4th of July at Carneros Resort in Napa

After months of sheltering in place, we started to have family gatherings with only Julie and Albert over the past few weeks. We’re deep into an already short summer, so we decided to break the seal on a vacation together, as things are both opening up and looking a little dicey. Amy and Mike’s family also joined us, which was great because we’re already indirectly part of the same group.

It took us 8 years to use a wedding gift and visit the Carneros Resort. At the time, it was one of my favorite vacations ever, despite me not really being that interested in visiting wine country. After that trip, my dream was to visit once a quarter. Seven years later and we have been back zero times, until this past weekend.

We were all navigating our new normal for seeing friends and vacationing while COVID-19 continues to spread. Most people at home and at the resort abided by wearing masks and/or remaining socially distant. The kids appeared to be a lot more vigilant about it, especially while eating. We all did our best.

This was everyone else’s first time at the resort. Theo continues to prove his worth, necessitating their clan to get a house on property. I didn’t even know they had them, but it was spectacular. It was a tight fit in our little cottage last time when Lucas and Olivia were 4 and 6. It was an even tighter fit now and somehow Lucas still ended up in our bed.

The dining situation was just opening up, so Grace brought up food and supplies to cook dinner for a couple nights, which was fine by everyone. Amy and Mike had a couple adjoining cottages, which was perfect for s’mores in their patio each night. Each morning we did our own thing for breakfast, which was usually carry out from Boon Fly.

On Friday, we borrowed bikes from the resort for a short ride through wine country. Lucas coincidentally had the same exact bike on which he learned to ride two-wheels. He’s on his third Cleary bike, which is a local brand and super awesome. The only bad thing was that it has no gears, which made the hills a challenge. It was kind of hard to complain though as Theo didn’t have any gears either, plus he was riding with a broken arm in a cast. Everyone made it.

Following lunch, we braved the family pool, thinking it would be nap time for at least some of the kids. it was pretty manageable and everyone did their best to remain socially distant. Julie is the mayor of everywhere she goes and the Carneros pool was no exception. She knew everyone there. Grace cooked dinner again at home, which was followed by more s’mores. We had a solid routine.

Saturday’s morning activity was a hike at Bartholomew Park. It was a decent hike with enough elevation to make it challenging and also offer beautiful vistas as the reward. Different parts of the group bit off what they wanted. The dads went to the top. Everyone earned a cool dip in the pool later that afternoon.

It was the 4th of July and Grace managed to get us a reservation at Farm. Our group was so big that they gave us a private room, which opened to the outside and made it al fresco – it was perfect. This was pretty much the first time dining out for everyone in months, which made it that much more appreciated and enjoyable. We hung out again after dinner, but everyone (parents included) were wiped out from all the activity. I don’t think anyone missed it, but we didn’t see any fireworks.

Same as last trip, I woke up before dawn on the last day to take some pictures of the sunrise. The full moon was also setting. I always forget that it takes a little longer for the sun to peak over the hills, so I ended up standing out there for an hour. It was worth it for some quiet time, though I did go back to bed for a bit.

For a lot of reasons, this was a memorable and well-deserved break from life at home (and in home). It was special to be there with our family BFFs (and extended family). We’re just practicing for the commune and scoped out some property to start building.

I’ll say it again that this is a very special place and I’m ready to go back for Labor Day. Even if it ends up being another 7 years, that would be fortunate enough. Stay safe, everyone.