Easter on the Napa Valley Wine Train

April 4th, 2015

Easter on the Napa Valley Wine Train

Those who have been on the Napa Valley Wine Train will all tell you the same thing – it’s an experience you definitely want to have at least once in your life. With regular lunches, dinners, and winery tours, there’s really something for everyone. But there’s really nothing like spending a special holiday on the train, and Easter is no exception.

Easter on the Wine Train

The Easter experience on the wine train is perfect for individuals of all ages, including children. The atmosphere is elegant enough to relax adult patrons while magical enough to enchant children.

There are few holidays where families don’t gather around tables of food to enjoy each other’s company. On the Wine Train, you can celebrate with your family without making a huge mess in your kitchen, letting the wine train chefs and staff do all of the work for you.

This year, Easter guests in the Gourmet Express and Vista Dome cars will experience the luxury of private seating. Chef Kelly Macdonald will be preparing the lunch menu for this special occasion, making it an event you’ll never forget.

Other Wine Train Events

There are always special events coming up on the wine train. If for some reason you can’t get a reservation for Easter, aim for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or even Independence Day. The Wine Train also features quite a number of other special events, ranging from a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater to a regular Moonlight Escape event.

The regular lunch and dinner menus are exquisite as well, with daily excursions in the train’s varying dining cars. The Napa Valley Wine Train also offers combination packages that include a meal on the train before or after a local winery tour. It’s the absolute best of both worlds.

We write about it from time to time because we think the Napa Valley Wine Train is something you shouldn’t miss, even if you only try it out once time. Not sure how to get there or how to get started? Ask your Napa Valley Hotel and Suites concierge to point you in the right direction. You won’t regret the decision.

How to Visit the Napa Valley with Your Kids

April 3rd, 2015

How to Visit the Napa Valley with Your Kids: Be Prepared

The Napa Valley can be an incredibly romantic place for couples – for newlyweds, anniversaries, or just a weekend away from it all. But we get it – not all trips away from home can be kid-free and the good news is that the Napa Valley, despite its reputation for wineries and fine dining, can be a fantastic place to explore with the family.

Start with the Hotel

You’re going to want a Napa Valley hotel with a great ambiance, but not one that’s specifically geared towards couples and romance. Larger hotels tend to be more comfortable (and affordable) for those traveling with kids. A hotel with a pool is a huge plus if you are traveling with children.

If you’d prefer something more rustic, you could also consider camping out at Bothe Napa Valley State Park. There’s still a pool, but there are hiking trails and other activities that will keep your kids busy between trips out into the more populated areas of the valley.

Check the Napa Valley Event Calendar

Seriously. This calendar is one of the best things out there for families traveling with children. It’s always updated months in advance with just about every activity you could possibly imagine for both adults and children. You’ll find movie nights, concerts, crafts and a series of activities in venues ranging from theatres to museums to wineries. Check the calendar for the dates you’ll be in the area and you are absolutely guaranteed to find at least a few things that are child or family-friendly for your itinerary.

General Area Attractions

Check out a few of the established Napa attractions geared towards children while you’re in town, too. Playground Fantastico is great for kids up to age 12 and has a BBQ area for a fun afternoon out in the fresh air. The Scientopia Discovery Center will excite children old enough to get into trains, science, and hands-on activities. Rockzilla is an amazing rock-climbing facility with constantly-changing routes that promise to never bore return visitors. For some fun outside, head over to Skyline Wilderness Park to explore the hiking trails or to enjoy a horseback riding tour.

Napa, California has a lot to offer visitors of all ages. Simply think outside the box and do some advance planning and your entire family will have a great time, no matter how long you’re staying.

Easter Brunches in Napa

April 1st, 2015

Easter Brunches in Napa

Easter Sunday is just about upon us and if you’re anything like some of us are, you may or may not have thought as far ahead as Easter dinner. We’ve found that a nice Easter brunch out of the house can be a great way to enjoy time with family without the stress of cooking and cleaning. Fortunately, there are tons of great places you can go to enjoy a nice Easter brunch on Sunday morning or afternoon.

The Boon Fly Café

The Boon Fly Café in Napa sits in what used to be a barn but is now a fantastic rustic eatery. Breakfasts and brunches feature griddle cakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, and even hot donuts made to order. Later in the day you can enjoy fancier flatbread pizzas or smoky pork ribs. The wine list is simple, featuring mostly Napa wines. It’s a nice, laid-back atmosphere, perfect for enjoying the day with family.

