Napa Valley

Cabernet Season delightfully upends conventional wisdom

Napa, CA- Visiting Napa Valley in any season is always a highly anticipated journey. Experiencing Napa during Cabernet Season which runs from mid-autumn through early spring presents travelers with amazing deals, less crowds, light traffic and tasty fun. On many fronts, it’s arguably the best time of the year to visit. Clink!

Bold autumn colors have overtaken many vineyards and the surrounding countryside while winter’s looming shadow shifts the balance of light and shade to illuminating effect. A quieted pace consumes much of the region where you can easily find yourself (between wine tastings, of course!) slowly wandering the back roads soaking in the region’s legendary beauty.

Our most recent adventure had us taking on some entirely new experiences along with more traditional forms of wine country fun. Stepping out of our comfort zone and with a fresh outlook, we left Napa with smiles and a newfound appreciation for all things Napa Valley.

Ackerman Heritage House – Truly Impressive!

Ackerman Heritage House exterior
Stunning restoration to Victorian era mansion in Napa

Step back in time during your next visit to Napa Valley and marvel at this meticulously restored Victorian era mansion. From the moment you set foot onto the beautifully manicured grounds you realize you’re in for a special treat.

A superb experience for aficionados of the era, a visit to Ackerman Heritage House is also guaranteed to convert many modernists willing to spend a little time out of their comfort zones. Yeah, it’s that cool!

Painstakingly restored, the stunning attention to every detail throughout captivates visitors and is a testament to the Ackerman’s passion for a bygone era. Each room in the mansion tells a unique story with an impressive array of antiques. From a storied birdcage and Tiffany lamps to Thomas Edison and Mark Twain originals, the journey though time reflects the era and local influence.

Paired with an incredibly warm and friendly staff, Ackerman Heritage House remarkably retains the feel of a family home, not a museum. We love it! Thanks to Molly, Joe and Kristie and staff for great hospitality!

Events – Create your memorable experience
Afternoon Tea? Cooking class with a world class chef? Stunning wedding or corporate event?

Cooking class pies from Ackerman Heritage House
Butterscotch & Apple Pie with lots of help from former French Laundry chef Jennifer Smith

The Ackerman Heritage House provides a spectacular gourmet kitchen, elegant spaces and atmosphere for an unforgettable Victorian era experience with all the modern touches of world-class hospitality. A wine tasting in the converted carriage house is not to be missed. We were lucky enough to indulge in their soon to be released creation, the super-scrumptious Counter Point Port. Yum!

Located at 608 Randolph Street, the Ackerman Heritage House is an easy stroll from all points in Downtown Napa and the Waterfront. We stepped out of our comfort zone and are thrilled we did. A fantastic Napa experience!

»» To schedule a class, book your event visit Ackerman Heritage House.

Conn Creek – Winemaker for a Day

Conn Creek Barrel Blending Experience
Fantastically fun, at times hilarious and truly educational experience

Become a winemaker extraordinaire with a 90-minute barrel blending experience!

Conn Creek makes the process easy as your personal host guides you through an informative and fun tasting experience in the private barrel blending building. A quick and entertaining lesson on blending is followed by whipping up and perfecting a few of your very own custom blends.

Once you’ve perfected your blend, grab your beaker and head to the barrels to craft your personalized Napa Valley bottle. Cork it up, design your custom label and you’re ready to rock.

Conn Creek is a perfect example of “Casual Luxury on the Silverado Trail”. A fantastically fun, at times hilarious and truly educational experience!

»» To play winemaker for a day, visit Conn Creek

Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market

Reminding us of a mini, upscale version of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, we instantly fell in love with Oxbow Public Market. With a focus on organic, locally-sourced food, and artisan vendors, Oxbow celebrates 10 years with surging popularity. It makes for an easy and enjoyable day trip from many Northern California locales. Visiting midweek is a smart bet!

In addition to being a tasty destination for bites and brews, Oxbow Public Market serves up local organic produce and is a fun place for gift or souvenir shopping. Indoor and outdoor seating is available and it’s fun to stroll around the area or just kick back for some people watching.

Tip: Before catching a concert at the new Oxbow River Stage, grab dinner and drink at the Market!

Fun Fact:
Oxbow Public Market’s named is derived from its geographical location. Merriam-Webster defines oxbow as: A U-shaped bend in a river.

Open 7 days a week, Oxbow Public Market is located at 610 and 644 First Street in Napa.

»» Plan a day trip to Oxbow Public Market.

Elizabeth Spencer Winery

Elizabeth Spencer Winery
A relaxing, friendly experience!

A slice of Napa Valley history meets modern-day Napa Valley in the form of a beautifully refurbished 1872 post office property turned winery.

The Elizabeth Spencer Winery, situated in Rutherford at the junction of Highway 29 and 128, derives its name from the husband and wife team of Spencer Graham and Elizabeth Pressler.

Offering a variety of wine tastings, events and private rentals, it only seemed fitting to enjoy their Napa Valley Cabernet Experience. It’s currently Cabernet Season in Napa Valley and enjoy we did!

Hosted in the newly refurbished private cottage for groups of 2-6, we immediately hit it off with our extremely affable wine educator Kathy. Despite our rudimentary wine knowledge, Kathy guided us through an enjoyable tasting along with stimulating conversation.

For those who appreciate a more relaxed wine tasting in Napa Valley with a personal touch, the Elizabeth Spencer Winery is a friendly experience.

Cab Faves: Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder

»» Plan your visit at Elizabeth Spencer Winery.

Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa

Napa Valley Marriott pool at night
Napa Valley Marriott’s beautifully cared for grounds

Deciding between a full service hotel and boutique lodging in Napa is always a fun challenge. During our final travel adventure of the year, convenience was high on our priority list and the Marriott’s location and blend of amenities made it an ideal choice.

Located on Solano Avenue, the Marriott provides convenient access to 29, Downtown Napa and the Silverado Trail. The reserved exterior belies a very nicely redesigned and well-appointed hotel and spa. The Marriott includes everything we needed to enjoy a comfortable stay with plenty of nice extras.

We’ve really come to enjoy hotels that offer a welcoming lobby and lounge area. The Napa Valley Marriott includes an open, modern and inviting design with fireplace and plenty of seating. It’s also perfect for the complimentary wine tasting they hold each evening.

Dining

Adjacent to the lounge is the VINEleven restaurant which opens to the lobby and is centered with a horseshoe bar. Modern in design, it still effectively imparts some of that classic lounge vibe that we love. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Our room was spotless, comfortable and included all the required amenities. Perfect! Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa also includes The Preserve Spa offering a broad range of spa treatments and services for men and women looking for a touch of pampering.

Napa Valley Marriot
Relaxing and open concept lobby. lounge and restaurant

Business and pleasure

Aptly suited for the business-minded, Marriott includes over 20,000 square feet spread over 7 event rooms with up to 13 breakout rooms. From the Grand Ballroom to the Courtyard Garden this full service facility provides a central location for corporate events and trade shows in wine country.

The Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa offers a welcome bevy of amenities, creature comforts and convenience. A solid choice for all your adventures exploring Napa Valley!

»» Book your stay at Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa