Sweeping valleys, rolling vineyards and the most exquisite hospitality experience is what you’ll find if you pay a visit to Napa Valley. Just an hour north of the Bay Area of San Francisco, wine country is a must do for a weekend getaway or a special occasion. My husband and I decided to take a trip to the wine capital of the U.S. to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary! Let’s face it…after doing our best to celebrate our tenth anniversary under COVID restrictions and being under quarantine for almost 3 years with our family, we knew it was just the perfect place to get away from it all.
After extensive research we settled on Calistoga, an adorable little town just north of Napa, known for its wellness and hot springs experiences. We knew we wanted something of a small town feel and away from all the hustle and bustle and The Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa was the absolute perfect place. Located at the beginning of the Silverado Trail, this brand new retro-modern inspired boutique hotel has it all. From beautiful views, several mineral pools at different temperatures, free bike rentals, bocce ball courts and an incredible restaurant with the most amazing food, called The Fleetwood, not to mention their spa (more on those in a minute). As soon I laid eyes on the property, I knew it was the exact vibe we were looking for and it exceeded our expectations. It’s a laid back, Californian, word of mouth hotel, that doesn’t miss a beat. Inspired by the great American Road trip, their website describes it as, “The classic roadside boutique hotel, but better.” I couldn’t agree more. You can choose from their super nostalgic camper rooms, that are a play on camper vans or their newly renovated vista rooms, complete with balconies overlooking the Vaca mountains, which is what we opted for. Every detail accounted for, every person with a smile on their face. As I sit here writing this, I’m already trying to figure out how to make it back out there.
Coming from Palm Beach, we live in one of the top travel destinations in the U.S., so our standards are pretty high and our trip lived up to them all. Below is an itinerary of our trip. Hope you find value in it.
*We did partner with Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, but all opinions are my own.
NAPA VALLEY 12TH ANNIVERSARY TRIP
DAY 1 FRIDAY OCTOBER 7TH
9:25A Est JET BLUE FLIGHT FLL TO SFO
12:30P pst ARRIVE
1:30P TAKE UBER TO GRAB PORSCHE
-We used a company called Turo, it’s sort of like an airbnb for cars. Highly recommend.
2-3P DRIVE TO SAUSALITO & HANG OUT
-We ate at an incredible place on the water called The Joinery. We shared a falafel burger & a beet salad.
3-4:30P DRIVE TO CALISTOGA MOTOR LODGE AND SPA & CHECK IN
-They have the most adorable little lobby and we were welcomed by the staff with open arms!
6P PRISONER WINE DINNER
-Prisoner is not your average winery, it’s modern and sexy and almost counter to what you think a winery should be and we LOVED it. Prisoner Wines is one of our faves and we were thrilled to learn they had a Friday night DJ experience, complete with Chicago style pizza and 2 bottles of wine! Highly recommend making a reservation ahead of time.
DAY 2 SATURDAY OCTOBER 8TH
9:30A- CALISTOGA BIKE RIDE AND BREAKFAST
-We walked around the property some and decided to snag some bikes and ride over to the cutest little cafe called Sam’s General Store. It’s the last standing cottage in its original location built by the founder of Calistoga which was pretty neat! We grabbed a quick bite and a coffee, then headed back to start the day!
-If you like the finer things in life then Yountville is the place to be. A mix of fancy finds and good food, with a whimsical ambience that’s tough beat. The streets are lined with Michelin starred restaurants and the picturesque scenery is as if you stepped into a time warp. There are so many places to choose from it’s hard to decide where to land, but you can’t go wrong. We walked the town and took in Restoration Hardware (headquartered just outside of San Francisco) and made plans to return later on in our trip.
11:30A- DOMAINE CARNEROS TASTING
-Domaine Carneros is quite the institution. While you can’t really get a “tour” of the vineyard, we enjoyed an amazing sparkling wine and cheese flight al fresco overlooking the incredible Napa Valley. The mansion and view of the valley were quite amazing. Sort of a right of passage.
1:30P- LUNCH AT CELADON
-We made our way to Downtown Napa and walked along the Napa River, where the Napa Mill sits. There are a bunch of cute shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Celadon, the first fine dining establishment in downtown Napa and a locale known for its global comfort food. It’s located inside of the historic Hatt building, which looked like a garage turned restaurant. We sat out on their quaint patio…Michael had the chuck burger, a cheeseburger with an over medium egg and I had the sweet coconut fried prawns. We grabbed a coffee and at a local cafe and I snagged a cute Napa Sweater at Shoppe 12.
3:30P- CAYMUS WINERY
-A trip to Napa isn’t complete without a visit to Caymus Vineyards. A favorite of Michael’s and myself, this experience is made to feel as if you’re enjoying a glass of wine in the comfort of your own home, while sitting in the backyard. Mr. Caymus himself was on property hosting a senator and while we didn’t see or meet him, we did feel like we were hanging out at his house. Truly memorable.
