Category Archives: bed and breakfast inn

2017 and The Inn On First

What new things are coming to The Inn On First for this year. As the best Napa Valley bed and breakfast inn, new breakfasts, of course!  I’ve just completed testing on a new recipe for a Prosciutto-Ricotta Cake with Poached Eggs, what I will call Cindy’s Ricotta Cake (as it was a guest, Cindy Weatherman, who gave me the idea for the breakfast).  It has opened up a realm of new possibilities in terms of flavor profiles: Italian style (with parmesan, prosciutto, served with basil oil and topped with honey roasted tomatoes), Mexican style (with pepper jack cheese, chorizo sausage, roasted red pepper, and homemade salsa), and American style (with bacon, chive, cheddar cheese and homemade creme fraiche), and much more.  Expect to see this recipe and more during 2017.

My cookbook is almost ready.  We are working on the cover, trying to decide which of over 90 breakfast recipe photos to put on the cover.  Should it be the pancakes oozing with chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries on top?  Or maybe the bird’s nest with salad greens, topped with pommes frites and a poached egg?  Or what about biscuits with a black cherry compote with a poached egg and prosciutto?  Ah, decision, decisions.  An email will be coming out soon with all the details.  The book will be available in black and white (less expensive) and color.

We are adding some new services this year: mobile nail, make-up, and hair services.  Want to have your nails touched up?  Or would you like to splurge and have someone do your makeup and fix your hair for a nice dinner?  We will bring in a Nail Tech or Cosmetologist to take care of your needs.  We are currently building those packages and will soon make them available on our website.

We have some new restaurants in town, such as Corner and the CIA at the Oxbow, and many new tasting rooms.  We will be visiting and reviewing each of these in hopes of guiding our guests to the best of all experiences present in downtown Napa.  We also have a new Jazz club, Blue Note, which is receiving rave reviews for both the music and the food, and there are some new offerings at Silo’s Music Club that we will be reviewing as well.

2017 is opening up right now.  Our rains have mostly come and gone and there is a new day shining ahead of us.  Why, even our boys are putting their COOL on as the clouds dissipate and the vines start growing here in the Napa Valley.  It’s a great time to come to the Valley, especially during the week; fewer people, more personalized service.

Christmas at The Inn On First

The holidays are magical here at The Inn On First in Napa, California, a luxury bed and breakfast inn.  Our own innkeeper, Jamie Cherry, pays attention to every little detail in decorating for the holidays.  I’m responsible for the lights on the tree, help decorate the trees, but he is pretty much responsible for everything else.  Attached is a video that shows you a bit of what Christmas is like here for us.  Wishing you and your families/friends a  happy holiday.

 

 

Death reminds us to celebrate in the NOW

I know our blog should be about all the great things that are happening right now, but sometimes we need to stop and acknowledge that there is a hard part of our lives as well.  We had a lot of grief in our lives these past few weeks at The Inn On First. Jim’s friend of 38 years, Teresa Bulone East Dominic; Jim’s spiritual mentor, co-author, and dear friend, Juanita Meller; and today Jamie Cherry’s oldest sister, Mary Beth, who had been actively dying from cancer this past year. These are all people who have helped form and shape who we are in our lives today, and we give thanks to them and the growth they inspired within us.

It’s not that our grief paralyzes us.  As a friend of mine said recently: “It is hard until it isn’t.”  And some days it isn’t hard at all, and those are the days we celebrate these magnificent lives that have impacted us over the years.  Our grief turns to gratitude as we remember them.  Our service to our guests continues to deepen, and our love for our guests and each other continues to grow because of those who have loved us well, especially these individuals who have been important anchors in our lives.  Thanks to all the wonderful guests who have been so supportive of us during this time of surrender.  Our call is clear: celebrate the NOW for tomorrow we may not be here.

#1 Inn on Yelp for Napa awarded the #2 slot for Best B&B in America!

Yelp* users have named us the #1 Bed & Breakfast in Napa and the #2 Best Inn in America!