Brix

Also located in Napa, Brix features a gorgeous outdoor dining as well as an inviting indoor seating area. The traditional California fare is often described as trendy while still in-season. Think rib-eye with truffle macaroni, Alaskan cod, and other succulent dishes.

Angele

Angele is located an old boathouse and is a classic French style restaurant offering bistro cuisine. Choose indoor or outdoor seating, depending on your preferences, and enjoy succulent seasonal dishes. If you’re feeling inquisitive, try the five-course meal with wine pairings. The restaurant is generally open for dinner but features a light menu from 3-5pm.

Downtown Joe’s

A brewpub rather than a winery, this is a great destination for a fun, lively crowd to enjoy each other’s company while sharing great food. The pub is known for its selection of creative salads and offers hearty entrée dishes ranging from steak to salmon as well. Try a local brew or share a sampler with your friends. Oh, and if you’d like to sit outdoors you can bring your four-legged dog friends as well!

There are tons of great restaurants and wineries in the Napa area where you can enjoy a lovely Easter brunch. Just make sure you call ahead to find out if reservations are necessary so you can ensure seating without a long wait. Not sure where to start? Ask your Napa hotel concierge for a little guidance. We’re happy to help you find a place to enjoy your holiday!

Explore Napa’s Riverfront

March 30th, 2015

Napa’s Riverfront is the only place in wine country where you will find great food, event venues, hotels and shopping, all in a single location. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is just a few blocks away – putting you right in the middle of everything there is to explore about Old Town Napa.

The Riverfront has plenty to offer couples, singles and entire families, including:

  • Restaurants – Some of the best eateries in wine country are at the Riverfront. Angèle Restaurant & Bar, Celadon, and even Morimoto Napa are just a few of the restaurants you will find. Choose from gourmet French, Sushi, or even Gelato.
  • Shopping – Napa’s Riverfront is a great place to spend the day shopping. Discover an interesting souvenir or two to take home. Some of the stores you will find here include Helen Lyall Clothes for Women, Amelia’s Gifts, Napa General Store, Ivy, Twig & Twin, and Sidestreet.
  • Events – Each month you will find unique events at Napa’s Riverfront. From the chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne selection on Valentine’s Day to wine tastings and live music in the spring, there is never a dull moment.

Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is in a prime location in wine country.

Enjoy being just a block or two away from everything you need and want to see in Napa. Book your stay at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and take advantage of our unique packages.

Visiting the Napa Valley on a Tight Budget

March 30th, 2015

Visiting the Napa Valley on a Tight Budget

The Napa Valley is an incredible place to visit any time of the year. A lot of people think of wine and restaurants and automatically assume this isn’t the type of place you can visit on a tight budget, but nothing is further from the truth.

Choosing Your Wineries

A lot of people end up in Napa and are overwhelmed by the number of wineries and tasting options. This is where a lot of people run into financial trouble, as some wineries charge up to $50 per person for a tasting experience. Here’s the secret, though – there are tons that offer tastings for as little as $10 per person. Check out the Napa Tourist Guide for information about some of the lower-priced tastings and how to find them.

Napa Tourist Guide

And that aforementioned Napa Tourist Guide? That is an excellent resource for all-things-budget when visiting Napa. You’ll find lots of coupons, discounts, and budget-friendly tips to keep you moving throughout the area. Check back often because they occasionally have coupons for FREE winery tastings and events (for example, the Wine Pass – for which they currently have a coupon code you can use to get the pass for $40 instead of $125)!

Flaunt Your Industry Affiliations

Do you work for a bar or restaurant? Ask someone at the Napa Valley visitor center to direct you to the wineries that will offer complimentary tastings to those who are in the industry. Sometimes all you have to show is an ID and a business card. Wineries want to spread the word about their products, so treat them respectfully and you may just form a business relationship in the process as well.

Choosing the Right Hotel

You don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, but this is really where you’ll want to spend the majority of your budget – for the ambiance and experience. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites has a number of room options and deals that are designed to make a weekend away a reality.

Look for Mobile Apps

A lot of tourist groups in the Napa area are creating apps to help visitors stay on top of the best deals. The Winery Finder App currently features information on more than 140 wineries throughout the valley and Sonoma, often with coupons.

You don’t have to be rollin’ in the dough to visit Napa – you simply have to be a bit creative about what you do when you arrive. Do a little research before your trip and we’re positive you’ll be incredibly pleased with what you find accessible to you and your budget.

