Patio at Stanly Ranch; beek sandals (code MYSTYLEDIARIES10 for 10% off)
A couple of weeks ago Eric and I spent three nights in Napa, and it was maybe one of the best trips we’ve taken. I had been to Napa once several years ago, but Eric had never been. To be honest, it wasn’t even fully on our radar because of the whole flying into San Francisco or Oakland and then renting/hiring a car for the hour plus drive to Napa thing. In general, San Francisco is just not on my to-do list for a long weekend, don’t come for me.
But game changer alert – JSX now flies directly from Orange County to Concord Airport, which was about a 25-30 minute Uber ride to our hotel. JSX is a great airline with no security, no bag fees, no BS – you show up 20 minutes before your flight and hop on. Where they fly is limited, but the prices are actually more affordable than other airlines – it’s pretty wild. We’ve had some delays with them, but for the most part, it’s been nice experiences.
So we booked the flight, made some plans, and once we were in Napa, it was pretty much all smooth sailing. We met some amazing people and had some great food and wine. When the weekend was over, I think we both agreed that we’ll be back soon. Below, sharing a little itinerary of our weekend and some places that are definitely worth checking out. Until next time, Napa!
Where We Stayed: Stanly Ranch
Once we decided on a little trip to Napa, finding the hotel was the first piece of the puzzle. In random searches I kept coming across Stanly Ranch, and it stayed in my mind as the place I had to book. If you’ve ever stayed at an Auberge property before, then you know the level of service, the food, the rooms, the grounds and amenities – it just can’t be beat. It’s definitely a pricy choice, but after looking into a few wineries and dinner spots and being completely overwhelmed, I was sold on the fact that the Stanly Ranch Concierge would just figure it all out for me.
And that they did. Cam from Concierge killed it with the best itinerary. After a phonecall and a couple of emails figuring out our preferences, Cam booked all of our winery tastings, a driver for the day (if you can request Logan, DO IT), and dinner reservations for all three nights. His recommendations were spot on, and when we wanted to add a Sunday tasting last-minute, he was right on that as well.
The hotel itself is spacious and beautiful, and our room was just perfect. I don’t know how I didn’t get a photo of our bathroom with a standalone tub, outdoor shower, and heated floors – so nice. We loved having our little firepit patio to come home to, and it was the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast every day. I didn’t get a chance to check out the spa as it was fully booked for the weekend (should’ve booked ahead with Cam), but the restaurant is amazing and the boutique on property is a tiny Saks. If you contact them ahead of time they’ll stock it with your style and size. I didn’t do that but still managed to do a little damage. There are house cars on property, and when the valet isn’t busy, they’ll drop you off at local spots which was a nice little perk. Overall the stay was excellent, and I’d highly recommend.
Dinner at Bear at Stanly Ranch – I knew that our first night in Napa we probably wouldn’t want to get to the hotel and then rush off to dinner reservations, so I scheduled an early dinner at Bear at Stanly Ranch. And after a couple hours of flight delays leaving Orange County, I was really happy about that decision. When we arrived to the hotel, we checked in, dropped our bags with the bell desk, and headed straight to dinner. (Luckily, it’s pretty casual.) We sat outside on their patio, and it was truly just a lovely, delicious way to start the trip. We loved the Kampachi and Crispy Rice apps followed by the Tiger Prawns and Whole Trout. Yum!
Breakfast at Stanly Ranch – We had tons of breakfast recommendations around Napa from friends, but we loved our room and our little firepit patio so much that we decided to just order breakfast to our patio every morning. And given the chance, I’d do the same thing again. I highly recommend the Spicy Tomato Poached Eggs, and Eric really loved the Wild Salmon Gravlax with the Buckwheat Waffle. So good.
Progeny – This was our first stop on Friday, our wine-tasting day, and it was a really beautiful start to the day. We were greeted by our host Anthony who was fun and funny and bubbly and just so knowledgeable – it was clear that we were in good hands. We booked a wine and cheese pairing experience, and it was a very private, personal tasting in their beautiful library. Literally, I think Eric and I were the only guests on the property at the time. Their Reserve Cabs are delicious, and we loved the thoughtful food pairings – I could eat that ricotta stuffed peach bite every single day.
