Creative Ways to Save for a Napa Valley Vacation

September 12th, 2014

If the funds allowed, most of us would travel more than we do. Even a small getaway can cost a fortune between the hotel, transportation, dining and entertainment. But, vacations are the one opportunity where we get to leave everyday stress behind and enjoy a new location and fun things to do. Plus, the time to bond with friends and family is invaluable.

Below are creative ways to save for a Napa Valley vacation or getaway, no matter how tight money may be. You can save more than you think!

The Basic Change Jar

At the very least, you can set up a jar in the home that is dedicated to your next family vacation. Fill it up with spare change or random dollars that you find around the home and don’t want to carry in your purse or pocket. Consider this: It only takes $1.37 each day to save up $500 in a year. When everyone throws in their spare change, it can add up fast.

Have a Garage Sale

Do you feel overwhelmed by what’s lurking in the basement? The garage? The closets? Let your upcoming getaway be the motivator for cleaning out your home and hosting a garage sale. All proceeds can go toward your vacation, and depending on what you sell, you can make several hundred dollars in a day or two. And, you get the added benefit of having a cleaned out home!

Sell Assets or Belongings Online

Not everything can be sold at a garage sale, at least for top dollar. If you have collectibles taking up space, try selling them online for a cash profit. There are also plenty of online sites and local online garage sales where you can ask more for belongings in good condition, such as furniture, toys and baby items.

Eat Dinner at Home

Fast food, take out or ordering pizza each week add up fast. Plan your meals in advance so that you don’t have an excuse to eat anywhere but home. You’ll save money and eat healthier, too. If you must eat out, look for deals on sites like Groupon or Livingsocial to reduce the cost. The money you save can go directly toward your vacation.

Find Free Entertainment

In addition to food, entertainment soaks up a lot of extra money. Look for free events and activities at local museums, libraries and the park district. You’ll be amazed at how much is available for free or low cost when you look for it. Trade in the costly movie tickets for the dollar theater, or at least a matinee show on the weekend. Everything you save is more to put away.

Shop for Travel Deals

Thanks to the Internet, finding hotel deals is relatively easy. Many hotels in Napa Valley offer seasonal packages with reduced rates. If you stay in the downtown area, you can plan a trip with little transportation costs since everything is right there. And, use the same social sites that you use at home when you travel. You can find deals on shopping, spas, golf packages and restaurants!

Top 5 Things to Do in Napa, Downtown Style

September 7th, 2014

Headed to Napa soon? There are so many things to do in Downtown Napa, you may not know where to begin, but plan for a full day because you are going to need it.

Here are the top things to do in downtown Napa you may never have heard of before:

  1. Start with your ABCs – have breakfast at Alexis Baking Company where they specialize in breakfast and serve it all day long. Try lemon ricotta pancakes, huevos rancheros, or any one of the tasty muffins.
  2. Next, check out the Napa Art Walk – 15 original pieces of art work from various artists – a fun and free activity perfect for all ages. Doing the Napa Art Walk gives you a chance to view not only the beautiful art displays but also to mingle with the Napa community.
  3. Grab some lunch! If you have worked up a generous appetite, go to the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ for a platter of St. Louis cut ribs or beer can chicken (where the entire bird is steam-cooked over a can of beer for a perfect tender flavor). Need to satisfy a lot of different tastes? Stop at the Oxbow Public Market and enjoy your lunch on the scenic outdoor deck with views of the Napa River.
  4. Enjoy an afternoon wine tasting, right in downtown. The John Anthony tasting room is the perfect place to sip local Napa wines and get your fix of delicious vino.
  5. Catch a show. The City Winery offers a unique blend of musical entertainment, wine tasting, and more in a mix of culinary and cultural experiences unlike anywhere else.

Stay with us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and all of the downtown tastes and treats are within walking distance. Do some shopping; you can drop by to leave your purchases with us as you continue your tour of downtown. Call 707-226-1871 to make reservations today.

Napa Valley may be a classic town with a lot of local flavor, but the town does not close early like in some other places. After a show, you can still have an excellent dinner and even late-night drinks at Empire Napa – a lounge that delivers a flavorful menu with exotic options for everyone. Got a late-night sweet tooth? Try a plate of Nutter Butters and ice cream.

Spend a little time in a fun-filled downtown where you can wander, taste and listen to your hearts’ delight. Call the helpful and friendly folks at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to make your reservations today.

Are There Things for Kids to do in Napa Valley?

September 5th, 2014

Wine Country may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of kid-friendly travel destinations, but you’ll be surprised by what this beautiful region has to offer. In fact, Napa Valley really knows how to welcome kids, the key is finding places that are family friendly rather than geared toward honeymooners and celebs.

Here are some tips for planning a great vacation in Wine Country – with the kids!

