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The Honeymooners: Day Four

Posted Jan 13 2011 8:13pm

Papa Bender says “THANK YOU!” for the birthday wishes .

Earlier this week, I wrapped up the San Francisco portion of our honeymoon:

Now comes the slightly more dramatic, but no less enjoyable second half of the trip, which begins at the Silverado Resort in Napa. The post I’ve been chomping at the bit to write. Smile

We woke up on a chilly Monday morning in November and got a better look at our room. Silverado Resort is made up of several “houses” like these, which were very cute and spacious.


We meandered down the path toward our car, snapping a few photos along the way.

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Although it was a cold morning, the sun was peeking out from the clouds and it promised to be an exciting day of biking through the valley.


Once we left Silverado, we headed to Yountville for breakfast before we picked up the bike. I had heard from several people that the Bouchon Bakery was as close to Paris as we could get, so I was eager to visit and see their selection. Bobby knows how much I love my bread, so he patiently listened as I gushed about how excited I was to try everything.


When we got there, we were not disappointed! Sweet smells wafted through the doorway.

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I immediately wanted everything in sight. Winking smile But after much thought and deliberation, I decided to tempt my taste buds with a fresh cornbread muffin and an espresso macaroon.

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We grabbed fresh coffee and headed outside to enjoy the crisp morning. It was heaven and so were the baked goods. The cornbread was crumbly and not too sweet. The macaroon had the melt-in-your mouth quality that I remember from Paris, with a hint of creamy espresso.


I couldn’t get enough of this place, so we went back in and picked up a treat for later in the day! Then it was off to Napa Valley Bike Tours to get fitted for our fabulous tandem bicycle ride.


Oh yes, we did.

**This is our one-of-a-kind story to tell from the honeymoon. I hope you enjoy it!**

When we were researching wineries in Napa, we were trying to choose between a bus tour, a driver and a bike ride. Knowing how much we love exercise, we ultimately went for the latter. As we planned the honeymoon, we structured our wine tour day in such a way that we would be able to bike from winery to winery, leaving time in between to rest, recuperate, refuel and, most importantly, be completely sober while riding. Bobby was also vehemently set on renting a tandem “bicycle built for two.” A once in a lifetime experience, right? You bet!

Having laid all this out for you, I’m sure you may be able to guess at what’s coming next.

Although it took us a few tries, we got the hang of the tandem bike pretty quickly and were soon ready to set off on our pre-planned course. I had spoken to various wineries on Twitter and through email and they were kind enough to provide us with free tastings and tours. Our plan was to visit four wineries for a total 15-20 miles of riding. An ambitious goal.

Our first stop was Honig . This sustainable, solar-powered winery was absolutely incredible!


Our guide, Mark, and I had exchanged emails in the days leading up to the visit and he was very gracious and expecting our arrival. He explained that there had been a big event there the previous evening and as a result,  he would provide us with a wide variety of wines to taste because they had so much left over.

We started out with the whites and their most popular sauvignon blanc, which you can find in Whole Foods (in fact, I just bought some last night). This was one of the fruitiest, smoothest, best tasting white wines I’ve ever had.


My favorite of the reds was their cabernet sauvignon. It was full-bodied and rich tasting, but also went down smoothly and had a pleasant after taste.


We tried five or six more varieties before purchasing a sauvignon blanc to bring back to our room for that night and then said our goodbyes. We walked around the property for a while – I could never get tired of looking at the endless rows of vines – and then sat down outside to break open the challah bread we had brought from Bouchon . It was phenomenal!


Once we had eaten up and recuperated, we ventured back out to our second stop of the day: Robert Sinskey Vineyards .


This winery was located off the Silverado Trail and tucked up on the hillside.

I had also been corresponding with one of their employees on Twitter and they were kind enough to offer us a complimentary cave tour, which we gratefully accepted!


On the tour, we learned a lot about how long wine is aged in barrels, what the process is for finding the right grapes for each batch, etc. Essentially, I learned that wine making is HARD and I have more respect than ever for those that put the time into making such amazing creations.

After the tour, our guide was kind enough to give us a food and wine tasting. We were given two plates with assorted meats, cheese, nuts and breads.


Once we had finished sampling their wines, we went outside and took photos overlooking Napa.

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Then it was time to journey to lunch! We went back up the trail toward Rutherford Grill .


I had received several recommendations (some from you!) to visit this place if we could. Our guide at Honig told us to get the cornbread, and we gladly obliged.


