As you know, last week I got back from four glorious days in Napa Valley for my best friend's 30th birthday. There were six of us total and it was the perfect spot for a girl's trip! From the weather to the food to the wine (duh!), Napa is really a great spot to live it up with a bunch of girls!
I figured I'd let you all know what we did and where we went in case you are wanting to venture out to wine country. We are all middle class girls who don't ooze money from our pores. Sometimes I feel like travel guides can be a little unrealistic when the person writing it is either getting paid, the trip was paid for, or they are just rich. I am none of those things, so if you're a normal human like me, here is what we did while in Napa!
Where we stayed:
Fairfield Inn and Suites - American Canyon
The birthday girl had a connection to someone who works for Marriott, so we got a great deal at the Fairfield Inn in American Canyon, which is just about 20 minutes south of Napa. It was only $77 total per person for the three nights. We stayed in a room with two queen beds and a pull out couch. There was breakfast daily and the staff was so nice! There was a pool, but we never found time to swim. We were too busy drinking wine :) We really wanted somewhere we all could stay in the same room and all of the hotels in Napa only let four to a room, plus they were all super expensive, so we decided to just stay a little out of Napa and it worked out fine. We also thought about Airbnb, but we wanted the option of a pool (even though we didn't swim) and most houses in Napa don't have a pool.
How we got around:
We were obviously going to be drinking, so we knew renting a car was not an option. We decided to Uber everywhere and it worked out great! From SFO to our hotel we each had to pay $21. Then it was really easy to split the fare everywhere else we went. We did have to get the UberXL each time, since there was six of us, but it usually wasn't an issue. A couple times we just ordered two regular Ubers and split up. It was nice not having to navigate or worry about where to park. Lyft is also really big there, but we didn't use it. Most of our Uber drivers were also Lyft drivers and they said to try both because each one will send you free ride coupons because they are competing with one another.
From Napa back to San Francisco on Sunday morning we took the Vallejo Ferry to Pier 41. It was only $13 and a fun way to see the city from the water. We did a bus tour of SF on Sunday and then Ubered to SFO for our departing flight.
Where we ate:
When we got to the hotel Thursday afternoon we were all starving, so we walked to Tacos Michoacan. It is just this little hole-in-the-wall taco place, but it was delicious (and so cheap!)! We fueled up on some tacos and then headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner.
Thursday's dinner was at Mustards Grill in Napa. We had the best waiter who was so accommodating! We all tried different things and everything was delicious. I had the pork-chop, which is what they are known for. I will say that the other place I'm about to mention blew this place out of the water, but this place was still delicious!
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena was, quiet possibly, the best meal I've ever had. From our appetizers of meatballs and their warm burrata to our entrees, everything was seriously amazing. I had the salmon and it was so fresh. I'm not used to fresh fish (since Dallas isn't exactly close to water) and now I might be a fresh fish snob. So. Good. The whole restaurant and grounds are perfections as well.
Saturday we spent the day in Yountville, which is a little town that looks like it is straight out of a movie. We went to the famed Bouchon Bakery and it was worth all the hype. Between the six of us, we got just about one of everything and everything was so good!
In San Francisco we played total tourists and ate crab cakes, fish and chips, and clam chowder at Fisherman's Wharf.
What we did:
Of course no trip to Napa would be complete without a wine tour! Last time Chris and I went to Napa we did a Platypus Wine Tour and it was such a great experience that we decided to book it again for this trip! Friday was the designated wine tour day and our guide, Sandy, did not disappoint! It was us six girls, a newly engaged couple (like two days new!) and a couple on their honeymoon. Somehow the theme of the day was "Let's get weird!" and it all got taken to another level when everyone found out I'd have to pump throughout the day! Ha! Milk shots anyone?! Totally kidding...
On the tour we visited four wineries: Silenus, Bremer Family Winery, Hopper Creek, and St. Clair Brown. Each of them were very different, but equally great! Sandy picked the wineries for us and she wanted to give us four different experiences and she did just that. It was the perfect mix from traditional wineries to more modern and urban wineries.
Saturday we went to a couple wineries on our own. Our first stop was at The Sip Shoppe at Swanson Vineyards. When we walked up their was a man playing French music in the courtyard and it felt like we were in another country. The whole place is magical! We sat outside (hello! no sweating!) and Rosemary was so kind and made our experience more than we could have imagined. We were going to cancel this stop because we were running out of time, but at the last minute decided to go and it ended up being our favorite spot. The wine and atmosphere were perfect. Their actual Sip Shoppe is circus themed, so the inside is just like a circus tent! I didn't get a picture in the shop, but my three pretty friends did!
Our final winery stop was at Castello di Amorosa which, in my opinion, is completely overrated. It was PACKED. We didn't have an appointment, so to even go inside and look around (plus a tasting on your own) was going to be $25 and we were not about to pay that just to walk around. If I want to see a real castle, I'll go to Europe. I just wasn't that impressed. And, so many people, ugh.
Sunday was our San Francisco day. We decided to quickest way to see the city before our flight was to do a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We didn't ever get off the bus because of time constraints, but it was the perfect way to see the city, quickly! We saw all the highlights and I got to see so many places and hear about so much that I had no idea about even after previously spending a week in the city. It helped that we did the tour on a Sunday morning before all the people were out. When we got back to Pier 39 there were so many people! We definitely beat the tourist rush.
One thing we didn't get to see was the Ferry Building. Chris and I went several times on our trip a couple years ago, but we never made it there this time. If you have time, I'd highly recommend walking through!
Plan time to actually hop-off and on the bus. I still have yet to take a picture of the Full House houses, but I've been really close two times. We didn't want to get off the bus because the next bus didn't come for 30 more minutes, so we opted to stay on.
Don't be afraid to stay outside of Napa. Uber was so great and easy that if you can't afford to stay in Napa, don't worry. All the hotels are really nice because of how many tourists they get, so you really can't go wrong.
Plan to spend more time in Yountville. We were only there a couple hours, but we could have spent all day there.
Take your girls and leave the men behind :) I'm sort of joking, but in all actuality...Napa is romantic in a sense that you have this dream of sipping wine with your loved one, but if your man is anything like mine, he would much prefer sports and a Coke. Girls are the ones who love the patio dining with a glass of delicious wine, so if you're debating a couple's trip or girl's trip (I've now done both!) I'd go with the girls!
I hope this helps for anyone wanting to visit Napa Valley!