Sunday, August 27, 2017

Napa 2017

The big last vacation of the summer is in the books! My mom and I enjoyed 5 great days on the west coast, exploring Napa Valley. This trip helped cement the fact that I am much more of a west coast kind of gal...the easy going, laid back atmosphere meshes really well with my personality. Can't wait for the day when the rest of the fam gets to experience the joys of the California sun!

On our way! The flight was fantastic, and not full, so we were able to travel very comfortably...

Great art piece at SFO...all saxophones

We decided to view the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore the Presidio before we headed north to Napa.

We enjoyed a fantastic dinner in downtown Napa at Carpe Diem...I'm going to try to recreate the meal at home. Yum!

Friday, 8/18: We hit up Sterling Vineyards (Calistoga, CA,) and took the tram up to the top. What an amazing view, fun self-guided tour, and good wines!

Before leaving Sterling, we relaxed for a bit with wine and cheese, while drinking in the glorious view of Napa Valley.

We then went across the valley and had a completely different experience at Castello di Amorosa. It's a castle built with bricks from European buildings, and included a chapel, Great Hall, dungeon, and a very fun tasting experience.

 Luis, our tasting guru, made the event super fun!

We wrapped up the day with a good ol' meal from In-n-Out. SO GOOD.

Saturday, 8/19: On a whim, we headed to Sequoia Grove in Rutherford. It paid off, as it was a friendly and fun experience, where we accidentally partnered with some wine club members...but we ended up getting way more pours than we planned for!

But before we went there, we stopped at Target...because, why not?! I love that there is wine on display there...

A well-manicured palm tree at Sequoia Grove

Tom, the man who made the Sequoia Grove experience a hoot!

Our last stop was a bit of a disappointment, but at least we had a 75% success rate, overall. At HALL Winery, we tried some very expensive wine...but the atmosphere wasn't exactly what we were looking for...

Sunday, 8/20: We decided to spend the last day exploring downtown Napa...what a quaint town. Lots of shopping and food!

The Napa River...we saw it when it was a tiny little creek north in the valley, and later as big, flowing river in the town.

This is a neat 9/11 Memorial placed in downtown Napa

A mural on a building in Napa

The art piece is titled "The Immigrants"...all family members are facing forward, except for the mom, who is looking back to ensure ties between the old life and the new one. 

I needed a break from all of the wine!

Ava and G had fun hanging out with Daddy while I was gone...but it was really good to see them all when I got home. It was a whirlwind week since I came back...getting caught up at work, a birthday party for one of G's buddies/Ava's 4th grade assessment (out of 300 words, the only one she mispronounced was "decimal"!!) on Wednesday, an all-company/all-day event for me on Thursday, and a 10 hour adventure to the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. All fun stuff, but busy times!

The brand new Ferris wheel at the State Fair - so big!

Hanging out with Mom, Dad, and Scott...trying to escape the rain at the fair

So this is how they dry off the Giant Slide!

We were able to enjoy the fireworks as we walked to the bus to head home

The Goers men have matching hats - cute!

Time to get back into the schedule of life...Scott's canning salsa, I'm doing laundry, and the kids will be enjoying the afternoon before heading back to busy plans tomorrow at daycare/child care!