It was ridiculous! Basically a mini cornbread pie. Smile It had jalapeno in it for a nice kick and we eagerly gobbled it up. Even Bobby, who normally doesn’t do spicy food, thought it was great!


For our entrée, we decided to split the special of the day, which was a grilled swordfish sandwich. It came topped with tomato, lettuce and a special dressing. On the side were some very creamy mashed potatoes. Lunch was definitely two thumbs up. Thanks for the recommendation!

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When we got out of the restaurant, it had started gently pouring. The original plan was to visit two more wineries on the bike and then head back to the shop to pick up our car for dinner. But with the rain, we were a bit unsure how to proceed. Ultimately, we decided to visit one more winery on the list that was only 1/4 mile up the road and then head back.

Things didn’t work out quite as easily as planned!

We made it to Whitehall Lane just as the rain began coming down a little harder.


I had spoken with them on Twitter as well (now you know why I love social media!) and they graciously offered a complimentary tasting for us.

We sampled four of their wines, splitting each tasting glass between us. My favorite was once again the cabernet sauvignon, a theme that would pop up throughout our entire trip. I thought I was a Merlot girl, but I have a new love now!

It was leaving Whitehall Lane when disaster struck.

Fair warning: the following is not for the faint of heart. Winking smile

We were on our way back to the bike shop. It was still raining, but not as heavily as it was on our way into the winery.

Just outside the parking lot, there was a railroad crossing. I remembered seeing it on our way to Whitehall Lane, but at the time we had needed to cross the highway, so we had gotten off the bike and walked across. In Napa they have no set bike paths, so you are basically in the lane next to the road. It’s definitely not the best system, which we soon found out the hard way.

As we began our ride back, I noticed the railroad tracks were coming up on my right. Then I noticed they were veering inward – right toward us. It happened in slow motion. One second I was yelling to Bobby in the front that the railroad tracks were curving inward as they crossed the road, becoming parallel with our bike tires.

The next minute, we were on the ground and I was screaming in pain.

It was an epic crash, I’ll give it that.

Our tires had gotten stuck in the rut of the railroad tracks as they turned parallel with our bike. We spilled out toward the road. Fortunately, no cars were coming at the time and we moved quickly to pull ourselves to the far side.

Tears mixed with rain were streaming down my face. My left left leg was on fire, and I was sure something bad had happened to it. I kept screaming and couldn’t stop myself. Eventually, a passerby pulled over and asked us if we needed help. This shocked me back into reality a bit and I was able to think clearly. I realized that I didn’t think my leg could be broken because I could still stand up and walk on it – and I calmed down. We thanked the man for his offer to help but assured him that we were fine.

A few minutes later, a police car that happened to be driving by pulled over and asked us the same question. We thanked him, but there was just no way he would be able to fit a bike in his vehicle. We told him we would either ride or walk back to the Rutherford Grill and make a call.


Eventually, it was determined that I was in no fit state mentally or physically to get back on the back of the bike. Bobby’s wrist was also hurting him, so we agreed to make the 1/4 mile walk back.

Calling the bike shop was humiliating. I had joked earlier in the day that the people who have to get picked up must have had one too many wine tastings. Now, here we were, completely coherent and in trouble. Fortunately (or rather, unfortunately), when we told them the story, they new EXACTLY where it had happened and told us we were not the first.

I’m sorry…what?!

The fact that Napa doesn’t have bike trails is one thing. The fact that accidents on these railroad tracks have happened multiple times is quite another, and I truly hope that something is done to fix this situation so that more people don’t have to experience what we did.

The man from the bike shop who picked us up could not have been nicer. He went out of his way to help us get back to our car and calm us me down. I truly commend Napa Valley Bike Tours for their excellent customer service. It really made all the difference during a not-so-fun moment!

When we did finally get back to the car, we were too exhausted to consider doing anything more than heading back to the Silverado Resort . So we had “dinner in” with Honig sauvignon blanc, chips and salsa. Not the most exquisite honeymoon dinner, but it made us feel much better.

Now that I’ve told the story, I realize that it may look like this ruined our trip. Quite the contrary! We were still incredibly pleased with the entire day and really enjoyed all of the amazing wineries we visited.

Besides, the real highlight of the trip was yet to come…


Bobby’s wrist. My knee. Isn’t it romantic? Winking smile

We’ll save that story for next time. I think this is enough adventure for one post!

Question: Do you have any honeymoon injury stories to share?

One thing we discovered the next day is that we certainly were not alone. Everyone who asked us what happened had their own story to tell!


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