Privilege Blog

Regrouping And Reconnecting In Napa Valley

Sunday morning I realized I had completely forgotten to publish anything the day before. That’s the first time I’ve skipped a Saturday post, unaware. Why?

A family gathering!

Last weekend many of us went back up to the spot now re-branded as the Carneros Resort and Spa. My husband and I had been several times when it was the Carneros Inn. This time we took my father, my stepmother, all my siblings and most of their children too. My kids, sadly and happily, were both busy being grownups. Next time we will make sure they can come too.

We rented two houses. With courtyards full of vegetation, dining tables, sun umbrellas and arbors.

And a rooftop seating areas with vistas.

Also great kitchens and eating spaces.

This area overflowed very easily into the courtyard, which thoughtfully featured a stone table under wisteria. Perfect for the eating of grilled substances and the shucking and consumption of corn on the cob.

I have to show you this imposing bathroom. There was a second sink, have no fear.

On this visit we avoided the Hillside pool (you can see it here in this previous post, and this one. Oh, and this one.) We did spend lots of time at the family pool, however. Ordered lunch at the snacks window. That, in my book, is the greatest luxury.

Although the rebrand has changed the feel of Carneros (more glam, fewer locals at the bar, less gravel, more pavement), the vineyard hills haven’t gone anywhere.

The dinners at Farm are still creative and delicious, especially eaten outside bordering a game yard, where small and medium children play bocce ball and beanbag toss. There’s pork belly under them thar nasturtiums.

Paths still walk you through fig and pear trees, past gaura and roses and succulents.

I am grateful.

Watching my 10-year old nephew reading to the 4-year old. Overhearing my nieces at table, teenagers with phones and still for all that girls. Sitting at dusk with my sisters, just chatting as the light grew both weaker and stronger at once. Waving my brother off on a bicycle ride. Walking slowly with my father and stepmother. My dearly, dearly beloved husband.

It is an extraordinary privilege to be able to draw family together in a beautiful place and I no longer take these things for granted.


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22 Responses

  1. Thank you for the word pictures along with the photos. It sounds like it was a delightful.

  2. Sounds so wonderful. We do this twice a year with our kids and grandkids as well. There’s something about being at a resort rather than at home, that evens out the ground and makes everyone relax more I think, which in turn leads to more closeness and shared experiences and memories. My husband’s and my parents did not do this and we always did these at their homes which truthfully was rather annoying and was always more on their “clock”. Great tradition to continue. And I did wonder where you were on Saturday….

  3. Ah it sounds so lovely…
    and we do not take these gatherings with family members for granted ever.

    We are planning a week of fun with the family at our new “Quarter Deck “cottage on Pender Island…the pool will be our hub with the 3 little ones!

  4. Lisa, I love this post. This is what summer truly is about to me. I love the relaxing and reconnecting! I didn’t know you could rent houses at Carneros. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been. I am off for a family camping trip with my brother and family this weekend so I am hoping to channel some of the same! (Less glam digs however!)
    xo Kim

  5. Oh Lisa, what wonderful memories you are creating for the youngest generation, even as you affirm and strengthen the bonds among all the generations of your family.

    My husband and I gather our own nuclear family (selves, son, daughter, son-in-law, grandson, granddaughter) together every other year in rented villas in Umbria or northern Spain, and it has always been such a wonderful way to be together.

    Last month we took our g-daughter (12 1/2) to Paris for a week, which was beyond wonderful – soon she will be a teenager and Not Interested in spending quality time with her Aged GPs – but we three will have so many special moments to remember – esp bicycling together along the grandes allees of Versailles, a treat that not even Louis XIV could have enjoyed!

  6. There’s just something special and more relaxed about gathering the family in a neutral location like the resort rather than at someone’s home. And your husband sounds like a jewel. So happy for you that you had this special time together.

  7. Sounds wonderful. Looks wonderful. Glad your family got to share this time. When my dad was alive, my family did this as a group, four kids, grand-kids, significant others, usually at my parents’ retirement home in the Sierras, which was in a splendid forested spot with a deck surrounding it. We took long walks in the forest, drove down the hill to town for lunches, read, talked, and during the day, and late into the evening sat on the deck and gazed at the stars missing in our suburban and urban skies. As you note, it’s lovely to see the interactions; feel the love and connection. We were missing out the snack bar, but my mom and my older sister and brother all loved to cook, so we remained well fed. The grand-kids, as with your kids, grew up and are more scattered now: Portland, Seattle, Austin… Gatherings are a precious gift to catch onto when the littles are little. The entire family was together for my mother’s memorials, and most of the family assembled for an evening in December to say goodbye to my youngest niece before she set off for her Austin life. That was a lovely interlude. As to forgetting your Saturday morning piece? I love receiving that, and I didn’t notice its absence because I have a head injury that makes me forget things (alarming, but improving), and because I find the 4th of July on a Tuesday confusing. I look forward to the next Saturday musings you have the time and inclination to provide. xo.

  8. So lovely,Lisa
    It is a blessing having a large,close family and spending precious time together in a wonderful surrounding
    We are very close,but a small family-I’m an only child. My mother has a brother,so I have two wonderful cousins

  9. I’ve missed having time to read your lovely blog, so I’m so very happy that when I got here, this serene post was awaiting me :) Thank you! XO

  10. One of the great privileges of wealth is to be able to bring family together in this way. It looks lovely there. Glad you had a wonderful time.

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