My sister Becca has been visiting, and last week we took a sisters work vacation to Downtown Napa…
Napa is only an hour north of where we live in Oakland. It’s the perfect little escape from the busy city here filled with delicious food, outdoors, and of course wine. Becca and I both had work to do, so we planned on a work vacation mid-week (work during the day, vacation in the afternoons/evening). It was such a nice change of pace to the work week. Admittedly, I’d never spent time in Napa proper and certainly not downtown Napa so I was really excited to check it out!
We were invited to stay by DoNapa (Downtown Napa), which is a fantastic resource when you’re visiting the area. Many know Napa for its wine, but there’s so much more they offer besides wine tastings and vineyards in the surrounding area. The town is situated on the Napa river, and really stunning as you approach with beautiful buildings and bridges surrounding the river.
DoNapa was super helpful when we were planning our trip. There are great resources for any kind of activity you’re looking for. We were able to make our dinner reservations, wine tastings, spa treatments, and bike plans from doing a little research on the site. I love when everything you’re looking for is all in one spot.
We stayed at the Napa River Inn, a charming hotel right on the Napa river. The historic building from 1884 has been named one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is a Forbes Four Star hotel. It was really beautiful with ivy and sweet little details around. We even had a balcony overlooking the river connected to our room and and a fireplace. Breakfast next door at Sweetie Pies Bakery is complimentary for each day of your stay. We kept on going back to that bakery, everything was so delicious! You can also schedule food to be delivered to your room, but we loved spending some time in the little bakery every morning for a latte and breakfast sandwich or scone.
After spending a bit of time working, we went to go explore the town on our first full day. We found some fun little antique shops and some great boutiques on First Street as we wandered around. It’s one of the streets you can just waltz down with so many little hidden gem boutiques, like Makers Market. We also stopped into this fantastic little chocolate shop, Anette’s for some little mid day sweets and then started looking for a place do so a little wine tasting.
DoNapa has this great offering when you’re looking for wine tasting downtown. For only $15 you can buy a Napa Wine Card which gets you 50% off tastings in one of the eight featured tasting rooms. Of course, Napa is home to some of the most amazing wines and tasting room experiences, so this was such a deal! You can find more info about it here.
After doing some more shopping and exploring, we headed to Brown Downtown for a little tasting. Brown Estate is the only black female owned winery in Napa. The family originated from Jamaica and so many of the wines are reflective of their Jamaican heritage. I was really excited to check it out! The interior of the tasting room is stunning- dark and moody with lots of exposed brick. The wines were equally impressive paired (loved the zins and rose) with the most incredible cheese plate we ordered. Honestly, it might have been my favorite part of the entire trip. I definitely want to go back there! Everyone was so knowledgable and friendly, and I was so happy to support this black, female owned winery!
After wine tasting, we headed to Miminashi for dinner. Delicious Japanese food (Becca got the ramen, I got the salmon) with yummy cocktails and an ice cream stand outside for dessert with homemade marshmallows and hot fudge. Great way to end the day.
(matching here, as sisters do)
Afterwards, Becca and I rented some bikes through the kiosk right in front of our hotel. It was so easy! You insert a credit card and then pull the bike out and you’re set! We headed down the Napa River trail and then out through some vineyards on the other side of town. We even passed by the Napa Wine Train! Need to add that to our itinerary for next visit, it looked really fun.