Long Weekend Trip to San Francisco – Napa Valley

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This is the post #1 from a 3 day trip to San Francisco.

  1. Day Trip to Napa Valley and the Silverado Trail
  2. Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa Review, Sausalito
  3. Two Days Exploring the City of San Francisco
  4. Hotel Abri Review, San Francisco

About a month ago, Mr. Deals had a bachelor party in Montreal and there was no way I was going to sit at home while he was traveling somewhere! American had pretty cheap flights to San Francisco from New York and stopping in Chicago for my double miles and EQMs made the perfect sense. The flight cost me about $224 and I netted around 24,000 AAdvantage miles! Free flight for me! I was able to find a friend for a girl’s long weekend and a trip was planned!

Luckily, she was coming from Boston so I did not have to convince her to take the layover flight in Chicago with me. She absolutely would not have gone for it as she already thinks I am nuts. So my friend took Virgin America and I was able to make her reservation while two promotions were running simultaneously and got her 27% off her flight – another $225 flight to the West Cost, score!

So the plan was to meet in SFO Thursday night. My flight arriving about 30 minutes prior to hers, perfect planning. All was going well until I was half way through boarding the plane in Chicago. A massive thunderstorm hit and all bets were off. Luckily we were not on the tarmac and it was an about-face back to the terminal. All flights were grounded and four hours later my flight cancelled. About 90% of the flight were cancelled that evening and airport hotels were not easy to come by. I found an awesome Quality Inn & Suites and got about 4 hours of sleep until my new flight at 6am the following morning.

Originally, my friend and I were going to stay in Sausalito for the first two nights, but me not arriving that evening resulted in canceling the reservation and my friend staying at the Marriott right near San Fran airport (thank you Marriott Megabonus certificates!).

So while it was a frustrating evening, it all worked out fine and I ended up arriving at 10am the following morning – still plenty of time for a full day in Napa Valley! The only difference is the driver we hired for the day came two hours later than originally planned, no biggie.

My friend picked me up in the rental car, we checked into our hotel in Sausalito (Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa – more on that in another post, but it was an awesome hotel!), and we were off to the Silverado Trail for some wine tasting.  We got some recommendations from friends and since we were pressed for time (and a driver in Napa is not cheap for two people) we stuck to wineries that were close to one another. We ended up visiting 4 wineries all which had a different feel and type of wine. Ideally we wanted to do a tour at one of them, but due to timing, it never happened.

  • Artesa – This was the first winery we visited, which is actually in Sonoma. This was right on the way to Napa, so no extra time lost driving. Walking into this winery was absolutely beautiful. It had pools and waterfalls and just beautiful grounds in front. It was perched up on a cliff so the view was amazing. The wine was great as well and there was a coupon online for buy 1, get 1 – right up my alley!

  • Cliff Lede – The outside patio of this winery was extremely nice and relaxing. We each got a tasting a were able to sit on the outside patio which was great. We attempted to picnic on the tables, but were told no outside food was allowed. Good thing we were on our last bite of our sandwiches! I loved the atmosphere of this winery.

  • Silverado Vineyards – Another great atmosphere. This one was perched up on a cliff and gave beautiful views of the winery. Again, there was an outside patio to sit and sip the wine.

  • Mumm Napa – This winery is known for their sparkling wines. It was not too busy while we were there, but I’ve heard that this place can get quite busy on the weekend. They had a large number of outside tables, which was great. We were able to get a table with no problem and they even came to our table to serve us wine. We did not have to get up once! This winery also had a coupon, so make sure to google for one!

I absolutely loved my day trip to Napa Valley. I would absolutely do a long weekend just in Napa and Sonoma as there are so many wineries. What is not to like about sipping wine all day and relaxing?!

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  1. Sounds great! I’ve been meaning to head to Napa ever sine my SF trip last year, but haven’t made time for it yet. Now you’ve inspired me to start checking on it again 🙂 All I need now is a 3-day weekend and a travel companion who actually appreciates wine!

  2. For your next visit, give Sonoma a try! It’s a bit less famous and therefore less touristy and less pricey. You’re more likely to meet the actual vintner and even score some complimentary tastings. I live on the Peninsula and visit Cline Cellars for a picnic every summer. Gloria Ferrer and Domaine Chandon are just down the road for sparkling wine. My favorite part: many Sonoma wineries have a deal going with Visa Signature that gives you free tastings and discounts on bottles if you pay with your VS card. If you just google “visa signature sonoma” you can find the list of participating wineries.

    p.s. Before you post the next installment – it’s Sausalito, not Saucilito (though the latter does make much more sense from an auditory perspective).

    • @Chaney – I went to Sonoma a few years back for the day and it was great! Thanks on the Sausalito tip 🙂

  3. @ New Girl in the Air. mjm and I visit Napa/Sonoma in the fall every year. I’d invite you to join us, but our wives wouldn’t appreciate our nice offer to you.

  4. JFK-ORD-SFO is 2586 miles each way. The double miles only applied to the ORD-SFO portion. Even assuming you are also getting bonus miles from being AA Elite, how did you end up with 24K AA miles? The most I can figure is just over 14K, and that only if you are Exec Plat….

    • @Robert – Since I was part of the AA OneWorld MegaDO, I received triple miles on all AA flights for a three month time frame. Thanks for pointing that out.

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