Belles on Location

Napa Valley Girlfriend Getaway

Sometimes a girl just has to get away.

Our girls’ trip to the Napa Valley is an escape from all our daily duties and responsibilities and an opportunity to partake in a few of the things we ladies like best.

At least once a year my friends and I take a long girls weekend in Napa and indulge some in wining, dining, relaxing, and pampering.  Sometimes the weekend resembles a teenage slumber party, and at other times it can feel like life of the rich and famous. These escapes are always about reconnecting with each other and having fun.

You may also like: Wineries In The Napa Valley

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Rubicon Estate and Vineyard

Since we live nearby, we drove to the Napa Valley.

Music, some sort of themed soundtrack one of us has made, joined us on our ride and during the entire weekend. A champagne toast and appetizers on Domaine Carneros’s terrace was our way of saying goodbye to responsibilities and hello to fun.

We timed this mid-October trip well. The leaves on the vines and some of the trees had turned various shades of yellow, with dots of orange and red sprinkled into the scene. The grape harvest had started and scents of wines being born filled the air.

The terrace at Domaine Carneros Winery was a perfect spot for watching the sunset on the vine-filled hills and beginning our holiday.  A hearty dinner at Farm, across the road from Domaine Carneros, was our next step before turning into our cozy cottage at the Silverado Resort and Spa. (Learn about Thomas Keller pop-up restaurant, Ad Lib at Silverado.)

You may also like: Ad Lib Your Way To The Napa Valley

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Domaine Carneros Winery

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The Napa Valley in Autumn

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One of the hot air balloons that floated past us

We spent the next morning lounging around the pool, just steps from our back door, and watching hot air balloons float past us in the sky.

Our hired designated driver arrived, and we headed out for plenty of wining and dining. Some of our winery choices were based on specific wines we like or a cooking/food pairing class. Other winery visits weren’t so straightforward.

There were a few that simply had enchanting estates, one had a tram that whisked us up to a hilltop tasting room, one was an Italian castle, a few had lush picnic areas, and one had a great gift shop.  We had packed picnic goodies and took a few food breaks between sips to help keep the wine from going completely to our heads.

We also had a wine and appetizer break at the Auberge du Soleil bar.  The terrace bar has a gorgeous sweeping view of the Napa Valley, and gave us an opportunity to sit, relax and chat.

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View of Napa Valley from the Auberge du Soleil terrace bar

Our driver took us home along the Silverado Trail.

Not as popular as Highway 29, but the Silverado Trail is quintessential wine country with rolling hills, long rows of grape vines that stretch out along both sides of the road and curve over the hills.

Barnyards nestled among vines, tractors parked on roadsides, and overall-clad men working with crates of picked grapes at their sides were all part of the view during our ride.

The long day of wine tasting wore us out. We ate up the leftovers from our picnic bag at the inn. Board games, fashion magazines, music, gossip and giggling in our comfy cottage filled up the rest of our evening.

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Grape vines along the Silverado Trail

Sunday was a day for pampering and relaxation. A spa day and a time for massages, scrubs, facials, manicures, and pedicures.

Silverado has a package to fit everyone’s tastes. After our individual spa treatments, we met back up at the pool. Feeling pampered and thoroughly refreshed, we basked in the warm sun.

We dined at the local favorite, French-inspired Angele along Napa’s riverfront. Sucking up oysters on the patio dining area, we relived the weekend and laughed at the great time we had had.

After dinner, we waved goodbye to the Napa Valley and headed home. Sad to leave, but with great memories of our time together, we were already planning for our next girls’ getaway.

You may also like: Visit The Napa Valley

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The Napa Riverfront

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Vineyards in October

Wineries we visited:

Domaine Carneros – Terrific terrace for sipping champagne and enjoying the views
Grgich Hills Estate – Favorite for Chardonnay wines
Robert Mondavi Winery – Beautiful estate and excellent food and wine tastings/classes
Rubicon Estate – Fabulous estate surrounded by vineyards
Sterling Vineywards – Trams whisk you to the hilltop museum and tasting room
Stags Leap Winery – Relaxing “porch tasting” overlooking the vines (book in advance)
St. Supery Vineyards – Favorite for its reds (Cabernet Sauvignon and “Bordeaux” blends)
Castello di Amorosa – Sip wines in an Italian castle without leaving the U.S.
Clos du Val – Picnic area (must buy wines and/or tasting to picnic on grounds)
V. Sattui Winery – Picnic area (picnic fare must be purchased at winery – no outside food allowed)