Choose a Family Friendly Hotel

First, find a hotel that is family friendly. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is a hotel that welcomes everyone, from business travelers to bachelorettes to busy families. You certainly won’t feel out of place spending the weekend at our hotel! The fact that we are located in downtown Napa is what makes us most attractive, especially for families. You won’t be far from anything, and you can simply get out and walk around the downtown area for quick, easy and stress-free fun. The rooms are big and cozy, and the prices are affordable.

Playgrounds, Parks and Pools

The advantage to bringing your family to Napa Valley is that it can be very affordable. Instead of paying high-priced admission to an amusement park or water park, you can enjoy one of the many beautiful playgrounds located throughout Napa and Sonoma. In the summer, Calistoga’s public pool offers a kiddie pool, diving board and fountains that will make the perfect afternoon for kids of all ages.

Napa Valley Wine Train

The Napa Valley Wine Train offers a variety of packages that are intended specifically for families, such as their BBQ nights in the summer and Santa Trains in the winter. Some of the packages offer reduced rates for kids, so check the website for upcoming events. Otherwise, kids are always welcome on the train, and food can be tailored toward your kids’ preferences. Also, many Napa Valley restaurants offer kids’ menus, so do your research before making reservations.

Kid-Friendly Wineries

Now, you may be thinking that if you bring the kids to Napa Valley, what in the world will you do? What about those wonderful wine tours that everyone talks about? Many wineries are kid-friendly, so again, do your research in advance and call ahead to see if the winery welcomes kids and pets. Generally, wineries that are larger and have plenty of open space to run are happy to have anyone on board. Some wineries even offer snacks, juice and free Wi-Fi. This means you can have your enjoyment, too.

It’s Harvest Time in Napa Valley – Join the Celebration this September

August 31st, 2014

After the long, hot summer working in the fields, the Napa Valley explodes with fun celebrations and events during harvest season. Visitors from around the world join in the fun and treat themselves to the special tastes of the season.

  • Priest Ranch Coachgun Release Party – The long awaited release of the 2009 Priest Ranch Coachgun is here. The upper terrace of the Yountville tasting room will hold a private dinner and a four-course meal with this special release.
  • Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Movies by Moonlight – Enjoy a glass of wine and a movie, or dinner, wine and a movie at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards. With a bowl of gourmet popcorn, the stars over head, and a special someone by your side, this could be the definition of a perfect September evening.
  • Rutherford Hill Winery’s 3rd Annual Barn Bash – Celebrate the peak of the harvest with spectacular wines, world-class barbeque, and live music in the barn.
  • Peju Harvest Celebration – An intimate celebration under the harvest moon, and an evening filled with special selections, bountiful foods, and dancing to live music under the moonlit sky.

September is harvest celebration time, so join us by making your reservation today at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites or call 707-226-1871.

In the old days, the harvest festival was an annual celebration that occurred in every given farming region around the world. Depending on the timing of the crops and the climate, harvest festivals could happen in late summer and early fall – all the way into the first part of winter. With the crops harvested and food and wine safely stored away, the workers were free to participate in all sorts of merriment, contests, music, and romance.

More Ideas for Labor Day in Napa Valley

August 25th, 2014

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, so it’s not surprising that families want to soak up every last minute of this weekend. Plus, it’s the one holiday that is actually dedicated to not working, so you can kick up your feet and relax without feeling the least bit guilty!

Not sure how you’re going to spend this weekend? Why not plan a getaway to Napa Valley! This way, you don’t have to host anything at your home, and you can enjoy a work-free weekend of fun!

Here are some of the highlights as to what you can do on Labor Day weekend, August 30 – September 1, 2014.

Farmers Markets

Don’t miss out on the fresh produce at Napa’s farmers markets! On Saturday, you can find an array of field-fresh and sustainably grown produce, food and artisan arts and crafts at Napa Farmers Market. At Calistoga Farmers Market, you’ll find fresh seafood, colorful flowers and unique gift items. Cost is free.

Music Under the Stars

On Saturday, grab your favorite friends and family and gather under the stars for live music at the Old Faithful Geyser of California. The geyser erupts every 10-15 minutes for extra fun and excitement! Bring a picnic dinner and your favorite bottle of wine to round out a fun-filled evening. Cost is $14 adults, $12 seniors (65+) and $8 children.

Grape Stomping at Grgich Hills Estate

It’s not easy finding places where you can actually be involved in grape stomping, but Grgich Hills Estate is one of them. Starting September 1, visitors can kick off their shoes, stomp on grapes and put their stained feet on a t-shirt. You also get to sample three wines. Cost is $30 for stomping, wine sampling and a t-shirt.

