It’s Rich Life Travel Friday!
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, romance is in the air! I thought now would be a good time to share my and my husband’s favorite things to do in Wine Country when we’re looking for a little romance.
As a side note, Bill and I never celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th anymore. Who wants to brave all the crowds and pay the inflated prices? We celebrate our Valentine’s Day early, then enjoy a quiet romantic dinner at home on the 14th.
It wasn’t easy to narrow the list down to 10, there are so many opportunities to create romance wherever you are in Wine Country (see this post and this post for romantic getaway ideas), but we did and we made sure to throw in some low-cost suggestions for a little “Romance on a budget.”
Here is our list of 10 Romantic Things to do in Wine Country:
1) Last year, we celebrated Valentine’s Day in late January by staying two miles from our home at Kenwood Inn and Spa. With off-season prices and low occupancy, we felt as though we were in our own little romantic, Tuscan-style oasis.
2) Just a short distance from the Sonoma Plaza is a charming winery set on an expanse of meadows and hilly, woodsy hiking trails. Bartholomew Park offers great wines, a quaint tasting room, friendly staff, loads of fascinating history and, if you’re up for it, a gorgeous three-mile hike. Bill and I always make sure our hike ends up at the tasting room where we can grab cheeses, salami, some crackers and a bottle of wine, of course, and enjoy a casual picnic. Read more about our hiking adventure at Bartholomew Park here.
3) Few things are more romantic than watching the sun set over the ocean with the one you love. Bill and I like to have a dinner at River’s End in Jenner, making sure to ask for a window table and time our reservation so that we are sure to see the sun set. Or we will simply pull over on Highway 1 and watch from the car while holding hands.
4) Clanking glasses of bubbly with your main squeeze is just plain romantic…and fun! Sip and enjoy a variety of high-quality sparkling wines in a breathtaking setting, modeled after a centuries-old French chateau. Domaine Carneros never disappoints in the romance department! Read more about our past visits to Domaine Carneros here and here.
5) The Sonoma Plaza is quaint, charming and chock-full of romantic, fun and tasty things to do. Pretend you’re with your lover in Paris by enjoying a glass of Bordeaux or a delicious lunch on the outdoor patio at the European-inspired, Centre du Vin at Ledson Hotel.
6) For a low fee, you can spend the day soaking up vitamin D and taking the waters in your choice of three pools at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs. Bill and I brought in our own picnic and enjoyed trying out all the pools for a few hours last summer. You can visit for the day or stay a night or two at their attached hotel.
7) Try something new with your sweetheart and visit Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley for their Olive Oil Tasting Experience. Take a guided tour through a lovely olive tree grove, taste fine olive oils and enjoy a healthy and delicious lunch. Afterward, visit their stunning tasting room across the street and relax on their very stylish patio while sipping some of Napa Valley’s finest wines.
8) Bill and I are fortunate enough to live just a stone’s throw from a gorgeous winery with lovely grounds, a very friendly staff and fantastic wines. Landmark Vineyards is my very favorite place to have a Wine Country picnic. It’s the ideal setting to spend a romantic afternoon. During warm weather months on the weekends, Landmark offers musical entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides through the vineyards and a Bocce court. Best of all, you can bring your well-behaved dog!
9) I wish there was a way I could go on OpenTable and reserve these red Adirondack chairs at Farmstead in Napa Valley. It’s our favorite place to plant ourselves for an hour and just sit and unwind. Bill and I love to get a latte, beer or glass of Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc and watch the world go by (then go inside for a table and order the mac and cheese).
10) After living within a few miles of Quarryhill Botanical Garden for the last 15 years, I finally took the time to visit last year. Boy, had I been missing out! It is lush and green and full of flowers and birds and bees. It’s also quiet and most of the time when we visit, we are the only people there. It’s perfect for a hike with your honey. Bill and I like to sit by the big pond and listen to the chorus of frogs and the trickle of waterfalls.
If you celebrate Valentine’s Day, what’s your favorite thing to do with your sweetheart?
Go for a hike? Have a picnic? Stay at a luxury hotel? Go out for a nice dinner?
Make it a rich (and romantic) day!