Today Sarah, Myles, and I woke up and said goodbye to one of my new favorite places, San Francisco. Our visit here was spectacular and I’m thrilled that there is so much to do in this glorious city so I can come back one day. I was definitely going to miss the city by the bay but our next adventure was awaiting, living in our camper van for the next week!
We headed out of the hotel and picked up our ride at the San Francisco location for Escape Campervan rentals. This company was absolutely awesome and I highly recommend looking into this form of accommodation for your next adventure if you’re up for it! There are a variety of different vans to choose from depending on your needs, each hand painted by local artists. The really cool thing is the company has a variety of locations around the US and you can pick your van up and one location and drop it off at any other. We rented the maverick version of the van which included a sink, stovetop, fridge, folding chairs, bedding, dishes, and seats that convert into a genuinely super comfy bed, you can watch the full van tour video I made here!
Our first destination on the road trip was Napa Valley but before we could hit the road we had to stop at Target to stock up on food, water, and other essentials for our trip. Luckily Myles had experience driving big U-Haul trucks so he was our driver for the duration of our adventure. I’m so thankful for Myles for driving us everywhere because I know I would have been freaking out driving the big camper van through the San Francisco traffic. It took us a little longer than expected to get to Napa Valley due to said traffic and some rainy weather but luckily we made it in one piece by about 2pm.
Driving into Napa was absolutely gorgeous. Surrounded by mountains on each side and the greenest grass I think I’ve ever seen, we drove past vineyard after vineyard until we pulled up to Castillo Di Amarosa for our first wine tasting. Castillo Di Amarosa is a winery modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle complete with chapel, a great hall, multiple terraces, and even a dungeon. We did the $25 tasting which included 5 wines of your choosing between white, red, and sweet options. I chose to do a Chardonnary as my white option, a Red Blend and a Pino Noir for my reds, and the Moscato and Gewürztraminer were my sweet choices. Every one of these wines were amazing, I liked them all so much that I don’t think I would be able to pick a favorite, but Sarah, Myles, and I all agreed that collectively they were the best wines any of us have every had. If you ever visit here and like the wines as much as we did make sure to buy a bottle while you’re there! These wines are sold exclusively at the vineyard and we realized as soon as we left that we screwed up by not getting our hands on a bottle while we had the chance.
Next up we drove down the road to Sterling Vinyards as Sarah’s mom had actually visited here before and recommended it to us. This wine tasting was an experience like no other as the winery sits so high above Napa Valley that you have to ride an aerial tram to get there. The tasting at Sterling was also $25 and included the ride in the tram, a souvenir glass, 4 wines to taste, and probably the best views of Napa you can get short of a hot air balloon ride (definitely doing that next time by the way). We all loved the whole experience of Sterling Vineyards but agreed that we liked the wines at Castillo Di Amorosa a little bit better. These wines were all amazing too though of course and we all loved the experience as a whole. If you have to choose only a couple wineries to visit in Napa Valley out of the hundreds there are like we did I would highly recommend adding both of these to your itinerary. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to spend an afternoon in Napa.
Unfortunately for us most all of the wineries in Napa close at around 5pm, so we decided to stop at a local market and pick up our own bottle of wine and a bottle opener (even though we later realized the camper van came with one) and head to our campsite for the rest of the evening. The site we stayed at was inside of the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and since it didn’t include any electric or water hookups it was pretty much just a spot to park the van for the evening which worked out just fine for us. We made our dinner of turkey and cheese sandwiches with carrots and hummus and cheers’d with our wine to our first night in the van. We ended our evening by figuring out how to convert our van into a bed for the first time and watching Black Mirror and old school David Blaine on Netflix until we fell asleep.
Here are our favorite parts from Napa!:
Myles: Castillo Di Amorosa wine tasting
Sarah: Sterling Vinyards
Hana: Also the Castillo Di Amorosa wine tasting (even though I forgot to get change back when I paid for this tasting so I actually paid $50 for the $25 option like a big dummy, it was still my favorite part of the day)