A couple of months back, we went on a weekend trip to Napa to celebrate my birthday. It is our very first experience traveling with QQ, and QQ’s first trip beyond the 7 hour road trip he took to arrive in his forever home.
For a first trip with QQ, we definitely picked a great destination. Napa is very dog friendly! We easily found a tiny cottage that welcomes dogs for a minimal fee. There are numerous places for hiking with QQ, and almost all the amazing restaurants I wanted to eat at had patio seating and readily provide water bowls, sometimes even without asking. The husband and I don’t drink wine, so we aren’t very into visiting the wineries that Napa is famous for. But I did wanted to check two out for the architecture and gardens, and both welcome dogs! I would say there’s nothing in Napa that I wanted to do but couldn’t because of QQ. It was a beautiful time to visit too, because there aren’t any grapes yet for QQ to scavenge (he is such a terror in eating everything the finds on the ground!) but the vineyards were carpeted with beautiful yellow mustard flowers, simply breathtaking.
We stayed in Calistoga, in a cottage with a kitchenette, a small living room and a bedroom. The living room looked out to a creek and was perfect for lazing in after days of hiking and sightseeing. The cottage was within walking distance of Calistoga’s dog park and downtown. QQ was mostly toilet trained at this point, and we kept a close eye on him, and I’m happy to report he had no accidents at all.
On the first day, we stopped at Alston Park. The park has an area called Canine Commons, which has a gated park, as well as a large area where dogs are allowed off leash. The area has a loop trail after going up a small hill. We didn’t complete the trail as it was pretty sunny and the trail isn’t very shaded, but QQ still had fun running around. There were pools of mud along the trail and we saw a couple of dogs jumping in and getting muddy. Luckily, QQ tends to only sniff at those muddy patches!
The two wineries we visited were Castello di Amorosa, a castle overlooking vineyards, and Chateau Montelana, a winery with a beautiful garden and lake. We were allowed to bring QQ inside Castello di Amorosa and toured the place with him in tow. For Chateau Montelana, QQ is allowed in the garden, but not inside the building, which works out fine for us as I was actually just interested in seeing the garden. We spent a morning there before the crowds came.
A gem of a find for us this trip was the off leash trails around Pacific Union College. Located in Angwin, these trails were a bit of drive from Calistoga, but definitely worth it. These are flat and shaded trails that open out to large meadows intermittently. We didn’t cover all the trails, but managed to do a couple of loops.
QQ loves running in the green meadows! Sadly, he doesn’t photograph well in the sun due to his reflective white fur. The only issue was there was quite a number of horse turds and QQ, being the curious puppy he is, couldn’t stop himself from eating one after about 2 hours of smelling them.
Poor little boy all pooped out after an afternoon of running and hiking.
Another highlight of the trip was that we managed to connect with Reenie, the breeder of QQ’s sire, Simba. She very kindly agreed to drive up to Calistoga together with Simba and QQ’s littermate, Somi, one of the two girls in the litter that she kept. QQ got to meet his family!
QQ’s sire, Simba, QQ and QQ’s littermate, Somi
It was such a fun three days! The food was amazing too. Napa more than lived up to our expectations and we will definitely return.