out to explore more of D.C. and I headed to Georgetown for Michelle’s dress appointment at Hitched. Michelle had already been to several boutiques and was just not finding what she wanted. But, with 3 bridesmaids and her mom in tow and after her mom treated us to a yummy lunch at Paolo’s (another place Mich and I frequented when we lived there) she finally decided on one. Well sort of…she actually decided on an even sweeter gig. It was a specific trunk show that we went to and the designer of the dresses was there and he agreed to work with Michelle to customize a dress just for her, which is just what she needed. I cannot wait to see the end product (which I’ll be sure to share in November).

Image Credit: HitchedSalon.com

After this, we all quickly changed and headed to Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro in the U Street area. (This area has absolutely exploded. It is amazing. So many new cute bars, restaurants and boutiques. I need like a week long visit to see it all.) The night was organized by Leah and was absolutely beautiful. We had the upstairs area all to ourselves with a big long banquet table in the middle of the room surrounded by beautiful vintage couches, a grand piano and a cellar/wall of wine. I was in love. Leah also had a florist shop that she loves in that area create the most gorgeous purple floral arrangements. The service was impeccable and the wine was flowing. It was great. I am a big fan of engagement parties especially when you have a wedding party that lives all over the country. It is a great chance for everyone to get to know each other and makes the wedding weekend even more fun. (Also, I do not know how I managed not to take a single picture at Vinoteca, but I didn’t so I had to borrow one that just does not do the place justice. I guess I’m just leaving myself room for improvement.)

Image Credit: spicy candy dc

We went out afterwards in the U Street area and had a blast. The next morning we went to Bar Louie in Chinatown with her parents and much of the wedding party. When we lived together Michelle and I had a Sunday tradition of bar food and a movie so I loved revisiting. Aside from my small meltdown from leaving my ID in the cab from the night before (typical Katy), which we luckily recovered on our way to the airport, it was a perfect weekend.

The Girls

Bachelorette and wedding posts will follow!