Travelogue: Napa Valley and Yountville

Finally saying goodbye to WDW and it was an early wakeup call since the shuttle would pick me up at 4am (omg) for my 7am flight. The shuttle arrived promptly and surprisingly, we went to pick up a couple more people that were staying at the value resorts so the bus was actually half packed. It was so cold onboard that everyone just went into deep slumber. lol


And soon we arrived at MCO airport. Checked-in, security check was a breeze and the security staffs were friendly for such an early morning (like not grouchy and felt like they had a bad day or something)


And as I was walking to the gate, I spied a breakfast place opened and contemplated if I should get something to eat cos I was worried there was nothing to eat on the plane


So here comes the SADDEST egg sandwich with cheese that cost USD3.29

In which I only finished half of it cos the bread was more than the egg itself

But at least it was hot :/


The plane soon pulled back and took off and that marked the 4h 40 minutes flight to Salt Lake City


The best thing about this transcontinental flight was there was entertainment on board and I love how the inflight wifi on US planes are so strong and connected

Even though I used none of that and went to sleep cos hey, I had an early morning you know


And then woke up when they were passing snacks around. Yeps, thankfully I trusted my instinct and had a hot sandwich. Their meal service comes in the form of snacks (biscuits/energy bar/chips) so there’s no hot food. Why? I rather they give out hot food than provide entertainment


We soon arrived at Salt Lake City where I had to catch my next connecting flight. Was actually pleasantly surprised by the airport for being so modern and busy cos some other bigger cities actually had interior that looked rather dated

Went to buy my toothpaste cos I was running out of it before I walked to the gate and..


It was time to board. Speaking of perfect timing


The thing I liked about Delta airlines was they provided real time updates on your bags (but first you need to download the Delta app). So if you are concerned about missing luggages, at least you have a piece of mind


And it was a rather short 1hr 20 minutes flight to SFO

We actually arrived much earlier but due to controlled arrival at SFO, we could only reached the gates later so we stayed on the runway for 20 minutes before the plane started moving again


And then knowing your bags had also arrived alongside with you

I had reserved a transfer that would take me to Napa from SFO airport via North Bay Shuttle cos it was the cheapest I could find online. The airport transfers in USA are just so expensive


So I was told to call them when I’m ready to be picked up and when I called them, they said they  had been trying to reach me. I was like yah that’s cos my phone was in airplane mode? And you know it takes time for one to get off the plane, walk to exit, wait for the bags and collect the bags before they are finally ready to be picked up? And also I was a little annoyed that they could have provided everything in the email, like the car plate number and/or the driver contact number. But there was none. And when I asked is there a car plate number I should look out for? They told me is a green car. I’m like wow. That really helps. Thankfully they didn’t tell me is a black car cos half of the vehicles that passed by me were all black


Luckily I found the driver, or the driver found me and that marked the 1.5 hours drive to Napa. I learnt that North Bay shuttle is a family-run business so it’s a small business but is quite active in ferrying guests to Napa. She was quite a frustrated driver cos she kept complaining oh, there’s a jam again. Oh, the traffic in SFO were so bad cos they had so many accidents/constructions going on everyday. I’m like okay.. I’m not really in a rush to get to Napa #justsaying

Thankfully the journey was quite uneventful and soon I arrived at my guesthouse in Napa


1801 First Luxury Inn

I was half an hour early cos check-in is only at 3pm and the staffs would only be present closer to check-in time so I sat at the porch and waited

And at 2.55pm, the door opened. Yay, so I was finally led inside the house which was a beautiful place


The small check-in desk


Dining area


Snacks/Tea which are available 24/7


And my cosy room which was thankfully located on the first floor else I would need some time hauling my luggage up the stairs. lol

The bed was super comfortable to sleep I kid you not


And we got to select our choice of breakfast for the next morning


I even had a fireplace in the room, which was actually working with real fire. I was so entertained by the fireplace that I sat there watching for awhile


Moving on to the bathroom which was huge



And all the amenities available. They even had a separate towel for drying your face and washing off makeup. Like seriously



Ending off with some welcome chocolates which I popped one in since I haven’t really eaten since morning

Went on to explore downtown Napa which was a short walk away from the guesthouse. It seemed far from the map but it was really just a short walk. And the weather made it really nice to just enjoy the afternoon away



There were so many tasting rooms along the way as well. It was just one after another. If I had a few more days here, I would probably take time to drink them all. lol


Downtown Napa is a small place, like you probably just need half a day to explore it unless you are here for the food and tasting rooms


Reached Oxbow Public Market pretty soon which I can’t wait to have my late lunch/early dinner


The market was quiet cos I went at quite an odd timing and it wasn’t big either. So you would finish walking the entire place in no time


But first, food

Cos I was really hungry


How can you not have oysters at an oyster bar right?

