For the past few years, my boyfriend and I have made a tradition of going away for New Year’s Eve. As part of my Christmas gift this year, my boyfriend planned a trip for us to Napa. I had never been and I enjoy wine tasting, so I was looking forward to exploring the area, tasting some nice wines, and celebrating the new year. We stayed at the River Terrace Inn which had a nice balcony overlooking the little river (where I spent a morning reading with coffee) and a jacuzzi tub (where all weekend long I was like “Be right back; I’ll be in the tub!”). For our first night we tried Taste of the Himalayas, a nice Nepalese/Tibetan/Indian restaurant in an old adobe home. The food was pretty good (we got the pakoras appetizer, the chana masala, and the vegetable tandoori) but the location was really beautiful.
I really loved the art inside the restaurant and how I could see some of the original wall through glass, framed by the new wall set up over it. The built-in shelves, filled with spices and bottles of wine, were unique and even they even kept the original fireplace through the renovation. The doorways were very low, both getting in and out of the building as well as going to the bathroom, but the beautiful wood ceiling was high enough so the overall space did not feel cramped.
That night we opened a bottle of champagne, filtered through the channels for a glimpse of the ball drop in New York, and celebrated 2015 at its midnight birth. After a restful night’s sleep, we woke slowly in the morning with coffee and reading. Unfortunately, the tire on our car had been putting up quite the fit over the previous few weeks and we soon discovered on our way up to Napa that it was in urgent need of attention. A three-inch nail had somehow found its way into the tire and the tire flattened almost entirely overnight.
Every vacation, no matter how small, has the potential for stress. Just like the bedbugs in Hawaii and the cockroaches in Spain, the tire in Napa threatened to kill our good moods as we got hungry and a little frustrated. My boyfriend volunteered to take care of it and we decided to spend the rest of the day on the spare since auto shops weren’t open on the holiday. Because of the spare, we sought food and activities that would not require driving on the highway. Luckily, the restaurant I planned on taking my boyfriend to (as part of my Christmas present to him) was just down the street from us. Over some sushi and roasted potatoes for me, bone marrow and spicy chirashi for him, delicious cocktails, and great conversation, we ended our day well. The sorbet trio didn’t hurt, either.
The following day was spent driving through grape country, stopping at a few wineries along the way. We first stopped at Black Stallion Winery whose exciting stallion statue was much more impressive than the wines. We then made our way over to the Robert Mondavi Winery which was very beautiful. Not only did this vineyard have the traditional tasting room and bar, but there was a beautiful outdoor patio with a breathtaking view of the vineyard and the backdrop of the surrounding valley’s hills. We chose a flight and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air. Before leaving we made a stop at the gift shop to pick up a bottle of each of our favorite wines. We made a quick stop at V. Sattui Winery before heading back to the hotel.
Overall, Napa was both exactly what I was expecting and not what I was expecting. I suppose I was expecting Napa to be a bit more glamorous or unusual, but growing up in the central coast of California groomed me for familiarity in “wine country” wherever that may be. While Napa felt more comfortable than exotic, it was certainly an enjoyable trip (take that, tire!) and I would definitely visit again. Maybe next year we’ll spring for something totally new? Who knows…
Do you have any fun New Year traditions?
Have you ever been to Napa?