It seems like mere weeks ago that we got married, but years ago that we started this blog. I seem to have gotten it backwards. When I realized with shock that our entire Napa trip had been all but undocumented on a wine and fashion blog, I implored Rob to help me with this post.
Funny that all the horror that transpired post-Napa honeymoon was turned into such a positive: this blog. I heard a quote from Anna Wintour in the new documentary, September Issue: “Fashion’s not about looking back, it’s always about looking forward.” Naturally, but nothing new would be anywhere without it having come from somewhere old. Silly.
So today, we’re looking back. Pre-apocalyptic job loss fallout, pre-married life, and pre-blog. Rob took care of the photos, and here I am to drivel on about the wonderful, the magical, the heavenly: Milliken Creek. I hope someday you’ll get to visit and come back and tell me what a lovely time you had.
We arrived after a stint in San Francisco, exhausted from navigating traffic (nervously, in our rented, hot little Mercedes convertible), driving into Napa with the top down smelling grapes just yanked from the vines permeating the air, and visually making love to everything: the dust, the trees, the hills, the signs at the entrances to each vineyard, and… the taco stand? Wait, what? The GPS said we were mere yards from the inn, is this really where it is? I looked at Rob who was utterly panicked (he planned the entire honeymoon, start to finish. Bless his heart; no pressure there at all), and the road took a bend away from a sort of non-descript section of town, into a small cul-de-sac right off the road. Milliken Creek.
“They said it was close to the road,” he offered, “but I’m still worried. Some reviewers really complained about that.” My stomach wrapped itself around my heart and I went pale, not because I was worried about having a bad time, but because I was terrified that in the event it did suck, Rob would feel awful, and responsible, and I couldn’t bear to have him carry around the guilt of that.
Let me just clear this up right away: I had no idea from the second we stepped into the lobby that we were right on a busy road. I didn’t hear a sound. Not a sound. It was like a bubble of paradise behind the thick, wooden fence: just the trickling Napa river flowing by a lush lawn of green grass, two men fishing on the opposite bank, and whooshing trees. Relief.
I’m relatively easy to please, but they stole my heart with the small table in the main lobby with fruit-laced pitchers of water and wine (“Please, have a glass of wine, welcome!” “Don’t mind if I do,”) and a brief mention of the port bar (“Always open, just come help yourself”) and a view beyond the reception desk of mossy trees. We had time to kill before our room was ready so unloaded our stuff, I drank some wine while Rob checked us in, then we took a 2-hour drive around the countryside.
When we got back, a friendly kid carried our bags around to our room. We walked out the back deck and past a trickling fountain, some benches set up in shady enclaves, and lawn chairs sitting in the sunshine by the river. There was a little tent for massages. Our room sat comfortably off from the main house, a private bungalow OF LOVE. (Haha, only kidding, Mom.)
So Rob and I totally did one of those maneuvers where you wait until the bellhop has left the room to dance around high-fiving like idiots. The closet alone was the size of our current bedroom, which we both remarked on like total nerds: “…probably the best part. Then we don’t have to look at our luggage while we’re here.” Haha. It was enormous, utterly perfect, with the flatscreen over the gas fireplace (which I flipped on with a remote control then flung myself on the bed. See further below.), soft jazz tunes emanating from a little CD player by the bed, and French doors flung open on a sun drenched porch.
We went to a few tasting rooms and bought some wine and the whole time just kept thinking about how excited we were to get back to the room. We opted out of finding a local spot for dinner (we ended up only going to 1 of the 4 dinners we planned) and stopped in at Dean and Deluca to pick up the perfect home-away-from-home dinner, Carey and Rob style: 4 different kinds of cheese, sausage, carrots and celery sticks, a baguette, fruit, and dessert. It was an awesome spread and gave us a brief respite from the usual “I’m on vacation eating out every night stuffing my face to the point that I’m dying to get back home and poop again.”
We snuck up to the Magic Hour, drank wine and met a lovely couple also honeymooning, drank wine by a fireplace, then came back to a specially turned-down room: candles, music playing, fireplace on, a little box of chocolates on the bed.
We notified someone during Magic Hour that we were looking to eat dinner in our room, so while we were away they set us up with silverware, platemats, and other trimmings. We opened two splits from the kitchen and sat on the porch under the stars.
We filled out the breakfast card (delivered to your room every morning when you specify) and the next morning, a light knock and a huge tray of goodies was at our door. Fresh-baked pastries and croissants from the French Laundry. Yes, please. I loved the French press coffee. So nice to not have to get out of the plush robe and go eat in a room with strangers. Just. Like. Home.
I’m not sure what else I can say that the photos cannot. Both nights we finished our dinner and strolled up to the main house to get a DVD (I can’t promise you they were paid all that much attention to.) and lounge around the room with the fire on, stepping out onto the porch to watch the river and the trees and sometimes the fishing guys were still there; man, they put in a lot of hours.
We were so sad to leave. I miss the enoromous shower almost every day, and I miss the giant Voss water bottles I’d grab every day on my way out the door (hydration is key when drinking wine toute la journée). They left no detail off; no stone unturned. Room 12—you made my honeymoon. Sort of a priceless gift, if you ask me.
[I will mention, Trip Advisor has a few pretty wretched reviews about MC up there. We were really disappointed by them, but found that most were from people who weren’t ready for the sticker shock, and stayed in rooms in the main house. They were probably finding anything they could to complain about because something set them off, but I still don’t see how you could say anything negative. I would imagine we had a lot more peace and privacy being off on our own, so will say that if you want a beautiful trip and are willing to pay for it, stay in Room 12, nowhere else.]
Milliken Creek Inn and Spa | 1815 Silverado Trail, Napa, California 94558 | 800-835-6112 | 707-255-1197