Where we ate:
Farm – Elegant wine country fare from surround farms and ranches
Auberge du Soleil – The restaurant has a Michelin star (and equivalent prices), but the bar is a little more affordable with the same outstanding views
Angele Restaurant Bar – A favorite among locals, French cuisine with a bit of Wine Country flavor

For picnic supplies:
Safeway – 3375 Jefferson Street, Napa – (707) 225-3037
Trader Joes – 3654 Bel Aire Plaza, Napa – (707) 256-0806
Genova’s Delicatessen – 1550 Trancas Street, Napa – (707) 253-8686
Oakville Grocery – 7856 St. Helena Hwy (Highway 29), Oakville – (707) 944-8802

* All photos by Kathy Ayer © All rights reserved

This article has 19 comments

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  2. Margo Millure

    Kathy, I for one, am ready to round up a few friends and book a flight! – sounds wonderful! And I’m curious to hear about some of our other readers’ favorite spots for traveling to w/ the girls. (and I want to know what was on that playlist 🙂 )

  3. Food Lover Kathy

    The most popular was the 80s music CD, which included Madonna, Salt-n-Pepa, Prince, Journey, Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, and more. Someone else made a broadway show tunes CD. I remember songs from A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls, Rent, and Hair. It didn’t get as much play as the 80s one, though.

    Margo, thanks so much for having me write about our girls’ getaway for Travel Belles. The getaway and writing about were both a lot of fun!

  4. Krista

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!!! 🙂 I’ve only been to Napa once and I absolutely loved it. It was during the same time as your trip and you’re right, the colors were stunning, the weather perfect. 🙂 I’d love to do this with my girlfriends one day. 🙂

  5. Cailin

    Great photos Kathy! Napa is definitely now on my list of places to visit 🙂

  6. Corinne @ Gourmantic

    I would love to visit the Napa Valley and go on a wine tasting. Count me in! I can think of nothing better than to do this getaway with Kathy, Margo, Krista and the other lovely Travel Belles. Can you imagine what fun we’d all have? 🙂

    PS Love the 80s music!

  7. Eileen O'Neill

    Kathy,
    As I write the wind and rain is beating off my window pane. Dear Old England, has truly said goodbye to summer and autumn!
    However, thank goodness for the refuge that The Travel Belles provide for me!
    I have just escaped into your fantastic article written about Napa Valley.
    I loved it all, as I have actually been to that wonderful area of America and experienced the wealth of scenery and wineries.
    I can recommend the area, as you have also done, without any doubts.
    I’m just anxious to find enough time, to return there.
    Thank you Kathy for brightening up my early taste of winter!!

    Hello to Margo!

    Best Wishes, Eileen 🙂

  8. Karen

    Kathy, loved this guest post. Gorgeous photos and descriptions– how lucky are you to live close to such a place! I think you may have inspired some getaways 🙂 Hope you submit again to TTB in the near future.

  9. Margo Millure

    We need to go ladies 🙂

  10. Food Lover Kathy

    Corinne – You’re right, we would have so much fun! I’m smiling just thinking about how much fun that would be.

    Eileen – Thank you for your very kind comments. I’m glad this post has brightened up your early days of winter. I hope you make it back to the Napa Valley soon!

  11. Paula Aiello

    I’m a native of the Bay Area. When I was growing up, the wine country and wine tasting were still pretty casual and we took family trips there often. Wine tasting continues to be the biggest draw for everyone, though nowadays, there’s SO MUCH MORE to the whole experience. A “hired designated driver” is perfect way to make a group trip completely non-stressful – what a great idea! And around here, when we think of “spa time,” we think of Napa Valley! There are lots of great places to choose from: mud baths, hot springs, massages …. It’s THE place the be, even for those who don’t or can’t “do wine” (I have a friend who can’t drink wine, so it’s wonderful that the area offers such a variety of pleasures!). And the scenery will never disappoint … these most beautiful photos can barely capture the indescribable landscapes, with hot air balloons in large numbers hovering over the vineyards like colorful kites! Sign me up for the next women’s weekend!

  12. Margo

    thanks , Paula! After reading Kathy’s article, I can’t wait to get out there again someday!

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