For years we have been working hard to provide great food and great service to our guests.  Yelpers, those who post reviews for Yelp.com, have been generous in their praise for all of our hard work and for that we are ever so grateful.  They have made us #1 for Napa B&B’s for 8 years running and now they have propelled us into the national spotlight by rating us the #2 Best B&B in America!  How cool is that!  Thanks to all who have been part of The Inn On First family and making us a successful lodging property in the Napa Valley.  Read all about it here»

 

Want to be part of a Napa Travel-log Series?

B & B and Me. Napa Valley: still need more participants for a Travel-log show.  Extending the show through the Fall.

This is NOT a reality show.  Some of you have said you would have applied had you known it was more of a Travel-log series where a production crew will follow couples as they enjoy their stay at this stylish B & B and as they explore the Napa Valley.   We are trying to showcase the inn and the greatness of Napa Valley.  The cameras are not with you all the time.  They meet you at breakfast to capture your thoughts about breakfast.  They will meet you at a winery where you talk about your experience of the wine.  They will meet you at your restaurant for dinner and showcase the food that is prepared.  The show is slated to be witty, informative, creative and fun!

WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Everyone, of course!  You all have stories to share about yourselves, your relationship, or even why you have chosen Napa Valley as your destination spot for that special occasion.  The production company would love to see diversity of every sort (race, culture, religion, sex, age, et al.).

HOW TO APPLY?
Simply make a reservation (or maybe you already have one!) at the Inn on First for a midweek stay (holidays excluded) in the Fall/Winter.  Then email the producers a half page of why you should be chosen, send it to info@bandbandme.com.

Our updated look and feel- before and after pics

The Inn On First, a luxury bed and breakfast inn in Napa, is happy to announce  the completion of our winter renovations.  We are so grateful to all of our guests who stayed with us throughout the work.  You kept our spirits strong and gave us the courage to keep moving forward during the worst of the foundation upgrade and the scaffolding for the new paint job.  So here are some before and after pics.

The outside of the historic mansion and garden suites building went from white and yellow with green trim and green awnings to tan and white with red awnings.
Scaffolding and Color ChangeNew color

 

 

 

 

As for the garden we moved the corner patio that had a separate wooden table and chairs and conjoined it with the larger breakfast patio.  That left us the opportunity to dig out the corner and to put in a new fire pit that is auto-ignited with a timer switch so guests can enjoy the warmth of the fire anytime between 7:30 am and 10:30 pm.  We hope you enjoy the new look and feel as much as we do!

Garden TransformationNew firepit

Napa Snow- a show of Spring’s glory

Napa Snow SpringIt begins in the middle of January and continues through the beginning of March.  Here at The Inn On First, a luxury Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, we call it “Napa Snow”.  The trees bloom in spectacular glory with these white blossoms and when the wind comes the blossoms come flying off and there is “snow” everywhere.  It is stunning.  Admittedly our winters are mild compared to the East Coast and elsewhere in the world, and for this reason we live here.  Oh, we have our share of frosty mornings with an occasional powdered sugar dusting of hail or light snow on the hilltops, but nothing like the inches of white cold others experience.  It’s a great time to be in Napa, to see a different kind of beauty on the streets.

Mustard in the VinesIn the vineyards the mustard is growing up between the vineyards.  Pruning has begun which means you will see long lines of black stumps surrounded by bright green vegetation of yellow flowers.  It is our second favorite time of year here next to harvest.  Standing in the tasting rooms, looking out the windows onto the vineyards,with a large glass of luscious Cabernet Sauvignon in your hand- this is winter in Napa.

Fuller Park: even in winter it’s beautiful

Fuller Park WinterJust a short ten minute walk from The Inn On First, a romantic Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, is Fuller Park. It is where I walk the dogs each morning after breakfast service.  Over the course of the year it changes with the seasons and every year I think one season is better than the next.  When actually they all have their merits.  In winter the leaves are gone, the air is crisp, the sky blue, and there is winter leaf-mulch all around.  There are fewer people in the park so it makes for a lovely walk in silence and solitude.  Until those squirrels decide to play naughty and run across the paths of the dogs.  Calvin is incredibly fierce in his determination to chase, but alas he is called back to formation with the pack.

