Weekend in the Napa Valley

The day after Christmas, my mom whisked my sisters and I up to Calistoga for the weekend. We stayed at Solage, and explored the town and surroundings on bikes. If you ever find yourself in the Napa Valley for a few days, here are some of our favorite spots:

We checked into Solage late in the afternoon after stopping at one of my favorite wineries, Domaine Carneros (their Le Reve champagne makes me a very happy girl). My sister Zoe and I soaked in the thermal springs at Solage and we all headed over to the on-site restaurant, Solbar. I was originally skeptical as hotel restaurants can often be a bit marginal. But our meal at Solbar was the highlight of the trip (even topped Bouchon). Although they just received their first Michelin star, the service was laid-back and unfussy while still remaining attentive, informative, and gracious. The food was amazing, from the innovative cocktails to the duck breast, blackened cod, kale stew, and donut holes for dessert.

Mom, Rachael, and Zoe: early morning ride

Solage supplies all of their guests with cruiser bikes that await you right outside of your studio. I loved this, especially considering downtown Calistoga and many great wineries are just a few minutes away. So Sunday we all woke up and rode over to Cafe Sarafornia for a late breakfast. It’s not the best food you’ve ever had, but it’s a great old-fashioned diner right downtown with strong coffee and decent eggs. Good, dependable pre-winery food. After that, we cruised around downtown, checking out Indian Springs and some of the local shops and returned to the hotel to linger around the spa for the afternoon (Santa brought spa treatments). Afterwards, my sisters and I hopped back on our bikes and hit up a few wineries: Lava Vine and August Briggs.

Both are small-production, family-run wineries. We fell in love. The ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah at Lava Vine were outstanding and the Chardonnays at August Briggs were our favorite (not at all heavy on the oak). The trouble came when I started buying bottles of wine to take home…on the bike, after doing a bit of tasting. Yikes. For dinner, we drove to Yountville to eat at Bouchon.

This was my first time at Bouchon and it was lovely: festive atmosphere and incredible food. One of the specials of the evening was the cone of truffle fries. Zoe and I were sold. With french onion soup and steak frites, all was right in the world.

So hesitant to leave! I’m looking for a way to move into our little studio at Solage and camp out (so far, it’s not looking promising or realistic). We all decided to linger and had breakfast at Solbar — another incredible meal. Every detail, from the small Heath vases with local flowers to individual pots of coffee and beautiful fruit plates. On our way out of town, we stocked up on treats at Bouchon Bakery and reluctantly headed home.

For more in-depth details on where we ate, feel free to check out my piece this week over at Bay Area Bites.


  1. Shannalee

    I love posts like these - looks like a lovely way to have spent some holiday time with your family, and if I'm ever back in California, Calistoga is a town I will visit!

  2. Chow and Chatter

    oh wow what an awesome trip and good family time

    Happy New Year

    Love Rebecca

  3. Denise | Chez Danisse

    I really enjoyed Calistoga, specifically the mud baths at Indian Springs. I did a post about them (A Tub of Mud) a while back, not sure if you saw it. Looks like you had a fabulous time. I'll check out your Bay Area Bites piece too. Happy New Year!

  4. Megan Gordon

    Thanks for the comments, Rebecca and Shannalee!

    And Denise, I just checked out your great post...I'd love to go to Indian Springs largely because, as you say, it's been around for practically forever and I've only heard amazing things. I'm thinking a weekend again in late spring/summer when it's a bit warmer.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Lisa! I'll check out your post...

  5. megan

    I totally concur about Bouchon. I have been there once and know I will revisit it even knowing I live two states away and one province. Your vacation pictures looks wonderful!

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