While I was in San Francisco this week, I knew I wanted to get out of the city a little, even just for a day. The area has a wealth of gorgeous day trips available, but my number one choice was wine country. I'd go there regularly when I lived here, and it's such a beautiful area with plenty to see and do (even if you don't drink!)
Yesterday was the only day this week where I didn't have plans - and it being a weekday - all of my friends had to work. No matter! I would go anyway! I would go to Napa Valley BY MYSELF!
...Well, ok. With 20 other people. And a driver named Abe.
I booked an 8-hour tour with Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, which was a trip (literally and figuratively!) I showed up at 8:20am and introduced myself to Abe, who told me I had the most beautiful smile in the world (so you know it was going to be a good day). And I was dying over this bus. Champagne glasses at every seat. Two big-screen TVs. Disco lighting. There were about 20 of us on the trip, and I was the only one there alone, but the atmosphere made chatting easy and fun.
We started with breakfast and mimosas, then drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, where we made a quick photo stop, before pressing on to Napa and Sonoma valleys. We visited four wineries (two in each valley), as well as The Olive Press for some olive oil tasting, a real highlight.
My favorite of the wineries was probably Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Yes, as in that jacuzzi. The same family that invented the hot tub/bath spa also has a world-class winery. Who knew? The original Jacuzzis actually emigrated from Italy in 1907 and made great strides in the aviation industry. So...they were busy. The family has something like 100 patents to their name. My family has...well, zero, to my knowledge. Not much of a legacy yet!
Another highlight of the trip was Abe himself. He was so funny, I actually wondered if in addition to driving the party bus, he moonlighted in stand-up comedy. Originally from the Middle East, he kept making immigration jokes and telling us about his past residence at Alcatraz. At lunchtime, he set up a picnic table buffet, put on a chef's hat, and told us to call him Ahmed. Really great guy who made the trip all the more memorable.
It was a beautiful, warm day in Napa. We only barely scratched the surface of what the area offers, and it made me nostalgic for many previous trips where I had more time to spend and explore. I'm already looking forward to my next trip back. In the meantime, though, I'm grateful for great day of memories.