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    Posted August 29, 2014 by
    Napa, California

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    Napa: Traveling with your 'Pawl'


    I know what you are thinking: “some people can’t travel without their dogs”. Well, you’ll be glad to know that you are right! I wanted to go to the wine country but did not want to travel without Sir Barkley, my English sheep dog-border collie mix. So, I had to talk it over (with him)! My wife just had to agree.
    Sir Barkley agreed and off we were to Napa Valley. But before Sir Barkley agreed, he wanted to know about the place we would be staying. “Would I be welcomed and respected there” he said. “Would I be pampered there” he asked after I answered yes to his first question.

    So off we were to The Meritage resort and spa, the friendliest paw pal resort in the area. Upon our arrival, it was clear that it was all about Sir Barkley. Andrew Bradley, one of the managers from the resort greeted us (Sir Barkley mainly), with a gift bag with, you guessed it, a bone in it. From there on we knew that that we were not center stage and the limelight would go to our four legged family member. No, Sir Barkley did not have any objections to the matter. As a matter of fact, he wanted to know what was next. Boy was he surprised (or I), the high profile guest was welcomed even at Trinitas, the cave wine tasting room where another gift was waiting (not for us!) for him! A bottle of ‘vintage’ dog biscuits! The resort is so pet friendly that they even have their own vineyard dog!

    By this point, we knew that our dog, just like our daughter Nicole, would want to live at the resort. When we took our daughter to a resort vacation some twenty years ago, she asked if we could live at the resort; this was pretty much the feed I was getting from Barkley. One need to not worry about it, there are plenty of ways for adults and kids to be spoiled and pampered at the resort.

    My four legged friend would have been very jealous if he got to see the Spa Terra, a state of the soul relaxing spa where no attention to detail was left out. The resort is Tuscany inspired and one has the sense of being in Tuscany throughout the resort. The spa was not different and I could relax by just walking through it and smelling the fragrances in the air and the entire candle lights throughout. Did I mention that people getting ready for their relaxing treatment were walking around champagne or wine glass in hand?

    Ok, ok, I know! But what about you, me, the actual people. Boy, are you in for a treat, just step into the pool area or the Spa Terra and you know your treat has arrived. I have never seen a spa as relaxing as this one; the ambiance, the aromas, and ah! I’m too relaxed to even talk about! From single treatment rooms to couple rooms with its own Jacuzzi, lights turned to their dimmest and the tranquility…. One would never want to leave. If words and pictures were enough to describe, than you’d never need to experience it, but this is a must, you must experience it.

    Just in case the vineyards and warm sun have not made you feel like you are in Tuscany, then bring your senses to Siena, the resort’s signature Tuscany themed restaurant and indulge with some appetizers such as the Burrata or the Heirloom tomato Bruschetta as well as with the flat breads or if in a mood for pasta, the resort makes their own pasta noodles on premises. I recommend the Lobster and cauliflower Gnocchi.
    Should one want to have the dining experience in room; Crispy Oven Roasted Duck Confit, (I’m sure the French won’t mind such a French dish to mingle with the Tuscany wine theme menu!). Try the Veal Bolognese House Made Pasta and the chocolate covered strawberries.

    The Cave features the Trinitas wine tasting room with wine flights that include chocolate confitures or chocolate “petit fours” that marry the wines. One that was highlighted during our stay was their own Trinitas 2009 Meritage that is to linger and be brought to your senses every time you taste chocolate (if you savored the chocolate confitures (confections) with it!.

    But let’s not forget about Sir Barkley; the Oxbow Public Market and The River Front in downtown Napa are both great places to entice the wine and gourmet buds while not forgetting about your bud! They are both pet friendly as the Napa Valley has always been. Two days prior to my visit, Governor Brown signed a bill allowing four legged friends into restaurant’s patios. Something Napa has been doing way before. Duh!

    So many things to see, taste and do in the region; come summer, fall or winter or spring for that matter. Napa Valley will always be the place to be or taste or definitely, the place to sip! The word relax is definitely imbedded in it and needs to be embraced.

    I must say, I missed the train at this point in my life; what I mean is, I checked in the day of the Napa earthquake. The resort is and was, (thanks to the hardworking staff and management) running smoothly, the wine train however, was not understandably running that day. Let’s support Napa. Let’s support pet friendly places. Who knows, someone in high places named Sir Barkley might just thank you for it! Cheers!!!

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