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!

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.).

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.

OH NO! TREE. Did someone speak Italian?

Oenotri, pronounced Oh-no-tree, is a great Southern Italian restaurant that is a five minute walk from The Inn On First.  With a focus on handcrafted pastas, homemade salamis and sausages, and world-class Margherita pizza coming out of their oven from Naples, Oenotri has all the makings of a great restaurant.  Salads run from $9 to $15, pastas from $12 to $18, and entrees from $18 to $35.

Last week we were fortunate to visit Oenotri with a good friend, Chad Fielding.  We shared the Margherita pizza with a beautifully charred crust, sweet San Marzano tomatoes, Genovese basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and just a touch of Buffalo Mozzarella.  What I love about this pizza is that cheese is minimal, with a great balance of all the flavors working together to create a perfect bite!  Jamie and I shared the garden salad with a lemony vinaigrette, and I then indulged in the roasted squab!  Perfectly crispy skin and a medium-rare meat with a red wine reduction and freshly sautéed vegetables.

Meat-lover’s note: they do a lovely 4-piece chef’s choice salumi appetizer.  The flavors are fresh and wonderful.

Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten-free: they love to accommodate dietary needs, so talk to your wait-staff.

Careful what you ask for.

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.

Garden Tomatoes are in!

TomatoesAs a foodie-destination spot in the Napa Valley, The Inn On First takes great pride in  obtaining fresh and organic ingredients wherever we can.  So, when our friend and contractor, Rick Leonard, invited us over to a friend’s house (Tony) to pick tomatoes, we jumped at the chance.

Fragrant as you picked them off the vine, some of them opening upon touch, begging to be eaten right away.  We did!  Sugar sweet, like candy.  Cherry tomatoes, early girls, mortgage busters, and more.  With more on the way she (Tony) made it clear we were welcome to return again.

So in the next few weeks expect to see them on the menu: from creamy, roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, to focaccia stuffed with summer tomatoes and mozzarella.

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

Isabel has a new baby boy! Welcome to our First Family.

Jaden.jpgWe would like to welcome Jaden Gutierrez to our First Family.  He weighed in at 7#1, 19″ long, and arrived at 4:19 am.  Isabel is doing great and is so happy to welcome her little son into the world.

Thanks to all of you who helped make this time so much easier on her with your gifts and donations over the past few months.  It was quite the surprise for her that she received so many gifts from all of you.  Let me say that we, Jim and Jamie, are so grateful to our family, friends, and guests who participated in making their lives a bit better and brighter.

On a side note, the week she received the baby she also received notice they have to move out of their apartment for renovations.  So they are currently looking for a new place to live.  So please keep your thoughts positive for her and little Jaden during this next transition.  Isabel will be back to work in July and if you see her be sure to congratulate her on her new baby.

Painting commences: we’re excited for our new look

Painting ScaffoldingThe scaffolding is up, the work has begun and over the next four weeks the house will take on a new look and feel.  What color?  Oh no, I’m not telling!  I don’t want to post pictures until it is all over.

There is still some work to be done in the yard as we make the center garden pathway more accessible to wheelchairs by replacing the pebble path with crushed granite.  Up until now anyone in a wheelchair could only access the side patio by cruising around the corner of the block and up the front walkway.

The last big change outdoors is with the back corner of the garden.  For those who have been here before you would have seen the wooden table under the corner tree.

Home of the new fire pit
Home of the new fire pit

That patio has been moved and dug out to make way for the new fire pit that will available for guests to use throughout the evenings.  With a time-limited ignition switch guests won’t need to worry about walking away and shutting it off as it will occur automatically.  It will provide that perfect gathering spot to enjoy a glass of wine during our cool summer evenings.

Construction Update: Foundation completed, Painting yet to come

I have to admit I thought it would be much worse, but the foundation work moved along smoothly.  Girder RemovalYes, 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.  New FenceThey 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.