Girls’ Weekend in Napa Valley

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Headed to the gorgeous Napa Valley for a girls’ weekend?
You won’t want to miss these must-do activities and places to stay!

things to do on a girls weekend in napa valleyAffiliate Links

I recently had the opportunity to partner with Visit Napa Valley to plan our Feed the Soul retreat in Napa Valley, and it was an incredible experience. The Feed the Soul retreat was the brain-child of four of my blogging besties and I, designed to help us relax, renew, and rejuvenate our spirits. The idea was to combine a typical girls’ getaway and a blogging business trip, where we could trade ideas, tips, and inspiration (all while sipping Napa Valley wine and getting massages, of course!), and return home feeling refreshed and re-inspired for 2016.

welcome to world famous wine growing region sign with ladies posed in front for picture

We ate a TON of indulgent food (check out my list of the most extraordinary places to eat in Napa Valley!), relaxed with spa treatments, visited some of the cutest little towns ever, stayed at great resorts, and participated in some truly awesome activities. Trust me, you won’t want to miss any of these the next time you’re in Napa!

ladies posed together for photo

Note: while many of these experiences were complimentary and were graciously arranged by Visit Napa Valley, I would wholeheartedly recommend all of these things even if they weren’t. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

spa hot springs entrance in napa valleyWe started our retreat with a couple of days at the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in Calistoga, CA. Calistoga Fountain at Day lighted hotel pool at night time with people swimmingThe warm geothermal mineral pools, with temperatures in the 100-104 degree range, were incredibly relaxing, as were the massages that we received from the spa.

ladies posing in spa pool(Can you tell that we’re having fun?!)

girls laying in spa mud with towels on headsA couple of friends were even brave enough to try the volcanic ash mud bath at the spa! I wasn’t keen on the idea of being buried up to my neck in mud, but they said it was really quite nice and soothing! If you want to know more, check out Britni’s “10 Things to Do in Napa Valley if You Don’t Drink Wine” including her firsthand account of the mud bath treatment.

ladies enjoying cocktails by the fire pit Of course, good wine and fireside chats are also near the top of my list of favorite things!

woman petting fake cat statue The resort is within walking distance of the town of Calisotga, so we spent an afternoon browsing through the cute and quaint little shops and taking some silly photos with the town’s murals.

blind date book held up We discovered “blind date books” at Copperfield’s Books, and took a chance on an unknown package. We ended up with some pretty interesting and intriguing titles (this one was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel).

Aloft Hot Air BalloonThe Napa Valley is nearly as famous for its hot air balloons as it is for its fine wines, and my friends were eager to try the experience with Napa Valley Aloft. Personally, I’m much happier on solid ground, so I watched from below as they took to the skies.

view of napa valley vineyards from hot air balloon basket looking down

hot air balloon flying over napa valleyI have to admit that these views are pretty incredible though! My friend Cori wrote all about her experience in “Flying in a Hot Air Balloon When You’re Afraid of Heights,” so maybe I’ll have to follow her lead and be a little braver next time!

wine train napa valley activity Riding on the Napa Valley Wine Train has been on my to-do list for a long time, and I was quite pleased that I got to experience it on our retreat. It was even better than I had imagined!

wine train castle tour trainThe train’s authentic Pullman rail cars are all around 100 years old (having been built in 1915-1917) and have been immaculately restored to their former glory.

seats inside of wine trainThe red glass windows on this 1915 Pullman lounge car are original and were uncovered during the rail car’s restoration.  

dining tables set up inside of wine trainThe Le Petite Gourmet dining car where we enjoyed our lunch that day holds the largest capacity of travelers – 72. I was worried that the combination of dining, wine, and travel motion might upset my stomach since I am prone to motion sickness, but it was a breeze. The train ride was a bit bumpy, but I got used to it very quickly, and it didn’t pose any problems.

Wine Train Table

wine train castle tour dining menuThe food was excellent, and our server, Petar, was delightful. He pointed out all of the wineries and shared lots of interesting facts with us as we traveled through the stunning Napa Valley countryside.

dinner plate full of yummy food in napa valley
delicious high end food served in napa valley

ladies enjoying wine train castle tour in napa valley wine train wine glasses being clinked The wine train offers gourmet lunch and dinner rides along with fun events such as Murder Mystery dinners, Romance on the Rails, and holiday-themed family events. The Wine Train also partners with several different wineries to offer tours at the end of your ride. We opted to tour the Castello di Amorosa “Castle of Love” winery, and we weren’t disappointed!

cool old castle on napa castle tour If you didn’t know that Castello di Amorosa was only built and completed less than ten years ago, you would swear that you were at one of the authentic 13th century Tuscan castles that it was modeled after. Meticulous attention was paid to even the smallest of details, and it truly looks like a medieval marvel.

neat view of castle from napa valley wine train

Castello de Amorosa Courtyard Castello de Amorosa Dragon wine train castle tour stop showing inside of castle castle cellar cieling and chandeliers

Castello di Amorosa DungeonThe castle even houses an impressive dungeon and “torture chamber” complete with replicas of early weaponry and armor.