Napa Valley Wine Trolley

Hop onto a motorized San Francisco cable car where you’ll visit four different wineries. There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures of historic landmarks, breathtaking scenery and unique artwork around Wine Country. The cable car has a comfortable, open design so you can get a scenic view, and all tours include a catered lunch at Michael Chiarello’s NapaStyle. Cost is $99 per person.

For more information on what to do over Labor Day weekend, contact Napa Valley Hotel and Suites at (707) 226-1871.

Shake off the Work Grind – Spend Labor Day Weekend in Napa Valley

August 22nd, 2014

Labor Day (September 1) is a special American holiday celebrating the labor movement and dedicated to the social and economic achievements brought about through that all-American ideal of hard work. What better way to celebrate a hard-working summer than a long weekend with your feet up in Napa Valley?

Join us in Napa Valley for the traditional end-of-summer weekend called Labor Day.

Here are just a few fun things going on Saturday, August 30th:

  • Napa Farmer’s Market from early morning until noon: You can pick up local produce and wander through rows of artisan goods
  • Fine artist, Rene Romero Schuler will make her Napa Valley debut with a solo exhibition at Chimney Rock Winery
  • Artisanal cheese and wine pairing at Merryvale Vineyards (reservations required): Book this popular tasting event in advance – it tends to sell out quickly
  • Napa Ghosts and Legends Walking Tour: Take a step back in time to reach out, meet, and greet the ghosts of Napa Valley. Tour starts at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of 2nd and Coombs. (Call 707-363-6890 to reserve)

Stay with us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and enjoy the celebrations for Labor Day. Call 707-226-1871 to make your reservations today.

Sundays in Napa Valley are traditionally a little slower, but there are still plenty of things to do including:

  • Cabernet is for Bacon Lovers at the St. Supery Estate. (Reservations are required. Call 707-963-4507 or email Reservations@stsupery.com.)
  • Live music, Suspects of Soul, at Silo’s 530 Main Street from 4 p.m. into the evening.

Round out your Labor Day weekend by spending your Monday holiday taking a bike ride, or a hike, or a balloon ride over the Napa Valley. The wine industry is busy with the harvest, but a trip through wine country in celebration of your day off is the best way to show us that you appreciate the work of the farmers, growers, and vintners of Napa Valley.

Spend some time enjoying the fruits of your summer labor and ours this Labor Day. Call the helpful and friendly folks at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to make your reservations today.

Plan Your Family Reunion in Napa Valley

August 18th, 2014

Summer is a great time to plan a family reunion. The trouble is that many families get so wrapped up in their own schedules – working, sports, summer camps, family vacations – they don’t have time to plan a reunion. Then, when summer begins to wind down, they feel badly that they didn’t take the opportunity to arrange a get-together. The good news: It’s never too late to plan a family reunion for the year!

Napa Valley sees a lot of family reunions at this time of the year since the temperatures are cooler and the summer crowds are winding down. Let’s take a look at why a family reunion in Napa may be right for your family!

Lots of Places to Stay

Between cozy bed and breakfasts and accommodating hotels, there are plenty of places to stay in Napa. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is a top pick for family reunions because of the accommodations that are available, including free Wi-Fi, recently renovated and upgraded rooms and premium amenities like luxury linens and marble vanities. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is accustomed to serving large groups thanks to the open meeting rooms and prime location. With a swimming pool and adjoining rooms, check them out for competitive rates for the whole family!

Family Friendly Activities

There’s something for everyone in Napa – from the young to the old, the adventurer to the relaxer. Some of the favorite picks for family reunions include:

  • Hiking or biking through the valleys

  • Hot air balloon rides

  • Picnics at one of the National Parks

  • Trolley rides

  • Wine tours and tastings

  • Dining

  • Spas

  • Shopping

  • Golf

  • Arts and culture

  • Opera House

  • Wine Train

Perfect Weather

Northern California has some of the best weather around. This means that you can plan a family reunion or any other type of get-together whenever your schedule allows. The temperatures are best in the spring and fall, and you get to enjoy grape crush season (fall) or mustard season (spring), which adds an extra dose of fun. The summer is a bit hotter, but still beautiful. Even the winter is nice, although cooler and rainier. Whichever season you pick, you can expect to spend plenty of time outdoors with the family.

Don’t pass up the chance to spend time with your extended family. Napa has plenty to offer families of all sizes, and Napa Valley Hotel and Suites has you covered on where to stay.

Enjoy the Theater? See Who’s at Uptown Theatre Napa Valley

August 16th, 2014

The Uptown Theatre is Napa’s own destination for fine, live entertainment. Nestled in the famous West End district, this stunning art deco masterpiece from 1937 showcases the finest entertainment. The Uptown is a historic landmark and offers a phenomenal, intimate, live experience with world class sound and site lines. The distance from the last row to the stage is a short 98 feet! So, every seat is a good seat in the Uptown.

