Interested in coming to visit Napa over Labor day weekend. Come stay with us here at The Inn On First! We have rooms available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Come enjoy our delicious homemade breakfasts each morning, or perhaps a Wine Tour with Jamie. We’re here to help make your visit to the Napa Valley all that it can be!
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.
As 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.
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.
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!
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
A 45-minute drive from The Inn On First, a romantic Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, lies Howell Mountain. Upon that mountain some great wineries have been built and one of those is Arkenstone, named after the mountain of the dwarves in the book by Tolkien, The Hobbit. I’ll let them explain how they got that trademark!
The winery sits atop Howell Mountain and is surrounded by pine and oak trees. I got out of the car, smelled the pine and immediately thought of camping. They bought the property almost 30 years ago and didn’t do anything with it until the last few years. They hired Phillipe Melke (well-known here in Napa) who comes from a long line of Bordeaux wine-makers to help them decide what and where to plant. With less than 1,000 total cases to be produced the owners had a larger picture in mind for the property. With a huge cave structure they installed lots of modern equipment and barrel storage, not simply for themselves, but to be leased out to others who didn’t have room on their properties for equipment or storage. To say the least it is amazing.
They themselves only make two wines: a Sauvignon Blanc blend in the style of Bordeaux whites, and a Cabernet Sauvignon blend in the the style of Bordeaux reds. And to both I say: Wowza! (Club Members are entitled to a few other blends they produce). Although Jamie is not a Sauvignon Blanc drinker except when paired with food, he did enjoy this blend of Sauvignon Blanc that brought forth bright fruit flavor with a slight hint of oak balanced with a bright tropical fruit finish with little acidity. ($65)
The Bordeaux-style blend, called Estate Obsidian ($135), is simply luscious. Light cherry nose with dark berry fruit on the palate with a hint of spice. What is really great is the finish! It lingers beautifully on the back of your throat for you to enjoy the afterglow of that sip. Now the 2011 is what they are selling and we had the opportunity to try a 2010 and that was stunning. It gave us a great view as to how this wine is going to age and continue to open up. For the collector of fine wine (tasting fee of $45/pp, waived with purchase of $150/pp), I really encourage a visit to Arkenstone.
A 40-minute drive from our Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, The Inn On First, is a winery called Titus. Located in the the Rutherford Appellation, the property has been owned by the family since the 1968 and today the two sons continue the tradition of wine-making begun by their parents.
Danielle was our hostess for the day and made our experience perfectly delightful. She showed us the new construction site for a new tasting room (due to open up this summer) and then invited us into the historic home on site for a full tasting of their wines. What is important to note is that everything they make is “estate grown” with the exception of 3% of wine that is sourced out. That is phenomenal.
We began with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc ($20) with a light fruit nose, with hints of apple and pear. We moved onto a Merlot ($34) that was soft on the nose with a touch of strawberry and a light chocolate finish. We moved onto their Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) that was simply elegant on the nose with light cherry overtones and a soft leather finish. The family’s Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve, was the most expensive bottle at $75, and was simply luscious, with soft dark chocolate and mocha notes. I loved it. They also make a Cabernet Franc, a Malbec, and a blended wine they call Lot 1.