Visiting Napa without the Kids

  • See also: Napa with Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Kid-free getaway to wine country in November

Oct 2013

Hello BPN!

I am going on a kids free getaway with a best friend and we wanted to check out Wine County. I have only lived in the Bay Area for 3 months and my friend is coming from Ohio, so we are completely clueless on where and what to look at. We would like to stay somewhere that is walkable to sites and an easy way to access transportation to the wineries. I've heard there are trains/buses that will bring you to the wineries. Also, wouldn't mind knowing about renting bikes too. Really, if there is anything of interest, we are open. We have not decided on anything other than needing a place that is accessible. I would like to learn about either staying in an air b and b kind of setting or a hotel. We would like to stay in a place that is moderately priced too, nothing too high end.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations!!! Maryam

If you want to feel free to drink without worrying about driving, a hired car/limo service might be a good idea. There are tour companies that do bus tours, but the disadvantage with those is that you can only go to really big wineries that can accommodate a bus load of people. If you can spring for the car service, I'd do that. I stayed in the Best Western in Calistoga for my honeymoon in 2007, and it wasn't fancy or romantic, but it was perfect as a place to sleep and then go on our day-long wine and picnic outings. Have fun!

I have enjoyed day trips to Healdsburg as it has a nice town center for window shopping around and, great food . Dry creek area wineries are near by. I dont know lodging but sometimes there are great little b & Bs, depending on what you want. Also for travel near and far, i have found the Fodors Forum site folks to be very helpful. The archives have a wealth of info, and the frequent participants know tons. Ask a specific question about a type of lodging or type of winery to visit or spa to visit and youll get on the mark suggestions.

Have a lovely time and welcome to California! Anon and on and on.

Wine tastings for free with visiting friends?

Aug 2008

Hi. A few friends are coming from abroad and I would like to take them to either Napa or Sonoma for some wine tastings. They come from South America so the currency exchange is not very favorable. I know that in the past there were some wineries that would do wine tastings for free. Is there still such a thing? If so, do you know of any place like that? It would be lovely to take them to do something like that but I can't afford to pay for all of them. Any info will be greatly appreciated. wine guest

There are plenty of good wineries in Sonoma County that offer free tastings. I suggest using the web site You can search wineries under a variety of topics including ''no tasting fee''. Napa Valley has a similar site,, which also has an easy-to-use search. But it's been long time since I heard of free tasting in Napa. Looking for wine bargains, too.

You can do Napa on the cheap by having a picnic at a pretty winery, but I think that free tastings are hard to come by. If you're looking for free tastings then I would recommend going to Livermore Valley instead. I know, doesn't quite roll off the tongue the same way as Napa, huh?

I've decided to go there with my friends for my upcoming Birthday instead of Napa though (last trip was long and pricey...and we only made it to 2 wineries!). Livermore has a great website, check it out and see if it's something you'd be interested in. ( Either way, have fun with your friends! Almost30

Romantic Getaway in St. Helena w/out Darling Kids!

December 2004

Thinking of taking the husband to St. Helena or nearby for a relaxing getaway from the kiddies. Any recommendations on a place you love, that won't break my bank? --Itchin' for a Vacation

We have always stayed at The Harvest Inn in St Helena. It is a beautiful B with a great continential breakfast. You can get rooms with or without a fireplace and many of the pricer rooms back up to the vineyards. It is a bigger B for those who prefer that set up. They have bikes to rent, a wine tasting in the evenings, a pool and hot tub. Definitely one of my all time favorites! And right before you hit St Helena! thehowards

Adult get-aways

April 2003

Hi, I am looking for a comfortable, affordable place in Napa/general wine country region for a weekend getaway. Any recommendations? Prefer non ''institutional'' setting. Have already consulted this site's archives. Esther

We've recently converted our beloved weekend home in Healdburg into a vacation rental. It's on Chalk Hill Road, very close to the spas, wineries, and restaurants of Healdsburg and Calistoga. You didn't say how many people you're looking to accommodate- our place is good for a couple or for a small family (one double bed, plus a pull-out matress). The property is on a creek, and you can walk 20 minutes to the Russian River for a swim. And because we've just begun this venture, it's very affordable! ($50/night, cheaper for a full week) Check out our website - - please email or call with questions (contact info on website). Tamarah

March 2003

Re: Romantic Getaway for Couples
For a romantic hotel/B you can't beat the Wine Country Inn in St. Helena, Napa. Fabulous. Pricey, however, esp. on weekends. JC

I know of a place in Alexander Valley (20 minutes out of downtown Healdsburg, in Sonoma County) that is a nice getaway. It's about 85 miles from the East Bay..........that translates to 1.5 hours usually.........but with traffic, it can take as long as 2.5 hours max. I believe you can get on the net and read up on Healdsburg........the downtown has been revitalized as of late and has a couple highly rated restaurants. Also, Hanna Winery is only a 5 minute drive away. ---lucia


From: Natasha

We've stayed at the Gravenstein Inn in Sonoma County (it's in Graton, I think). It's lovely and the food is good. Mostly we've stayed there because it's one of the few places that doesn't have a 2-night weekend minimum. There's a swimming pool, too. It's a beautiful renovated house that's easy driving distance to many wineries and Occidental.

