Do Just Us Girls
We sat on the edge of the pool, flutes of sparkling wine in-hand and water tickling our feet. I was surrounded by my favorite group of gal pals as I turned 40 at the secluded, yet chic Solage. Our trip had been planned by my friends and I, and at 9:30 pm, the exact moment of my birth hour, we toasted my 40 years and took a celebratory dip in the geothermal mineral pool while gazing up beyond the palm trees to a star-spangled sky. Once inside our poolside cabana and cozy in our spa robes, my friends serenaded me with the Happy Birthday song as I unwrapped my gifts.
By morning, we hashed up a plan for the day while at Solbar for a farm-fresh breakfast in the outdoor dining patio. There are so many things to do in Napa but we were excited about a day of winery visits and tastings.
Wine tasting is quaint and more personable in downtown, walkable Calistoga and throughout the Napa Valley; two stops would be plenty before a bit of downtown retail therapy and happy hour. We embraced the education on wine varietals and barrel aging that brought notes of vanilla to the berry-rich wines we tasted, and we were thrilled to learn how to swirl and sip to unlock the layered characteristics and buttery mouthfeel of chardonnay.
We will always remember our favorite wine-tasting stop at Tamber Bey Vineyards, where we tasted an elegant chardonnay paired with cookies — yes! — while admiring the estate’s three regal performance horses behind the fenced grounds. Another special spot we discovered was at Chateau Montelena, a chateau originally built as a wine-barrel aging facility in 1888, yet today stands in full grandeur. As we sipped cabernet sauvignon, we strolled outside on the grounds at Jade Lake, where we spotted two swans floating in tandem and then noticed a Japanese Pagoda surrounded by breathtaking gardens. We stood on the little red bridge that led to the Pagoda, knowing this was our final closing scene on our wine country experience that, ultimately, connected us closer to nature and each other.