Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Napa valley and Fairfield

When we moved to Northern California my husband and I decided to visit all the nearby travel destinations. Our first destination was Napa Valley and Fairfield.“Do you like to taste wine?” my husband asked me.“No” I answered.“OK… but I like to do that. So we will go to Napa” my husband said.I had never tasted wine before. My husband offered me many times to taste but every time I turned them down. Though I denied to his proposal but I really wanted to taste wine of Napa.  So when he asked me the second time I agreed to him.
We went to Napa in December 2008 when my son was only two months old. That time my husband made some mistakes and we landed up in the Down town of Napa. We had not enough time in our hand to explore as we were in hurry to reach SFO before evening. So we couldn’t taste wine that time.This time my husband declared that the tour was going to be total relaxation so no hustle and bustle.  That was a good idea. There was not much places to visit near Napa valley. After the discussion my husband focused on booking hotel in Napa. He was really stunned by the price of the hotels. We couldn’t find any good reason for the sky-high price of hotels in Napa. He found reasonable priced hotel in Fairfield which was only 20 miles away from Napa. So we decided to stay in Fairfield. After searching many hotels we found that Hotel Extended Stay America was fulfilling all our criteria. We planned our vacation from 4 to 6 September, 2010.
  Picturesque Napa Valley

For the very first time with a glass of wine
On 4th of September we were not in hurry to start in the morning.  We started our journey from our home late in the morning in a very relaxing mode. In two hours we reached our hotel. The first impression entering the hotel was not very encouraging. The lights in the bathroom was not working in the room that we were allotted. After much of complain we were promised to be allotted another room. Anyway we started from there for Napa in a hurry. My husband was recollecting all the roads while we were going. But I couldn’t recollect a bit. My husband decided to go to Domaine Carneros winery. We were going through the barren hill where cows were grazing. Once I showed cows to my little son. That was the blunder I made. Whenever he couldn’t see any cow he started shouting.
The beauty- Contribution of both man and nature

After sometime we entered the Napa valley. Breathtaking views at every turn, picturesque hills planted with vineyards year-round and wineries of every stature dotted the landscape. The 18th and 19th century artistic wineries among the vineyards in the bright sunny afternoon escalate my desire visiting those places. But we had not much time in our hand to visit all those exotic architecture. Anyway when we reached Domaine Carneros winery it was already 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I was over thrilled in my mind to taste wine for the first time in my life. That time my husband was still thinking whether to sit there or to go to another winery. I pushed him to sit there as the wineries were going to close to public at 5 in the evening. We were given three kind of wine to taste, from light to spicy. As totally new my husband asked me to taste the lightest one. Yeeeaaaaakkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was too much bitter. I could take only 2-3 sips.
Wine tasting session

 My husband finished rest of the wine. That time I was pondering over to get the answer that in what taste people love to have wine. Anyway we bought one bottle of the medium spicy wine. First my husband was not willing to buy wine which was costly. I insisted him to buy one as he loved the taste. In middle of the luxuriant green with bright sun overhead created a romantic evening. We wanted to spend sometime there to feel that. But my son put the spoke in the wheel. He became too irritated and didn’t want to sit for a single moment. An elderly lady gave him some color pencil and paper to color but he was not willing to do the same. Then without any other option we left the winery. We planned to visit another winery but it was already 5 in the evening. My husband saw a lake in the map but we couldn’t find the lake. But driving through the vineyards miles after miles was a different feeling. Here I would like to share one fact about wine which is one barrel of wine makes about 20 cases, or 1200 glasses. A ton of grapes equaled 720 bottles of wine, or 60 cases. One vine annually produces between four and six bottles of wine, or 20 and 30 glasses. Each bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes; each 5-ounce glass of wine a little over half a pound. After sometime we came to our hotel room. Then we went to nearby Wal-Mart to buy some essential things. Meanwhile my husband tried to book tickets for the wine tour in wine train. Unfortunately he couldn’t get any ticket for next day. I was hesitating to go in train tour. $50 per person was too much for us. But my husband was very interested so I didn’t object. He booked the ticket for Monday, 6th September. 
The winery before sunset

Next day we woke late and decided to visit Jelly Belly jelly beans factory in Fairfield. Aroma of chocolate, peach, cinnamon, pineapple and many more welcomed us in the factory, as it was Sunday the production was closed so we couldn’t see that. But we were shown every details of the production in a 40 minutes guided tour. We also came to know a brief history of the company and also some fun facts related to the company. The company was first started in Chicago in early 19th century. Now they had factories at Chicago, Fairfield. The most famous attraction of the factory was the artwork made of jelly beans. Almost all the famous personality of the world had their jelly bean portrait there. Another attraction of the tour was the jelly beans tasting of every stage from start to the finished product. We were told that former US president Ronald Regan used to have jelly beans to give up his smoking habit. We received complementary Jelly Belly packs after the tour. After coming back to the hotel we searched other places to visit in Fairfield. Then we found the Air Museum in the air force base. Without knowing anything we went there. When we reached there we found that the museum was already closed down to public. There was nothing to do so we went to the nearby mall for strolling.
Inside Jelly Belly factory

Jelly Belly Art

6th was the last day or our tour. We woke up early in the morning. Our plan was to go back home after the wine train tour. Though we tried our best to start early form the hotel still we were late. My husband drove very fast to reach Napa downtown. The road was closed for repair work near. Somehow he managed to reach the McKinstry Street Station. We rushed inside to take the tickets. Then we waited for a while to taste wine. I didn’t understand that why I couldn’t get any taste of wine. I found every wine to taste bitter. I didn’t know how my husband could distinguish the tastes between different wines.  Anyway after that our journey started through the calm and serene Napa downtown. The Napa Valley Wine Train provided a relaxing three-hour thirty-six mile round-trip journey between the historic town of Napa through one of the world's most famous wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena and back. The tracks upon which the Napa Valley Wine Train ran were originally built in the 1860s to bring guests to the hot spring resort town of Calistoga. While the track to Calistoga no longer existed, much of the rest of the route of the Napa Valley Wine Train was unchanged. The Napa Valley Wine Train was a leisurely journey through the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley in painstakingly restored vintage rail cars.
The Wine train

 I was enjoying the beauty of the nature. While I was taking snaps, suddenly my camera got switched off automatically. My husband and I tried to switch it on without any success. I became very disheartened. I couldn’t capture the moment which I spent in the train. The journey became boring all of a sudden. I wished I had spare battery with me . My husband suggested having some food in the train. We ordered for dessert and burger. But the taste was not good. The journey ended at 2:30 pm. Then we started for our home and reached at 5 in the evening.


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Unknown said...

Awesome photos, 5 star...

Unknown said...

i dont have an ID so its showing as unknown, ArchanaArul..

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