Every child has their favorite book. A book that takes their imagination to new levels and makes them feel like the opportunity for adventure is endless. My children's favorite book is one that my mother gave to them last year during one of our visits. Maggie and Maddy's Napa Valley Adventure.
In the book, Maggie and Maddy live in Napa and decide one day to visit the Valley on their own. They take off on a hot air balloon to see the sights and enjoy all that Napa has to offer. I love this book because while most people think of Napa as a vacation for adults, there is actually tons of fun stuff for families to do. We are blessed to visit Napa often as it is home to my Mom and Stepdad. The twins love Napa visits so much, they cry when we leave.
In April, I decided to take the girls up to Napa to recreate the Adventures of Maggie and Maddy and of course to visit my mom. It was my first trip by myself with my girls, so I was a little nervous about how we'd do, but we had a great time.
The first day we just enjoyed hanging out with my mom and bird watching in her beautiful back yard. We also took our usual walk down to the Connolly Ranch to feed the ducks and check out the farm animals. Connolly Ranch is a must see when you travel with children to Napa. https://www.facebook.com/ConnollyRanch?fref=ts
The Ranch offers preschool and camp for kids who get hands on experience with farm animals and learn about organic farming. With a rich history and strong mission, this ranch is a very special place.
The next day we headed to the Butter Cream Bakery. Butter Cream Bakery is a delightful old time bakery with the most delicious donuts you'll find. Just like Maggie and Maddy, we got pink donuts and chocolate milk. Hey, you only live once. https://www.facebook.com/buttercreambakery?fref=ts
After our donuts, we headed over to the Napa Toy Store. A magical place, we love to visit when ever we go. We picked out ballerina music boxes, bubbles and art supplies. The girls could stay in this store for hours testing out all the toys, but we had an agenda and lots to pack in.
Next up, the Oxbow Market! The Oxbow market is must when you visit Napa. I'll be honest, it's not my favorite place with kids, however. It can get crowded and often times, those in a hurry to grab a quick lunch will run right over the tourist trying to take it all in. I've done the Oxbow a few times with the girls and I always say not again until they are older.https://www.facebook.com/OxbowPublicMarket?fref=ts
Later that evening we went to our most favorite places to eat,
Just like Maggie and Maddy, my girls had mini corn dogs and milk shakes, a preschoolers dream come true!
The next day is was time to head to Castello Di Amorosa http://www.castellodiamorosa.com
I had no idea just how much the girls would love the castle. Two months later they are still talking about the castle and the chocolate they got in the gift store. Wanna blow your kids mind? Take them to the castle!
An authentically built 13th century Tuscan castle with a winery, while some adults may find it a little silly and quite over the top, my children found it pretty darn awesome, as did I. They have some pretty fun fluffy chickens, goats and ducks hanging around and their gift shop is filled with treasures. A small box of chocolate we bought there and enjoyed outside on the lawn was the perfect way to round out our visit.
The last day of our trip we headed back to down town Napa for the Earth Day Celebration. We got to meet all the wonderful vendors and enjoy the beautiful weather. Downtown Napa has a strong community feel and you really see it when you attend holiday events.
I always feel like Napa is my true home, the weather is perfect and the atmosphere laid back and welcoming. We've even been featured in local Napa news not once, but three times. Twice for our business and once as tourist during their holiday festivities. I can't even get my own local news paper to write about us! Must be a sign.
There were still adventures to be had, but it was time to head back home. I'm blessed with two children who love long car rides. We only had to stop once for food and made it back home in 7 hours. I'm a pretty lucky parent.
Until next time, Napa!!! See you soon.