Napa pt. 1: sleeping, strolling and shopping

I am trying so hard not to refer to Napa as wine country because I know it's annoying. We headed north to Rutherford this weekend and enjoyed the tranquility of small town living sans computers. The homesickness is probably taking its toll, but in a strange way Rutherford and nearby St. Helena reminded me of Virginia, particularly Bluemont. The main route was lined with arching trees, stone walls and mountains off in the distance. It felt like we were taking a car ride with friends, and it was the first time I could stick my arm out of the window without fearing I'd whack a cyclist. I just thought, "it's Virginia with different trees, a lot of grapes and a dryer climate." 

Okay, so it's not Virginia, but if you squint there's a resemblance.

Jon and I named our top five spots in the United States, and St. Helena - approximately 8 miles north of Rutherford - made both our lists. The trip was so enjoyable because we had no desire to trek around various wineries Saturday afternoon even though Robert Mondavi and Coppola's Rubicon Estate were at our doorstep. Blasphemy - I know! Instead, we strolled around our one horse town, drank beer in the courtyard of our beautiful inn and had the most scrumptious meals since we've been in California.

Nothing was expected and everything was gained.

Rancho Caymus wasn't the most posh, trendy spot I've stayed, but it was so comfortable and cozy. Every room is a suite with a balcony/porch and mission-themed decor, but the kicker is the courtyard.

What to buy? Mustards, Olive Oil infused with every delectable ingredient, vinegar aged 15 years, bath salts and body scrubs. I had to stop myself and settle for three items: basil-infused olive oil for all of the tomatoes I'm eating this summer, mustard bath salt to detox and lavender mist for the bed sheets.

Rutherford Post Office
What can you say?  I'd work there everyday.

It's not the best picture, but the best thing about this little shop was the arrows denoting the distance to other wine regions, and it listed Charlottesville, VA!

A few men finishing up at Rubicon for the day.

Stay tuned for part two!

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