A few years ago Chris and I were talking about where we would love to live. We like Orlando but it is always fun to think about a change. Chris decided he wanted to move to Napa Valley and run a winery (you would think he was 40-something and going through a mid-life crisis LOL!). Chris started marketing to the area and we started to book weddings in the Napa Valley area. Chris still gets VERY excited anytime we have a Napa inquiry from a bride!
We were there recently for a wedding and we stayed for a week after to enjoy the area and relax. One of our favorite places is Round Pond Winery in Rutherford. We are a member of their club and we look forward to our shipments we get form them!
If Round Pond does weddings we would love to photograph one there! The grounds are awesome and they have these huge glass front doors that open all the way up to the round window:
A self portrait at Round Pond Winery:
And the best part of Round Pond? Their olive oil! They have an olive oil tasting across the street and it is an awesome experience. I highly recommend it!
Another favorite location of ours up in Calistoga is Solage. It has gorgeous grounds and a great restaurant called SolBar. They have a lawn for weddings and receptions, too.
The cottages you stay in are so cute!
I love the brown grass!
Then another spot we love is Auberge du Soleil. We made reservations for the patio at sunset and we happened to be there when they were having a wedding on the patio below! I was so excited!
And one of my favorite wineries for just relaxing out back is Paraduxx near Yountville. It has the best atmosphere – the music, the wine in the stemless Riedel glasses, the guests with their dogs relaxing next to them, etc. We could have sat out back all day.
Then over in Yountville there are lots of top notch restaurants. We tried to get in to French Laundry before we left Florida but of course they were booked. It is considered one of the best, if not the best, restaurants in the US. So we settled for another Thomas Keller restaurant – Ad Hoc. We heard that the fried chicken night is the best so we were hoping for it. Ad Hoc has a different menu every night and you don’t have a choice on what you eat. We did get lucky and had the fried chicken and it was great! But we were probably not as impressed as others – we think it is because we are from the south where you can eat fried chicken any day of the week. But in healthy California I think fried chicken is rare!
Another great restaurant in Yountville is Bouchon. It has a bakery next door where you can walk in and get sandwiches, macarons, coffee, etc. And over at the Bardessono Resort they have an awesome restaurant. Next time we go to Napa we are going to stay at Bardessono. It is a very modern resort and the grounds are gorgeous! Now that is where we need to book a wedding! If you are getting married there please call us! Chris will be so excited!
And on a last note – we were in Napa when we knew we were getting a puppy. We were trying to come up with names because we knew we would be picking him up from the breeder as soon as we got back to Orlando. The James Cole winery inspired us with the name “Cole” and we also liked “Rutherford” from the nearby town in Napa Valley. So it was decided: Uptown Rutherford Cole. But when we met with Kiersten the breeder she mentioned that there was another Cole in a previous litter from Jeweli (the mother). So then we changed his name to Uptown Rutherford James.