California Part 1

by Emily Satzger in

California was amazing, a trip of a lifetime.  R surprised me at Christmas with a 9 day trip throughout CA.  We spent most of our time in northern and central CA, which I fell in love with quickly. 

The one decent picture I have from San Francisco, it's Dolores Park in the Mission District.

We got off to a bit of a rocky start, thanks to my bout with food poisoning(thanks Delta cheese tray).  Yeah, I will never order anything, food wise, on a plane again!  I had never had food poisoning and I pray I never have it again, it was awful, absolutely horrible, words truly can't describe.  I saw very little of San Francisco as a result, and I didn't even get to spend time with one of my closest friends, who lives in San Fran.  :(

So, instead of heading to Napa as originally plan we made a pit stop at R's aunt and uncle's house in Menlo Park for recovery.  Thankfully they had a dark and cozy theater room, which I quarantined myself to, and proceeded to sleep 13 hours.  I was so grateful for them, because other wise Napa would have been a waste and blur.

The view from Marin Headlands.

On Tuesday we headed to Napa and I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  It's much smaller than I realized, or maybe I am used to our bridge, which is massive.  We drove up to Marin Headlands, which I highly recommend to get a better view of the bridge, city and bay.  It's also much less crowded than the first stop after the Golden Gate.

We got to our little cottage in Napa later Tuesday afternoon, which was heavenly.  If you're in Napa stay at Carneros Inn, it's beautiful!  It's also in the "Carneros region" which is where most Pinot Noir is grown in Napa.  Pinot Noir is our favorite, Cabernet is a little too heavy for me, I appreciate a great Cab with food, but tasting it alone is like getting slapped in the face.

The view from the pool, not too shabby.

Our cottage in Carneros was picture perfect.  We had our own fireplace inside the rooms, an indoor/outdoor shower, a outdoor soaking tub and fire-pit.  I could have stayed there for weeks.  Maybe it was because I had just been really sick, but I did not want to leave our cottage at all, it was so cozy and had everything we needed.  So we ordered room service a lot, which is one of my favorite things to do anyway. 

Our adorable cottage at Carneros Inn.

Our outdoor area was huge, this was our fire-pit, which we used nightly. 

Since we arrived later on Tuesday we did some wine tastings on Wednesday.  Let me first explain I had spent HOURS researching wineries and mapping out the perfect schedule to hit the best wineries...all that went down the drain when we had to post pone our trip to Napa.  So, since we didn't have a driver, and ended up going to the spa part of the day, we only did two tastings.

Those two tastings were amazing though, and both at wineries specialize in Pinot Noir, since they're in the Carneros Region.  Oh, and since it was January, which I recommend visiting Napa in Jan., as do all the locals which I found interesting.  We had private tastings at each winery.  There are less people, and less fog in Jan., if you're looking at visiting Napa. 

This is Saintsbury, it was beautiful, and we had our own little private tasting looking out on the vineyard with the mountains in the background.  They're a smaller production, which I prefer, but I did see their Pinot Noir at Bottles in Mt. P. 

This is Poppy, she's one of Saintbury's owner's dog, and she's so sweet and beautiful.  She made me miss Boone so badly when I saw her.

Next up is Etude, a small winery as well, which primarily does Pinot Noir, however, there Pinot Gri and Chardonnay was out of this world!  There tasting room was temporarily closed, because the earthquake back in September destroyed it as well as over 500 bottles of wine along the tasting wall!!  They let us try their Heirloom Pinot Noir, and no joke, it was the best wine I have ever tasted!  R and I kept on talking about it throughout the trip.

Some of the vineyards at Etude.

I think I have overwhelmed y'all with enough pictures and stories from the first part of our week in CA.  Hope you all have had a great week, and have a happy Friday!  Cheers!