Posts Tagged ‘napa’

Review: Embassy Suites Napa Valley

Friday December 5, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Back in the day (we’re talking late 1980’s) downtown Napa was not the happening spot that it is today. My husband and I lived in the apartments next to Embassy Suites Napa Valley and would walk over to order their killer cheese bread. The bread is long gone from the Napa Valley menu – it was probably called killer cheese bread due to the artery-clogging goodness – and along with the updated healthy menu items comes a $4 million+ re-model of the entire hotel.
 

"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", hotel review

Embassy Suites hotel review. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

What I like about this property; the all-suite hotel is conveniently located in downtown Napa, so if you want to do Napa like a local, you’ll be able to walk, dine and drink without driving. You’ll need your car to explore further up valley, but if Napa is your focus, the hotel is right next to Highway 29 – the first downtown Napa exit. Additionally, as a business traveler, I love the free, fast wifi! Good water pressure in the shower of this well lighted bathroom, too. FYI, no bath tub, but there is an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, as well as a small fitness center.

 

 

The 205 room hotel is pet-friendly and charges a one time $75 pet fee. Dogs receive a goodie bag upon arrival! All rooms are suites with king or double bed options and include a desk and sleeper sofa in the front suite. The updated rooms include plenty of electrical outlets for charging your electronics. If you are a light sleeper, I recommend requesting a third floor location. My neighbors above me were walking around until 11:30 p.m. and up early the next morning.
 

"Embassy Suites Napa Valley" swans, hotel, "Embassy Suites"

Swans in the hotel courtyard. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", hotel, pool

Outdoor pool. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", swimming pool

Indoor pool & hot tub. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
In addition to a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, guests are welcomed to a complimentary reception for evening cocktails served nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Breakfast is served in the atrium Monday – Friday from 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
 
"Embassy Suites", "Napa Valley", breakfast

Cooked to order breakfast at Embassy Suites. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", atrium

Cocktails served nightly in the atrium. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Insider Tip
In addition to being pet-friendly, Embassy Suites has lovely grounds with water features, fountains, ducks and swans. If you are traveling with kids, the birds are fed in the morning for good viewing. See if you can spot the black swans!

For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter.
 

"Embassy Suites" suite, "Napa Valley"

King Suite Pool View. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

If You Go:
Embassy Suites Napa Valley (800) Embassy or (707) 253-9540
1075 California Boulevard
Napa, California 94559

Hotel review, video and photos courtesy of Lodging Editor Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Embassy Suites while researching an article for another publication.

Pat Benatar Neil Giraldo Rock Uptown Theatre Napa

Friday May 30, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"Benatar Giraldo" "Uptown Theatre"

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo 35th Anniversary Tour at Uptown Theatre, Napa

Rock and roll is alive and well at the Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa. Musicians Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo rocked Uptown Theatre taking listeners on a musical journey that launched in 1979 (the year my husband and I graduated high school) and continues today. The hipster baby boomers have traveled together on the road for 35 years and celebrate this June with their 35 year anniversary tour.

Baby Boomers Travel

The married musicians poked fun at themselves throughout the performance, noting that they were “old and married” but they could still rock the house at Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa.
 
In a previous interview the couple said they never get tired of performing live in concert, “it’s the travel that gets us tired,” noted Benatar.
 
Guitarist Neil Giraldo sipped on water, from a red plastic solo cup, between music sets of “Promises in the Dark” “Hell is for Children” a powerful song about child abuse, “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong,” among other classic music hits.
 

"Pat Benatar" "Neil Giraldo"

Baby boomers Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo rock Uptown Theatre

Baby Boomers Rock

As Pat Benatar belted out “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” the baby boomer audience sang and swayed along from their plush seats at Uptown Theatre. I had heard that “there isn’t a bad seat in the house” from Marketing Manager Shelby French, but I had to see it for myself to believe it. The historic Uptown Theatre is a lovely theater for musicians to perform in, with an intimate 800 seats and fantastic acoustics, as well as the beautiful, hand-painted art-deco style ceiling.
 

"Uptown Theatre"

Discovering downtown Napa at Uptown Theatre

Discovering downtown Napa

Before the 8:00 p.m. show, my husband and I decided to drive up from the East Bay and do Napa like a local. We picked up the downtown Napa wine tasting card from the Napa Valley Welcome Center on Main Street and proceeded to sip our way through downtown Napa.
 

With over 24 wine tasting rooms to choose from and 65 restaurants, downtown Napa is a very walkable city. We sampled wine from many places and then moved onto the Oxbow Public Market for a light dinner at Kitchen Door. I love their deviled egg salad and mushroom soup! All in all, a very enjoyable evening was had in downtown Napa. Rock on Pat Benatar!
 

