Our 5-year anniversary was a big one for us, one I wanted to celebrate and go all out for (while staying local). We decided to do a little bit of everything. We both took Friday the 4th (our actual anniversary – May the 4th be with you) off and got up early to make our way to Point Reyes, which was my idea. I had a lot of items on my list of things to see and do but unfortunately, we couldn’t do it all. For instance, I wanted to hike/see Alamere Falls, which is a 10-mile hike or something crazy like that.
We started our trip with Cypress Tree Tunnel, which I had been wanting to see in person since we moved here. This spot is so insta-worthy, which could be a bad thing or a good thing. Sometimes these places are filled with other like-minded people, wanting to get a picture or explore this particular spot and this usually crowds a place. For instance, when we were in LA during December last year, we headed up to Griffith Observatory and it was PACKED with thousands of people. You couldn’t walk anywhere without bumping into someone and it was a completely different experience than I had expected (and seen on Instagram). Back to our anniversary weekend; Cypress Tree Tunnel was NOT like that. There was absolutely no one there. It was early in the morning, foggy and kind of creepy. We had the whole place to ourselves. It felt more special and ultimately exceeded my expectations. Tip: make sure to check out the old radio station at the end of the tunnel, even if it is closed.
Up next was Point Reyes Lighthouse. We were an hour ahead of schedule so by the time we got there and walked up to the visitor centre, it wasn’t open just yet. We were on a pretty tight schedule and it was freezing cold, so waiting an hour to walk down to the lighthouse didn’t seem like an option. It was absolutely beautiful and I hope to make our way up there again (when we aren’t so time sensitive).
Next, we made our way to Cow Girl Creamery to take a peek before heading over to Hog Island Oyster. This was another favourite moment for me that exceeded my expectations. We made reservations ahead of time (which they say you have to do to sit on the Boat Oyster Bar. By the time we were seated, the sun started coming out and blue skies started appearing. We ordered rose’, 2 dozen oysters, 2 orders of their barbecued oysters, their cheese plate (which included Cow Girl) and olives. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was delicious. The ambiance made the experience even better. Another fun tip is you can book one of the grills for $5 a head (for 3 hours) and bring your own items to grill. We saw a few groups of friends doing this and it looked like a blast!
We stayed at the grand opening for a little over an hour before heading to our hotel to get ready for our dinner reservations at Restaurant at Meadowood. This was something we were really, really looking forward to considering we had heard so many great things, were aware of its longstanding reputation and it was our anniversary.
We arrived and right off the bat, the team was so friendly and hospitable. “Hi Mr. & Mrs. Edwards, can we get a drink started for you? Can we take your coats? Where would you like to sit?” We were a little early and the team was kind enough to seat us 15 minutes early because of this. They also took some pictures of us outside because, hello, 5-year anniversary?! We finally took a seat and the team accommodating us were very nice. We had already purchased some champagne to enjoy and then we brought a 60-year old bottle of wine that Paul was excited about. We had plenty of wine to drink and we were looking forward to all the food to accompany said wine. Side note: we have been to our fair share of restaurants of this calibre so what we were expecting wasn’t too much to ask for. I was definitely LOVING everything that was given to us, and I know Paul was too, but we started to notice that things were going a little quickly. We got to the only “meat” or heavier portion of the meal and that’s when we realized that this meal wasn’t going to last as long as it should. By the time we received our dessert, it was 7:30 pm, 1 hour & a half after being seated. For a place of this standard, that is completely unacceptable. A 3-hour meal at a 3-Michelin star restaurant is the norm in my mind. You aren't just going for the food or wine, you are going for the experience. When you book this place months in advance, for your 5-year anniversary, spend A LOT of money and have experience with fine dining restaurants, you expect a certain experience. This specific one fell short, way short. I shared our disappointment with the staff and two people came by to apologize but ultimately, they just said sorry. Sorry isn’t good enough when you are providing an expensive service turning into memories that stay with people forever, and then don’t live up to those high standards. That’s when customer service comes in and you try to rectify the situation. I was so upset they weren’t willing to do ANYTHING. I mean, we had half a bottle of bubbles plus half a bottle of our 60-year old wine left. What a waste and what a terrible tarnished memory. We were talking about how upset we were and my voice probably carried a little. They brought the check reminding us that “service fee is already included” LOL. Thanks. Being even more upset after that (which I’m sure they noticed), they picked up the check and politely said “Thank you, and we decided to take off the corkage fee”. Now mind you, this was nice of them to do, they really didn’t HAVE to do that but we felt like that was the most obvious thing they could have done in the beginning when we explained our disappointment.
