Saturday, July 8, 2017

Napa Valley



We got up Sunday morning, packed and checked out of our hotel.  Jake and John went to pick up our rental van and the rest of us lugged all those bags down in front of our hotel.  Everyone was nervous about the bags fitting....I mean we had to pack for cold/warm weather for a week and tons of outfit changes.  And we were nervous about getting that van in front of the hotel in downtown San Fran.  

As you can see, it was a windy and cold morning!


Thankfully, we got a great van with plenty of room.  It could not have been more perfect.  Im not sure what I was envisioning, but this was way better.


Our chauffeur for the day.
That was one large van and Jake drove it like a champ.


We took the scenic route to Napa Valley.
We drove over the Golden Gate bridge instead of the Bay Bridge.
It was a foggy morning, but still a site to see!


On the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge is Sausalito.  The cutest town in the world.  It is right next to the water.  They have a ton of restaurants and shops.  All the houses are on the hill.  It may have been one of my favorite stops.


We were thinking it would be a lot warmer here, but were totally wrong.
So windy which made it cold.


It is just beautiful.


We had an awesome lunch at the Barrel Tavern and checked out a few shops before our next adventure.



Since we were so close to the redwoods, we decided we needed to stop at Muir Woods.  Who knows when any of us will be out that way again.  We took an accidental detour and ended up NOT at Muir Woods, but this picture is crazy.  We were right in the middle of the fog.


We turned around and got back on track.  Parking may have taken what would have been a very long, frustrating hour...but when you are in a van with 10 friends....that frustrating hour ends up being absolutely hilarious.  I think it was times like this that made our trip even more fun.  Things don't always go as planned, and it can get frustrating.  But instead of getting angry, with so many friends, you end up belly laughing.  It was great.

Made it!

It was pretty cold and damp in there.
I actually think this is the first National Park I have ever been to.

That is one large tree.




After Muir Woods, we were off to our hotel in Napa.  Once we got about five minutes on the interstate, the fog was behind us and it was already 10 degrees warmer.  Crazy.

We went to Morimoto's for dinner and this was the only picture I got, and it was a good one....those crab legs were amazing.


Mom sent me this cute picture Monday morning.  Both boys ready for a fun day at summer camp. 


Since we just had the one day in Napa to do wine tours, Blake set up a set schedule with a tour guide. They met us that morning at our hotel and drove our bus around for us.  We had reservations all day at every stop and it was just perfect.  Our driver kept us on track as well.  I would highly recommend that!

All three stops were very different, so it was perfect.

First stop was Mumm.
It is one of the only sparkling wines out there and is very large vineyard.


We had reservations basically sitting in the vineyards.  The view was stunning.


We had a great server who got us started on the right foot.







We got to try two LARGE glasses of champagne.  I actually enjoyed them even though wine and champagne aren't really my thing.




It was one of my favorite stops for the day.
It was a great way to start the day.


Second, she had us lined up at Farmstead.  It was the BEST food we had all weekend.  We ate family style, and I cannot say how amazing the food was.


Only bad thing is we were disgustingly full with two more stops after!!


Next stop was Robert Biale Vineyards.  So this vineyard has been around forever.  Our server was very informed and told us the history of the place.  It was very interesting.  We had another great table right in front of the vineyards.  This place is small and very old school.


We actually saw grapes.
So apparently, the best time to go to San Fran and Napa would be end of September/early October.  It is warmer in San Fran, and harvest season in Napa.  That is when you can stomp on the grapes!


It is just impossible to get over these views!
Each glass of wine we drank, he was able to point to which peak of a mountain those grapes were on. So many things go into where your vineyards are located, etc.   Very interesting to say the least.


Cheers.



Last stop was Italics....and their view is amazing.  We actually did our wine tasting in a cave.....a legit cave.  So this vineyard has been a around for a while, but some younger guys bought it a couple of years ago.  They have done some amazing things on the property and are trying to attract the younger generation instead of the norm for Napa.  Most of these Napa wine clubs have people that have been in the club for years, and when they leave the club, it is because of death.  Since they are newer, they are trying a different route.  It was all very interesting.  

Just a bit windy up there. 


The cave was so cool, and the guy who did our tasting was the best.  






We all had a great time here.  We loved the fact that we went to three completely different types of vineyards.  We got to experience it all in a day.  


We headed to Oxbow market later that night to explore downtown Napa and have a drink or two.  My last picture of the trip was the sunset that night. 


This trip was amazing.  To be able to experience a beautiful, Indian wedding of a friend, to visiting San Francisco for the first time as well as Napa Valley.  Those were all three amazing experiences.  But the best part was experiencing it all with friends.  It really was a trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget!





We flew home on the actual Fourth of July.  We did get to see fireworks when landing.  These guys got to stay busy the whole week.  They swam, saw friends, and hung out with the neighborhood kids.  



We were so happy to see our guys when we got home.  It was a long time to leave them.  We are so thankful we were able to take the trip, especially knowing they were being loved.  



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