I was just going through the menu and then suddenly a stranger sitting next to me just started striking up a conversation saying I should really give the oysters a try and the Chelsea ones were his favourite


Hog Island Earthquake Bay, Chelsea Gems, Disco Hama, Sand Dune, Sippican, Dukes

I went for the mix so that I could try one of everything


I have to admit – The Chelsea Gems were quite good. It was sweet and plump and just filled your entire mouth. Disco Hama was very nice too and so was Dukes. Least favourite was the Sand Dune which tasted a little strange to me. Don’t really know how to put it in words but I would probably not order it again. lol. The Earthquake Bay and Sippican were alright in my opinion


Poke Tacos

Halibut, Green Cabbage Slaw, Siracha Soy Aioli, Green Onion, Garlic, Ginger

I wanted a snack cos I was afraid the portion of the mains would be too big for me even though the menu sounded tempting. Think seafood stew and Steamed Clams with Pasta 🙂

The tacos looked small here, but it was actually quite sizeable. It’s definitely not your Asian-sized tacos. When I saw the portion I was like … lol


The tacos were not bad even though it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Like I was expecting the softer skin-like texture. The tacos here were like biscuit, deep-fried like a snack. The tacos itself were sweet and very crispy. The halibut itself was a little salty but still acceptable. And I liked how the halibut went well with the wine

Halfway through, the staffs asked how I was doing cos I clearly looked like I was struggling or maybe they habitually just asked people how they were doing. I told them I was trying my best to finish these and she said she believed in me. lol

Right, I don’t even believe in myself

And I really left them unfinished


I walked around the marketplace after that


And stopped by Ritual Coffee for some coffee and coffeebeans



in which I got a decaf filter for myself 🙂

Walked back to the guesthouse after that and halfway through while crossing the train tracks..


I saw the Napa Valley Wine Train passing through. I had actually wanted to go for the Napa Wine train experience cos they had some themed murder mystery dinner but when I saw the price, I changed my mind. lol. And later on when I met some locals, they also mentioned these dinners were just simply overpriced. Thanks for validating my decision to give this a miss. Ha


While on the way back, I popped in a wine store (they have a pretty big selection there and prices were all rather reasonable) No, I didn’t get any cos I wouldn’t have time to drink them


and also explored the stores on First Street, in which you would finish exploring in no time. lol

I managed to reach back in time for wine o’clock!


Yes the guesthouse has a daily wine o’clock session in which they bring out wines and cheese plate selection for guests to enjoy. It was a lovely evening with such nice weather and everyone just gathering around to enjoy some wine together


I love how they had halloween deco around the house



And then I hid in my little corner sipping the wine and enjoying the cheese and salami which was fantastic in my opinion. The guesthouse really had a good selection of wine and cheese platter73976BF1-2AB8-4D39-8602-C5FFC8321FED_1_201_a

Threw in some chocolates which I got earlier cos chocolates and cabernet go well together 🙂

While everyone was sharing where they were going for dinner thereafter, I was like uh.. I’m heading to bed. lol

And bed it was!

I woke up at 5.30am the next day cos I could hear footsteps outside my room and by 6am the creaks from the wooden flooring got so loud I gave up sleeping. After preparing for the day, I walked to downtown to get a cup of coffee cos I passed by the day before and I wanted to try



And here’s a cup of Cinnamon latte which was a tad sweet in my opinion. The weather was so chilly that morning by the time I reached the guesthouse, the cup of coffee has gone from hot to lukewarm. lol


And then it was time for breakfast which you can help yourself to the juices/tea/coffee

Their coffee is those black coffee and add your own milk tea kind so if you want something like latte, you probably need to head out and get it yourself


Bakes of the day came in the form of Apple Pie Muffin and some fruits drizzled with honey

It was very delicious


I had the continental breakfast which consisted of yoghurt with homemade granola, chicken apple sausage and sunny side up (which I requested for instead of hard boiled egg)

It was really good. I wanted to skip breakfast the next day cos I had to catch a bus to Yountville but after having this spread, I changed my mind. lol

