Looking to plan your perfect Napa getaway but don’t know where to start? It can be a bit overwhelming and there are so many options to choose from.


Guess what, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! I am hoping I can help get you started with planning your perfect trip to the region! Let me know what you think of this post as I am planning to write more on Napa! Would love to get more suggestions on what you want to know more about!


Okay, so where do we start? We will start with lodging and transportation to get a base for the trip.



Lodging:

SO MANY PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY LOOK FOR AIRBNB’s and I hate to be the Debby downer here, but Napa has some (let's call them unusual rules) and Airbnb’s aren’t in abundance in the area (Napa has very strict hospitality laws). You will find many hotels to choose from in the area, a couple of my favorites are Vista Collina and River Terrace Inn.

Vista Colina: If you are traveling with a group or even kids this place is great! They have a big pool area and a place called the village where you can continue to taste wines after the wineries are closed. They also have cooking classes, which is a super fun activity outside of wine tasting (obviously wine is included in that as well)!

River Terrace Inn: Cute, chic, and has a boutique vibe with great service! There restaurant (Alba) is one of my favorite spots to eat breakfast in Napa as well.


Pure Luxury Transportation

Transportation:

Unless you have a DD, transportation can be tricky. I do recommend renting a car from either the Oakland or San Francisco Airport if you are coming in from out of town. For a day of wine tasting my ABSOLUTE favorite transportation company is Pure Luxury Transportation. They have a very large fleet to choose from (and can even do airport transportation ). If you have a smaller group or are just with one other person they have some great SUVs and if you are a larger groups their sprinters and buses are awesome! And of course, the drivers are super friendly and professional.


Planning Your Itinerary:

I highly recommend a minimum 2 days of tasting if this is your first time to the region. Many people will try to fit 3 or more tastings in one day and I do not recommend this unless you plan on spitting the wine (WHY ON EARTH WOULD I SPIT THE WINE? – ha. I get that. But it is okay to spit some of the wines if you would like to make it to more than 2 wineries in a day. Spitting still allows you to taste the wines and maybe only consume the ones you LOVE).


So, during my first few trips to Napa I was trying to fit 3 or 4 wineries in the day and I couldn’t tell you if I really liked any of the wine after the second winery. Usually the wines I bought from the 3rd and 4th wineries were expensive and not that great, thanks to my AMAZING drunk taste buds! If you want to try to get three wineries into the day, I recommend starting first thing in the morning. Make your first appointment at 10:00am, second at 12:30, grab a quick sandwich in between (I will list my favorites below), and then plan your last tasting at 3:00pm. If you are doing 2 tastings in a day, you will have more time for tours and learning more about the history of the properties and Napa. And there are so many great tour options (I’ll list some of my favorites below).


Now, the next question I get often…..WHY ARE TASTINGS SO EXPENSIVE? There are a few reasons for this. First reason, they need to pay the staff that are providing you with the tasting experience, tour and answering all of your questions. Second reason, Napa is just an expensive place to own land, farm, and build. And the third reason….many places will set the very expensive tasting fees because they want serious people in there. What do I mean by serious? People that are looking to buy wine. So keep that in mind when you go to Napa, many places are happy to give you a tasting experience but they still need to make their businesses run, and they do that by selling wine. If you are looking to buy wine, tell them that up front when you are making the appointment and they will help you pick the right tasting experience.


Book reservations? YES! I would highly recommend booking your reservations weeks in advance. If you are going to 2 wineries in a day you should definitely plan to book ahead and plan 2-2.5 hours in between each place. If you book a tour/tasting it can take upwards of 2-2.5 hours and then an additional 30 min to get to your next location depending on where in the valley you are (so make sure you consider your tastings each day by the location because the valley spreads pretty far). If you try to do 3 in one day, I recommend booking two appointments and trying to stop in to the third somewhere that accepts walk in tastings.




Favorite Tours:

Hall Wines: They can get busy over the weekend so I recommend booking their tour experience as it was one of the first I did in the region and I’ve brought so many people back since!

Pine Ridge Winery: They do a tour and cave tasting (with a food pairing) that is amazing!


Wineries that have some more affordable options:

Titus Winery: One of my favorites to recommend to people and most people have ended up joining their wine club!


Quick lunch spots:

Yountville Deli: grab a quick sandwich

Gotts Roadside - St. Helena: This is close to Hall if you go there. They can get pretty busy but you can order online ahead and save yourself a ton of time.


Check out my other blog posts in Napa!

Yountville - Napa Weekend Getaway

Napa Summer Sunsets -- Tasting Room with a View: Miner Family Winery

Titus- A hidden gem in Napa Valley

Davis Estates - Views that you need to get to Calistoga to see

Odette Estate Winery -- Must Visit off of Silverado Trail

Aonair - Breathtaking views and fabulous wine

New York City has some of the best wine bars and they have them on pretty much every block! The bar scene in New York can be tailored to your liking with all of the bars to choose from!


