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Jul 21, 2011 03:29 PM

My Napa Itinerary - Comments/Suggestions/Critiques welcome!

and much appreciated.

So I've been doing a bit of research for a labor day getaway with my ladyfriend and I tried to keep things close, geographically, so the driving wouldn't be too crazy. Unfortunately, that limited us to 2 regions. We'll be staying at MacArthur Place in Sonoma, arriving late Friday night, and leaving on Monday after lunch.

Saturday (Napa):
Oxbow Public Market - browse and pick up snacks
Hendry Winery Tour - 11am
Ubuntu - 1:30 lunch
Far Niente Winery Tour - 3pm (hopefully, not confirmed yet)
Redd - 6:30 dinner

Sunday (St. Helena):
Lasalette - 11:45am (could be replaced by something along the way to or in St. Helena)
Schramsberg Tour - 1:30pm
Quintessa Tour - 4pm (unconfirmed)
Restaurant at Meadowood - 8:45pm

I think I've put together a decently chow-worthy itinerary, but would love any feedback that fellow CHers might have. The Taste of Sonoma event is on the Saturday that I'll be there, but I didn't want to drive all the way up to Healdsburg causing us to miss several of the recommended spots.

Also, I have a few empty slots: Saturday night in Napa or Sonoma, Sunday afternoon/evening in St. Helena after Quintessa, and Monday morning.


edit: For wineries, I should probably mention that I'm partial to cabernets, pinot noirs, & ros├ęs, and she's mostly all about whites, particularly rieslings (I don't know what would be close to that in Napa). We are both pretty uneducated as far as wines go. This will be the first time in Napa as adults for both of us. I did visit some wineries as a minor and snuck in some drinks, but I've forgotten most of that, and was more looking to get drunk.

Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

452 First Street East, Suite H, Sonoma, CA 95476

Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Far Niente
1350 Acacia Drive, Oakville, CA

Schramsberg Vineyards
1400 Schramsberg Rd, Calistoga, CA

6480 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Ln St, Helena, CA

Hendry Winery
3104 Redwood Rd, Napa, CA 94558

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  1. There is no way you will have time for lunch at La Salette in Sonoma and then be able to drive up to Schramsberg for a 1:30 tour. Mapquest says it is a 30-minute drive, but that is for locals who know the windy roads. And as much as I love La Salette, I think you would be much better served taking the safer route through Carneros and coming into St. Helena for lunch; Farmstead or Cook.

    Also, do you have plans after your Quintessa tour and before dinner? That is a lot of empty time to fill to go back to Sonoma and then back to Napa (especially considering you are hauling it all the way up to Calistoga earlier in the day)?

    7 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Thanks for the input! I'd actually prefer to have lunch in St. Helena like you recommend. Just makes things much easier as far as getting to Schramsberg on time. I'll take a look at Farmstead and Cook.

      I wasn't sure what we would be able to do after the Quintessa tour. My original plan was to use the spa at Meadowood, but because it'll be a holiday weekend, they reserve it for guests of the resort. I might still go to another spa in the area. Or if anyone has any idea on what to do in St. Helena that might be a nice respite from all the events, I'm all ears.

      1. re: andytseng

        Have you checked out Calistoga for spas?

        1. re: wolfe

          I haven't yet, but I certainly will if there are some nice spas up there. Seems to be only a short drive away, so wouldn't be much of a detour before heading to Meadowood.

          1. re: andytseng

            Check out Indian Springs in Calistoga . . . if you do a Spa treatment there, it gets you in to their huge swimming pool that is filled with water from their hot springs. Depending on the weather, this can be a divine treat:-) Or there's Solage just outside Calistoga on the Silverado Trail.

            1. re: vday

              Yes, the pool at Indian Springs is just fantastic. And they have the best mud baths. Nicer mud than other places in town.

              1. re: Windy

                Sounds great! Will definitely look into it.

      2. Just posting some updates based on the recommendations I've received so far (and also an unavailability at Far Niente):
        Saturday afternoon, Far Niente is all booked up, so we're doing Elyse Winery and Chandon instead.

        Farmstead is replacing LaSalette, and looking to book Indian Springs for September, but they said the books don't open for that until August.

        My Monday is still open.

        Elyse Winery
        2100 Hoffman Ln, Napa, CA

        6 Replies
        1. re: andytseng

          Just got back from Napa last night and had an amazing time.

          The only miss I really experienced was at Redd. Although the food was good and well-prepared, it just wasn't as interesting as the other places.

          Ubuntu and Meadowwood were both amazing (in different ways, of course).

          As far as winery tours went, Hendry and Quintessa were both spectacular.

          Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
          1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

          1. re: andytseng

            Thanks for reporting back! Did you do the tasting menu at Meadowood?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Yep! We had eaten so much during the weekend, that when we got to Meadowood, the S.O. was thinking that she might get too stuffed and was leaning towards the smaller 4-course option. I almost lost my mind. Luckily, she gave in (and did not regret it, of course).

              The standouts for me were the foie gras enrobed in licorice, abalone and chicken thigh in geoduck clam, matsutake mushroom, and cress broth, and the roasted lamb shoulder. service was impeccable. the only thing that i did not thoroughly enjoy was the cheese pretzel thing served at the end. it just tasted like bread from a Chinese bakery.

              My S.O. asked if that was my favorite meal ever (it was hers). Not sure just yet, but it's definitely up there.

              1. re: andytseng

                For a spa after Quintessa and before Meadowwood, consider Solage in Calistoga and Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. Both are spectacular places in excellent hotels. Both are excellent as well for a cocktail before your dinner.

                Your drive back to Sonoma after a late dinner at Meadowwood would concern me. With the length of that day and the wonderful wine pairings available at dinner, I'd stay in the area (eg Solage) or use a car service.

                Soleil Restaurant
                625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                1. re: cortez

                  I will definitely consider those spas on my next trip. I ended up at Indian Springs, doing the volcanic ash mud bath, which was decent.

                  The drive back to Sonoma was very late, but luckily, the spa treatment included 2 ~15 minute naps, so by the time we were headed to dinner, we were completely refreshed and recharged.

                  Also, we always just split 1 wine pairing, cuz the S.O. usually taps out pretty early.

                  1. re: andytseng

                    Good choice. Indian Springs has the best mud.