Privilege Blog

The Carneros Inn, Redux

Well hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely Labor Day holiday, if you’re in the US. If you’re in Europe or Asia, I hope your summer is coming to a nice finale. You Australians, I hope spring is warming your heart.

But let’s linger on vacation, for a minute. I just got back from the Carneros Inn, up in Napa. It was glorious. I know I’ve shown the place to you before, but it’s awfully pretty. And we can talk sartorial strategies, of the rural resort variety. (Hint: no high heels involved, no metallics, no hairspray.)

If you’ll remember, the Inn used to be a trailer park. Uproot trailers, put down cottages. Might not sound beautiful, but is.

What do the Knittel cottages at Carneros Inn look like?

Said cottages have quiet front porches, and rocking chairs.

What can I wear orange flip flops with?

The front porch isn’t making me laugh, but the good-natured protestations of Significant Other, “No more picture-taking! No, I am not going to sit down to get the right angle!” – are.

I tell myself that combining cornflower blue, olive green and orange, elevates shorts and a pair of flip flops to Appropriate, if not Stylish. I also tell myself that khaki and black are innately elegant and anyone can wear short shorts in 93F, if accessorized with a boater.

Vacations are all about happy delusional storytelling. Our creative talents can convince us that doughnuts are spiritual and nutritional twins to grapefruit. What? They’re both round.

Did you know, filet of beef is the same, nutritionally, as filet of fish? Applies only when you’re on vacation. The above was served at Farm, the fanciest of Carneros’ three restaurants. Delicious.

It’s good sport to dress up just a bit for dinner, even in agricultural Napa.. I wore this Karen Millen last Christmas, with white shoes. Here in Napa high heels often wind up stuck in the grass or the gravel or the sawdust. So flat jeweled Mystique sandals, gold hoops, and my grandmother’s gold Georg Jensen bracelet it was. Grey hair, front and center, because where was I going to put it, after all?

We had meant to go to Thomas Keller’s family-style Ad Hoc, but missed Fried Chicken Monday and couldn’t muster for Pork with Fruit Thursday, so back to Farm we went. This time in Dries van Noten, and a Remonte Derndorf gladiator experiment. I’m not sure the shoes worked, but impunity gets you far. Hair in the vacation updo of choice: ponytail pulled halfway back through an elastic. Trust me in that was a very special orange elastic.

In truth, I spent most of the vacation here.

The best swimming pool in Napa

So I spent most of the trip wearing these. And no, a photo is not forthcoming. You’re welcome. I believe that while 50+ women can and should wear bikinis if they so desire, they don’t need to post pictures of themselves on the great wide Internet.

So I’ll carry the sound of crunching gravel and the smell of roses and apples with me as long as I can. And I hope these photos cheer your Tuesday, a tad.

Traveling to Napa in September, the light is gorgeous.

Let us remember the lights of summer sunrises.

And shrug our traces back on with great good will, hunkering down to shoulder our wagons uphill. Consolation? Orange’s big for fall.


Affiliate links may produce commissions. The Carneros Inn is worth a visit.

56 Responses

  1. Thanks, Lisa. Nice way to start the shortened work week. And, please, tell me the brand of that darling white coverup. Love its sheerness and trim.

  2. That resort looks like a wonderful place to relax.
    Vacations needn’t require mettalics, hair spray and heels, at least mine don’t. I am much more comfortable in casual dress.
    You look fabulous in that Dries Van Noten dress and I am cheered to hear that you are comfortable wearing a bikini.
    Welcome back Lisa!

  3. What a perfect holiday, I’m making a note of this recommendation in case we take that trip to California we always talk about.
    Your vacation wardrobe was utter perfection.

  4. “khaki and black are innately elegant” – Gwyneth Paltrow and I are telling you that yes, yes, yes khaki and black are elegant. Esp in fall (camel hair skirt and black top? Swoon.) but really anytime.

    You look lovely. And Significant Other is a good sport!

  5. The Carneros Inn looks fantastic! I like a place with a laid-back dress code. Went to Napa Valley once for the day, must go back again for longer next time. Looks like you had fun.

    Shouldering my wagon right now.

  6. Looks like a wonderful place to vacation! I love the boater with white top & khakis. I’m not a khaki person, but that outfit speaks to me. Fair play!

