If you enjoyed the last post, you will like this one as well. Continuing on our journey through California, we are headed to the beautiful Napa Valley next. This was about a forty-five minute drive from where we were staying. We chose to schedule two wine tastings in the morning on two different days and leave the afternoons free for dining, shopping, and exploring the area.
I have to mention the beautiful drive from Windsor to Napa Valley. A two-lane backroad – Check. Hills – Check. Trees covered with red and yellow leaves showing just a hint of fall – Check. Vineyards on the left and the right and straight ahead and behind – Check. Farms and barns and horses and cows and sheep – Check.
We made reservations at Schramsberg Winery and Chateau Montelena for tours and tastings prior to us arriving in California. Schramsberg Winery was our first tour in the area. The tour was an hour long cave tour that took you through the history of the winery and ended with a tasting of their sparkling wines.
The next tour we scheduled was Chateau Montelena. They have several options available for tours and tastings that each offer a memorable experience. Regardless of the type of tour you decide, it is worth just a drive to the area to see the scenery. It is a stone castle covered in trees, vineyards, and a small pond located right outside of the castle. We chose to do a tasting trying five of their wines.
With so many winery choices in the area, it is hard to make a decision on where you want to spend your time. We stopped at the following wineries to photograph (listed in no particular order): Sterling Vineyards, Menage a Trois, Peju, Franciscan Estate Winery, and Castello di Amorosa.
With the morning tours completed, we tackled lunch in the area next. After the first tasting, we ventured to Mustard’s Grill for an American type menu. From the onion rings as an appetizer to the chocolate cheesecake for dessert – everything we tried was delicious. I would highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area. On the second day we opted to eat at Checkers Restaurant, which has an Italian style menu. Since shopping was on our list for the afternoon, this was an easy restaurant to choose as it was located in the heart of downtown Calistoga.
Our trip ended with a visit to San Francisco for a day. We drove to the city of Larkspur and took a ferry ride into San Francisco. We arrived at the Pier and headed towards Fisherman’s Wharf where we had lunch. After lunch, we took a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour that took about two and half hours to complete without getting off at any of the stops. With our time running a little quick, we felt this was the best way to see the city in a short afternoon.
And that completes the trip! Ready to travel to the area yet? Well, stay tuned. I will be ending this week of California adventure with a follow-up blog post listing our itinerary for ideas on places to visit and tips for traveling the area. And if you just want to fall in love with more photographs, I will add one or two of those to the post as well. Hope you enjoyed!