The Rich Life On a Budget

10 Romantic Things To Do In Wine Country 2016

California’s Wine Country is one of the most romantic and beautiful destinations on earth, in my opinion. It’s no wonder people flock here for weddings, anniversary celebrations, honeymoons and romantic getaways.

Last year, I wrote about my top 10 Romantic Things to do in Wine Country. Since then, my husband and I have discovered even more ways to keep romance alive and well in Wine Country.

Here are our 10 Romantic Things to do in Wine Country 2016!


Photo by Sylvia Steininger

#1 Have a Romantic Picnic at Landmark Vineyards

Landmark Vineyards made our list again. For us, it’s not only convenient (practically across the street from our home) but it’s incredibly beautiful anytime of year and has phenomenal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. We can play bocce on their well-manicured court, walk through the gardens and vineyards or just watch the ducks swimming in the pond.

Pack your own picnic or buy local cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and more in their tasting room.


#2 Chase the Sun Together

Bill and I have a mutual love for photography, especially landscape photography. Neither of us is a professional – far from it – but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying it as a hobby. I often run out the door at daybreak to capture a sunrise by myself but once in awhile Bill can come with me. I find those moments so memorable and special. And every time I look at photos like this one, I recall those quiet mornings in nature with him.

When visiting Wine Country, be sure to notice nature’s beauty while enjoying all our fabulous wine and food. Maybe wake up early one morning to see the sunrise. Or if you’re not an early riser, head out in the late afternoon and catch the sunset. A drive to the coast to watch it from the cliffs in Jenner or Bodega Bay is almost always worth the time and effort.


#3 Plan a Romantic Getaway to Calistoga!

Our favorite place to stay in this laid-back Napa Valley town is the cozy and historical Brannan Cottage Inn (you can read my review here). This cozy inn has charm, elegance, comfort and a convenient location. Walk to fantastic restaurants, pubs, art galleries, shopping, wine tasting rooms and spas. Tip: ask for the room upstairs in the unattached bungalow.


#4 Take a Leisurely Drive Through the Country

Leave your to-do list and expectations at home and take a long drive down country roads with your sweetheart. There are plenty of scenic roads in Sonoma and Napa Counties. Just get in the car and go!

Dry Creek Valley, pictured below, is one of my favorite areas to drive through. Expect to see old barns, colorful vineyards, rolling hills, cute farm animals and charming homes and ranches. Bring your camera!


#5 Reserve a Wine and Cheese Tasting at Pangloss Cellars

Having recently opened on the plaza in the town of Sonoma, Pangloss Cellars is the new hot spot for wine tasting in town.

Bill and I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Pangloss firsthand. It’s a gorgeous tasting room with big leather couches, high ceilings, and a beautiful very old stone wall that –  until they began remodeling – they didn’t know existed. The decor has a masculine feel to it, which I like, but it’s warm and comfortable too.

The friendly staff is not only welcoming and knowledgable but they make you feel right at home.


We enjoyed a cheese plate with our tasting, which I highly recommend. You may also choose a chocolate-focused pairing which would be ideal for a romantic afternoon. We fell in love with a couple of their Pinot Noir wines and brought some home to enjoy with an at-home date night dinner.


#6 Experience The Taste of Tea in Healdsburg 

Sharing new experiences bring people closer, don’t you agree? Experience tea for two in new ways at The Taste of Tea.  This tea lounge located in downtown Healdsburg offers traditional tea service, tea mocktails called MarTEAnis, and a delicious selection of Japanese food like ramen, soba noodles and rice dishes.

Ask about their relaxing Japanese Green Tea Spa treatment that takes place in their secluded Relaxation Room, ideal for a couple. Read more about that here.


#7 Have a Spa Day at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn 

You don’t have to be a guest at the luxurious Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn to enjoy at day at their Willow Stream Spa and pool. For a fee and based on occupancy, you can soak in one of two outdoor pools or enjoy their indoor waters for the day. Book a couples massage then enjoy a snack or a meal poolside afterward. If you’re a Sonoma Valley local, you may qualify for mid-week discounts.


#8 Hike to the Waterfalls in Sugarloaf State Park 

In winter and spring months, the waterfall at Sugarloaf State Park is a sight to behold. Hike through Bay tree scented and fern-filled forests, cross wood bridges and climb over mossy rocks to see the waterfall close up and feel its mist on your face. It’s a great place to steal a kiss or two.


#9 Enjoy a Glass of Wine in Front of the Outdoor Fireplace at North Block Hotel 

Bill and I stumbled upon this fireplace one day at North Block Hotel while waiting for a table at Redd Wood, the adjoining pizza and pasta restaurant in Yountville. The fire was roaring in the fireplace and it has just stopped raining. The cushions had been put away but we didn’t care! Bill ordered us a couple glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and we sat down on the couch and got cozy – a spontaneous romantic moment on a chilly winter day.

I also recommend staying a couple of nights at North Block Hotel. It’s luxurious, stylish and located within walking distance of some of the world’s most notable restaurants.


#10  Splurge and Stay at Honor Mansion in Healdsburg

Honor Mansion is one of the most romantic places we have stayed. I wrote about all the many luxury amenities and details this inn offers in my review, including the private outdoor patio tub the Vineyard Suites have, the many varieties of mimosas and their fantastic breakfast.


While my husband and I don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th (we skip the crowds and celebrate the week after) we do make an effort to add romance to our lives throughout the year by enjoying the little things – like a hike or a drive through the countryside – or the big things – like a luxurious weekend getaway or a spa day at a resort.

Visit my Travel & Wine Country page for more information about traveling to our area.

Make it a rich day!