On Monday we explored the grandeur of Yosemite National Park (read here) and on Tuesday we drove north to Napa Valley. Yountville and Calistoga are favorites.
Of course Hannah (rightfully so!) compared everything to the movie Parent Trap! -ha.
I loved how this winery mixed fall decor with succulents. (I was taking copious notes!!)
This statue will always remind me of visiting Yountville right after my son and daughter-in-law lost their beloved dog, Max. It was such a sad time for everyone so seeing this statue entitled ‘Who Saved Who’ was very sweet.
Wandering around the old Marketplace building is enjoyable both from the perspective of the shops as well as the architectural elements of the building.
Hannah’s love for Young Frankenstein knows no end!!
Scott and I have been to the Napa Valley region in the winter, the late spring and now Fall. It’s fascinating to see how things change from season to season. One magnificent highlight dies back as a new spotlight appears somewhere else.
The French Laundry. I have talked before about my respect for this restaurant and its owner and chef, Thomas Keller. Named the Best Restaurant in the World in 2003 and 2004, recipient of the coveted 3-star Michelin award and ultimately called “the best restaurant in the world, period” in 2005 by Anthony Bourdain.
In the 1920s, the building was owned by John Lande who used it as a French steam laundry, thus the name.
The restaurant wasn’t officially open yet so Hannah and I wandered around to the back…
It was beautiful and calm in the back. Easy to imagine guests milling about on a cool, Fall evening.
But then I noticed the open windows across the way and about dropped to my knees! It was the kitchen!!! I stood for an awkward amount of time – in reverence – and watched all the kitchen staff in their sharp, white uniforms, diligently working to prepare the evening meal.
In my imagination, this was Chef Thomas Keller. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it! 🙂
The door that leads to the magic.
Not to mention that Anthony Bourdain once walked through it. Maybe stood outside and smoked a bit before returning to the kitchen to see how they prepared his delicious meal. sighhhh…..
Across the street from The French Laundry, is their garden. Without hesitation, it is the most beautifully perfect garden I have ever seen. We spent a long time walking around, reading about the different types of vegetables growing, etc. It’s the garden every gardener dreams of in their wildest imaginations.
And let’s face it – it’s all about the irrigation capabilities, right??
Bees to support the garden…
The most adorable chicken coop area…
And an enormous herb greenhouse.
It is a dream to imagine living like this. Supporting yourself through your own sustainable gardening.
We have yet to identify this nut tree. Anyone have any ideas?? (It doesn’t appear to be an almond when we broke it open.)
Down the street from The French Laundry is a Thomas Keller owned bakery, Bouchon Bakery. While I can’t afford the $310 a plate dinner at TFL, I will happily pay for the best croissant I’ve ever had. And the best macarons. Each time I come I think it might be a fluke, but no…they are the best in the universe!!!
Hanging in the Marketplace building is a colored drawing of the cookbooks from the local chefs of Napa Valley. I want every book – and the drawing of them!
We spent most of our time in Yountville, then drove through Napa’s plethora of vineyards. We’ve seen these vineyards in 3 seasons and each one is as fascinating as the next. It was fun to be experiencing it with Hannah this time.
Rows and rows of perfection.
Miles and miles of fun.
A perfect way to relax.