After breakfast, I sat around waiting for my tour to start. Had booked a wine tour with Platypus Tours which they would take us to 3 boutique wineries in the region and pick-up was at 10.15am. The innkeeper had told me this tour was really fun and everyone would be friends by the end of the tour so I was anticipating how the tour would be like


And the bus came quite promptly. It was a big group and everyone had primarily came from USA itself. So I had travelled the furthest and also the youngest. lol


First Stop, Silenus Winery


Primarily known more for their whites than reds for the wine tasting


Even though I begged to differ and from everyone’s reaction, I guessed they didn’t like the wine here that much either. All of us really liked the riesling and that left a lasting impression. Other than that, I thought Noria was quite nice as well. It smelt buttery, tasted a little oaky at first but it had the taste of sake so it was quite special in some sense. Most of the white we had was a little tart and citrusy so it didn’t sit very well with everyone


We took time to explore the winery which was already past harvesting season. So whatever grapes you could find there were all second picks, means they weren’t ideal for wine-making




Love the smell from the barrel room


We went on to the second winery – Ghost Block where we would be having our lunch there as well


I love how they decorate the place in accordance with their name and also with Halloween round the corner, it just seemed fitting


First wine to kick it off – Sauvignon Blanc that smells really nice. It had notes of peaches so it was really aromatic


Here’s our lunch prepared by Platypus which was quite hearty. Turkey sandwich, quinoa salad, fruits, bites and of cos some wine to go along


It was my first time trying Zinfandel cos usually I will just go for Cabernet outside. So this wine was really a first to me. It was.. strange. I didn’t know how to appreciate. lol. I think it was on the drier side and it wasn’t exactly sweet nor flavourful so.. :/

Moving on, we were brought to the barrel room cos they wanted to let us try the young Cabernet fresh out of the barrel



And here goes

After taking this shot, I inspired the whole group to take the similar shot with this background. lol

I must say the young one was quite good on its own. I was like wow. I couldn’t wait to try the properly bottled Cabernet Sauvignon


And it was delicious. It smelt so good, the body was full of flavour and it had a very smooth finishing to it

I was glad we ended on a good note

The last and final winery we visited was Razi Winery in which the guide told us this winery as the final stop would be a wonderful one but if we started this first, it would be a disaster. I could understand why she said that, cos the winemaker cannot stop pouring wine for all of us. omg. lol


It’s a small space but was filled with warmth and very very good wine


It was also at this final one where everyone just got friendlier with each other. I meant, all the wine helped too. So when the winemaker was preparing the wine for us using this corkscrew, everyone just started taking photos of it/preparing to buy it online cos it was brass-made and looked so classy. I was amused


And here’s Fred, so friendly and his wines were noteworthy


His Chardonnay was good. Smelt really nice, a little oaky but beautiful finishing. If you thought the previous Zinfandel we had was strange, his Zinfandel was excellent. It was sweet, so smooth and could stand on its own without any food to go along. It was then I realised, oh, a good Zinfandel tasted like this. His red blend, however would go better with food cos it was a little acidic


Halfway through, truffles appeared. lol


The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon was excellent. It was fruity, plump, balanced and smooth. However his 2019 Cabernet would go better with food cos it was a little richer and more acidic

I wanted to ship some back. To my sadness, they don’t ship to Singapore cos shipping is just too expensive. So, I just enjoyed my wine there 😦

At the end of the session and after countless pours, the people on the tour invited me for pizza cos they said my hotel was not that far from theirs. And I googled, I was like huh! It’s at least 15 minutes by car away! So I politely declined and had my heart and mind set on the cup noodles I was going to have for dinner. lol


That’s how many bottles the people on the bus bought. And one of them bought a bottle for the whole bus to enjoy. That’s really nice 🙂

Maybe next time if I ever return, I should bring a wine luggage along. lol


I made it back to the guesthouse in one piece cos usually after a wine tour, it would be too much for me to handle but surprisingly this time, I could even make it for the wine o’clock back at the guesthouse

We tried different wine labels this time and I really think they served really good wines here. Like you don’t have to go on wine tours, just drink the wines here at the guesthouse. lol


and it was a different set of guests this time –  smaller, but more engaging


We ended quite late at night and I finally surrendered


Half-drunk but happy with my cup noodles. Sometimes you just need comfort food to end the day, especially after having so much wine. lol

I ended up waking up at 6.30am the next day cos of similar reasons and was really looking forward to the breakfast spread