Overall, it was a bad experience that I wouldn’t want to re-live. There are so many high-quality restaurants, Michelin & non-Michelin star restaurants that I would gladly go back to, but this isn’t one. We headed back to the hotel after a long, exhausting day, with a little frustration but we were looking forward to the next day.
We woke up on Saturday the 5th and met our friend Emma at Southside Napa. If you haven’t been, go, and get the Chilaquiles!
We then headed to Promontory Winery. I hadn’t done any research on this place, but when we arrived, our host was outside waiting to greet us. We had a one-on-one tour with her (which are my favourite). Who doesn’t love a little privacy? The property was absolutely stunning and it was so quiet and secluded up in the hills. We started with a glass of Dom Perignon 2006, NBD right? After a little chatter looking at the amazing view, and watching a little squirrel chomping away on some leaves, we headed inside one of the buildings where they store their barrels. After that, we headed into the tasting room that overlooked the property. I couldn’t get over the view, and surprisingly the wine was beautifully made. As a company, they are trying to mimic Dom by bottling their wine and storing it for 5 years like Dom, who store it for 10 years. We were able to try some 2017 and then taste it next to 2012 and 2008. They were all completely different, the 2008 being very smooth and velvety, the 2012 still having a bite to it and the 2017 not being ready at all (it was still in the barrel). I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, regardless of the price. Experience makes all the difference.
We had a couple hours to kill so we decided to make a spontaneous stop at one of our faves, Ashes & Diamonds. Because we are members, we were able to rock up and be seated for a tasting (which didn’t cost us a penny). I highly recommend becoming a member at your favorite winery – the perks are worth it!
Last, what I had been waiting for and what was much needed, THE SPA. We headed to Solage for a mud bath, massage and I ended with a facial. It was just what Halee needed. The mud bath was probably my favorite. We covered ourselves with clay that is made on-site with powder & water + an essential oil of your choosing (I chose lavender to help with stress). Then we headed to a private heated room with an outdoor shower. We were to spread the mud all over our body and lay down for 20 minutes. We both fell asleep. Then we washed off, headed to a room with two bathtubs that were already filled for us with the warmest water (Paul thought it was too hot but I disagree) and then some bath salts. We relaxed for another 20 minutes before getting dressed and heading over to our hour massage. The massage was painful, but the good kind of painful. I had a lot of stress in my shoulders due to having an office job/ the way I sleep. My masseuse applied *essentially* tiger balm all over my shoulders and lower back when he was done and viola – I felt like a new woman. Next was my facial, which I was excited about since it’s been years since my last one. Again, I enjoyed it.
After my facial, I met Paul at the pool, which we had access to until they closed at 8 pm. We ordered some chips, guac and fries to snack on and then packed up to head home. If you ever plan on going to Solage, I recommend getting there in the morning and taking FULL advantage of their pool after your spa treatments.
Because we took Friday off, when we got home Saturday night, we still had all day Sunday to recuperate and relax before heading back to work. As a whole, the weekend was so wonderful and besides Meadowood, I couldn’t have asked for a better celebratory weekend. I’m grateful for the activities Paul and I get to experience together and will always be mindful of that.
Let me know if you have any questions about the places we visited, happy to answer any! Thanks for reading – until next time.