A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to visit Napa Valley, along with Big Sur, Pebble Beach and San Francisco with a couple of my best girl friends. It was my first time to California and I'll be honest I was not really sure what to expect. All I can say is that everything far exceeded my expectations!
Our first day we rolled into Napa and visited Artesa where we were given a private tour of the vineyard. I loved learning about the process of making champagne and how it differs from making wine. Next we visited Domaine Carneros for a late afternoon tasting. They have a gorgeous patio that overlooks their vineyards. I'll tell you... drinking champagne overlooking Napa Valley with your best friends is a pretty great way to start off a girls weekend.
Our second day in Napa started with a sunrise hot air balloon ride. If you ever have the chance to do this ABSOLUTELY DO IT! Without a doubt this was my favorite thing we did the whole trip. The countryside of Napa Valley is breathtaking on its own, but seeing it from the clouds as the sun was just starting to peak above the mountains, surrounded by dozens of colorful hot air balloons was an experience that I will never forget. Our ride was with Aloft balloon rides and everything was absolutely perfect. Our guide was hilarious and told us all about the different vineyards scattered throughout the valley. Our ride was followed by a toast and champagne brunch to celebrate the experience.
Even though we were already full from our brunch with Aloft, we just had to stop by the Bouchon Bakery for some coffee and macaroons- who could resist, right? We had been to Bouchon for dinner the night before and it was amazing. Everyone kept raving about the bakery and so we knew that we had to try it! Not only is the shop adorable, but their pastries are some of the best I have had. It's definitely worth a visit!
Our next stop was to Chandon where we took another private tour and finished with a tasting. The grounds at Chandon are like something out of a post card. I could have sat in those adirondack chairs all afternoon sipping champagne and taking in the scenery.
Next we made our way to V. Sattui for a wine tasting. It was our first stop at a wine vineyard believe it or not... up until then we had mostly been drinking champagne. V. Sattui has some amazing wines and what is interesting about their vineyard is that they only sell their wines on site. You cant even get their bottles in stores around Napa. They also have a great marketplace as part of their grounds. It has all kinds of unique foods and treats to pair with their wines as well as gifts and of course bottles wine.
We finished off our Napa adventure at Charles Krug. They have the most beautiful wine cellar with these gorgeous blonde and red wine barrels. Charles Krug is still a family run vineyard and I loved learning more about their history.
If you are planning to head out to Napa check out Visit Napa Valley. They were a huge help to us as we planned our trip and we definitely got to experience some things we would have otherwise missed without them!
Our next stop was Big Sur and it was incredible! Again, I didn't feel like we were still in the States. We drove down Hwy 1 along the coast which is an absolute must do if you are ever out there. I wish I could have driven more of it. We stopped for lunch at a really cool spot called Nepenthe. It was like a treehouse on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.... needless to say the view was incredible and the food was pretty hard to beat.
That night we drove up the highway to Pebble Beach and stayed at the Inn at Spanish Bay. Oh my gosh yall... this place is no joke. The hotel itself is gorgeous, but the view is even better. They have this amazing patio with fire pits and tons of benches and blankets. We had happy hour drinks and watched the sun set over the water while a bagpipe player played nearby. It felt like a scene from a movie. The resort is known for its golf course (which is amazing from what I saw)... I am not even a golfer and I was completely in awe.
We ended our trip back in San Fran. It was fun to be back in the hustle and bustle of the city for a night. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge (another must do) and went to see the Painted Ladies houses. If you want a good view of the Golden Gate drive to the other side of the bay across from the city.
I'll never forget the adventures and fun memories made on this trip. One thing that the Lord keeps teaching me is that life is not what you expect it to be. With every disappointment comes new life. I didn't expect to be where I am today, but then again, I might have never had this trip, with these friends, making such wonderful memories. There's a silver lining to every storm I guess. Some are just a little bit easier to see than others.