California Getaway: Part 3 (Calistoga, Napa Valley)



We started off our day by touring Nickel and Nickel, a charming and cozy winery. I feel like if Farmhouse Inn had a winery on property, it would be Nickel and Nickel. With a few horses in a corral, a historic northeastern barn and of course more stunning flowers…this place was speaking my language. They mainly produce cabernets so that was what our tasting was comprised of and we had a nice Texan serving as our host! Yee haw. Nickel and Nickel is under the same ownership as Far Niente so it was neat to get to experience a sister winery. The weather was really hit or miss with rain showers during the entirety of our trip but during each winery visit we were blessed with picturesque weather.

Dwight and I were encouraged by a couple we met at one of our tastings to have lunch on the patio of Auberge du Soleil so we snagged a last minute reservation. The view is the main reason to come here, so make sure you opt for lunch so you have plenty of daylight to take in the incredible vantage points of the wineries. We weren’t super hungry as we had just come off of our tasting but decided to share the chicken. I know chicken can get a bad rep but these people knew how to bring the FLAVOR to this bird. We were both commenting the entire time we were eating how amazing it was. 

After lunch we had a quick ride to check into our last hotel in the valley area which was Calistoga Ranch. We saved the best for last and from the moment we pulled onto the property, we knew this place was special. A more rustic, indoor-meets-outdoor type of feel…everything was truly remarkable. The reception area felt like an open air treehouse that was built to feel like it was just part of the landscape. They were kind enough to upgrade us to a larger cabin which allowed us to have more living space. I sadly didn’t take many photos of our room but I would definitely suggest checking out their website and looking through their room tour videos as each cabin feels like your own treehouse. The  outdoor shower was my favorite feature of this resort along with the stunning soaking tub. We wanted to have plenty of time at Calistoga Ranch so we had minimal plans that afternoon other than relaxing in our room and enjoying the pool which overlooks their vineyard. We only ran into maybe 4 other guests on property so I’m not sure if it was just low occupancy or if everyone was so comfy in their own cabin to come out! Nonetheless, we appreciated feeling like we had the place to ourselves. 

Dinner that night was round two of Thomas Keller food utopia at Ad Hoc. The most casual restaurant of his in Yountville, they serve family style with a set menu. I think they must have known Dwight was coming because the menu was salad, steak, mac-n-cheese, and a chocolate shake for dessert. I know this sounds super simple but the FLAVOR…the FLAVOR! I’m sure its all so good because its so bad for you but on vacation, none of that stuff matters. I also want to talk about this dish served with our meal called creamy barley. I’m pretty positive this was my first time eating barley by itself and not baked into a bread or something but this was honestly my favorite thing I had that night. No clue what was in it but it was delicious and I could eat it

The next morning was a sad day as it was our last full day of bliss and it was dreary and rainy. At least the weather matched our mood! We had an amazing breakfast there at Calistoga Ranch followed by massages at their beautiful spa. In keeping with the rest of the property, the spa felt like we were in a giant tree fort with an infinity spa and mineral pool. They also have outdoor showers in the locker rooms and two different fireplaces in the lounge area. 

We stopped into Oakville grocery to get a selection of meats and cheeses to take as a picnic on the road back to San Fran since the weather was putting a damper on our plans to explore around that day. I LOVED this little place that has the cutest deli, bakery and amazing array of gourmet items. I think Dwight sampled every piece of cured meat they offered before deciding which one he wanted and after finishing up our lunch proclaimed he didn’t want to eat any deli meats again for a long time! I picked out these little Italian sprinkle cookies for Sutton but decided to try them out to make sure they were “ok” and ended up eating the whole bag. She never knew they were coming home for her so no harm! I will certainly be ordering these for gifts around the holidays and as birthday treats for friends. They are called CiCi’s Italian cookies and while I only tried the vanilla sprinkle version…I’m sure the remainder of their selection is equally as incredible. 

The traffic wasn’t too bad on our way back into San Francisco so we opted to detour to Berkley to check it out. I want to assume we were just in the wrong area of Berkley but we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Once we saw the Cal Berkley campus…everything else was pretty downhill from there. Someone who loves Berkley tell me why its awesome and where the beautiful parts are!

Our flight didn’t leave until the next morning so we stayed at an airport hotel that night and ate In-and-Out burger…we figured it was best to start easing our way back into reality so cheap burgers and a normal hotel was a nice way to start the process!

The most common question I get when people ask me about our trip is “Did you miss the kids?” My honest answer is: no. I love my children and I love spending everyday with them…but I also loved every single moment of this trip with Dwight.  Obviously we have had very little alone time these past three years and one day…it’s going to be just the two of us again. I don’t want us to forget each other during this busy wonderful portion of our lives of raising kids which is why we wanted to take this trip in the first place. Of course I was SO excited to see them as soon as our plane wheels hit the runway and could not stop hugging and pressing their cheeks next to mine when we got home…but this trip was so good and refreshing. 

Well, if you have made it to the end of this recap…kudos to you! Hopefully our experience will encourage you to find some time to getaway with your spouse and if it happens to be to California-you have a whole itinerary ready and waiting for you!



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