You might have read about my trip to Athens with my better half, but this time I want to tell you about traveling to wine country with kids! I know what your thinking: "Napa with kids? not a good idea..." but I actually think it's an awesome one!
Driving up north to Napa & Sonoma county always makes me happy, feels like a real vacation and the kind that I like the most! with delicious food, good wine and beautiful views... My kids already know me and let me take as many photos as I wish before they can touch any food. I have been to this area many times: with my family, on a girls only drive, for a one day trip or two nights stay and I enjoy it every time. So when you have a free weekend or are brave enough to take a day off from work, make sure to check out these spots and enjoy every moment...
After crossing the Golden Gate bridge, feeling sorry for the people that are out there in the fog and wind, trying to take a selfie, we usually stop in Mill valley for a coffee at Flour craft coffee & Bakery, a gluten free bakery that makes delicious treats, good coffee and a butterfly-lemonade- my kids LOVE it! It's located in the small and charming Lumber yard, where you can also find cute little shops and your kids can run and play outside.
Another spot we like to stop at, is at Larkspur, Marin country mart. An outdoor center where you can visit a farmers market on Saturdays, grab a bagel at Wise sons bagelry or get lost in the beautiful book shop, Copperfield's books. Next to the book shop you can find an alternative wooden play ground for your kids to get their energy out before heading back to the car...
After driving for another hour (this trip is one of the shortest we did in California -another reason to even like it more and come back time after time) we arrived at a small city called Sebastopol. We usually get our lunch at Handline Coastal California, It's a cool Californian restaurant, I love their Tacos! Outside they have a kid-friendly area where you can also have a soft serve ice cream for dessert.
If you still didn't reach your coffee limit for the day, just cross the street and head to Acre coffee.
Our last stop before checking in to the hotel was The Barlow, an industrial chic, outdoor center that was rebuilt in place of an old apple orchard and apple sauce factory. You can find restaurants, a coffee shop, local beer, wine and spirits and beautiful shops. Two of my favorite ones are California sister floral, the most unique flowers shop I have ever visited, with a big variety of plants and a spacial aesthetics.
Don't miss Elsie Green where you can find stylish home goods brought to you from all over the world.
Where to stay?
We stayed at The sandman hotel in Santa Rosa a few times with our kids and felt it was a perfect match for our family needs. It's a simple and clean road-side inn , where you can also enjoy an artistic atmosphere, an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Plus they offer MALIN+GOETZ bath products with crazy smells! So if you feel like having a Rum body wash or a cilantro hair conditioner, this is the place for you!
For dinner we usually drive north to Healdsburg, a small town with a cute downtown, full of restaurants, breweries and wine tasting rooms. Last time we tried Campo fina, an intimate Italian eatery, with hand made pasta and wood fired pizza. I ate a delicious Farro and vegetable salad! I also heard a lot about Chalkboard restaurant, but didn't try it yet.. It's always best to reserve your table in advance!
Good morning! Hope your kids let you sleep well...
We usually grab a coffee at Flying goat coffee in Santa Rosa and start the drive to Napa.
Can I visit a winery with my kids? Yes you can!
Three good Wineries in this area, the first one is my kids favorite, the last one is my favorite.
Castello di Amorosa Winery An old style winery, located in a huge castle, where you can tour the place, see some farm animals and taste wine of course.
V.Sattui winery They have a big market where you can find wines, different kinds of cheese or other goodies and have a picnic outside on the grass or by a table.
Frog's leap Winery A beautiful winery with a charming outdoor area, where you can taste wine, walk around to see the flowers and animals or just lay down on a blanket with a glass of wine.
One of my favorite little towns in Napa. Our starting point will always be Bouchon Bakery and
I'm willing to stand in line for their heavenly wheat stalk baguette bread, chocolate Eclair or macaroons.
We then usually walk to the Van de leur park, a small rose garden with different kinds of sculptures and continue to the Freanch Landury Garden, where you can find amazing flowers and vegetables you never saw before, which the restaurant use for their dishes. In the end of Washington street you can visit Kelly's filling station & wine shop, an old style gas station and a cool little shop where you can get wine, cheese and magazines and head out for a picnic!
For brunch, lunch or just one last sweet stop for the weekend, I'll recommend visiting Boon fly cafe.
My favorite dish is the Green eggs (I usually skip the ham). You'll get crispy hash browns on a delicious lemon-leek cream, topped with poached eggs. SO GOOD!
Last carb for the weekend, (I promise!) Make sure you don't miss their boon fly small doughnuts!
A small metal bucket, full of cute, hot cinnamon and suger doughnuts, that make it worth driving up there again and again..