Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Family weekend in Napa

So it has been raining a lot around these parts - I mean a lot!!! I must say for the most part I don't mind it. We really need the rain and for once it is kind of nice to feel like we are having an actual winter season. One problem I have with it though are long weekends trapped inside all day with the kids - yikes!! We were coming up on a three day weekend and the weather report showed three days of rain - oh my. Late Thursday afternoon just before I picked the kids up from school I started brainstorming how we were not only going to survive this weekend but also have a little fun in the process. As usual it was during one of my long runs that I came up with my plan of action - NAPA!!! Not sure why Napa popped into my head but it did and once I start coming up with a plan it is hard for me to move past it. The minute I got home I started looking up hotels in Napa with indoor heated pools. What better way to use up crazy indoor energy than swimming? I was super excited when I found a Napa Embassy Suites with an indoor pool - hooray! For those of you who travel with kids you have probably figured out by now that Embassy Suites is a great way to go, not only do you get a separate living room with a hide a bed for the kids but every room also includes a full breakfast each morning and a drink and snack reception every evening - Awesome!! So I booked the room, did a little internet research on kid friendly activities in the area, surprised my family with the news that night and we headed out the door Saturday morning for a three day adventure. Here are some of the highlights:

Our first destination was to our favorite place to grab a burger in the Napa Valley - Taylor's in Saint Helena. Yum!!! This place has amazing food, a walk up counter, grassy area in the back with big red picnic tables (perfect for the kids to run around), a wonderful view of the wine train as it passes by, and it serves great Napa wine to go with your gourmet fast food fare. Perfect!!!!

Waving at the wine train from the picnic tables at Taylor's

I knew that Saturday was our best bet for no rain so we went for a hike right after lunch while it was still dry. I found this park online while searching for family friendly hiking in the area and it ended up being perfect!!! Beautiful scenery, great trails for kids, lots of exploring areas, and best of all we found a rope swing at the end of a path hanging from a huge oak tree!!! This was a great, great, great activity.

The hotel itself ended up being a huge highlight of the trip. The indoor pool created a great place for the girls to get all of their energy out while we relaxed in the huge hot tub right next to them. The hotel grounds were beautiful and included a courtyard with a pond and swans - a big hit with the girls. And as I mentioned before the basic Embassy Suite amenities once again did not disappoint. This time during the evening drink and snack reception we took a deck of Crazy Eight cards and had a great time with the kids playing games while enjoying our adult beverages :)

Courtyard of the hotel

Sunday morning we headed out early to begin a day of exploring. First stop: Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma. AWESOME!!!! Again I found this place on the internet and I am so glad we took the time to stop by. We ended up spending almost three hours here letting the kids play in the many different garden/play installments, while the adults enjoyed all of the amazing picture opportunities, unique stores, and yummy food and wine. A perfect wine country experience.

See what I mean by picture taking heaven!!! My lovely husband got me an amazing new camera for Christmas and let's just say I had a field day on this trip particularly at this location :)

This was a great winery to stop at with the kids. The gondola ride was beautiful and entertaining and much of the wine tasting took place while you walked through the building and grounds which kept the little ones entertained. Lastly the formal tasting room had a huge fire going and juice for the kids - absolutely perfect for a rainy day.

Overall this was a wonderful weekend trip and I can't wait to go again. Half the fun was finding out about all of the exciting places we can visit the next time we venture out to Napa. I will post soon on some of these places and on a few more yummy places to eat.

1 comment:

  1. Great family friendly Napa suggestions! We love the Suites too-- you can't beat their free breakfast and evening reception. Yay for a new camera too!