Since I promised a follow up blog on Napa Valley, here it is!
Napa Valley is great for girlfriends, sisters, and couples. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery and is just north of San Francisco. Napa Valley is obviously home to some of the country’s best wines and it is a world-famous wine growing region due to the cool nights and warm days throughout the year. The best time to visit Napa Valley depends on what type of trip you want--for quiet relaxation - go in the Winter, for and exciting trip thats all about you and your guests- try Spring; for a lot of fun and activity go in the Summer; and for "total sensory overload" - its all about Fall...
Here are the top 5 things to check out while being there:
1. An official wine tour at the Robert Mondavi Winery. Robert Mondavi was one of the pioneers in developing Napa Valley into what it is today—and has the hands down best Winery/Vineyard tour (even other wineries will recommend it). You get to taste fresh grapes used to produce the wine, and they do a few pairings with some tasty hour d'oeuvres. The tour guides are experts and are very passionate about what they do. The gift shop is pretty dope too—with lots of wine gadgets for the people who have everything!
2. An authentic mud bath and visit to the hot springs in Calistoga…try the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs. This was the smelliest, squishiest, goopy (imagine places mud should never go) and HOT experience I have had, but the effect was AMAZING! I have never had my skin literally GLOW, and feel so smooth! My sister and I had people stopping us quite frequently afterward to ask us what our secret was! So it was well worth it. I will say be careful because the extreme heat of the mud and the transition from sitting to standing as well as going from hot mud to a colder shower too suddenly almost caused me to faint (which they say frequently happens)! Also, if you are a bit modest—realize there is a crew of women that have to wash the mud off of you and you can either be naked—or wear a bathing suit you plan on throwing away afterward!
3. Old Faithful Geyser - The Old Faithful Geyser of California is one of three geysers in the world with the designation “old faithful.” These are the geysers that perform at regular intervals. Mount Saint Helena and the Palisades mountains are a gorgeous backdrop, and they have a mini petting zoo if you get bored waiting around!
4. Hamburger at Taylor's Roadside –they recently changed the name to Gott's Roadside on March 25, 2010. This casual road-side diner, conveniently located on Main Street in St. Helena, is the perfect place to stop for a quick bite in between shopping and wine-tasting. They have the cutest outside seating and picnic tables!
5. A trip to the vineyard of your favorite California wine—so you can brag about how you have actually been there when serving it to friends!
**bonus points for side trips
Fortunately if you are in a hurry--San Francisco has the famous 49 Mile Scenic Drive--a tour you can take yourself--all you need is a car! You will see all the highlights of this spectacular city-- including Alcatraz, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Palace of Fine Arts. For a full list of the 49 sights to see go to http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/maps/49miledrive.asp
If you want to see the famous California redwoods--this is an easily accessible, close to San Fran 560 acre forest of old-growth redwood trees located in Mill Valley just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.