Thinking of visiting the Napa Valley and surroundings.When nwould be the best time of year to visit?Open to any good experiences on where to stay, eat, drink and be merry.Are there any LL properties you can suggest available at auction?
I'd recommend going in the autumn, when the leaves on the vines turn to fire and the crisp nights make a crackling fire in the log fireplaces in many of the winelands inns a great way to end the day. Absolutely stunning!
Personally I prefer Napa to Sonoma, as I love going to Yountville for the restaurants. I'd recommend Bistro Jeanty, and of course French Laundry if you can get in.
Right now it looks like there are a few Winelands properties at auction - the Blackbird Inn and 1801 First, both of which are in downtown Napa. Personally I prefer St Helena to Napa -- even though it's known as the Napa Valley the nicest vineyards and inns are closer to St Helena -- but the downtown area of Napa is quaint and would be a nice place to stay. Auberege du Soleil is my top recommendation but I haven't seen it on LL (yet).
Just got back from Sonoma last weekend. We'd been to Napa, which is amazing, but this time we wanted to try something different.
We spent the day in Healdsburg, which was easy to get to because it's right off of Highway 101. We found a handful of good wineries, including J, Simi, Unti, Seghesio, and Papapietro-Perry. I think Papapietro had the best wine, but their tasting room wasn't much to look at. J was beautiful, and if we'd had more time I would have liked to take the tour at Seghesio. Unti is a family-run operation housed in a little barn, which had a lot of character.
For dinner, we went to Ravenous, which is a Wine Spectator award winner. Very casual and lively, which is what we were up for. It was good, but not great. The food was unremarkable. If we had it to do again, we'd go to Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen, which I'm guessing is pretty special, and probably stay at Sonoma Mission Inn.
Hope this helps. If you're looking for tips on Napa, I can give you some as well.
The Sonoma Mission is a great suggestion for a place to stay, it is actually located in Boyes Hot Springs, about 5 minutes from downtown Sonoma. Some great places to dine in the area include: girl and the fig, Cafe La Haye, the Swiss Hotel, the El Dorado Kitchen and the General's Daughter.
In Napa Valley, we have enjoyed stays at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena, the Yountville Inn & the Villagio Inn & Spa (their new spa will be completed this year) and in Calistoga, the Indian Springs Resort is very, very nice. The lodging here is in bungalow-style cottages and they have a very large Olympic size pool that is open until midnight for resort guests. If you just go for a mud bath or spa treatment, you may use pool until 5:00. Wappo Bar & Bistro is a very nice place for a meal in Calistoga, we like to dine out under the wisteria vines here.
In the Healdsburg area, the Hotel Healdsburg is very contemporary and centrally located, the Dry Creek Kitchen is very good, our room included the tasting meal here which was nice, check out their website for packages. Cyrus was amazing when we dined here last March, we are planning another visit to the area this month to check out some more wineries and restaurants in the Healdsburg area. I have heard great things about the Honor Mansion here.