Destinations, Food, Photo Essays, Small Towns, Wander
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Vignettes of Yountville, Day Two

Day two in Yountville didn’t start out well for us. We came out to one of the vineyards up on the hills early Saturday morning with Napa Valley Aloft for a hot air balloon ride (and a champaign breakfast after), but the weather had other plans. We were hoping it would clear up, spending our time taking photos of the fog-covered vineyards and half blown-up balloons while waiting. But the fog just got thicker by the minute.

Our guides were very apologetic though (although it’s hard to blame them, the weather can be unpredictable), and they made up for it by having unbelievably delicious Bouchon chocolate cupcakes waiting for us when we got back. And we still enjoyed the view.

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Hot Air Ballooning with Napa Valley Aloft (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bicycle Ride Around Yountville

With our hot air ballon ride canceled and it being too late to go back to bed, we had to find another way to spend our Saturday morning. Luckily our hotel (North Block Hotel) lets guests use their cruiser bikes for free, so we decided to explore the town on them.

We rode our borrowed bicycles along Washington Street past the main strip and the town limit to where the vineyards are, and then on the bike path along St. Helena. The bike ride was a lovely experience, and certainly a good way to see the rest of Yountville.

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Yountville (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

M(a)isonry (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

M(a)isonry (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bouchon Bistro (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bouchon Bistro (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

French Laundry (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

French Laundry (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood

The bike ride was also a fantastic way to work up an appetite. Afterwards, we had a light but super tasty breakfast at Chef Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood, complimentary of North Block Hotel: eggs (sunny side up and an omelet), bacon, roasted rosemary potatoes and toast. And the arugula was amazing and fresh.

Redd Wood at North Block Hotel (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood at North Block Hotel (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood at North Block Hotel (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood at North Block Hotel (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

We also had supper there that evening; and unsurprisingly, the restaurant serves amazing dishes for dinner (much like most of the restaurants in this town… I seriously think they have a ban on bad food and bad chefs in Yountville). For starters, we had the crispy Fritto Misto that I couldn’t get enough of. We followed it up with the super light Prosciutto Crudo Pizza and amazing Shrimp Linquine. And for desert we had their yummy Pot De Creme Coffee Espuma Whip and Biscotti.

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Redd Wood (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono

Before heading off to the Taste of Yountville festival, which we had tickets for, we simply had to stop by Bardessono, one of the greenest hotels in the country (that’s no exaggeration, mind you! This hotel goes out of their way to be eco-friendly, which gained them the hard-to-acheive LEEDS Platinum certification. I talk more about this in my recently published piece on eco-friendly trip ideas for Earth Day…).

Anyway, the hotel is not only very friendly to the environment, it is also beautifully designed. We had a quick tour of its grounds and buildings that blended modern simplicity with natural touches, which I absolutely loved. And they have a spa onsite too. It was smaller than the spas I’ve been too, but Yountville is all about relaxation so we simply had to squeeze in massages before we joined the festivities.

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Bardessono (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

After our lovely massages at the Spa at Bardessono, we walked over to Washington Street, which was bustling with people. We were in town on the same weekend as the town’s annual Taste of Yountville and Yountville Live!, and having obtained complimentary tickets to both festivals (thanks to the kind folks at Fuller & Sander and the Yountville Chamber of Commerce) we decided to spend lunchtime sampling wine and food from many of the local restaurants and wineries that were participating. There were out of town participants as well.

It was a fun experience, going from one tent to another. We spent a couple of hours walking up and down the main strip, tasting different wine and samples of delectable food (even the firefighters’ tent served amazing barbecue), and chatting with some the locals.

This is day two of our Yountville adventures. Vignettes from Yountville, Day Three is coming soon. Stay tuned!

 

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