8:30P- FLEETWOOD CALISTOGA
-We decided to mosey on back to our resort and enjoy the mineral pools and just relax, which with 2 kids we almost never get to do. After that we got ready for dinner at Fleetwood Calistoga on Calistoga Motor Lodge’s property…serving up Italian and wood fired mediteranean food. We started with the fried olives and marcona almonds and then had the striploin steak with and gnocchi, roasted garlic, maitake mushrooms, snap peas and truffle balsamico for dinner which was the perfect meal after a great day!
DAY 3 SUNDAY OCTOBER 9TH
9:30A BRUNCH AT FLEETWOOD CALISTOGA
-We started the day off at the place right where we left off. Fleetwood Calistoga serves up the most decadent weekend brunch from 8a-1p, with so many speciality drinks and items to choose from! Coffee and bloody Marys to start. We decided to share the fried chicken and waffles and the Edgar’s chilequiles, which after sitting next to the most adorable local couple is I guess a thing in the area. It’s packed with red chili salsa, chicken, corn tortilla, pepper jack cheese and slow-cooked eggs! My mouth’s watering just thinking about it! Highly recommend!
10:45A SPA TREATMENTS AT MOONACRE SPA
-Cake, bake, rinse and relax! That’s the motto over at the Moon Acre Spa located right on property! Right after brunch, we got changed and moseyed on over for the works, otherwise known as the MoonAcre Mud Bake, Bath and Massage and this 2 hour historic ritual was just what the doctor ordered. The spa itself is reminiscent of an 1880’s Calistoga bath house, where community and good vibes are their motto! We started with a really nice, relaxing soak in a clawfoot tub, filled with geothermal water and re-mineralizing lavender bath salts, we then dried off and made our way to the outdoor “mud bar,” for a sponge exfoliation and a painted mineral-rich body mud mask! We relaxed in the beautiful Calistoga sun under the lush landscape and umbrellas in the spa garden, then rinsed off in the outdoor shower, followed up by a steam, then finished with a 60 minute full body massage. The experience was unlike any other we have ever done and the best part is you don’t even have to stay on property to take advantage of this signature self care ritual! I call that a win win!
4P ROBERT CRAIG WINERY
-We left the afternoon open, so we could see what came as a recommendation to us. One of the sommeliers at Prisoner said to check out Robert Craig Winey and we are so glad we did. It was a spur of the moment choice that left a lasting impression. You may have noticed their small lot wines harvested from Summit Mountain at some restaurants you frequent. We visited their tasting salon at a little bungalow located in the heart of downtown Napa. They made some last minute accommodations for us and were so incredibly knowledgeable and sweet. It was as if we were sitting in someone’s living room enjoying good conversation and wine. If you’re looking for a local, personalized experience, this is it!
5:30 OXBOW MARKET
-We did a quick pop by before heading back to Yountville, because we had heard a bunch about this food hall. From oysters to cupcakes, pizza to deli, this place is feast for the senses and a great place if you just can’t decide what to have. From a little marketplace and both outdoor, indoor and bar seating, Oxbow is quite the little scene and I snagged a little focaccia after our tasting.
6P REGIS OVA
-If you know anything about Napa the culinary experiences are just as important as the vino. While the critically acclaimed, top of the heap Chef Thomas Keller’s French Laundry didn’t have an availability (they open up reservations at the beginning of the month and fill up pretty quickly), we were able to snag an exclusive experience at their sister pop-up thanks to a recommendation from a friend who used to be a chef at TFL. Regiis Ova is the lounge of all lounges. Wether you choose to sit inside their swanky indoor or outdoor lounge, you can’t go wrong. The live music and champagne is just flowing and so are the good times. RS is known for as the “Ultimate Caviar Experience.” With a few fan favorites of the French Laundry Menu and some newer items, this experience was a MUST! We got the pigs in a blanket featuring Hobbs Pork Sausage, Brioche and a Dijonaise Aioli. This fun treat will never be the same for me. We followed that up with the most awesome play on tater tots…They were these mini Yukon gold potato croquettes, with Hobbs bacon Creme Fraiche and Classic Caviar. Those two paired with some bubbly was a party for our tastebuds!
7:45P R+D Kitchen
-We chose to eat here, because it came recommended to use by some locals and the name of the restaurant happens to be the initials of our son! No matter what you’re in the mood for R+D has it! Hubby got the Kyuri Maki Roll, packed with tuna, seasoned rice, wrapped in cucumber with trout row and I opted for some comfort food with the chicken meatballs and spaghetti, featuring sweet & poblano peppers, tomato sauce and Reggiano.
DAY 4 MONDAY OCTOBER 10TH
We drove through Sonoma and headed back home. We did stop at this amazing breakfast joint called Basque Boulangerie. A fresh croissant filled with eggs, ricotta, pesto and tomato was the perfect end to an incredible trip. Our first time to Napa was definitely one for the books and one we will cherish for the rest of our lives. If you’ve been on the fence about booking a trip, here’s your sign to just do it! Choose The Calistoga MotorLodge and Spa as your place to put your fit up and chill, you’ll be glad you did! Cheers!
Check out this reel of out trip: