Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weekend goodness: wine country getaway

In recent weeks, Mitch and I had been umming and ahhing over how to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Over the years, we've always celebrated our anniversary in style and I didn't want this big one to become overlooked just because my due date is so close. We took our child free getaway when we were in Australia - staying at the Sheraton, Noosa where we kicked off our honeymoon all those years ago so we wanted to go somewhere as a family this time; our last getaway together as a family of three.

Finally, we decided to take a night away in the Napa valley. Yes, wine country. Wine country while heavily pregnant and with a toddler in tow. Call us crazy? Well, the best adventures always have a little crazy in them and despite the torrential rain (seriously - it was FLOODING in Sonoma county when we left) and the fact that I came home sick as a dog (thanks, flu season), it was still a great getaway.

We've lived in the bay area for almost two years now and I really can't figure out why we hadn't made it up to Napa/Sonoma until now. It's under 2 hours from home and I was amazed at how child friendly some of the wineries were. We chose to do the most touristy places for our first visit (and the ones that would entertain the little guy the most) and visited Castello di Amorosa and Sterling Vineyards in the Napa region.

Castello di Amorosa - aka the castle winery - was actually really pretty. Even after having spent years with real castles on our doorstep in Holland, this one was still impressive. Mr Oliver LOVED it! He had been talking about going to the castle ever since we booked our night away and it didn't disappoint - especially as he was given white grape juice to taste, his verdict being 'mmmm it's sweet Mummy'.

Sterling Vineyard was only minutes away from the castle, and accessed by an aerial tram (cable car) up the mountain. The tasting involved walking around the winery at your own pace with tastings set up along the way. At the end there was a great outdoor patio which on a clear day would have had lovely views of the area.

Accommodation was difficult to find last minute for only one night, so we ended up staying in downtown Napa at the Westin Verasa. It was lovely and walking distance to the fun little Oxbow Public Market. We had a huge suite and the hotel had complimentary wine tasting, tapas & massages in the lobby every evening. It was really child friendly - Oliver was given a fun kids activity pack when we checked in and no-one seemed to mind him running crazily around the hotel. The hotel even surprised us after we got back from dinner that night with a bottle of champagne... Oh how I miss being able to drink!

We also took a quick stop in Sonoma county, to visit a winery recommended by a friend: Imagery Estate Winery. According to Mitch, the wine here was pretty awesome, so much so that he actually joined their wine club. I only wish the weather would've been better, as this winery had a great outdoor picnic area and was super kid friendly.

This past weekend was definitely a great introduction to our local wine country, although I have to say the experience would've been improved had I been able to drink! There were a few activities we had planned that we had to skip due to the weather, but it was still a fun albeit soggy getaway. We're already plotting out our next trip over the summer - when the weather is warmer, hopefully not raining and our newest little boy is here... I can't wait :-)

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  1. I went to Castello di Amorosa last summer and loved it! It was so interesting learning about how they built the castle and where all the different things were imported from.

  2. I've always wanted to visit the Napa. I guess going pregnant is better than not going at all!

  3. This looks amazing! And so much fun, too! Wine country in CA is on my bucket list!


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