Monday, July 28, 2014

Napa Trip - Day Two

Hopefully you've read the super long post from Day One on the blog!

Day two had our good friend Robert picking us up again at 9:30 and away we went :) Again, I had several wineries on the list but we got to four of them. We started again with bubbly, so on our agenda for today was Domaine Chandon, Keever Vineyards, Cakebread, and Inglenook (formerlly Coppola Winery)

Chandon - LOVED this place! Very different from Mumm, but that's what made it great. It was a walk up, no appointment required, and just fun and lively bubbly fun. The tastings were all yummy, and it was a perfect way to start the day. I bought some here to take home.

Keever - thinking back on this winery will forever leave me with a smile! This one was only recommended by a couple of people, but one person said get on the phone immediately and make your reservation! I'm so glad we did! This was our "tour" winery. When I called to make the appointment, I was greeted by none other that Olga Keever herself, and said that her daughter, Ashley Keever would be hosting our tour. Every detail was personal and gracious. It was small, quaint, and perfect. (and the wine was fabulous too!) We met the winemaker (Chris I think?) and the brother, Jason too. Their winery was more recent, but their views were spectacular and clearly they know what they're doing! A funny aside was that we also met the family dog, Bones, who Leslie wanted to go on the tour with us. Well, Bones completely took me to the ground lol! In my oh so gracious fashion I managed to save my camera and save my wine in the process. Not sure why none of my party wanted to take pictures of that because it was certainly hysterical. Ashley and family, we loved you and will sing your praises to everyone! I bought two bottles here :)

This was waiting on us when we arrived. LOVE!

Ashley Keever, Marette, Moi, Mom, Kenya, Kerra, Chris, Leslie, and Jason Keever

Cakebread - I'm putting this in the same category as Plumpjack. It was fine, wine was fine, but we just shouldn't have come here after leaving Keever. NO comparison. It's no fault of Cakebread, they are just very different. We had to make an appointment here. They do a laid back tasting mini-tour. They'll answer any questions, and it's more about the tastings. Recommended by pretty much everyone, and we were excited about this one, it just didn't compare to Keever.

Les with our wine guy

Inglenook - this one is historic and the grounds are fabulous. It was formerly Coppola. The wine was really good. We again got to try some really pricey wine. $180 I think? This was a very quiet tasting - more formal, sit down, and probably not a good stop at the end of the day with a gaggle of girls :)

Ginny made it!

The end of Day 2 at the wineries meant saying goodbye to our driver, Robert. We tried to rebook him again for Friday but he was booked. He was fun, and knew all about Napa Valley and we loved it. Thanks Robert!

We started to get a little sassy. Blame the wine. It was the end of day 2 here, people. 

Robert clearly thinks we're cray. 

Back at the homestead, we took a couple of pics of the three sisters! :) hashtag photoshoot!

Dinner later was at Auberge du Soleil.  We were just going to come do happy hour here and eat dinner in our fabulous backyard, but the views were so fun here. They have an upscale restaurant, and a bistro/bar. We just sat outside and ordered off the bistro menu, and it was great. The views were uber fabulous, but tonight was the first time it got pretty chilly.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blueberry Pickin' at Golden Bell Farm

So, seriously. What in the world has happened to summer? Are you telling me that it's almost August? I had so many plans!! Yes, we went to the beach and have done some other traveling, but I wanted to do ALL these local fun things with the babes! We've done NOTHING except the pool, which, nonetheless has been grand. But, I really, really wanted to go experience some of Nashville finest activities, and we've done nada. I asked facebook for help this morning. We need to get a move-on here. So, we now have a summer bucket list. First, up - berry picking!

We went this morning to Golden Bell Farms, located in Frankin, TN. It was super easy to get to, super easy for the kids to walk around, and super fun! Me and the kids grabbed a bucket and started picking. They were plentiful and beautiful. Golden Bell charges $3/lb. We ended up with 2.5lbs, so we got out of there with a ton of blueberries for $7.50! Can't beat it! It was such a fun activity that took about an hour - perfect length of time with 4 year olds! And since Josh can't read, I will go ahead and say how impressed I was at Jules' blueberry picking ability. That girl got after it! And she picked only the darkest, best ones. She knew what she was doing and was a pro! And it was just so neat to be able to pick your own fruit. If I wasn't such a horrible gardener (honestly horrible - the worst ever) I would love to do it. Until then, I'll be grateful for some local families doing all that work for us ;)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Napa Wineries and Restaurants - Day One

Usually I post all kinds of craziness leading up to such a big fun trip, but honestly life has been nuts. So, my sister Leslie recently turned the big 40, and we celebrated by going to Napa of course. I was in charge of the trip, being a vacation planning Nazi on most trips I go on . So, with all my planning, and a way to recap the trip, I'll break each day up with the wineries and restaurants we ventured to.