See who’s coming in September:

Dana Carvey – Emmy-award winning comedian Dana Carvey has had an illustrious career and the Uptown is delighted to welcome this talented performer for a live show on Friday, September 26th

Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam – Join rock and roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of the legendary band, Traffic, Dave Mason for an evening of music history retracing the early days of Traffic and launching into his successful solo career, September 27th

Reserve a room at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and you can walk to the Uptown and local restaurants in no time! Our friendly team can help with directions and recommendations.

Napa Valley is world-renowned for its chefs and there are some great places to have a meal here. Most Napa chefs focus on the locally grown and sourced fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, and wine to create delectable dining experiences.

Our location is uniquely suited to an early evening stroll and dinner before the theatre. The staff at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites can help you choose your dining spot, make reservations, and provide directions to get you there in time. After the theatre, top off your evening with a glass of wine and dessert at one of our many fine locations.

Call us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to reserve your suite and you have your perfect theater evening in Napa Valley. Call 707-226-1871 for more details and pricing.

The Basics of Harvest Season

August 11th, 2014

Grape crush season begins when the grapes start to turn color in mid to late summer. The actual picking of grapes happens between August and November in the Northern Hemisphere. This is an important time of the year for winegrowers that depend on wine production, such as those in Napa Valley.

Whether you plan on visiting Napa during grape crush season or not, understanding the basics of harvest season is good for everyone to know!

The Veraison Stage

Grape ripening begins with the growth period called veraison, which is where the fruit hangs from the vines and transforms from hard, small berries into soft, plump grapes. Vines enter this stage about 30 to 70 days depending on their type and the weather. The grapes begin to lose their green color and take on mature hues such as greenish yellow, red or purple. The grapes soften and enlarge, too. Although you can’t see it happening, the vine begins pumping sugars into the fruit while the acidity decreases.

The Ripening Stage

Veraison doesn’t happen at the same time for all grapes, even those on the same vine. Typically, the ones that are exposed to more sun and warmth get a head start on the process. Depending on the grape variety, the ripening process takes about 30 to 70 days after veraison. Growers monitor the grapes very carefully to ensure that they are ripening and getting sweeter. The higher the sugar, the higher the potential alcohol, since the sugars are fermented into alcohol.

The Harvest Stage

When the time is right, the harvest begins. Workers are sent out to pick individual parcels or rows. Some wineries still harvest grapes by hand, while others harvest them mechanically. The trouble with mechanical grape harvesters is that they can’t tell the difference between ripe, underripe or rotten grapes. But, they are faster and more efficient than by hand.

The Fermentation Stage

When the best grapes have been picked, they are crushed so that the yeast can start fermenting. Crush destemmers are used for this process to break open the skin and expose the juice and pulp. Winemaking begins with fermentation, and before you know it, wonderful wine selections are made!

Be a part of grape crush season by booking a summer package at Napa Valley Hotels and Suites!

Harvest STOMP – Annual Grape Stomp: August 23rd

August 5th, 2014

Eat, Drink, Stomp!

Join the Napa Valley community for one of the best, and squishiest, events of the year – the annual grape stomp. We encourage individuals, families, and teams to get down and dirty with the grape harvest. Event takes place at the Yount Mill Vineyards in Yountville. Stomp grapes with your bare feet in this lively, interactive competition where you can eat, drink, and stomp to your heart’s content.

Here are a few fun grape stomping facts you may not know:

  • Grape stomping is also known as pigeage
  • Stomping grapes is one part maceration, one part messy fun
  • Mel Tillis wrote a song called “Stomp Them Grapes” to commemorate grape stomping
  • Grape stomping was also featured in an I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy’s Italian Movie”

Harvest STOMP is attended by the industry’s most renowned growers and vineyard owners. This year, over a 100 local wineries will pour the best wines Napa Valley has to offer.

Stay with us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and attend the annual harvest grape stomp. In past years, the Harvest STOMP has sold out quickly, so don’t wait to call 707-226-1871 and make your reservations today.

The 2014 Harvest STOMP evening party is where you can kick up your heels with the grape growers of Napa Valley. Dance to live entertainment. Dine on local cuisine prepared by the finest local chefs. Sip the best local wines served up by well-known wineries such as Anthem, Antica, Arrow & Branch, Barbour, Bond Estates, Crocker Starr, The Tasting Room, and many more. Bid on exclusive, one-of-a-kind Napa Valley experiences in the live auction.

Bring your boots, your cowboy hats, and your party pants because this is one event you don’t want to miss. The reception starts at 5:00 p.m. The proceeds of the Harvest STOMP go to the NVG Farmworker Foundation, which supports the families of Napa Valley farm workers.

Spend some time stomping grapes this August, then join the party at the Harvest STOMP reception and dinner. Call the helpful and friendly folks at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to make your reservations today.