To the Wine Cave!

I was surprised to find out this morning that this was our last day in San Francisco. I could have sworn that we had another day, but apparently not. That’s fine, it means more time in Napa. We packed up the room, and Yulia walked over to Sears on Powell (the restaurant, not the store) to wait in line for breakfast. Sasha, Oscar and i came down in a bit, and right was we made it to the front of the line we were told no dogs, even in carry bags. This was the first place not to allow even a arry bag with a dog, and we were a bit surprised. bummer.

We walked around the block and passed about fifty other places, all of which had great looking breakfasts, so we dropped into one randomly, and had a pretty good  meal. Nothing special, but it was nice to eat a bigger breakfast for a change. We tend to eat pretty light in the morning, but felt like a change. We walked back to the hotel, loaded the car, and headed out. It was only about an hour to our hotel in Napa, and traffic was mostly great, only the slowdown at some Tool Booth made us wait anywhere. We pulled into the Meritage Resort and were impressed.

So far, our hotels have been improving with each change (for a total of five for this trip), and this was no exception. This was a Resort and Spa, about 5 minutes outside the downtown of Napa. It has a fantastic pool, with a full service bar, a Bocce court behind that, and then a Wine cave built into the hillside. The hillside was covered with their own vineyard. The cave contains the spa and tasting room. our room overlooked the pool, it was all top notch.

We had to wait to check in, as we arrived way early. So we left my cell number, and drove into the downtown. The first thing that I noticed was that the river had navigation marks in it. I hadn’t realized that the river was navigable to the downtown, but it makes a lot of sense. The town being older (like 100 years old), it would have been placed where shipping was easy. The downtown was an interesting mix of old buildings under repair, newer buildings that were totally out of place, and brand new construction designed to look like the repaired old buildings, with coverings on the windows with exciting scenes of what would be in these new, unneeded buildings if you would just please rent the space here. Please.

We parked right where the GPS told us the “center” of downtown was, and walked a spiral out a few blocks. It is a pretty nice place. All the shops are friendly, with well over half of them being wine shops. I’m not sure what the market saturation point is for trendy wine shops, but whatever it is it will happen here first, likely causing a Black Hole of wine, with fruity characteristics and a nose of blackberries. Excellent Event Horizon, but a bit hot.

We didn’t wait too long before the phone rang and the room was ready. We headed straight back,it was getting hot and we wanted to sit beside the pool. I actually forgot my swimsuit, and was looking for a place where I could get one, but no luck today. We drove back, unpacked and made a beeline for the pool. The little room brochure told us that the central pool with bar was “adults only” and that the “family” pool was one building over. Hmm.

We walked over to the other pool, and were not impressed. The next building over was the Timeshare part of the resort, and there was no bar or service, the pool was a lower quality, and it was loud and not fun. The teenagers making out in the hot tub did not improve the situation any. We stayed about two minutes before going straight back to the other pool. They could kick us out for all we care, but we just weren’t going to swim with the Griswolds in the cheap pool. As it turned out, most of the guests with kids had the same idea. There were several kids in the nicer pool, and while we waited for the pool staff to say something, they never did. It seems that sending all the paying guests over to the other pool has a negative impact on the amount of tips they get. We ordered drinks, and some pizza and tipped well.

After a day at the pool, we went to the cave to check out the spa and tasting room. Everything was top notch. We got a flight of the house wines to try. Sadly, as expected, the wines were typical California wines – big fruit and high alcohol. Really hot our style. We joined the club to get a discount on the spa, and to get the flights for free. We picked up a bottle of their wine that was most our style (no corking charge in the restaurant for their own wines).

Tomorrow we were planning on going to the wineries. Should be fun.