Jim here: I was walking the dogs at Fuller Park, a ten minute walk from The Inn On First, an historic Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn. A group of young men (in their 30’s) approached dressed with Raiders shirts and wearing Raiders badges to identify them as part of the support staff.
“Cute dogs,” the one man said. Blond hair, cute, and very hunky. “Well, thanks,” I said. “We wanted to know if you would be willing to help us with a video we are making for the Raiders training camp; if you can tell us what you know about the Raiders.” I laughed. “Really, I’m a baseball fan. I follow the Yankees, the Giants, and occasionally the Angels and the A’s.” “That’s okay,” he replied. “Would you mind if we film you?” “Not at all,” I told him.
I asked the boys to wait patiently. First question: “If you are driving 120 mph, how far will you go?” “Well, how long am I driving in the car?” “One hour,” he said. “Okay, then 120 miles.” Next question: “If you are in the car for one hour and you are driving 80 mph, how far will you go?” “80 miles,” I replied. “Very good.”
Next question: “You walk into a bar and see a really beautiful woman. What is your pick-up line?” I smiled. I moved in closer to hunky blond man and said: “Or maybe I see a really good looking man I want to meet.” His eyes met mine. His face went red. His buddies chuckled behind the scenes. “Uh, okay.” “You are rather handsome,” I said. “Really cute.” “Thank you,” he said in response.
The interview ended. I continued walking, laughing the whole time as my interviewer got ribbed by his companions as they walked away.
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.
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!
I have to admit I thought it would be much worse, but the foundation work moved along smoothly. Yes, we are certainly tired of the jackhammer noise and we are so happy it is now behind us. This week they removed the support girders from the basement. They then dug out the basement floor, have finished setting the framework, and tomorrow they pour the last of the concrete. I think everyone in the neighborhood will be happy to have some parking back along First Street and we, certainly, will be glad to our storage back as we have kept most boxes in our living quarters, already a tight affair.
During this time we also had the fence put up in the parking lot and we are very happy with that result. They have a bit more work to do on the other side of the yard, but really it looks so much better than it did. The next bit of work will be stucco repair all around, and then repainting the house, probably happening in May or June depending on the weather. Gratefully that will have little impact upon the guest experience in terms of noise and dust and equipment.
When all is done with the project we will have a stronger, better looking, and more attractive place for our guests. We want to thank all those who have been so patient with the construction work, and for your willingness to help carry us through this time of renovation.
Can you see it? The girder sticking out of the lower left corner of the basement? When the SBA encouraged us to do a foundation retrofit we weren’t sure we wanted to make that large of an investment. But when we asked: “What is the right thing to do?”, we realized that this would ensure a long and prosperous future for everything we have built here in the last eight years. So, it has begun, and you can see more pictures and read all about it on our Renovation News page. We will keep you informed weekly with more pics and updates on our blog and social media sites.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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. 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.
As with all things Californian recovery comes quickly and the community moves toward 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).
How 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.
The Inn On First, your favorite romantic Bed and Breakfast Inn in Napa, was happy to be a part of DoNapa.com’s efforts to showcase culinary talent in the City of Napa. As part of their chef’s series they asked to film Chef Jim Gunther prepare one of his 120 breakfast creations, the Corndog Omelet.
Don’t forget, to access local downtown Napa news and events, visit DoNapa.com.
I know. We’ve read about it for years: breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. So here at The Inn On First, a luxury Napa bed and breakfast inn, we take it seriously. Today we have over 120 recipes that we utilize over the course of one year. We keep track of when you visit, what you eat for breakfast, and ensure you don’t get served the same dish again. It is our way of keeping you excited for what is about to be presented to you each morning, no matter how often you visit us.
It is also a way for Chef Jim Gunther not to get bored or complacent. His goal is to develop a minimum of 250 recipes before he retires. He’s hoping for another ten years to work at it and thinks he can achieve that goal. For Jim, it is a very Zen-like experience- you eat, you enjoy, you let it go. Something new is coming your way the next time. ”Knowing you get to eat this breakfast but once helps the guest to savor what is present to them today,” Jim stated. ”And in case you didn’t really enjoy that particular breakfast,” he added playfully, “you’ll never see it again.”
So what are some of the more recent creations that have come out of The Inn On First’s kitchen? Cheese Consomme with Roasted Potatoes and Poached Egg, Corndog omelets, Argentinian Arepas with Eggs in Chipotle Cream Sauce, Macaroni and Cheese, and S’mores French Toast are a few of the items you can expect to enjoy this year. The key to the inn’s success? Everything is made from scratch: from macaroni noodles, to the graham cracker bread Jim created for French Toast. Using fresh, organic, and locally grown ingredients, the focus is on cooking seasonally and creating recipes that have “comfort food” in mind.
Okay, so the article is about gay travel, but really we are the most straight-friendly gay-owned romantic Bed and Breakfast Inn in Napa. With whirlpool tubs in every room, gas fireplaces, too. And, yes, thankfully, the author understood how much work we put into breakfast! Now with 114 recipes (Arepas just made it on the menu with an Ancho Chili Cream- yummy!).