Garden Paradise Above Napa River

House - Private room · McKenzie Dr, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Alison
Your host, Alison
70 Reviews
Response rate: 100%
Response time: within a few hours

The Space

In a little-known area on a private road off the Silverado Trail, hidden behind a quiet apartment complex, a two-story, 3 bedroom home built into the hillside welcomes you into this double bedroom with private attached bathroom and a big sky view of the Sonoma Mountain Range and Napa River. In-room frig, breakfast ingredients (yogurt; home-made granola; seasonal fruit), electric tea kettle, coffee press.

SPECIAL NOTE: Most visitors to this valley come here to explore the numerous !!! wineries. A word to the wise: FOCUS is the key; what matters most to you - Varietals? Districts? Tasting ambiance? Site? Views? Name? If you do a bit of research online ahead of your arrival, you will have some sense of the enormity of choice you will encounter once here. This is a relatively small valley, but the number of wineries is mind-boggling, so it's best to develop a clear idea of what you hope to experience.

At my home, the morning may begin with a view from your room of hot air balloons drifting across the valley. Walk downstairs (informal atmosphere - no hurry to shower and dress just yet), past the living room with its bay windows, through the dining area and out French doors to a landing, from where you may see kayakers down on the river. Sit on the terrace and savor your coffee or tea amid the singing of numerous birds and the occasional clucking of laying hens. Walk down flagstone steps and through the gardens, where you may wish to cut a few flowers for your room, pick a couple of tomatoes (July-Oct) or some blackberries (July-Aug). Sit for a spell in "the Adirondacks" (comfy chairs with footrests) then perhaps wander down more steps, passing beneath olive trees to the river side, where you can watch ducks, sometimes blue herons, and, in season, migrating geese.

For another walk, cross the Silverado Trail onto Highland Drive and explore Alta Heights,
Heading up the Silverado Trail from my home, you come to the first winery, Judd's Hill (small, family, friendly) in just over five minutes. Continuing north, there are (among others, in quick succession), Black Stallion (relatively new and well-received), Signorello (specializing in wine and food pairings - lunch and dinner are recommended) with wonderful views, and if you take Oak Knoll Road west off the Trail you will find Trefethen Family Winery (a historic landmark, long established, reasonably-priced, and much-loved by locals), then back on the Trail, Clos du Val (also long established and always a favorite) - to mention only some which can be reached within 10 minutes. Note for biking enthusiasts: The Silverado Trail is a very pleasant - and popular - ride, and we in Napa are becoming ever-more bike-conscious on the roads.

Whatever your plans for the day, consider returning before dinner to walk the gardens and sit on a bench near the bird bath, perhaps with a glass of wine (the room is furnished with wine glasses and flutes) to watch the sun set.

Guest Access

Off-road parking, wifi, use of living room (fireplace, bay windows), furnished terrace overlooking river and extensive gardens, private access to river. Use of laundry.

Interaction with Guests

Friendly but discreet (here when you need me, happy to answer questions and chat, I recognize that often guests want privacy), well-traveled host speaks passable French and Spanish. Sweet mother and son Cavalier King Charles spaniels in residence (your well-behaved dog is acceptable - see House Rules).

The Neighborhood

Walking south on McKenzie, you can turn right and head downhill for a stroll in the Oxbow Preserve, twelve acres of mainly native plants, with access to the Napa River, where you may catch sight of a heron fishing, turtles sunning on a log across the river, or a cormorant sunning its outspread wings. There's a circular asphalt walk and a path leading off one end of that into a wooded area which takes you eventually out to the tip of the oxbow, or an alternate seasonal pathway meandering along the actual oxbow portion of the Napa River (there are some good fishing sites). At the western tip of the trail, there's a small beach (its size depending on the current level of the river, which is influenced by tides in the Carquinez Strait) from which you will be looking across the river directly at the Oxbow Market.

Alternatively, you can explore the friendly Alta Heights neighborhood, by turning left (instead of right) down McKenzie and crossing the Silverado Trail onto Highland Avenue, which leads you into a very pleasant residential area with many homes from the '30s and 40s - as well as newer hill-side view homes (a few of which are high enough to see the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge) - that offers both level streets and some hills.

