- Nestled in the heart of the beautiful California Napa Valley wine country is Yountville, a charming and quaint small town that offers a sophisticated ambiance.
This small town is scattered with charismatic homes, picturesque shops, luxury hotels, and incredible restaurants. With a population of under 3,000, Yountville is host to several Michelin star restaurants, not to mention the world famous French Laundry.
A few years ago, it was my serendipitous fortune to be in Yountville the day after Thanksgiving when the town was celebrating their annual Festival of Lights. Not really knowing what it was all about, but not having anything else to do that evening, my husband and I decided to check out the event. We joined the crowd in the middle of town ~ picture the town square in Punxsutawney, PA from the movie Groundhog Day ~ we chatted with the cheerful couples standing about while their children ran the grounds, we sipped on our hot cocoas and sang along with carolers on stage while we waited for the sun to set.
Finally, the big moment came. A tall, thin blonde guy resembling Carson Kressley, the stylist from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy with all of his exuberance, came leaping on stage and rallying the crowd’s excitement for the Festival of Lights. At each given moment, we thought he would begin the countdown, but instead he would break out in song and have us join along. It got to the point where it was so funny to me, I couldn’t control my uncontainable giggles, which of course set my husband off as well. And then we heard it….10, 9, 8….everyone in the crowd is counting along, voices getting louder with anticipation….1…..cheers break out, people are clapping, children are jumping up and down and the lights on the trees in the square light up.
I can only imagine how Phil Conners would have reacted to being in this satirical situation, but as in the movie Groundhog Day, we walked away that evening with huge smiles and full hearts from being a part of this extraordinary community. To this day, I consider that one of my most favorite holiday memories and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again some day.
I only share this story to make my point of how strong the sense of community is in this town. And yet, at the same time, this is also a well sought after location for discerning travelers seeking a wine country getaway with luxury accommodations and exquisite food, all of which, Yountville offers.
On more recent visit, I had the opportunity to stay at the Bardessono Resort. Bardessono is a family owned property and is one of only three Platinum LEED Certified hotels. If you are someone who is in to “green” travel, Bardessono will meet your every need without compromising luxury. This is also the location where you will find one of the Michelin star restaurants in town (last I checked reviews on Yelp, Bardessono actually had a higher rating than the French Laundry…all subjective of course).
The rooms are a contemporary, clean design with a huge bathroom that includes either an indoor/outdoor shower or outdoor soaking tub by which you can star gaze in the evening. Each room includes a spa massage table which is tucked away Murphy bed style for private in-room treatments. The resort does have a small spa on site, however, they can only accommodate a few people, so the convenience of being able to have a treatment in your room was by design.
The resort offers a sleek roof-top pool area, where piped in music entertains you all day and a snack shack offers menu items from their main dining room that are delivered to you for poolside consumption.
This property is conveniently located right in the middle of town (across from the famous holiday gathering) and is extremely service oriented. Julia Roberts stayed here while doing her junket tour for Eat, Pray, Love. For those of you who like to travel with your dogs, this is a pet friendly property as well. I look forward to staying at this property again, when I return for the Festival of Lights.