Bakes of the day came in the form of croissant and a blueberry scone which I picked the former. And judging from everyone’s pick, I guessed the croissant was a popular choice. Lol


Tuscan Country Breakfast

Creamy Polenta & Poached Eggs, Roasted Red Pepper & Onion Relish, Served w Pesto & Chorizo


It was my first time having Tuscanian style breakfast so I wasn’t exactly sure how it tasted like but it was not bad
I had wanted to head to Yountville after breakfast. According to what I researched, there is a bus that heads to Yountville every hour so I asked the innkeeper just to confirm what I knew. But then they said the only way there was by Uber/Lyft and, it wasn’t very expensive
Well I guess expensive is relative since it was like USD20 for 15 mins without tips :/
Eventually I took a Lyft over cos I had things to accomplish at Yountville and I didn’t want to waste time


I soon arrived in Yountville as it was a short drive away and the first stop was the famed Bouchon Bakery. This bakery is by the Thomas Keller restaurant group which also owns the famous 3-star Michelin restaurant French Laundry

I was actually quite full and was contemplating whether to join the queue or not. But cos FOMO and since I travelled all the way there, I feel like I had to check out the hype. So I joined the queue. Lol


Long long line and the line just never seemed to stop. I started queuing at 9.50am. Thankfully the line moved rather fast. And I reached the front of the line in 20 minutes


Fresh bakes!



My croissant and a cup of mocha (not featured)

Well, I have to say the croissant tasted like croissant. It didn’t blow me away. I mean, good freshly baked croissants are buttery, crisp and soft on the inside. But this was just like meh, croissant lor. And the coffee equally meh. I didn’t understand the hype

Then my friend told me there was a bakery opposite that sells very good pastries too. I was like thanks? cos I had already left Yountville by then. lol


After a confusing croissant, I walked over to the French Laundry since not eating there, I shall take a photo there instead


It’s a very pretty place lah, nicely decorated and just so romantic. But personally I felt that they seemed to be overpriced. I mean, there are many many good restaurants around the world too. And I think they are worth equally checking out


Yountville has its fair share of tasting rooms as well, or even more. And while wandering around, I spot the bus stop that would take you from downtown Napa to Yountville and yes, that’s bus number 10. So, there’s really a bus that comes here :/


Walked over to V Marketplace but sadly, most of the shops were not opened? I’m not sure if there’s usually the case but the only one opened was Kollar Chocolates


And since nothing was available to see, I walked around the compound and came across this picture-perfect background. And then, I just waited for lunchtime to come. lol

I wanted to eat at Addendum, famous for their fried chicken, which was supposed to be opened during the weekends


And you could dine at their outdoor gardens


Only to find out that the shack was closed

And then we were told to go to Ad Hoc instead


So Ad Hoc it was

Before I left for USA, everyone said I need to try the fried chicken in Yountville and I was like okay..? lol. I mean it’s just fried chicken right? But since it is so highly recommended, I shall give it a try


I was seated at the bar so I had the option to go for their full course menu or go ala carte and of course, I went ala carte. And since I was the first person at the bar, everyone who walked past me couldn’t stop gasping and exclaiming when they saw the chicken. lol. I gasp too, for different reasons


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

which came in 5 huge pieces. I got a shock when it arrived and I thought to myself how am I going to finish all these?


That being said, the chicken was really delicious. Tender on the inside, deep fried yet not too oily on the outside, aromatic and addictive


I finished them all. Everyone at the bar was very impressed with me. I was also very impressed with myself. lol. I concluded my stomach eats selectively 😀

After a filling meal and I was ready to roll out of the restaurant, I popped by the supermarket nearby


And found brands that you usually find online selling so cheap at the marts. Oh wow

I think if you stay in Napa/Yountville, you would probably have good wine everyday since it’s all readily available


Saw a random mushroom-looking structure while I was heading to my destination. So I took a closer read at it, and this is a Rock Mushroom garden that’s available for sale

I was like ?! lol. Interesting


I had made 2 tasting reservations at Yountville and so this was my first stop – Hope & Grace

I actually did pick them randomly so it would be a surprise to me to know how the wine gonna turn out


And I had so many drinks there. omg

They have a lovely Chardonnay – slightly sweet, light, fruity and refreshing. The sauvignon blanc had a slight mineral taste to it so I didn’t really like it. The rose was a little on the drier side but it was not bad. The Pinot noir has an intense nose to it and is known to be a little spicy. However you can’t really taste it. It’s a little oaky at first but it has a beautiful finishing and you can taste the cherry and blackcurrants in it. I love their Pinot Noir