Fuller Park Dog ShadowsFor me it is the long shadows with the sun hanging low in the sky that calls me to attention.  It is romantic in its own way, creating an ideal of shadow and light that equally play together into something beautiful.  It is serious, yet playful; simple, yet full of delight.  While visiting here in Napa, at any time of year, take a walk around Fuller Park and discover some of the beauty that other than grapevines and wineries.

Post-Earthquake Information from The Inn On First

Calvin
Calvin

First and foremost we are doing very well.  We want to say “thank you” to all  our guests, family, and friends who reached out to us with emails, phone calls, and texts of concern, love, and support.  It means very much to us and and reminds us of how much love there is in the world around us.

Hugo & Maxwell
Hugo & Maxwell

We, Jamie and Jim, were in Santa Cruz at the time of the earthquake for a niece’s wedding.  A friend called at 4 am Sunday and said we needed to come home right immediately.  All guests were accounted for and uninjured.  We learned Calvin hid underneath a night stand.  Maxwell jumped up on the bed, barking (naturally).  Hugo stood up and watched the whole thing happen.  No injuries, just scared little dogs needing some love and attention.

Staff Workers
Staff Workers and Clean Up

Our interim innkeeper, Cindy B., out-did herself keeping things calm and cool in the aftermath of our 6.0 earthquake.  We lost a lot of “things” and any damage to the historic mansion is cosmetic (cracked plaster, paint chipped off).  We called the staff and told them to take care of their families, and if they had time to join us later for clean-up.  Cindy B. rallied the troops around us and we began the process.

KitchenMess
Kitchen in Disarray

We closed the inn for two days to clean up the mess.  Lots of broken glass, lost dishes (a 100-year old hand painted china set- ugh!), two armoires that fell over and broke apart , and the picture window in the living room overlooking First Street.

However, as you can see in this next picture we had cleaned up by Sunday evening,Kitchen Post Clean Up and  most things  were back in order.  We only lost six bottles of wine in the basement/cellar and although everything fell over or off its perch in the attic, very little was lost.  All Christmas decorations managed to survive!

We were told to repair the cracked stucco on the chimney and the living room window won’t be repaired for awhile what with all the other businesses and homes in town in the same post-quake boat.

When you visit you are apt to see the plaster cracks in the living room and foyer even though we are structurally sound.  Again, the damage is cosmetic.  Cracked Plaster We are currently ordering new items for the rooms that need it, so please forgive the mismatch of lamps, etc., until we are able to restock our inventory.  Apart from some of the visual clues around the house, you would be hard pressed to imagine we experienced an earthquake at all.

What about the aftershocks or tremors?  We felt two this morning but thought it was the dogs jumping onto the bed.  That was the extent of movement we experienced- very short, very small.  As seasoned Californians we know these come and go and we find them more amusing as there is no damage to the house or belongings.   Our guests from Georgia slept through the first one and she thought the second one was her husband shaking the bed to wake her up.  They are with us for another night.  Others, though, for their own reasons  canceled and while we were sad to see them go we understand their comfort level is different in regard to this event and they didn’t want to visit Napa, or even California at this time.

OxBow InteriorAs with all things Californian recovery comes quickly and the community moves Oxbow Markettoward full recovery.  The Oxbow Market, our local Napa gathering spot with shops, stores, and restaurants, is already booming with activity.  I walked around today purchasing produce, spices, and meat as I wanted to support local vendors in their loss of inventory over the weekend.  It was nice to see so many other people doing the same.  They reopened Main Street today and they are currently looking to reopen First Street this weekend.  There are parts of outer Napa (away from downtown where we are located) where water is still an issue with broken water mains.  The majority of downtown restaurants are open, some with “limited menus” until inventory is restocked, and wine tasting rooms are still open for business.  The wineries are open after their own clean up, and the local grocery stores are looking to be reopened by Friday (the clean up there is pretty significant).

Living Room Post Clean UpHow can you help?  Come visit.  Taste wine.  Go out to lunch and dinner.  Support the local community.  Let Napa know that we can and should carry on with the great gift of hospitality that is offered to all.