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  • The Adventurous Alfords

Napa is always a good idea...

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

The greatest anniversary to celebrate is the one that takes you away.

Dreams really do come true.

When I was 25 I made my husband promise to take me to Napa Valley for our 30th birthday. We are 4 days apart in age so the celebration is always done together. We saved a tiny bit here and there to make it happen effortlessly and by the time the big 3 OH came around, we learned that we were expecting our second child, a little girl. So the Napa dream was put to rest for a short while.

“You'll never regret doing what you love. I love to travel. No trip is ever a regrettable trip. Maybe challenging or unexpected, but never regrettable.”

Once our baby girl turned one, I sat down with my husband and told him that I longed for the days of traveling to romantic places again. We had traveled so much before children. But once we started having kids, our priorities shifted to making sure they were healthy and happy first. Disney magic entered our lives in a big and in new ways and it was amazing. But we were finally at a place where we both felt comfortable leaving the kiddos with the grandparents for a long enough time to get away ourselves. Garrett knew exactly where we were going, California. I had dusted off the old Napa Valley notes and places to stay and took to Pinterest like a newly engaged millennial. It was exciting. I was expensive! Thankfully we still had our money saved from our previous planning. As soon as I was able to find hotel and flight combo within our price range, I booked. This was almost exactly one year in advance from the time we were set to leave. Have I mentioned that I am a planner? I am a big fan of Orbitz and Travelocity. Their APs are easy to use and there is always a one phone number go to for all of your questions. Plus, bundling is almost always going to save you money. TIP: Check flight prices on Tuesdays at midnight. Once our hotel and flight was booked, I took a breather. After all, we had a year to plan the rest of our trip.

I can not say enough about the Wine Train tours in Napa. It was a HUGE part of our budget for the trip. But it was an absolute MUST. So for mine and Garrett's birthday AND christmas that year, anyone that asked us what we wanted as a gift, we simply asked for a wine train tour gift certificate. Our family loved that. It was simple, yet a gift like no other. Between the two of us and both christmas and birthdays, we had enough and immediately booked our tour with all of our certificates. It was the highlight of our trip. You sip wine as soon as you board a gorgeous antique looking train. You enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a three course meal while riding through the countryside, stopping at three vineyards throughout the day. You tour each vineyard with a guide and sip at least three wines at each. Drink plenty of water and take in all the carbs because you will need it. TIP: Book a cheap hotel one night in Napa if you are not staying close by. You will not be able to drive after your tour.

Garrett and I decided to book our trip to start in San Francisco. We stayed at a hilton that was directly across the street from a car rental company. Our Napa Valley day was in the middle of our trip, so we repacked a small over night bag and rented a car for $75 from there to take to Napa. TIP: If you book your car for pick up as soon as the rental car company opens and return it by opening time the next morning, you are only charged one day and returning to the same establishment saves money as well. So we woke up early in the morning and waited outside the door for them to open. We got our car within five minutes thanks to early online check-in which saved us some time. We drove about an hour and hit Napa Valley. We had a couple of hours before the tour so we parked our car at the hotel we would come back to afterwards. We took our time walking towards the train station and grabbed coffee, admired the cute little shops here and there, talked about where we would eat for dinner and snapped some pictures. Once we made it to the train station, we still had some time to kill so we sat in the lobby of the hotel next door, hoping to get a glimpse of Kenny G who was rumored to be staying there for his Napa Valley concert. We never saw him but we did have some cozy downtime by a gorgeous fireplace. Once we made it to the station, my dream began. Everything was perfect. The staff was hospitable and kind. The views were breath taking and the wine was delicious. After the tour we walked around town a little while and then went to our "cheap" hotel. I'd like to think that a cheap hotel in Napa is nice hotel anywhere else. The next morning, we woke up early, grabbed some coffee and headed back to San Francisco to return our car.

Napa was so perfect that I only regret not staying there longer. Another blog is for our San Francisco adventure which was an awesome trip in its own, but Napa was just dreamy. You'll never regret doing what you love. I love to travel. No trip is ever a regrettable trip. Maybe challenging or unexpected, but never regrettable. But Napa? Napa now has a piece of me and I will return there one day for sure.

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