He let me tried so many of their wines and of different vintage I was just like woah, so happy. lol


The Cabernet Sauvignon was really good too, so much I was ready to buy some. But he also said the same thing – shipping is just too expensive. So out of curiosity, I asked how much it would be. He said it would be USD400 minimum to ship to Singapore, and that’s not inclusive of taxes and the duties I would need to pay. He mentioned a client of his wanted to ship their wine to New Zealand and that his shipping cost USD1000 and he didn’t even blink an eye

I gasped, and decided I shall drink all the wine here to my content. lol

I had a good experience at Hope & Grace and they have some really good wines. And while chatting and knowing I would be heading to San Francisco next, he told me not to loiter at night cos it’s not safe. I was like, that’s what everyone said to me when they know I’m going USA. lol


Moving on to the next tasting room which was just conveniently located next door


Hestan Vineyards! Which was fully booked for tasting that day. So yeah, if you are thinking of visiting tasting rooms in Yountville, remember to make reservations!

They were really busy when I arrived and after knowing I came from Singapore, he jokingly said – oh! today is Singapore day! and proceeded to introduce me to a group of Singaporeans there. I laughed


 I enjoyed their Sauvignon Blanc. It had a good balance, smooth and was easy to drink. The Chardonnay had hints of spices, not so buttery but tasted more nutty. I tried Grenache for the first time and I liked it. It’s almost like a Pinot Noir but it was very light. Though I’m not really a fan of their Pinot Noir and Red Wine so I’ll give them a pass


Knowing I liked Cabernet Sauvignon, he brought out all the different Cabernet for me to try. Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed. lol. I felt like their Cabernet has to go with food. It’s a little too much to drink as its own. Or maybe cos I had better Cabernet on this trip, this one was just like well, it’s okay

And with that, that marked the end of my Yountville expedition and I called a Lyft to take me back to my guesthouse in downtown Napa. So while waiting, the connection was so bad I had to steal their wifi and was waiting outside (under the sun) for a long time. They noticed, and came out to offer me water and chocolates which well, was very sweet of them

The driver found me eventually cos she also got lost. lol

I enjoyed my time in Napa/Yountville, especially if you like drinking wine. It’s a very nice place to chill and it’s safe there. And I personally think it would be better to use Yountville as a base if you would want to explore the area cos it’s such a charming place full of character, food and so many tasting rooms. If opportunity arises in the future, I would definitely go back there


And then I was back soon, and waited for my transfer to take me to San Francisco, which was also booked using North Bay shuttle. Thankfully they didn’t have issues finding me this time round


It was a long way back and in his attempt of trying to get to my destination quick, he took the lane for the bus and told me he hoped he don’t get a ticket. I was like uh.. okay… lol and the next thing you know, we spotted a police car and I was like uh… Thankfully the police car had business with some other vehicle so we scooted away silently

It was an adventure. We were talking about food and I said the food in USA is expensive. He was like but you are from Singapore! And I told him, we have hawker centres. He was very surprised. lol


Reached Aloft San Francisco Airport hotel close to 7pm and it was a pretty cool hotel. I chose a hotel near the airport so I won’t need to wake up so early to catch my flight the next day and it would make more sense given it’s a 7am flight



You know you are in San Francisco when you see Asian food. They even had a Japanese ramen vending machine. I was like wow


The hotel was pretty crowded and there was a constant stream of guests checking in


Went to check out my room upstairs and I find the design a little strange


Perhaps they had designed in mind for wheelchair-access as well cos some of the areas were just huge


But some of the spacing just didn’t make sense


Anyway I was just there for a night and all I need was a good bed and clean toilet. lol

I had initially wanted to get In&Out Burger for dinner but they didn’t have it on the delivery app even though it’s like a 5-minutes drive away. Why!?


so I had IHOP instead

which was so good. I could understand all the hype around it. My friend said this was like his prata in USA and I laughed. But yes, the pancakes and milkshake was really delicious and so satisfying

And with that, I ended the day on a happy note and went to bed 🙂

Read here for my previous travelogues:

Travelogue: Walt Disney World – Epcot and Magic Kingdom

Travelogue: Walt Disney World – Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs

Travelogue: Travelogue: Walt Disney World – Hollywood Studios, Epcot & Magic Kingdom (Yes Again)

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