And I'll say that its worth the trip - honestly. I can't wait to go back. It's a neat interesting town. Much different than any I've ever been to. It's a small town and so many people were born and raised there. And they're either in the wine business or service industry. So, for it being such a tourist town, it was a little weird. Everything pretty much closes down when the wineries close. It was quaint. 

So, are you looking for a Napa itinerary or Napa restaurants? These are the ones we went to and my review of all!

I decided to rent a house instead of doing the hotel thing since there was 7 of us. And I'm so glad I did! It was THE most precious house. We rented about 3 miles outside of downtown Napa. The houses from the outside looked a little disheveled, but once we were there for a few days, we just realized that was northern California lol. We were a block away from a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Target, so our area was good :)

We stayed at a house called Casa Emilita. It was a very reasonable 3 bedroom house that was so very charming. I booked it on The backyard was beyond precious. 

(pics borrowed from the website - I forgot to take any!)

The daybed was my favorite!!

We even did yoga out there!

Our first night there we went to dinner at downtown Napa to The Pear Southern Bistro. Since I am in the south (obviously) the menu was fabulous. I highly recommend it, and it's right on the river so the views are fabulous!

We next ventured out to Downtown Joe's where we did a little dancing and karaoking :)

On to the important stuff - wine! Our next day was packed with wineries. (well, sort of) I had 6 on our list each day and we ended up getting to four each day. We planned 45min-hour for ones that we didn't do a tour, and the tour ones were 1.5-2hrs. I only tried to do one tour per day. Our first day was at Mumm Napa, Regusci Winery, Chappellet, and Plumpjack

Mumm Napa - oh how I loved this place. I decided I would try to start our each day with bubbly - because who doesn't love bubbly??? And it seemed more of a breakfast drink to me :) you have to make an appointment here. We were given a corner table at the egde of the patio overlooking the winery. It was gorgeous. This was our very first winery of the trip and it kicked our trip off perfectly. The sparkling wine was heavenly as well. We decided to get a few flights and share them. I bought some here I loved it so much. 

The views. Love.

I'm going to pause here and give a shout out to our driver. We decided to hire a driver for two days. I wasn't sure if we would all think it was a good idea and if we would like him, etc. I read online and on Yelp that you could hire a driver to drive your own car. We had a rental minivan. No lie - I ended up booking one of the cheapest agencies in Napa. And although I felt weird and worried a bit about it, they had continuous five star reviews on Yelp. It was $25/hour - no lie. And he was OUTSTANDING. We loved loved loved him!! I HIGHLY recommend this fabulous agency!  

Regusci - So, we had a short amount of time before our appointment for a tour at Chappellet. But, we didn't have enough time to hit one of the others on our list. So, our driver recommended this smaller winery close by that he says all of his clients have enjoyed. We LOVED it!!! It was so quaint and precious. The staff was so much fun, and the wine was awesome. The views here were also fabulous. I didn't buy wine here - and honestly I'm not sure why. I think I got busy and was a little "happy" by this point.

Seriously the views!

They stored their wine right next door - we had to do a photoshoot :)

With Daniel - we loved him to pieces. He poured great wine!

Chappallet - I decided to book a tour here. For one, it's up high on a mountain, so a bit of a hike, but the views are outstanding, and now that the tour is complete, I would recommend anyone to do it. The wine is outstanding, we learned so much, our tourguide was passionate and knowledgeable, and walked around the vineyards just experiencing the culture... and drinking wine. I bought wine here too. A white, no less, which is odd for me. This was our first winery where we got to try some really pricey wine - I think $160/bottle, and it was yummy :)

We literally just watched them bottle it right up and put it in a box.

The Chappellet family handprints as kids when they built it :)

so pretty!!

This is the wine I bought - so yummy. They have different tracks labeled based on the wines the grapes produced. 

At our "official" tasting after other tastings :)
Plumpjack - I wish I could say better things about this winery. This one was recommended by several different people, so it was a "must do". I'm not sure if it was because it was the last one of the day, and let's be honest we were tired and um, wined up, but it didn't knock our socks off like the others. Maybe if we'd started earlier? It was a walk-up with no appointment required, but it was ok. We just went to too many other really nice ones that day. The wine was good though and we also got to try Cade Winery's wine there too, which was good because it was recommended to me as well, but we couldn't fit that one in. 

Also awesome views!

Dinner that night was at Mustard's Grill, with a stop beforehand at Lucy Bar at Bardessono - wow. Beyond outstanding - both! Highly recommend. Most got the pork chop and I got the chicken dish, which I normally never do, but it was awesome. And I didn't get a picture here, which I can't believe lol!!

Lucy bar

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