Wednesday, August 29, 2012

California Trip - Day One: Stanford and Napa

I had some time off between the end of my summer job and the start of my fall classes, so Jeff and I took advantage of the time and took a wonderful trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley! We did so many things that I'm going to have to split up the trip posts into at least a few different ones! 

So, to start us off - here's Day 1 of the California trip!

We flew out of Houston really early in the morning on a Friday, and we landed in San Jose around lunch time (thanks to the time difference!). After grabbing a quick bite to eat, the first order of business was to head out to the Stanford campus.

I was actually born in Stanford, California. My dad was finishing up his Ph.D. at Stanford when I was born... I was baptized on the same weekend as his graduation, and we moved away pretty soon after that. I've always known that I was born in northern California, but I never was able to remember anything about it. So, I really wanted to just go see everything! 

The Stanford campus is really beautiful...

Here's the "Main Quad." We walked all around it...

Here's the first place I ever went to church: 

One of Stanford's "big attractions" is the Rodin Sculpture Garden, so we made sure to find it and walk around. 

Lots of headless bodies and bodiless heads.

Here are the most famous ones: Adam, Eve, and the Gates of Hell. 

After we saw the Stanford campus and my first church, we set out to find the hospital where I was born. Here it is! 

Once we had all my early childhood history must-see items checked off our list, we drove to Napa Valley! We got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge! 

After a reminded-us-of-Houston experience with San Francisco rush hour, we finally made it into Napa!

There are vineyards everywhere, and it was just so pretty! 

We arrived early enough in the day to squeeze in a winery visit before the end of business hours, and we went to Domaine Carneros. It was one of the prettiest wineries we visited! 

Domaine Carneros specializes in sparkling wines, so we split a tasting that included two sparkling wines and two reds. Our waiter was nice enough to bring us a third sparkling wine as a bonus! 

We were so happy to finally be in Napa (and out of the San Fran traffic), and the weather was perfect, and the view was just so pretty! Such a lovely afternoon! 

We bought two bottles of their brut cuvee, and then we drove off to find our bed and breakfast! 

We stayed at Churchill Manor in Napa, which we absolutely loved! We heard that bed & breakfasts were the way to go in Napa, and we picked this one based on the rave reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, but we were still surprised by just how great it was. 

We stayed in the "Carneros" room (all the rooms are named after wine-growing regions of Napa Valley).

The room was so adorable... full of lovely antique furniture (including a super cute bathtub and a beautiful carved mantle and fireplace)!

Churchill Manor puts on a little "happy hour" every evening, so we went into one of the parlors to get some wine and snacks, and then we sat on the big front porch and just relaxed while we drank our wine. Isn't Napa just the best place ever?!? 

Eventually we left the porch to get ready for dinner. We had reservations at an Italian restaurant called Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa, which was just a short walk from the B&B. So, we went out the cute little gate at Churchill Manor and walked to dinner!

After a nice leisurely dinner and some wonderful Italian food, we walked back to the B&B and went to be early to prepare for our early morning the next day! Next up - Day 2 in Napa Valley!

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