Okay I am not going to bore you with all of the super touristy things to do in NYC, I think you can figure out all of the landmarks you want to see. But what I will tell you about are some of the amazing wine shops and bars/restaurants that I went to and LOVED! I will keep this short and sweet for now but will probably continuously update this every time I go back to NYC!

Bars/Restaurants:


Cecconi's Dumbo - drinking Moet Champagne

Cecconi's Dumbo: If you plan to go over the Brooklyn Bridge, I highly recommend stopping in at Cecconi's and the little market that is close by! This bar/restaurant has a GREAT brunch and lunch options while you are exploring around the area. In the spring and summer time you can sit outside as well and have AMAZING views of the Brooklyn Bridge. The drink selection is top notch here and you will definitely be able to find something you like. I loved the ambiance of this place and will probably go back every time I am in the city now! *Side tip: if you are in that building, take the elevator to the top and there is a public rooftop that most people don't know about and the views are INSANE! We brought wine up there as well, I cannot say if it is allowed, but no one stopped us ;)




Angels Share: If you like fancy cocktails and speakeasy vibes this is the bar of your dreams! This place was so cool! They are pretty hidden and you have to know about it to find it, but well worth the find for sure. Make sure you go in with a smaller group as (from what I hear) they don't allow groups of more than 4. The bar has a swanky vibe to it and feels exclusive. I highly recommend this place as a must visit in NYC if cocktails are your jam!


Refinery Rooftop: Met up with some friends here and it has all the vibes! It is pretty close to Times Square, so if you are in that area this is a great place to stop in for a drink or two! They have great cocktails as well as some wines by the glass. They also had FROZÉ, so if you are there in the summer time this is a great spot to go hang out! The staff were amazing as well!


Up Thai Restaurant: Trendy Thai food, but the food DOES NOT disappoint. I love Thai food and this place was amazing! Highly recommend getting a reservation if you go over the weekend or you will be waiting for a while.



Wine Shops:

So full disclosure, I only had the time to go into two wine shops and I did my research before in the area I was staying in (which was the upper east side). Turns out I LOVED the two wine shops that we went to and found some great french wines that I have been having trouble getting my hands on here in California, so you know I was hooked!


Vinyl Wine Shop - Upper East Side

Eastside Cellars: Such a fun staff! We went in on a Friday evening before dinner and they were pouring natural wines that night to taste. Which was SUPER awesome because I found a natural wine we loved for $20!

Vinyl Wine Shop: This place had some really cool wines I had never heard of that were affordable and turned out to be really good! Definitely recommend strolling into this wine shop if you are on this side of town!










LOVE LOVE LOVE NYC, and I am already planning a trip back for the summer! Stay tuned for more of my favorites!

-AU

Keep these top places in mind when planning your trip to London!


I just had THE BEST time in London and wasn't there for very long. We packed as much as we could in just a few days! I won't bore you with all of the tourist attraction places, I want to share with you the places you won't find when searching a London travel guide.


One of my favorite things to when visiting (anywhere I go) is to try the places that the locals go....and maybe a few of the popular instagram worthy places as well! So I am going to keep this quick and give you the breakdown of my favorite bars, cafes, and restaurants I found while in London.


Bars:

Madison's Terrace Bar at St. Pauls: This is a rooftop bar that has incredible views overlooking St. Paul, great cocktails, and a very chic atmosphere.




Mr. Foggs: Super fun atmosphere, fun cocktails, affordable wines by the glass, and a place to just hang out before dinner!







Sky Garden: This is a place that a local friend visited and said was AMAZING, I did not make it there because we needed to book tickets in advance. PRO TIP: Book tickets beforehand and it will be well worth your time to get drinks and overlook London.




Beltane and Pop: This is a MULED WINE TRUCK! They are normally parked up by the London eye. So when it is cold out this is the PERFECT spot to stop and warm up while still exploring all the sites!







Cafes:


Elan Cafe: There are five or so of these spread across London. I went Market Place location which was insanely cute. Think everything PINK! Pink tea, pink food, pink desserts and much more. Such a fun cute place to stop in for coffee or treats!









Geales, Notting Hill:

Cute cafe/restaurant that you can stop in for food, lite bites, or drinks while exploring around Notting Hill.







Restaurants:

Oblix West: This restaurant is INCREDIBLE. Not only was the food amazing, but it is located inside the Shard so the views of London are insane! And one of the best parts was the wine list! So much variety on the wine list, it does not disappoint!


London Coppa Club: MY FAVORITE SPOT! So they have the cuttest igloos you sit in overlooking the Tower Bridge. Pro Tip: They book out at least a month in advance so book early. We booked breakfast on a week day and were able to get in the same week! Their breakfast was SO good. Gluten Free avocado toast - I was in heaven!













Hotel:

We stayed at the Landmark London and it was so dreamy! This is a luxury hotel that does not disappoint! I really do not think you can go wrong with most hotels in London though!





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