A Girls' Weekend in St. Helena (Sans Wine)
When you're pregnant and a wine aficionado, a weekend in Napa may sound like torture. But during a recent girls’ weekend to St. Helena, I discovered that wine country can be equally indulgent and relaxing when you’re expecting. With its renowned spa treatments, shopping and gourmet culinary offerings, Napa makes for an ideal escape, with or without a drink.
1. Boon Fly Café – Make sure you depart San Francisco late enough to avoid the morning commuters and early enough to make it to Boon Fly for breakfast. It’s cozy inside, and the main seating area is warm, open and inviting. You can watch the cooks energetically preparing the food, or take a seat at the bar and have a drink. Don’t miss the donuts and Pappa Joe’s Eggs in a Hole. Boon Fly is off of 121 heading east. Just look for the big red barn structure.
2. Corner Stone Sonoma - While digesting your Boon Fly feast, meander through CornerStone Sonoma, an eclectic assortment of cafes and shops. Don’t miss Zipper where we spotted an array of cheese platters in wood, silver, and marble with the names of cheeses engraved on quaint silver flags (to help your guests know what they’re digging into), along with breathtaking coffee table and children’s books, and a crystal lotus votive. Finally, a place filled with gifts for the people who have everything. CornerStone is located at the southern entry to Napa and Sonoma wine country off of 121 south.
3. Taylor’s Refresher – It’s best to hit this place for lunch on Friday before the weekend tourist brigade. You can’t go wrong with the cheeseburgers or the ahi burger and all the fries were delicious – choose from sweet potato, garlic, or cheese fries -- or skip them all and go for the old school onion rings. Taylor’s Refresher is located on Main Street right outside of downtown St. Helena. Just look for the hungry masses out front.
4. Meadowood - Check into one of the luxurious forested cottages, lodges or suites nestled in the center of wine country. The rooms generate the perfect dose of city amnesia and your troubles feel more than the actual 60 miles away. We stayed in a detached cottage surrounded by trees. We were hard pressed (and thrilled) our closest neighbor was far away enough to remain anonymous and avoid any of those requisite waves hello. Sitting on the deck reading the paper in the morning, we truly felt deep nature, and remembered why we need and love it. Our room had a great sunken tub, which came with special sea scrubbing salts and loofahs. We had a fireplace and two HD televisions, a couch, desk and ample sitting area. The lavish beds border on the almost too-comfortable-to-get-up-in-time for breakfast side, however you won’t want to miss your break-feast at the Restaurant at Meadowood the next morning. Meadowood is located in a 250-acre valley off Silverado Trail in St. Helena.
5. Massage at the Meadowood Health Spa - I had one of the best massages of my life here, and I’m a picky one. The masseuse adjusted perfectly to my wary city body needs. I was nervous the Pure Relaxation Swedish massage wouldn't be able to get into the tough spots, but my masseuse Moris was happy to help.
6. Workout at the Health Spa - you may spot Robert Redford on a good day or any other locals who choose to work out here. The spa offers yoga, spinning and plenty of weights and cardio equipment.
7. The Restaurant at Meadowood – The impeccable wait staff is sure to cater to all your whims. Chef Christopher Kostow, a two Michelin-starred chef, delivered beyond our expectations on each of the nine courses which included: an unforgettable Cold Smoked Toro, Squid and Egg, Red Farms Spring Lamb and the light and tasty Toast and Jam for dessert. You can view the mouth-watering prix-fixe menus and make reservations at here.
1. Breakfast at Meadowood – Amazing views overlooking the golf course and sprawling nature reminded us how much we miss this feeling in the city. The waitstaff honed in on our vibe to slow down our meal in this heavenly spot. It would've been a shame to rush through an outdoor meal accompanied by perfect weather, a rarity for San Franciscans. It was just warm enough, and greenery surrounded us as we sat perched on the sun deck watching the golfers and walkers. The waiters generously brought us fresh berries after we devoured the pastry basket in advance of our meals. The corned beef hash is not to be missed. It was the real deal with just enough fresh corned beef and the right amount of potatoes. The Huevos Rancheros were also top notch – a perfect blend of fresh guacamole, black beans and a special sauce that was actually special.
Above: Pizzeria Tra Vigne
2. Pizzeria Tra Vigne - We visited the much acclaimed Tra Vigne restaurant’s recently opened Pizzeria Tra Vigne for lunch. The simplicity of the deliciously fresh Pizza Marghertia was worthy of a drive up to wine country in itself. Tra Vigne is located right off of Main Street in St. Helena.
Above: Cade Winery
3. CADE Winery - Head north and wind up the scenic Howell Mountain to the newly opened CADE Winery, the first LEED-certified and greenest winery in California. Take a tour while soaking in the breathtaking structure. Highlights include the jean-insulated walls (they left a hole in the wall so you can satisfy your curiosity), the wine caverns which are illuminated by uniquely exposed bulbs (a great place to have a dinner party), and the main tasting room where you’re made to feel as welcome as if your best friend had you over for wine and appetizers. Order the wine tasting and have a glass outside while overlooking some of the most spectacular views in the valley.
4. Martini House – For dinner, check out renowned restauranteur Pat Kuleto’s Napa digs. Executive chef Todd Humphries’ menu reflects Napa Valley’s Native American history with dishes combining farm-raised meat with organic produce and rare ingredients, while the extensive wine list compliments the cuisine beautifully. Be sure to secure a table beforehand to avoid a long wait. Martini House is located just off of Main Street in St. Helena.
1. Martin Showroom- What weekend is complete without a little shopping? With unique pieces in every price range, a visit to this gorgeous design showroom owned by acclaimed interior designer Erin Martin is a great way to round out a first-class weekend in wine country. Martin Showroom is located on Main Street in St. Helena.
2. Napa Premium Outlets If your indulgent weekend in Napa left you looking to pinch a few pennies, you’re at the right place. Don’t miss Barneys New York, where you can feel better about recession-splurging on designer goods like the Vince cashmere cardigan, James Perse tanks, and Marc Jacobs peasant blouse we found. At American Apparel, we found plenty of well-priced tank tops, colorful knee socks, as well as the discontinued off-the-shoulder tee that we had been searching for. Napa Premium Outlets are located right off of Hwy. 29 in Napa.