Friday, June 30, 2017

Welcome back to my final post about California! To catch you up, I had a business trip to Napa a few weeks ago and decided to bring Stephen along for some of it so we could go early and see San Francisco (here and here) as well as Napa.

At this point, Stephen had already flown back home and we were right in the middle of the conference. Our big event of the trip was to take a private tour of Alcatraz after the conference one evening. The weather was super foggy and gross which added to the effect of the island. There is so much history at this place and I feel like I only heard the tip of it. We didn't get to see the whole island before it got dark but we heard some pretty cool stories about the areas we did see.

This little area was from when this was a military fort - they would corral everyone in the area where everyone is standing and then shoot them before they could enter the fort

This was the first prison cell on the island. It first housed some men who decided it'd be a good idea to get super drunk one night lol

This is remnants of the soda shop/dance hall/place where everyone hung out when people lived on the island

The morgue. They said the only person who died here was someone who worked on the island that had a heart attack

The prison

The mess hall

This lady lived on the island as a little girl - her dad was a guard (or someone who worked on the island). She had some fun stories for us

Al Capone's jail cell at one point

The cells were and still are mechanical; not electric

So these cells were in solitary confinement... they had 2 jail doors and it would be complete darkness. They locked some of us in there so we could experience it - don't think I'll ever be committing a crime, I wouldn't last a day in jail lol

She's locking the other group in there

This guy. He was a prison guard and an absolute riot! He told the craziest stories!

Once we were done on the island, we got on a dinner cruise boat and toured around the bay. The fog cleared up and was the most beautiful night!

Thanks for hanging in there with me through all of these really long posts! We will be on vacation next week in Hilton Head so I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break. You can still keep up with me on Instagram! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Napa, CA

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I'm finally trying to get back on track and finish up my California blog posts. Earlier, I blogged about our time in San Francisco here and here. Today I'm going to recap our time in Napa. Thankfully, this day was a travel day, I opted not to play golf and I didn't have any work obligations until later that night so we took the opportunity to see Napa and the surrounding areas.

We aren't wine (or anything) drinkers so we focused on wineries that we could visit, walk around and take pictures at. Our first stop was Frog's Leap Winery which was our favorite in the sense of being able to relax. I saw this winery in one of Julia's blog posts and thought it had some pretty touches to it - it was even better in person! There were so many beautiful aspects to the winery - we were in picture heaven and even though we didn't drink, there was still a lot to walk around and see. If you did want to do a tasting, they did them out on the back porch which was very pretty and serene.

The sun was super harsh that day but there were so many gardens to walk through

Okay, that was a lot of pictures... our next stop was at Hall Winery. This winery was a lot smaller and very modern. I think if I was going to take a tour, this place would be on my list - it looked like there was a lot of cool areas where they make the wines. They had some fun seating and areas to play lawn games but we were hot and hungry so we didn't hang around too long.

We stopped for sushi at Sushi Mambo in Calistoga which was pretty good. Calistoga had the most adorable downtown area - that city's area was my favorite. After lunch, we headed over to Chateau Montelena Winery which had the coolest exterior. We literally took a ton of pictures with the tri-pod in front of the Chateau, walked around the duck pond and then left. There wasn't too much for us to do but this would be the perfect place for a wine tasting or a picnic.

Initially, we planned to be done at this point but after talking to my SIL, we decided to go ahead and visit Castello di Amorosa Winery. This castle winery was so cool but seemed super touristy compared to the other vineyards. In order to enter the castle, you have to pay $25/pp which includes a wine tasting. We decided to go for it because when in Rome Napa. The inside of the castle was so cool and even though there was a ton to see, I definitely wanted to go on a tour. We took a chance with this wine tasting and were so pleasantly surprised when they had some amazing sweet wines. We loved every single one of them (literally a first) and ended up leaving with a bottle of their La Fantasia and a bottle of their grape juice. This one was probably our favorite since we had so much fun here :)

After Castello di Amorosa, we pulled off the side of the road and took pictures at one of the famous Napa Valley signs. After getting back to the hotel and cleaning up, we went to a work dinner at a fun Italian place in downtown Napa. We had so much fun and it was so worth the trip!