From: Lori

I think that you would really enjoy the Country Garden Inn. As I recall it is right on the Silverado Trail. The room we got had both a fireplace and a hot tub in the room. They also have wine and cheese in the afternoon and sherry and dessert in the late evening as well as breakfast the next morning. A bit pricey, but well worth it, I think. Let me know if you go there, what you think.

Auberge Du Soleil, Rutherford

May 2005
Re: 10th Anniversary romantic getaway
If you're willing to spend a good amount of money for a get- away you will never forget, I suggest Auberge Du Soleil in Rutherford in the Napa Valley. ( It is the most romantic spot my husband and I have visited. The rooms are spacious with every amenity you can think of, the spa sits in an olive tree grove and the restaurant is first class. We enjoyed a couples bath in a private outdoor courtyard along with a couples massage that was so luxurious.

The property is so completely private, yet all that the Napa Valley has to offer is just a short drive (if you even WANT to leave the property--we didnt' move for 3 days!!) I think if it was raining that would make it even more romantic, so going in the winter shouldn't deter you. By the way, the new Coppola Food and Wine Center is very near by if you decide to venture out; Julia's Kitchen is deliciious.

Good luck and congratulations on your anniversary! Karen

Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford has wonderful rooms and suites, all of which have views of the Napa Valley. The restaurant is good, and other wonderful restaurants are nearby.

The Hyphen

March 2004

Re: One-Night Get Away for Gals (March 2004)
We stayed in a place many years ago that was okay with a one night minimum. It's been so long that they may have changed their policy, but it's worth a try. It was owned by a sweet couple, so you might even be able to beg them to make an exception. The other reason I mention it, is because it is definitely not a ''cuddly bear'' B It's in the hills in Napa somewhere (maybe Yountville)and has a nice pool and very nice bungalows. It's called The Hyphen. Have Fun! Nancy

Meadowwood Resort, St. Helena

March 2004

Re: One-Night Get Away for Gals (March 2004)
I just did this very thing with my best gal-pal--she was visiting from England and could only spare a night away from her family obligations in SF. Sonoma Mission Inn (now owned by The Fairmont) and another hotel in St. Helena were unable/unwilling to rent a room for one night. The day of our departure I called THE MEADOWWOOD RESORT in St. Helena, and they were very gracious and said that they had a one-night availability, that very night. In fact, two items of note: The girl who manned the phone offered us the nicest ''suite'' on the property, and when I asked if she could do better than the $540 room price, she quickly offered a $350 rate, citing that the room was unlikely to remain unrented between my call and that evening. (so it might behoove you to balk at the price)

Meadowwood is rustic elegance. Our room was kind of removed (not within view of the pool or croquette green), had a timbered high ceiling, and a comfy sofa in front of wood-burning fireplace. The room was set up into the trees and had the feel of a treehouse. The bed was a big king bed with Frette sheets. The bathroom was very nice with a curved-wall shower and comfy tub with a built-in lumbar support. The resort is as quiet as a cemetary--likely because the units are set apart from each other. The spa on the grounds is really the only place of ''congestion'' on the whole property (I would advise you to make any massage, facial, pedicure, etc. reservations well in advance of your reservation since the spa traditionally is booked a week in advance). The lap pool went virtually unused, and so Girlfriend and I had the whole pool and jacuzzi to ourselves. There are ample workout machines on the second floor of the spa, and a largely unused, empty workout room with weights, mats, and a tv with VCR (should you want to play/use your own Pilates tape from home, like we did).

You can either eat in town (we did) or eat in the Meadowwood restaurant (we did that, too) with its very green view of the golf course. The food is quite delicious, as well.

My husband and I have stayed at World Class resorts all over the world and were pleased to see that Meadowwood had none of the attitude that upscale resorts sometimes have. The personnel could not have been sweeter.

The experience was really quite blissful and peaceful. I plan to return with my husband, and, possibly, my very obnoxious children who would likely disturb the quietud ENJOY!

Wine Train

Jan 2004

Re: Day of pampering for friend's 30th birthday
Try the Napa Wine Train as part of your girls day out. Is is so much fun. 3 hours on a wine train for just talking and relaxing with no interruptions. You get a gourmet lunch (or dinner)as part of the package. Can't seem to find the telephone number at the moment but the website is Have Fun! martha