Castello de Amorosa Tasting Room SignAfter touring the castle, we visited the tasting rooms where we sampled their wines and the best grape juice I’ve ever had.

Castello de Amorosa Castello di Amorosa Barrels Castello di Amorosa Stamped Barrel empty wine glasses lined up on tableCastello di Amorosa - Sampling Wine from the BarrelWe even got to taste one of the wines straight out of the French Oak aging barrels! 

wine bottle selections lined up in cellar

I also picked up some delicious flavored oils and chocolates from the castle’s gift shop.

pretty rustic castle on napa wine train tour grape vineyards with a rooster olive orchard with sheep roamingI highly recommend pairing the castle winery tour with the wine train excursion, but both are also available individually if you would rather split them up and visit on different days. Both are NOT to be missed though!

ladies posed in front of cool vineyard entranceFor the second half of our retreat, we stayed at the lovely Silverado Resort in Napa, CA. Behind us is the stately main resort building, however, we stayed off-site in a three-bedroom suite that was actually a stand alone condominium (and it was GORGEOUS!).

outdoor deck seats overlooking vineyardOur accommodations were right on the private golf course, and it was incredibly quiet and relaxing.

ladies seated looking out over vineyard

silverade kitchen modern farmhouse setup

Silverado Living Room 2The full kitchen and large dining and living rooms were perfect for all of our blog planning and brainstorming sessions, and everything about our suite was charming and comfortable. Britni and I voted the beds in our room the most comfortable hotel beds EVER! 

wine shop and market with people browsingOur last must-do was a stop at the famous Oxbow Market, a foodie paradise, and home to such treats as Kara’s Cupcakes (Food Network’s Cupcake Wars champions), Anette’s Chocolates, and organic ice cream from Three Twins Ice Cream. Of course, there’s TONS of local meats, produce, cheese, olive oil, and wines there as well!

bitters at wine market and shop lady in hat smelling item inside of wine shop Oxbow Market SpicesOne of my favorite shops was Whole Spice, where we were able to sample and smell about a million different unique spices, seasonings and flavored sugars. I came home with a few, and I ended up wishing that I had bought more! 

Oxbow Market Olive Oils

three hands clinking ice cream cones together

ladies on couch enjoying living areaWe spent the last night of our retreat hanging out in the living room at the Silverado Resort, watching Grease Live! by the roaring fireplace. It was the perfect ending to a fabulous trip!

Napa Sign and Kia Sorento

Our Napa Valley retreat was a TON of fun, and we couldn’t have done it without our awesome car from Kia Motors. If you need a car to get you around on your next trip (or even every day!), I highly recommend the Kia Sorento SXL!

kia rental interior shown

The 2016 Kia Sorento was able to comfortably seat five adults in the first two rows, and with the third-row seats laid down flat, we had a ton of trunk space for all of our luggage and plenty of shopping bags. The built-in GPS navigation was invaluable, and we loved the car’s massive panoramic sunroof!

feet up in kia with navigation in backgroundThanks to Kia, we were able to cruise the Napa Valley in comfort and style!

YouTube video

xoxo Heidi, signature block from Heidi at Happiness Is Homemade

A huge thank you to my friends, Rebecca at Sugar & Soul and Britni at Play. Party. Plan., for providing me with many of the pretty images in this post, and to my friends April at illistyle and Cori at Hey, Let’s Make Stuff for the video footage!



Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs | Calistoga, CA | 866-822-5772

Silverado Resort | Napa Valley, CA | 800-532-0500


Wine Train | Make Reservations | 800-427-4124

Napa Valley Aloft Hot Air Balloon Rides | Make Reservation | 855-944-4408

Castello di Amorosa | Plan a Visit | 707-967-6272

Oxbow Public Market | 707-226-6529

One Comment

  1. Looks like you had a great time! Isn’t Napa Valley beautiful? There’s so much to do to, even though people only think of the wine! I recommend taking a kayaking tour next time you visit- it’s a beautiful, relaxing way to enjoy Napa!

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