  7. Hi Lisa, You look great as always, but I don’t think that I am a resort person, especially when I am in Northern California, with all the history to explore. One place I didn’t quite make it to last trip was the older sections of Berkeley, with its vestiges of the original Frederick Law Olmsted plan.

  8. The porch,rocking chair so lovely,so American…just missing the white picket fence.

    You look well rested.Happy September. Ida

  9. I’ve lived in California my whole life, and have traveled all over the world, but have never been to Napa or Sonoma, in my own state. Unbelievable and to be remedied soon I hope. This looks like a really lovely place to stay. My favorite outfit is your first one – looks so fun and comfy. I probably would have worn either the black, jeweled sandals or the orange flip flops with the Dries dress – not crazy about the gladiators with it, but unimportant. Looks like you had a great time!

  10. What wonderful photographs both of the place and of you! Fantastic, and glad you had the greatest of times. X

  11. Looks like a wonderful way to spend a long weekend! I’ve never been to Napa, but it’s certainly on the list!

  12. Welcome back, you of course were greatly missed.

    But you have made up for the lack of you with your usual wit and so many pictures.

    You are looking fine, fine, superfine in all of them.

    Flipflops and shorts are good for the soul.

    xo Jane

  13. Ahhh, bliss! And it shows. I don’t think anyone should have to defend attire worn on a resort vacation- and yours looks very crisp and happy.

  14. Ah, welcome back. What a lovely vacation you had. I am not sure it is even fair that a woman of our age look as good as you do in shorts. How do you do it? You look happy, fit and stylish. Thanks for posting this and reminding me ‘all work and no play….’

  15. It’s so nice to have you back. You look very relaxed and happy in every beautiful photo, I think vacations agree with you! What did you decide to read under that deep blue sky by the lovely swimming pool?

    1. Oh I meant to tell you all. Gone Girl, which was like potato chips. Fun to consume, left me feeling disgruntled, and Swamplandia! Which I liked but also wish she’d written the magic story. Yet to read some of the others you all recommended, very much enjoyed the choices so far.

  16. I hope the vacation was as lovely (and more) than the photographic evidence suggests. It looks so pretty and peaceful there.

    I love the outfit you’re wearing on the porch, definitely more than appropriate. And that first dress is absolutely divine.

  17. Sigh. I feel like I’ve just been there for the weekend looking at your pictures. Love all your rational with food and dress, I do the same thing when I’m on vacation–the sig other says ‘those loafers with a skirt makes you look like a WWII refugee’ – me: I know, so chic, right?

    xo Mary Jo

  18. Your legs are astonishing! I’ve never in my life had legs like that and I’m 20 years younger than you. Celebrate those legs with shorts, by all means!

    And I’m jealous of your lying by the pool. We’re off tomorrow to Karkow, Poland for a city break. Lots of history and good food and things but I doubt it’ll be that restful.

  19. Salutations from Melbourne (Australia)
    Spring is indeed warming my heart! Seeing the sun again makes me want to go vacationing too so it was lovely to see your holiday shots, looks like you had a great time!
    Oh and by the way I am loving the straw hat, I was inspired so I bought a similar one for my upcoming vacation!

  20. amazing pictures lisa!! and i love all the outfits, ESPECIALLY the dries with the gladiator sandals. they may not “go” exactly, but they’re unexpected, and fun while also being practical.

  21. Thanks for reminding me of how much I love the Carneros Inn. We stayed there the year it opened, and I’m dying to go back. Those cottages are fantastic!

  22. Being your 47th commenter assures that you’ll probably not even notice my lurking here! I never know exactly what to say when I visit my favorite gal bloggers. So I usually say nothing. But every now and then its important to me that I let you know that I think you are the quintessential-total-package…wise from your thus-far journey, elegantly imperfect woman.

  23. Oh Lisa, wow — that Karen Millen dress is simply stunning! Your whole travel wardrobe was spot on, but that dress is a real standout. Dresses look great on you; I’m glad you’ve overcome your phobia. :-)

  24. such a perfecter a cation post. You look relaxed and happy and the epitome of relaxed chic. Even the experiments that may not work as well as hoped are somehow imperfect in a witty, relaxed and elegant way. I am in awe.

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