I’m going to go out on a limb and posit something rather controversial (stay with me now) – weekend getaways are the absolute best, and it’s important to go on them as often as you can, and Napa is Disneyland for grown-ups (I warned you you’d be shocked – shocked!)
It’s a pretty common topic amongst travel writers (and SEOers) – 3 days at, 24 hours in, where to go in Napa when you only have half a tank of gas and a prayer, that sort of thing. We realized it was our anniversary late in the week (and by we, I mean me – Ben had already started planning this all), and Ben was able to secure one night at the Cottages at Napa Valley (quite possibly the most underrated and excellent accommodation in Wine Country, hands down). We woke up Saturday morning, hastily packed a bag – I still think I’m 0 for a million for remembering toothpaste – strapped the bikes on the back of the car and drove over the newly-staff-free Golden Gate Bridge towards my own personal heaven, racing the threatening rain to ensure we’d get a ride in before dinner.
So it has to be said – what the crap can anyone, at all, say about Napa that hasn’t already been written? I know it’s a writing cliche to write about writing cliches, BUT COME ON. Everything was magical. It smelled amazing, the scent of eucalyptus wind blocks on the vineyards intermingling with the heavy humidity and bustling kitchens of Yountville. Our forty-miler up 29, cutting across at Calistoga and down the Silverado Trail, was the kind of “thing to do” that whole entire guidebooks are dedicated to: flat, speedy, and absa-freaking-lutely amazing. The weather held up until the bitter end, with hot sun and scattered cloud giving way to a warm and welcomed shower and rainbow (I MAY have heard someone shout “what does it mean“, like for reals.)
I mean, how can anyone ever say anything original about how freaking awesome your bed and breakfast was? About how the second we checked in, muddy and sweaty from the last 30 minutes of the ride, resembling starving hipster drowned rats in local beer jerseys, the fabulous staff at the Cottages welcomes us with hot towels and a bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc? About how I may have drained out the entirety of Hetch Hetchy having bath after wonderful, nearly-scalding bath in our obscenely large tub, regaining the sanity and strength left un-tapped after 4 years of a bathless abode? About how ever single detail in the cottage was mindful, how the robes were perferctly comfy and warm, how the cheerful staff drove us to dinner and politely laughed at the amateur-hour banter emanating from our seat (thank you, don’t forget to tip your waitress.)
I MEAN COME ON, who the eff wants to read about how the clerk at the wine store in V Marketplace was able to find us a great cigar and bottle of bubbles for $20 to take home? About how we naturally found ourselves at the bar at our favorite Yountville standard Bistro Jeanty, sipping Lillet cocktails evoking our time in France while people-watching locals? How our amazing B+B picked us up and drove us back, so we could sit on our comically oversized bed and catch up on Game of Thrones? SERIOUSLY. Who wants to read that when you can just curse at someone’s oversharing Foursquare feed (“OMG THIS PLACE IS AMAAAAAAZING”) and feel superior to unnecessarily-filtered travel snapshots on Instagram?
Why? BECAUSE WE NEEDED TO and we had an amazing time and so I’m writing about it. Because sometimes you spend a little bit of extra money to play tourist in one of the most popular destinations in California. Because it meant something to cruise down the valley on a speedy bike, stopping in fancy tasting rooms along the way and tracking in hard-earned mud. Because it’s important to invest the time to get away, turn off your work email, and enjoy traditionally enjoyable places (there’s a reason they’re super popular.) Not because you’re first, not because you’re seeing what someone else told you to, not because it gives your some kind of moral-superiority about doing something “no one else” does. Because YOU like it, because it takes you away, and because it makes you happy. Because that’s what travel freaking does.
Oh, and we found the absolutely most fabulous roadside beer bar ever in the history of the world on a detour, but that’s for another seo-friendly “off-the-beaten-path” post.