Tickle Your Taste Buds at Some of Napa’s Finest Culinary Demonstrations

March 26th, 2015

Tickle Your Taste Buds at Some of Napa’s Finest Culinary Demonstrations

The Napa Valley is simply overflowing with incredible wineries and restaurants. With so many great options, it’s tough to choose where to dine. The good news is that a lot of local chefs offer some spectacular deals on culinary demonstrations, which means you get to have a good time witnessing the creation of some decadent meals while tasting them at the same time – and in some cases you might even get to participate!

Cooking with Julie – Oxbow Market Tour and Cooking Class

Julie is the queen of the culinary scene in Napa Valley and she knows just where to go for in-season product and local ingredients. You’ll start your tour in the market and then head to the kitchen for a fantastic hands-on class. The experience includes tastings, your class, and a three-course lunch. This class is offered on a regular basis, so don’t worry about missing out, but make sure you put it on your to-do list.

3-Day Cooking Class

Those looking to truly get their hands dirty will appreciate the experience of the 3-day hands-on cooking class run by CasaLana Gourmet Retreats. This “culinary vacation” includes instruction on some very basic cooking and knife skills and focuses on nutritious yet delicious cooking techniques and recipes. Class sizes are very small (8 maximum) and include meals during classes, wine/beverages, and a manual with recipes. Call to find out when the next session starts.

Kitchens in the Vineyards: Home and Garden Tour

Run by Music in the Vineyards, this relaxing day includes tours of some of the most beautiful homes in the Napa Valley. Every home you visit will be styled by a team of designers and florists, and you’ll be able to taste dishes provided by local restaurants at each location. You’ll also encounter local authors who are available for book signings. It’s a full day of relaxation and fun. The next event is scheduled for late April 2015.

Tamale Making Workshop

If you love eating tamales, you’ll love learning how to make them in this fun and simple hands-on workshop hosted by the Napa County Library. The next event will be on May 2, 2015 and is free to the public, but you’ll need to make sure you RSVP in advance.

There is so much to do, see, and even learn in the Napa Valley. Not sure where to start? Ask the concierge at your Napa Valley Hotel for information about local classes or demonstrations during your stay. You’ll definitely cherish the experience.

Plan a Wine Country Vacation this Summer

March 22nd, 2015

While everyone else is looking for a beach, you know where to find real relaxation. Napa Valley is the perfect place to sneak away for the summer, whether you are traveling alone or bringing the entire family. Enjoy warm days and cool breezes in the evening, multiple events each week, and plenty of attractions to fill your days.

Book a Fun Summer Package with Napa Valley Hotel and Suites

Napa Valley Hotel and Suites has a variety of summer packages that let you take advantage of local attractions with exclusive discounts. Choose from:

  • Wine Train Package – Spend three hours traveling between Napa Valley and St. Helena on the Napa Valley Wine Train. You will get great wine, gourmet meals, a queen-sized room at our hotel, and plenty of time to sit back, relax and enjoy wine country.
  • Balloons Above the Valley Package - Appreciate the real beauty of Napa Valley in the way it was meant to be seen: from above. Soar over the wineries, vineyards and open fields in a hot air balloon. This package includes a queen-size room, balloon ride for two, and a complimentary breakfast at the Napa Valley General Store Café.
  • Create a Wine Country Tour Package - Want to customize your wine country tours? Create your own package, select your room and even your wine tour.

Take Advantage of Napa’s Prime Location

Napa Valley is in a prime location. You can stay in the heart of wine country and stay out of the hustle, but still be just a short drive away from the attractions. Just a few of the attractions you can see while you stay in Napa include:

  • Napa Valley Factory Outlets
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • The Pier
  • Visit the Redwood Trees

Skip the beach this summer and book your stay at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Call 707-226-1871 to reserve your room or book your stay online.

4 Fun Things to Do in Napa in March

March 19th, 2015

4 Fun Things to Do in Napa in March

The month of March is a gorgeous time to visit Napa – not too cold, not too rainy, and not too warm. It doesn’t matter if you live locally or are visiting for a weekend, there are plenty of things for you to see and enjoy throughout the area. Here are a handful for you to consider.

Alton Brown Live! Edible Inevitable Tour

You know you want to see him! Food lovers will be excited to see Alton Brown at the Uptown Theatre Napa on March 19th at 8pm. Tickets range from $70 to $150 and the $150 tickets include a Meet and Greet event at 6pm as well as an autographed photo. Then there is, of course, the two-hour combination of food, fun, and comedy.

