The Highlight Reel | Napa Valley, CA

Sterling Vineyards Tree Tunnel | Napa Valley | Calistoga, CA

I just returned from a fantastic Napa Valley vacation! A friend & I made the 550+ mile drive and enjoyed time with my husband’s family, catching up with old friends, wine tasting, gourmet meals, and some of the most beautiful sights California has to offer. My travel buddy had never visited Northern California so I had a blast showing her some of my favorite places.

Napa Valley Highlights:

Pea Soup Andersen's | Santa Nella, CA

Pea Soup Shenanigans in Santa Nella, CA

Day 1:

  • The long drive from San Diego to Angwin up the (not so) lovely I-5 corridor
  • Lunch at Pea Soup Andersen’s in Santa Nella – a must for the great California Road Trip!
  • Dinner at Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena – Try the Ahi Burger, it is amazing!
Castello di Amorosa | Napa Valley Castle | Calistoga, CA

Castello di Amorosa

Day 2:

  • Spent the morning browsing the shops on Main Street in St. Helena after breakfast at Gillwoods
  • Met up with the family for lunch in Napa at High Tech Burrito – I had the Chicken Curry Burrito. It was….different, in a good way. I’m just not used to curry in a burrito.
  • The afternoon was spent in a Tuscan castle, the Castello di Amorosa. More on this later, but for now I will just say AMAZING!

Sterling Vineyards Tree Tunnel | Napa Valley | Calistoga, CA

Sterling Vineyards

Day 3:

Dinner at Greystone | Culinary Institute of America | Napa Valley | St. Helena, CA

Dinner at Greystone | Culinary Institute of America

Day 4:

Chateau Montelena | Napa Valley Castle | Calistoga, CA

Chateau Montelena

Day 5:

  • After sleeping in, my friend and I had an early lunch at Guigni’s where you can get the best sandwiches in the world!! My go-to combo is corned beef & swiss with avocado.
  • The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent exploring and tasting at Chateau Montelena, famous for their win at the 1976 Paris Tasting that helped put California Wines on the map. The Hollywood version of the story can be seen in the movie Bottle Shock. (A great movie! I re-watched it when I got back to San Diego.)
  • Our next stop was Lava Vine, a boutique winery in Calistoga that came highly recommended by friends. I loved it so much that I joined the wine club!
  • Our final stop of the day was Dean & Deluca in St. Helena where we scored some awesome goodies for dinner.
Goldgen Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 6:

  • For the drive back we decided to split the trip in half, stopping at my parents’ home in San Luis Obispo for the night.
  • On the way we made a short detour to Sonoma for a quick visit to the Sonoma Cheese Factory and drove up to the Marin Headlands for a spectacular view of The Golden Gate Bridge.

Day 7:

  • The final stretch – San Luis Obispo to San Diego and home!

Can you tell I had a great time? I still have a lot of photos to go through and edit. Details on a few of my favorite places listed above will be posted soon!

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