We recently spent a few days in Napa Valley on a California trip to visit friends and family. After two years in living Bordeaux, what a fabulous and interesting experience being back in Northern California. This portion of our trip was about hiking, wine, and food …and we threw in relaxation. Most noteworthy, our amazing vacation rental helped with that last one! If you’re going to Napa and need a place to stay, read on.
Ch, Ch, Changes
The food and wine culture in Napa is definitely different than Bordeaux, and something we miss (…although we’re not suffering either). And so much in downtown Napa changed since exiting California in 2015 including new and altered eateries, and CIA at Copia.
When we first started coming to Napa twenty years ago, the downtown area was fairly sleepy with action happening elsewhere. While the later still holds true, central Napa is active- a case for staying downtown!
Eat Great Food
This part of our trip wasn’t about high-end dining, but instead, easy local. We arrived at Azzurro Pizzeria e Enoteca hungry our first night and left grinning. The type of grin that shows one is comfortably satiated and slightly tipsy… that was us.
Oxbow Market is another eclectic food spot. From there we wandered across the parking lot to CIA at Copia and happily supported a tasting fundraiser for fire victims. Nothing like spontaneity.
Breathe The Air
Mark and I love nothing more than an energizing morning huff before wine tasting. One of our favorite Napa hiking areas is Napa-Bothe State Park. It’s an easy 20-minute drive from downtown and the hikes range from Sunday strolling to major workouts. Several other hikes exist in the valley too but Napa-Bothe… well it just works.
Stay in a Fabulous House
One of the remarkable parts of our visit was where we stayed …and we especially wanted to share.
About 10 years ago, I met Dennis at a demonstration cooking class he was giving. Dennis is a great chef, and he and his wife Mary ran a popup kitchen in their home, where I ended up helping him on occasion. Dennis and Mary have since become dear friends.
A few years ago they bought a two-bedroom place in the city of Napa as a weekend hangout. They since poured a lot of effort into fixing it up. A cabinetmaker in his former professional life, Dennis did fabulous work. Mark, as a serial house remodeler himself, was blown away by his quality and attention to detail with the new wood floors, moldings, tile work, and painting. And the kitchen …well since Dennis loves to cook, he furnished it such that you can actually cook, including sharp knives!
Mary is an accomplished artist bringing her talents to bear on the furnishings and decoration; many pieces of her own art are in the space. All together it has the feel of a Zen five-star resort that was truly relaxing and comfortable. Having been on the road pretty much since November, it crossed our minds to move in permanently …but alas.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s at the foot of the Silverado Trail, and a stone’s throw from Copia?!
This is an unapologetic plug for both their rental house and Mary’s art. We want to support the efforts of our friends and perhaps connect them with some of our other friends. You can reach them regarding the house at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can also check out Mary’s artwork on her website at http://www.marykercherart.com/