To head into town, again walk south along McKenzie and go left down to the Silverado Trail, turn right (there's a clearly marked verge but no actual sidewalk here) and head down to First St. Turn right onto First and walk one block onto a bridge, where you can pause to look down or up river, then continue of First past the former Copia's gardens (now used for produce by local restaurants), and (about 10 minutes from the house, walking) you will find the popular Oxbow Public Market (there's a bustling farmers market in adjacent parking area on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, April-October) and (among many other shops) nearby Model Bakery and Fatted Calf Charcuterie, where you can forage for lunch (of note: cheese and wine tasting at the Oxbow Wine and Cheese Merchant; gluten-free pastries and unusual Mexican cuisine - try the duck taco - at C CASA; Ca' Momi wood-fired pizza (and to-die-for beignets); Pica Pica - Venezuelan; Hog Island Oyster Bar; Ritual Coffee Roasters; Tillerman Tea w/ tea tasting - really - try it!; Three Twins Ice Cream - and more - all inside the Market) which you are welcome to bring "home" to enjoy on the terrace or in the garden - or in the living room in front of the fire on a cold, winter day.

While you're in the Oxbow Market area, you might want to explore the Wine Train station (the "lunch run" leaves at about 11:30 - I love hearing the train's whistle from down in the garden) or stop in to taste wine at one of several small tasting rooms in the vicinity.

To explore old downtown Napa, just walk further west on First Street, cross another bridge, and you will be in the center of town, where you'll find several wine and food bars, coffee houses, restaurants, art galleries, and assorted shops. Turn left on Main and walk two blocks to the Riverfront with more restaurants, shops and a river walk. Here, you are on the edge of Napa's largest district of stately, less stately, and modest 19th Century homes, which makes a very pleasant walk all on its own (there's a once-daily walking tour).

Getting around

Walking, as described above, takes you into the old downtown easily within 15 minutes (driving is less than 5). There is a free trolley that stops in the Oxbow Public Market parking lot periodically (you can actually catch that to head out to the outlets across town). If you choose to take your car, parking is plentiful and free.

Heading up the Silverado Trail from my home, you come to the first winery, Judd's Hill (small, family, friendly) in just over five minutes. Continuing north, there are (among others, in quick succession), Black Stallion (relatively new and well-received), Signorello (specializing in wine and food pairings - lunch and dinner are recommended) with wonderful views, and if you take Oak Knoll Road west off the Trail you will find Trefethen Family Winery (a historic landmark, long established and much-loved by locals), then back on the Trail, Clos du Val (also long established and a laid-back favorite) - to mention only some which can be reached within 10 minutes.

Note for biking enthusiasts: The Silverado Trail is a very pleasant - and popular - ride, and we in Napa are becoming ever-more bike-conscious on the roads. Guests have rented bikes in Napa and in Yountville to tour wineries. All bike rental companies provide maps and recommended itineraries.

Room type: Private room
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 2
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Beds: 1
Extra people: No Charge
Minimum Stay: 2 nights
Weekly Price: $660 /week
Monthly Price: $1400 /month
Cleaning Fee: $15
Check In: 2:00 PM
Check Out: 11:00 AM
Country:
City:
Cancellation: Flexible
Pet Owner: Dog(s)
Overall Guest Satisfaction
Accuracy
Communication
Cleanliness
Location
Check In
Value
  • My wife and I had a marvelous time with Alison in her lovely Napa home.
    Alison was an excellent host and her homemade granola is terrific, and she made fresh fruit cups for us each morning. The house is in a secluded setting that makes you forget you are in a city. Garden Paradise is no exaggeration.

    June 2014
  • Very nice to meet Alison and accommodations were great

    May 2014
  • Alison was a super sweet and attentive host. She was very knowledgeable about the area and help us with all if our questions. Her place was very comfortable and the granola was fabulous! Would return if in Napa again.