Hudson Ranch – Our second winery stop was more of a (giant) ranch vibe and included a beautiful farm tour of their home-grown veggies, flowers, and championship gourds. (Seriously, gourds hanging from a lattice ceiling that were taller than us and destined for a local gourd competition.) We roamed around, tasted some fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes, and took in some giant sunflowers before sitting down to a beautiful sunroom style tasting. We tried their Chardonnays, a couple of red blends, fresh pressed olive oil, and some duck fat popcorn that Eric loved. Chardonnays aren’t really my vibe, but Eric said those were really good as well.
Hammel Family Wines – Our third and final stop of the day took us to Sonoma which was a little further out than I wanted to go, but I’m so glad that we went. (Also, it was only about 20-25 minutes, not bad.) Hammel Family Wines is situated up high and boasts some pretty incredible views. We had a private tasting in their indoor salon followed by a brief cave tour to see how the wines are aged, stored, closely watched, all that jazz. I thought it was interesting, and we loved their reds so much we decided to join their club.
Dinner at The French Laundry – It’s a Napa Valley staple and a place that Eric and I both wanted to try. (Don’t tell him I told you, but Eric has a French Laundry cookbook that you’ll find him flipping through from time to time.) Reservations are tough, but we got on a waitlist thanks to a friend’s recommendation about 3-4 weeks out. They called me the week of our trip to offer us a 4:00 reservation for Thursday and (thankfully with our flight delays) we decided to take a chance, turn it down, and get back on the waitlist. We lucked out and got in on Friday night, and it was an incredible experience. We chose a Chef’s Tasting Menu along with a wine pairing, and they took care of the rest. It was a splurge in every way possible, but it was something that we’re glad we did.
Lunch at Morimoto Napa – After our very full Friday, Saturday morning started off nice and slow, and I was so glad that we hadn’t made any plans. After coffee and breakfast at the hotel and a quick dip in the spa, we decided to roam into downtown Napa around midday. We both love sushi, so Morimoto was an easy choice. (I’m also obsessed with their Black Cod dish after having it in Hawaii last year.) We sat at the bar, had a nice little low-key lunch, and then roamed a bit around Downtown Napa afterwards. There were some cute little spots for wine-tasting along the river, but we decided to skip and head back to the hotel for the afternoon.
Dinner at Press Napa – Press was another recommendation by our hotel concierge, and it was another hit. It’s a small-ish St. Helena Michelin-Starred restaurant, and anytime we mentioned to anyone that we were going to Press, they told us how great it was. We were seated on the patio, which to be honest was a little meh in atmosphere, but the service and food definitely made up for it. We did the Tasting Menu, and I’m sure I’m not supposed to say this, but I liked the food here better than The French Laundry. More my style, not SO out there. The soft shell crab app was the best I’ve ever had. Also, a soft pretzel served with caviar. Sign me up.
Cuvaison – We only made wine-tasting plans and reservations on Friday and kept the rest of the weekend open, but by Saturday night, we realized we should pick out one more winery for Sunday since our flight wasn’t until 4:00. I emailed the concierge at Stanly Ranch and just asked for “something near the hotel” and he suggested Cuvaison. It far exceeded my expectations with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the entire beautiful property. It was more of a relaxed vibe with a couple of comfy couches which we loved for our last day. This was also the only winery where Eric could taste some whites and reds and I could stick to all reds. It was the perfect last winery for our trip.
Lunch at Bouchon – After Cuvaison, we decided to head into Yountville for lunch. We didn’t have reservations which can be a little problematic on a busy Sunday, but we were lucky enough to score a couple of bar seats (which we kind of prefer over a table anyway) at Bouchon. There we got a little rundown of the area (Yountville seems to be the spot to be, and next time we will definitely spend a little more time there), and I had the best French onion soup of my life. I tried to share it with Eric, but he was chatting and somehow it just disappeared. Before heading to the airport, we also managed to snag some to-go goodies from Bouchon Bakery up the street to take home with us.
Tasting experience at Progeny
Ulla Johnson dress; French Connection heels; Bottega bag; Isabel Marant sunglasses
Tasting Room at Hudson Ranch
Farm Rio dress; Tod’s bag; Isabel Marant sunglasses
Breakfast at Stanly Ranch
Amanda Uprichard dress; Amazon heels; Bottega bag
Tasting Menu at Press Napa
Tasting Room at Cuvaison
Outdoor Patio at Cuvaison
Pool at Stanly Ranch
Isabel Marant sweatshirt; beek sandals (code MYSTYLEDIARIES10 for 10% off)
Denim skort; t-shirt bodysuit; H&M cardigan; beek sandals (code MYSTYLEDIARIES10 for 10% off); Bottega tote