May 9, 2017

Sacramento and Napa Valley // Cali Trip



A few weeks ago, we spend five glorious days in California. We are developing quite the soft spot for California after this trip as well as our Lake Tahoe anniversary trip (see HERE). The weather was perfect with sunny skies and a slight breeze ... and something Texans appreciate: no humidity! We started off in Sacramento and then headed west to Napa, San Fran/Oakland, and finished up in the Muir Woods. 

WHERE WE STAYED IN SACRAMENTO: 
We LOVED our Airbnb rental home! Situated in the quiet, quaint Fair Oaks neighborhood of Sacramento. It was a perfect place to land for the wedding weekend with my parents and aunt (who had driven from Oregon for the wedding). The lush gardens were a delight to take morning strolls and I faced my irrational fear of chickens when I entered their chicken coop to search for fresh eggs (the host showed me how to do it one day and invited me to have any eggs available). 

WEDDING:
My friend's wedding was filled with praise to God for His faithfulness through music, sermons, and the two lovebirds declaring their lifelong vow to one another. The reception was brimming with joy and beauty. It was great catching up with a few friends as well as spending time with my parents.

NAPA VALLEY:
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast in our comfy rented abode, my parents and aunt dropped us off at the airport, where we'd rent a car for the rest of our travels. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. They headed home to Oregon and we headed west towards Napa Valley for a relaxing afternoon among the vineyards. We stopped at the iconic Napa sign and got our first look at the myriad of vineyards. The rolling hills, spring blooms, and trees blowing gently with the breeze were a quite the sight!

We stopped at V. Sattui Winery and were thoroughly impressed. I darted towards the rose bushes at the entrance and proceeded to smell the beautiful blooms the rest of our visit because they were everywheeeere! We arrive just in time for spring blooms, much to my utter delight! 

The shaded outer gardens and sitting areas V. Stattui were a perfect respite. We relaxed after touring the inside of the winery. There is a little market to buy fresh produce for a picnic on the grounds as well as numerous wines to try for their reasonably priced tasting ($15/5 tastings). We had just missed the weekend BBQ stand and gelato stand, which had closed a few minutes prior to our arrival.

I had wanted to visit Castello di Amarosa (see HERE for my visit in 2014) and Chateau Montelena Winery but they were both near closing time at this point, so we decided to continue driving north for a little while and explore without any plans other than finding a dinner spot eventually. We parked on the main street of St. Helena and meandered through the shops. I have a thing for main streets in old towns, filled with local boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops, so this was a delight. 

We then turned back around to head towards Napa for dinner. We stopped along the St. Helena Highway a few times because of swoonworthy photo opportunities, such as the Queen Anne architecture of the building below and a quick walk through the outskirt of a vineyard to catch a few photos with the sun starting to set in the distance. 

We eventually made it to the town of Napa for dinner. We started with a few small scoops of gelato from the adorable Frati Gelato Cafe (because dessert can come before dinner when on vacation!), situated on the banks of the quiet Napa River. We sat on the dock and chatted about our favorite parts of the day thus far. Again, the old world charm of the Main Street brought little hearts to my eyes so we wandered around and explored. We settled on a Thai dinner  and looooved it: Mango on Main. I had the Kari Curry Chicken and Greg had the grilled flat iron beef (with curry sauce and veggies). YUM!

The Napa region has a Tuscany feel, with its miles upon miles of vineyards and rolling hills, colorful buildings, and slower lifestyle compared to nearby metropolitan cities. It made us excited for seeing Tuscany next fall! We loved this day. It was a relaxing day with a good balance of planning and spontaneity, which is something I am trying to work on since I am typically uber schedule-oriented when on vacation and Greg likes to play it by ear. We headed to our adorable Airbnb rental in Oakland and prepared for a day full of adventures in San Francisco . . .


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