"Neil Giraldo" "Pat Benatar"

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo


 
Insider Tip
The warm up act was a talented young bay area musician named Roem Baur. His band that night was his electric guitar and a tambourine strapped around his ankle. This guy has quite the set of pipes and got the crowd fired up. My personal favorite, “Natural Disaster.” Expect to hear more good things from Roem Baur. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and @TheUptownNapa on Twitter for upcoming concert information.
 
If You Go:
Uptown Theatre (707) 259-0123
1350 Third St.
Napa, California 94559

Article and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Publicity photo of Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar supplied. I was a guest of Uptown Theatre for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Do Napa Like a Local

Friday May 23, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 15 Comments

"Silos"

Silo’s for live music in Napa

A lot has changed over the years in the world famous Napa Valley wine country. My husband and I lived in downtown Napa in the early 1980’s. While there were plenty of things to see and do in Napa in the day time, the night life was like a vintage California wine in an underground cellar – cold, dusty and waiting to be uncorked. We’ve since moved to the East Bay, but when we visit Northern California wine country I still like to do Napa like a local.
 
 

 

"Luna Vineyards"

Wine tasting at Luna Vineyards in Napa, California

Napa wine tasting like a local
 

With over 400 wineries in the Napa Valley, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when wine tasting. To do Napa like a local, pick up the downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card. This ($30.) wine tasting card offers access to 12 downtown Napa tasting rooms all within walking distance. On my latest visit to downtown Napa I visited Bounty Hunter Bar, Capp Heritage, NakedWines.Com (yep, the online retailer has a tasting room in downtown Napa), Napa General Store and Trahan Winery. Dog lovers, taste Sadie’s Red Wine, an adorable wine label with the winery mascot, Sadie, who is now in doggie heaven.
 

"deviled eggs" "Kitchen Door" napa

Dining like a local at Kitchen Door


Napa dining like a local

For the foodies visiting Napa, there are currently 65 restaurants in downtown Napa within a 20 block radius. I noshed my way through Napa with dinners at Carpe Diem and City Winery, breakfasts at Napa General Store and C Casa (inside Oxbow Public Market), followed with lunches at Oenotri, Bounty Hunter and Kitchen Door (also inside Oxbow Market.) Napa locals know to order the house made pasta and charcuterie plate at Oenotri, the beer can chicken at Bounty Hunter, the deviled eggs and mushroom soup at Kitchen Door, huevos rancheros at C Casa and olive oil cake with caramel gelato at City Winery. I may not be a local any more, but I can personally recommend all of these local favorites.
 

"City Winery" cake

Locals know to order City Winery’s Olive Oil Cake with Caramel Gelato


 
I was also impressed that sophisticated City Winery, with locations in Chicago, New York and Nashville, chose to open a joint in downtown Napa – inside the historic Napa Valley Opera House! Not only do they serve good food paired with live music, locals know that City Winery offers 35 local wines on tap.

 

"Alan Shepp" mosaic

Alan Shepp mosaic fountain tells the story of Napa Valley


 
Napa culture

If you think Napa only offers a food and wine scene you’d be wrong. Explore the ARTWalk in downtown Napa, with outdoor sculpture exhibitions – you can even learn the dance moves to the Cha, Cha, Cha! Or wonder over to the Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater by the Napa River Walk for free Friday night concerts in the summer.

Looking for big name entertainment? The Uptown Theatre, with its restored 1937 art deco interior, has hosted Boz Scaggs, Willie Nelson, Chris Isaak, Pat Benatar and even Snoop Dogg. Silo’s, a wine bar and jazz club located in the Historic Napa Mill, is also an evening option with blues, rock, jazz, pop and country music. The Napa River Inn is also part of the Historic Napa Mill and has a sweet waterfront location.
 

"Nancy Brown" bike

Nancy Brown explores Napa like a local at Luna Winery


 
Explore Napa outdoors like a local

Napa locals love their outdoor adventures and are generally fitness-minded. When I stayed downtown, I noticed visitors and locals alike walking and jogging on the river front promenade. The Vine Trail is currently under construction with eight walkable miles in downtown Napa. It used to be that horseback riding was open to the public in Napa, but horse lovers have to head to Sonoma for wine country horseback riding. Kayaking is popular on the Napa River and, my personal favorite, bike riding on the Silverado Trail. Our group used Getaway Adventures and they set us up with new Specialized bikes & helmets for a leisurely ride from Oxbow Public Market to Luna Vineyards – one of the first wineries on the Silverado Trail – so an easy bike ride.

 

"Trahan Winery" "sadie"

Do Napa like a local at Trahan Winery


Insider Tip:
The Spa at Napa River Inn is new since my last visit to downtown Napa. Tell me what you think?
 
How do you do Napa like a local?

Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Thanks to the folks at Downtown Napa Association and the Napa Tourism Improvement District for inviting me to Do Napa like a local.

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