Privilege Blog

Why We Keep Going Back To Napa Valley’s Carneros Inn

We spent our anniversary weekend at the Carneros Inn, in the Napa Valley. We’ve been there before. More than once.

Why do we return?

Is it the landscaping? I do love the mix of cottage garden and California natives, to say nothing of the multiple fruit trees. They’ve paved what used to be gravel paths, good for shoes, a little sad for my rustic longings.


Is it the food? Weekends we eat breakfast up at the Hilltop Cafe; lunch generally at the pool, or with a sandwich at the little Market; dinners at Farm (we ate there for our actual anniversary night dinner but all I got was this photo of a bottle of wine we were about to drink).

Oh, and I wore the Halsbrook MaxMara dress, post-alterations, with black Mystique sandals and Claudia Kussano earrings. This is not a fancy place.


Don’t worry. I still have two feet.

Is it dinner at the the Boon Fly Cafe?


While the Farm offers fancier food, shaved truffles optional, the Boon Fly is your place for fried chicken and the like. I love its barn-like architecture, and the staff aprons.

So maybe it’s the rooms?


Or the bathrooms? Painted in sage green, tiled in gray-green slate. A symphony of shower options.


Or the enclosed deck? Each cottage’s got one. With an outdoor shower. Love the feel of over-sized water drops falling through shafts of sunlight.


Don’t like to see plumbing? Shift yourself a bit on your lounge chair, look at the garden instead.


No, in the end, it’s always the pool.

Up a hill,


to breakfast, and The New York Times on paper.


Then down a few steps to a chaise, and a long hot afternoon of shared burgers, sauvignon blanc, and pool floats.


The vista, of what seems like nothing.


Or is nothing, but the fields beyond and some haze and light.


An open field of vision, one might say, a place for emptiness to give its gifts.


California’s wine country offers variety for the more adventurous. If you’d like to read on, you might visit A Rich Life on a Budget, where Adrienne posts a lot of wine country ideas in her travel section. She’ll also recommend wines, in her happy, generous, and knowledgeable way.

54 Responses

  1. We return endlessly to the Ojai Valley Inn, partly for all of the reasons you go to the Carneros, and also (which I’m sure is the same for you) because it’s a 90 minute drive. It all just seems so easy and yet transports us to a different atmosphere and instant relaxation. The Ojai Valley Inn keeps paving all the gravel areas as well, which annoys me, but I understand (sort of).

    1. Love the Ojai Valley Inn -especially the pool and spa. Also love L’auberge del Mar when I need the beach!

    2. @kathy, Maybe some day we’ll try the OVI too. Thanks for the reference, maybe more readers will add their return spots too.

  2. I think many of us have places we always want to return. Yours is lovely. We’ve been married so long that anniversary presents are not required. Trips to a favorite place are how we celebrate.

    1. <a href="#comment-1242695". Lisa: we like DePoe Bay and Newport on the Oregon Coast. Can't remember any specific places, of course. Except The Sea Hag for clam chowder!

  3. You should have that dress made in blue velvet for the holidays.

    Happy Anniversary! I always hear the Flintstones Happy Anniversary song in my head when I say that, lol!

  4. It looks so comfortable and a great place to unwind and relax…we feel the same about Point No Point out past Sooke BC.
    Anniversaries are a great excuse to get away too! Hope it was a Happy One!

  5. Thanks for this peek at the Carneros Inn. It’s one in which I’ve been interested for some time. The one we keep returning to in Napa Valley is Bardessono, platinum Leed certified. It is in Yountsville and close to all our favorite restaurants. You look so comfortable yet so refined. Happy Anniversary!

  6. Happy Anniversary! Glad you have a place you love to return to! Last year, we had a great time in Napa for my brother’s wonderful girlfriend’s 50th birthday celebration. She belong’s to Chateau Montelena’s wine club, so she & her sister went to a wine tasting there. My brother & I don’t drink anymore, so we had fun riding our bikes while they enjoyed the tasting. We enjoyed taking the wine train too(again, good for wine drinkers & nondrinkers alike). Fun strolling around markets, etc. And stop by Oakville Grocery!

    1. @Chronica Domus, If you find yourself back in Napa, and would like to stop by, you could have dinner at Farm and get a feel for the place. Glad you like the dress. Playful, comfy, and I think retaining a little elegance. Kind of my favorite long/lat of style:).

  7. I like it very much! Why not to go again where is so beautiful? I like rituals,they make us happy. And that’s just the way you look!
    And if you decide to visit my corner of the world, your Max Mara dress would be great for all the posh occasions and fancy places :-)!

    1. @RoseAG, Those are certainly grommets. I didn’t actually touch the cloth, so I couldn’t say if it’s sailcloth for sure. It looked like a tent fabric, almost? Rougher than sails?

  8. Happy Anniversary Lisa.
    I can understand your desire to return to Napa Valley’s Carneros Inn.
    The outdoor shower is such a luxury. The bedroom looks so comfortable also.
    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

  9. Dreamy! Thanks for answering my unspoken question about your other foot. ;-)
    Funny, beautiful, and you take us to the best places! Thx, Lisa!

  10. How beautiful. When we visited Califormia we spent, I now feel, too much time looking at tall trees and too little investigating the wine country. Next time I will be better informed. And it’s a wonderful dress.

    Rachel in Scotland

    1. @Rachel, Ha! One must definitely balance one’s trip to California with regard to tall trees vs. grape arbors:). Glad you like the dress!

  11. So lovely! The funny thing is the property that the Inn is located on was a mobile home park back in the 60’s and possibly 70’s, and owned and operated by the parents of my long time friend. We spent many happy hours roaming around the grounds and visiting the different families that lived there. She and are still friends after 55 years of friendship. We met the first day of first grade at the Los Carneros Elementary School located down the road directly in front of the Inn heading south. The empty fields you enjoy viewing were once occupied by grazing cattle and sheep!

    1. @Beth, This is so great! I knew the resort had been a trailer park, that’s why the cottages are laid out the way they are, which I love. But I am so pleased to meet someone who knew it when, who remembers its early life as I remember the orchards of Silicon Valley. We keep wild California, or at least wilder California, small farmer California, alive, don’t you think?

Comments are closed.