Here at 7x7, we are big advocates for the quick-but-glorious weekend trip. And isn't that half the reason we live in the Bay Area anyhow—for the many magical escapes that are actually so nearby?
When you feel the need to leave the city behind, we recommend renting a hot ride and making haste for Napa County, where there's no shortage of new spots primed for maximum chill time.
DRIVE: Rev Things up With Audi on demand
A car with serious vacation vibes should be a mandatory part of every road trip, so we like to splurge a bit for Audi on demand when we're looking to check out and have serious fun. Go for the big guns and reserve a 2016 Audi RS 7 ($590/day), a beast of a car (560 horsepower) that calls for spirited driving (the official industry term for speeding) along the vineyard-lined roads of Napa Valley. Besides the roaring engine and Audi amenities including in-car WiFi, bluetooth, navigation, and Sirius radio, we dug the high-tech key (just go near the car to unlock its doors and start the engine), and we loved the way the car's seats hugged our bodies in. (Be warned: The RS 7 is the kind of car that draws the attention of the male species, from teenagers to older gents.) With Audi on demand, you don't even have to pick up your wheels—they'll bring the car to you anywhere in San Francisco. Road trip! // Day rates range from $155 for an Audi A4 to $1,285 for an R8 Spyder; audiondemand.com
STAY: Wake up in a Harvest Cottage at Carneros Inn
For anyone who hasn't been to the Carneros Inn in a while, the newly remodeled harvest cottages are reason enough to return to this old favorite. Your home for the weekend has all the usual trappings of a luxury hotel—crisp white linens, a soaking tub and heated floors in the bathroom—and then some: French doors open onto private patios where you can bathe and lounge al fresco. When the sun goes down, don your fluffy robe and head to the adults-only pool for views of the vineyards beneath the stars. As if all this weren't enough, Carneros Inn also wins our hearts with their fire butler: That's right, your very own pit master will be onhand to tend both your indoor fireplace and outdoor fire pit, ensuring the flames will never go out. // 4048 Sonoma Hwy. (Napa), thecarnerosinn.com
EAT: Let the Moon Hit Your Eye at Ca' Momi Osteria
A big pizza pie? That's amore. Getcha some at the new Ca' Momi Osteria (an offshoot of the beloved Oxbow Market), just a 10-minute drive from Carneros Inn. In addition to hearty pizzas, this local favorite dishes interesting antipasti—try the Lingua Scarlatta & Giardiniera, a platter of cured tongue carpaccio with pickled seasonal vegetables—and satisfying pastas, including a saffron potato gnocchi with PEI mussels and Capay Farm organic cherry tomatoes. If you're looking for late-night revelry, head here on a Friday night for live music and dancing (and tiramisu) starting at 10pm—also a good time to try something from the restaurant's surprisingly great mezcal collection. This is one of the hottest new spots in downtown Napa, which, in case you haven't heard, is kinda having a moment. // 1141 1st St. (Napa), camomiosteria.com
DRINK: Craft Cocktails With a Twist at Basalt
Opened this spring on Napa's burgeoning riverfront, Basalt invites one to take a seat on its sunny patio for an inventive cocktail (crafted by a guy called Buffalo) and afternoon nibbles from the bar menu—think lime-salted padron peppers and adobo-glazed chicken wings. We recommend the perfectly crafted mint julep or the Tommy's Margarita with a black lava salt rim. You also wouldn't be remiss if you decided to stay for dinner: Chef Esteban Escobar's Spanish- and Mexican-inflected menu is mouthwatering. // 790 Main St. (Napa), basaltnapa.com
CHILL: Bliss out at the All-Suite Meadowood Spa
Chef Christopher Kostow's heralded tweezer cuisine isn't the only big draw at this mainstay resort, hidden in the trees behind Silverado Trail. At the close of 2015, Meadowood raised the curtain on a fabulous $60 million renovation that includes a fetching nine-hole golf course and one of the most glorious spa experiences in the Valley. The new, all-suite Meadowood Spa is first-class all the way, designed for true spa days with multiple serene-chic spaces designed for lounging about. Check in with plenty of time before your appointment to take advantage of the steam room, sauna, and mineral soaking pools in the relaxation gardens. Once you're loose and warm, you'll be whisked away to your own plush suite for a chat with your therapist, who will curate the experience to your precise specifications, from the aromatic oils for your massage to the after-treatment organic sipping elixir. But first, a pre-treatment indulgence: Whether you prefer an aromatherapy steam shower, dry body brushing, or a delicious foot bath, a few hours at Meadowood Spa will give you the glow of a long weekend vacation. Just one caveat: The spa is open only to Meadowood members and guests. Reserve one of the renovated bungalows even if for just one night—with a deep soaking tub, fireplace, room service, and blackout shades, you'll think you've died and gone to Wine Country heaven. —Chloé Hennen // Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Ln. (St. Helena), meadowood.com
PLAY: Stomp Grapes Like Lucy at Grgich Hills Estate
We've all seen Bottleshock—the Dazed and Confused meets Sideways flick about Calistoga's Chateau Montelena taking the French by storm in the 1976 Judgment of Paris blind tasting. But did you know it was Mike Grgich, now the proprietor of Grgich Hills Estate, who actually made that award-winning chardonnay? Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Napa winemaking's big win with a tasting at Grgich. Better yet, roll up your jeans and partake in an old fashioned vineyard blessing and grape stomp. // 10am to 4pm daily, Aug. 19th—Oct. 31; 1829 St Helena Hwy. (Rutherford), grgich.com
LISTEN: Take in Some Classical at Music in the Vineyards' 2016 Festival
For 22 seasons running, violinist couple Daria and Michael Adams have been filling the landscape of Napa Valley with the sounds of their beloved chamber music as founders and artistic directors of Music in the Vineyards. The 2016 festival will feature 35 musicians at 13 different wineries, kicking off July 29th with a string and clarinet performance of Mozart and Brahms at Freemark Abbey in St. Helena. But perhaps the main attraction of the 2016 series will be the Beethoven Cycle. Beginning at Beringer Vineyards on August 17th, Ludwig van Beethoven's 16 String Quartets—"considered the pinnacle achievement of the chamber music repertoire"—will be performed over the course of five nights by the award-winning Ariel Quartet, which kicked off its own 2015-16 season on stage at Carnegie Hall. // Through Aug. 21 at various venues; for schedule and tickets, go to musicinthevineyards.org.
TAKE TO THE SKIES: Hot Air Ballooning Over Napa Valley
There's nothing quite as magical as a sunrise soar in a hot air balloon. And while trusting your life to a basket and some heated air, might sound scary, it's actually quite peaceful as you glide over Napa Valley. Instagram-worthy photo ops abound: To the north the majestic Mt. St. Helena, to the west the Mayacamas Mt. Range, and to the east the sculptured terrain of the Vaca Range. You may even catch a glimpse of the San Francisco skyline. Book your own flight with Napa Valley Aloft, a family-run business that have been safely flying passengers over the vineyards since the 1970s. When you're safely back on the ground you'll even get to toast the morning with a bottle of Champagne. After all, this is Wine Country. // Sunrise flights offered daily, 6525 Washington St. (Yountville), nvaloft.com