Everyone Orchestra

Conductor Matt Butler has been leading the Everyone Orchestra since 2001. This isn’t your traditional orchestra. It’s made up of a series of well-known musicians who have spent a great deal of time in a wide variety of rock bands. The end result? An energizing experience you won’t soon forget. See them on March 26th at the City Winery Napa. Tickets range from $25 – $35, making this an affordable night out.

Dinner Music Series in the City Winery Restaurant with: Mads Tolling

Head on over to the City Winery Napa (again) on March 27th at 7pm to check out the Danish-American violinist and violist, Mads Tolling. The Grammy Award winning composer is part of the Turtle Island Quartet, the Stanley Clarke’s band, and his own solo project known as the Mads Tolling Quartet. And to sweeten the deal? This event is FREE.

Watercolors for Complete Beginners

Ready to explore your artistic side? Napa Valley Art Supplies is presenting a two-day watercolor class for beginners on March 28th and 29th (10:30am until 4:30pm each day). Your registration cost includes instruction, concepts, and all of the supplies you’ll need to make practice sheets. You’ll also get a reference book to take home and you should, by the end of the class, have a small and regular-sized watercolor using the techniques you’ve learned.

Think outside the box and enjoy some of what Napa has to offer every month. It’s not all about wine and food. Ask your Napa hotel concierge if you’d like more information about area events and out-of-the-box places to visit.

Catch the Bottlerock 2015 Festival in Napa Valley

March 14th, 2015

Each year, Bottlerock takes place at the Napa Valley Expo. This year, Bottlerock 2015, will take place May 29th through the 31st. If you are looking for a place full of music, amazing food, wine and local brews, you cannot miss this event.

  • The MusicBottlerock features some of the most amazing recording artists from around the country and the 2015 lineup is following the trend. You can catch everything from Imagine Dragons to No Doubt to Snoop Dogg and AWOLNATION.
  • Wine and Brews The list of wineries and breweries participating changes each year and they are not announced until just before the event. 2014’s event saw some of the most innovative and legendary groups, including Clos Du Val, Bello Family Vineyards, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Coors Light, and Napa Smith.
  • FoodThe food at Bottlerock features some of Napa’s most renowned chefs and restaurants. Last year’s lineup included Eiko’s, Morimoto, Vintage Sweet Shoppe, Angèle, Bacon Bacon, Smoke Open Fire, and more.

The festival is just non-stop activity from the moment it starts until the last performance. You can bump elbows with the locals, visitors and you may even catch a celebrity or two joining in on the fun.

Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is in the heart of Bottlerock 2015. You can stay at our boutique hotel and be within walking distance of local eateries, the wineries and of course, all the action at Bottlerock.

Book your stay and buy your tickets for Bottlerock 2015 today. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites offers you the perfect place to come back to and relax after a day at the festival. Call us now at 707-226-1871 to make your reservation.

Celebrate Spring, Napa Style

March 6th, 2015

Napa comes to life in the spring. Not only is the weather crisp and beautiful, but local wineries and venues start an abundance of events this time of year too. No matter when you come in the spring, you are bound to catch more than a few exciting events.

If you are thinking of getting away for Spring Break or you just want to explore Napa, here are some events you can put on your itinerary:

  • Corallina Rose Release Party – Saturday, April 11th, Cornerstone Cellars will be hosting their Corallina Release Party. Join in on the fun, enjoy live music and of course, great food and wine, all for a minimal fee.
  • Arts in April Reception for iPhonic Art – Modern photography at its finest. This reception, hosted by Markham Vineyards, features pieces of photography taken with iPhones and submitted via the Pixels Community.
  • April in Carneros – Saturday and Sunday, April 18th and 19th, you can go to the annual April in Carneros. This two-day celebration features 20 wineries, food and wine pairings, live entertainment, and more.
  • Wine and Lobster – Enjoy a Lobster Fest, Saturday, April 18th at the V Sattui Winery. This is a members only event, but you can become a member online to enjoy this culinary festival.
  • Vineyard to Vintner – Get backstage access to the District’s wineries, vintners and homes. The party starts Friday, April 24th and you can choose between four intimate vintner-hosted dinners prepared by renowned chefs.

Explore Sonoma

You can also enjoy Sonoma County, just a short distance from downtown Napa, and get plenty of fresh air too. Napa and Sonoma Valleys have so much to do in the spring – from hiking trails to immaculate golf courses to museums, and more.

Take advantage of the great weather and book your stay in Napa this spring with a hotel package. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites has fun packages that let you explore wine country with deep discounts. From our Wine Train Package to the Balloons Above the Valley tours to Wine Country Tours.

Get a full dose of spring and book your package at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Call us at 707-226-1871 or make your reservations online.