Napa Valley Weekend Getaway: Family Friendly Wineries and Delectable Eats
I’ve always wanted to travel to Napa. The appeal of great food and wine, beautiful scenery—Napa just exudes "the good life." But how often do we actually make the leap to take that trip? Not often enough.
So when Hilton invited me to do just that and visit Napa as part of their Hilton #BeAWeekender campaign I jumped at the chance. I love the idea of seeing weekends as mini-vacations, not just a two days to catch up on chores. Travel can be both restorative and reformative. Experiencing a different place gives you context to your own normal life as well as immersing you in another one. How awesome to fit that into a weekend!
We had a great trip to Napa. What I discovered was what you would imagine: incredible food, charming scenery and lots and lots of lots of wineries. The thing I really liked was that each winery we visited offered a slightly different type of experience so the visits weren’t just about tasting wine, but taking in the winery. We did this trip as adults only and, of course, a visit to Napa makes a great adults-only getaway, but the trip works for families too. Many of the wineries are kid-friendly and I’ll share some tips on doing this trip as a family as well.
Our first stop was Long Meadow Ranch which has a great casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Like many of the region’s eateries, locally grown produce is emphasized and at Long Meadow Ranch you can actually walk through the gardens or buy produce at the on site farmer’s market before or after your meal.
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is very family friendly. While parents eat and enjoy the surroundings, kids can climb on the tractor, run around the grounds and there are regular family-friendly concerts on the grounds. Wine and olive oil tastings are offered in the marketplace. The Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc was a favorite with our group from all the wines we tasted in Napa.
Grgrich Wines is possibly the most fun stop for kids and adults alike. Don’t miss the grape stomping, which is silly in the best way. After making like Lucy and Ethel, you can taste some grapes right off the vine in the demonstration vineyard. Grgrich has a lovely patio for wine tastings and offers juices and snacks for the kids.
Famous for the giant “Chrome Bunny” sculpture by the entrance, Hall Winery adds a little modern flair to the traditional Napa rustic-chic. Unfortunately children are not allowed on tours, but they are allowed in the tasting hall and to explore the beautiful grounds, which host many artworks, including a set of willow huts that invite you into them like a mystical landscape. Indoors you can see wine production in action, if your timing is good, or just enjoy some delicious wines enhanced by the incredible views.
The tour at Domaine Chandon, makers of fine sparkling wines, is very different from Hall Wines. The focus is on the cellars and the process of creating champagne. But the real highlight of here is Etoile, their fine dining restaurant. The food is exquisite, from the enormous charcuterie plate (our table of five couldn’t even finish it) to my linguine with mushrooms and truffles, and, of course, an incredible wine list. Domaine Chandon also has large park-like grounds that are lovely to stroll.
My weekend in Napa basically consisted of two things, wineries and stuffing my face with incredible food. In addition to the meals I’ve already mentioned, we had a great meal at Redd. Known as one of the best restaurants in the area, but comfortable enough to bring kids to, I enjoyed a very grown-up meal of caramelized diver scallops, tuna tartare and a delicious kale and mushroom salad.
One of my favorite meals was at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, a cosy upscale comfort food establishment serving huge portions of eclectic takes on American favorites. The grown-up grilled cheese is a favorite and my only regret about my duck tostada is that I was too full to eat it all. A signature dessert sums up Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen well. The campfire pie is basically a very fancy s’more with marshmallow meringue. Yum.
The perfect finish to our indulgent weekend was a stop at the Oxbow Public Market, a food hall selling locally produced foods. I picked up some samples of my culinary adventures to re-create a little Napa-in-NY with my kids once I returned home—Marin French Cheese Company’s Triple Creme Brie with Truffles now has a new 11 year old devotee. Eating my perfect almond croissant and chai outside the Model Bakery in the morning sun was the perfect au revoir to Napa before heading home.
My trip to Napa was a wonderful weekend escape, a chance to recharge and indulge in the pleasures of life while expanding my boundaries. Before visiting Napa the idea of doing a wine tasting was a little intimidating. It feels like something you need to know how to do right, like a professional—like speaking French in Paris. But that wasn’t my experience at all. Every place we visited was very relaxed. The people would give us some pointers and facts on wine, but never in a way that made me feel insecure.
While Napa may be one of the best grown-up getaways, I’d love to take my kids there as well. If you go with a family, the Embassy Suites or Homewood Suites both offer family sized rooms with kitchens and pools. At the Embassy Suites, you can end your day by sitting by one of the fire pits with a glass of wine while children enjoy the ducks and swans that live in the small pond. Or schedule a spa treatment at Homewood Suites’s on-site spa. Either way, you can get triple points at these or any participating Hilton family property as part of Hilton HHonors Triple Your Trip promotion. To #BeAWeekender yourself, visit hiltonweekends.com.
So what are you waiting for? Book your dream mini-vacation now. The weekend is almost here.
This post is sponsored by Hilton. All opinions are those of the author alone.