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Travel Guide: Napa Valley for Design Enthusiasts

POSTED BY ELYSE CHAMBERS
JULY 21, 2022
Photo credit: Auberge du Soleil

With so many of our designers in the Bay Area, Napa Valley has become a favorite destination for quick getaways. A place we love, it can also feel tricky to navigate—it can sometimes feel a bit like an adult Disneyland—so we’ve asked our designers for their favorite off-the-radar finds.  The rolling hills, world-class food, sought-after wines and super chic hotels make it a style-worthy escape.  Pour yourself a glass of rosé and get ready to picture yourself in wine country.

 


Where to Stay

Image credit: Solage, an Auberge Resort

Indian Springs  On the north end of the valley in the charming town of Calistoga, the cottages and bungalows are perfect to escape to after strolling along Lincoln Avenue, but we are really here for the pools—the Olympic-sized mineral pool is fed from an on-site geyser.  After a day of wine tasting or bike riding, that’s where you’ll find us.

Solage The white-washed barn architecture, the soaring ceilings, the bocce courts and oversized-pool with private cabanas?  Sign us up.  The spa is spacious and gives us those modern farmhouse vibes we love. 

Auberge du Soleil Perched on a hillside with arguably the best views in the valley, Auberge du Soleil is a classic and was the first luxury hotel in Napa.  No kids allowed makes it the perfect adult-getaway for some romance in wine country.  Dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant and soak in the mineral pools at the spa.  Pro tip, have a glass of bubbly at sunset on the deck of the Bistro.  The height of perfection!

Carneros Resort & Spa We’re sensing a theme in wine country, and that’s just fine with us.  These farmhouse-style bungalows dotted across the 28-acre resort ooze charm.  Each bungalow is outfitted with a rocking chair, outdoor shower and fire pit.  Oh, and did we mention the pool overlooking the neighboring vineyard?  Completely Instagram-worthy.

Hotel Yountville If you want to avoid driving as much as possible during your trip, book a stay at the Hotel Yountville and spend your time wandering around Yountville, the quaint small town that also happens to be home to world-class restaurants like French Laundry and Bouchon.  There are tasting rooms aplenty, too many restaurants to choose from and incredible art to take in.

 

Where to Eat

 Image credit: Charter Oak

 

Charter Oak The classic stone lions out front are a nod to a bygone era, and the warm brick and wood interior provides the perfect compliment to the giant open hearth.  The star of the menu happens to be the vegetables picked from the garden, served with a fermented miso dip that you will think about long after you leave.  The patio is a dreamy place to spend an afternoon.

Bistro Don Giovanni Tucked just off of Highway 29, Bistro Don Giovanni feels a world away.  Transport yourself to Italy with excellent handmade pasta in the outdoor garden and soak up la dolce vita.

Gott’s Roadside  With two locations in Napa, it’s the St. Helena location that serves up that classic drive-in diner feel.  Order a burger and a bottle of wine from the window and eat like a local at one of the red picnic tables on the grass out back.  The mahi mahi tacos and sweet potato fries are crowd favorites.

Bistro Jeanty  The outdoor patio is sought after, but we are partial to the cozy Parisian-feel of the front bar.  Grab a table for two, an order of escargot and feel like you’ve booked a trip to France without needing your passport. 

Model Bakery  Forever on Oprah’s list of favorites, the English muffins are not to be missed.  Pick up a bag of six to take back to your hotel room for a quick, delicious breakfast.

The Station Brought to you by the owner of Gott’s Roadside comes this gas station-turned-breakfast-and-lunch place in downtown St. Helena.  Pose for a picture under the painted “I love you” sign and get a headstart on those holiday cards.

Bouchon Bakery If you’re willing to brave the line that inevitably snakes its way around the block, a trip to Bouchon Bakery is well worth the wait.  The uber charming color palette is the eye candy we love when waiting for the perfect box of macarons.  

 

What to Do

 Image credit: RH Yountville courtesy of AFAR Magazine

Vintage Home Imported linens, rainbow-hued steak knives and Simon Pearce serving dishes satisfy our styling itch at this quintessentially Napa storefront.

Martin Design Completely unexpected in the middle of wine country, interior designer Erin Martin’s showroom is a cool-girl wonderland.  Stop by to see her latest installation and pick up a few art books and knick-knacks while you’re there. 

Napa Valley Olive Oil Company This sort of ramshackle barn exudes old-school Napa Valley charm.  With low, dark ceilings and salami hanging from the rafters, the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company has been in the same spot since 1931.  A jug of their golden olive oil makes the perfect souvenir. 

RH Yountville A feast for the eyes (and your taste buds), RH Younvtille is a 5-building compound, including a wine vault housed in a historic stone building from 1904.  Sip local vintages beneath the crystal chandelier set amongst the olive trees, lounge on the latest gorgeous floor samples and wander the grounds for inspiration.

Drinks on the Auberge du Soleil Patio at Sunset No reservations, so get there early to grab a coveted seat on the outdoor terrace.

Oxbow Market A veritable gourmet farmer’s market, be sure to stop by C Casa for tacos and Hog Island for oysters.  

St. Helena Farmers Market Rub elbows with the locals at this weekly farmer’s market next to the bocce courts in St. Helena.  Pick up fresh fruit, triple-fermented sourdough and smoked salmon for your vacation.

Carter & Co. Known for their gorgeous handmade ceramics, this ever-evolving storefront is one of our favorite destinations for one-of-a-kind home decor finds.  From one-off adirondack chairs to vintage copper cookware, it is the epitome of cool. 

Stroll down Washington Street in Yountville and stop by the French Laundry gardens.

Cameo Cinema  A single-screen movie theater in the heart of downtown St. Helena, we love to sneak away for a matinee on a hot summer afternoon.  Grab one of the loveseats in the back with your sweetheart.  

 

Wineries to Visit

Image credit: Ashes & Diamonds courtesy of The Venue Report

 

Frog’s Leap The red barn is one of the most iconic wineries in Napa and there is something so quintessentially summery about sitting on the porch overlooking the fruit trees and vegetables gardens while you sip your wine.

Robert Sinskey Walk under the pergola dripping with wisteria, past the koi pond and into the tasting room.  But our favorite spot?  The outdoor terrace with valley views.  If you’re lucky you can purchase an unbelievably soft sheepskin to lounge on while you sample the locally sourced honey. 

Schramsberg Our favorite sparkling wines come from this historic property in the hills above Calistoga.  Be sure to book a tour of the wine cave – the 125-year old cave is dripping with romance.

Ashes & Diamonds A relative newcomer to the scene, this place gives us all of the Mid-Century Palm Springs vibes we could hope for without the trip to the desert.  Porthole windows and a zigzag roof are a fresh departure from the typical Napa Valley landscape.  This is how Don Draper does wine country.

Stewart Cellars The book-and-curiosity-filled interiors by the venerable Ken Fulk make this stately stone tasting room in the heart of Yountville the perfect pit-stop before lunch at RH.  We are also smitten with the Heritage Library with a distinctly bohemian vibe.

Long Meadow Ranch No one does modern farmhouse quite like Long Meadow Ranch.  Come for a wine tasting (we particularly love the wines from their Anderson Valley estate) and stay for lunch on the patio at Farmstead, the restaurant next door and get inspired.

 

Want to get that Napa Valley look in your home? Book a video design consultation to get help with decor ideas, furniture finds and even layout so you can bring that Wine Country look home.

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