    May 2014
  • My boyfriend and I stayed with Alison in May and had a great experience. The room was clean and our host was very friendly. We especially loved the breakfast that Alison prepared for us (homemade granola most days and fresh eggs from her hen house one morning). She has a nice garden area and outdoor seating for those who like to eat breakfast in the sunshine. The only point I'll mention is that she has 2 dogs who bark occasionally and if you leave the door open will wander in. If you arean't a dog person, keep this in mind. Her home is located just outside of downtown Napa, so you cannot, but it is a short drive and we did discover an amazing indoor market along the way (Oxbow). All in all, I'd recommend a stay at Alison's "garden paradise"!

    May 2014
  • Alison's place was perfect for relaxing after a busy day exploring wineries. She is lovely and helpful and her dogs are gorgeous. Her home and garden are beautiful and the breakfast is amazing! We would definitely recommend staying with Alison for anyone visiting the Napa.

    April 2014
  • We had an enjoyable 2 night stay with Alison and her two Cavalier Spaniels, Mia and Freckles. Communication with Alison was excellent and we found her house easily. The room is as per the photos and was spacious and clean. The bed was comfortable and we enjoyed all the little touches Alison provided: linen napkins, tea and coffee, fine china and a light breakfast. The house is located adjacent to the Oxbow Reserve which we walked at sunset. The garden to the house is extensive and stretches downhill to the river. Alison is a keen gardener and this is reflected in the delightful 'cottage' garden she has created, full of blooming flowers in springtime. It was a delight to share a bottle of bubbly with Alison on our last night and talk of all things travel and the state of the nation. We would definitely recommend staying at the Garden Paradise Above Napa River.

    April 2014
  • We stayed with Alison the end of April and had a wonderful time!! Alison is very accommodating and made us feel so comfortable during our stay. We arrived a little late and ended up leaving mid afternoon the day we were checking out, hanging out in her garden and enjoying the serene atmosphere. Location was great, within walking distance of downtown Napa. Would stay with Alison again next time we visit Napa.

    April 2014
  • We stayed 6 nights with Alison, Mia and Freckles, and enjoyed every moment of our time. It was our first visit to the Napa Valley and Alison was very helpful with ideas of where to eat, and things to do. The house is lovely, the hostess accommodating, and Mia and Freckles a delight. Also an added bonus are the gardens, which are very peaceful. We would highly recommend Garden Paradise.

    April 2014
  • We loved staying the weekend at Alison's lovely home! She was a wonderful, attentive host and did everything possible to give us the best experience. We really appreciated the bed and breakfast feel, which came complete with homemade granola (delicious!) and fruit cups (raspberries, blueberries, kiwi). She also offered fresh eggs from her hens, but we unfortunately didn't try any since we were saving room for brunch elsewhere. The room was clean, comfortable, and included all the amenities that we needed. Her dogs, Freckles and Mia, were super friendly and fun to play with too. The location was central to all the places we wanted to visit and is close to the Oxbow Public Market, which is a must for tourists!

    March 2014
  • A great place to stay with your well behaved dog. Alison (and her two dogs) were friendly and inviting making our stay very comfortable.

    March 2014
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Languages
English, Español, Français
School
graduated eons ago from UC Davis
Work
UCD Library; Napa Library; English/ELD Teacher @Armijo High (Fairfield, CA) and Vintage High (Napa, CA)
About
I love traveling, landscape gardening, choral singing, dancing, delectable foods of any cuisine, sparkling wine, and mysteries. I can't live without: natural fragrance - roses, lilies, true jasmines ...; Darjeeling tea; laughter; the smiling eyes of my Cavalier spaniels, Mia (on the pillow behind me), who has traveled with me in France and Greece) and her son, Freckles. In a year or two, I will move to the Dordogne, south western France. I plan to travel throughout the Middle East and Africa. Some of my favorite films are "Constant Gardener," "Out of Arica," and "To Kill a Mockingbird." I've read every Iris Murdoch novel and most of Anne Tyler's and always had fun introducing high school seniors to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Classical music is a staple; the blues are for kickin' back; 1960s/1970s rock is for dancing! As a host, I'm accessible yet unobtrusive, spending much of the day working in my gardens - which I enjoy sharing with guests!
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Response Rate
100%
Response Time
within a few hours
Calendar Updated
yesterday
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