Garden Paradise Above Napa River

House - Private room · McKenzie Dr, Napa, CA 94559, United States

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
Cancellation: Flexible
Pet Owner: Dog(s)

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Check In
  • 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
  • Absolutely delightful! Alison has the perfect blend of attentiveness and leaving us alone. I loved all the artwork, the garden, the dogs, the fresh eggs from the henhouse, the wonderful fruit cup in crystal in the morning. I will definitely go back.

    March 2014
  • First time airbnb experience for me and wow did Alison set the bar high. I ran the 2014 Napa valley marathon and stayed at Alison's Garden paradise. What an epic time I had. The room is beautiful and the view from the back deck is outstanding. Fruit, fresh eggs, homemade granola and tea in the morning! I couldn't get enough. Her two dogs are friendly and adorable. Don't forget to say hi to the chickens. Alison gives great advice on where to go and she knows a lot about the area. She is also super friendly. You can stay at a hotel where no one knows your name or stay with Alison where she is glade you came. Hope I get to stay there again and thank you Alison.

    March 2014
  • I stayed in Alison's place for the long weekend on February 14th to 16th and it was awesome! The place was only few minutes walking distance to Napa Downtown, which was what we wanted. It was also quiet and beautiful with the view of the river. Alison was always friendly and willing to help us at any time. She provided us with the perfect breakfast ever with fresh eggs and homemade granolas! She also kept our room clean every time. Mia and Freckles were also really adorable! I would highly recommend this place to stay for your Napa Trip.

    February 2014
  • This is by far the best BNB experience we've had so far. Everything is as promised and beyond. I don't think pictures do justice to how beautiful the room and property is and her hospitality is off the charts!!! Alison's will be first place to check into again on our return!!!

    February 2014
  • We had a perfect stay in Alison's beautiful and immaculate room. She had everything we needed for a 2 night stay in Napa---privacy, delicious fresh breakfast, info about local offerings, a view of the Napa River, and proximity to town, restaurants, hiking areas, and of course wineries.
    We would definitely return!!!
    Thank you!

    January 2014
  • This was my first Air B & B experience, and I can't say enough good things about it! I stayed at Alison's place for 2 nights, coming from Pittsburgh, PA on my way to seeing a friend in Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving. Its a great location, and Alison is an exceptionally generous and helpful host. I loved her antique furniture, the warm, welcoming atmosphere in her home (& conversations about our many common interests), and her two beautiful/friendly dogs. Her property overlooks downtown Napa, and it would be great to sit outside with a glass of wine on a warm evening/a cup of coffee in the morning. It was a little chilly when I visited or I would have been out there!

    Alison had excellent suggestions regarding area wineries and restaurants. Breakfast was delicious - the fresh fruit was a perfect start to the day, and Alison's homemade granola is addictive! ! also enjoyed a walking tour of Napa (don't miss the mosaic 'mural' that shows the history of the city) as well as a mud bath in Calistoga while I was there- would recommend both to future visitors.

    For hospitality, convenience, and an all around great experience, I don't think Alison's place can be beat! My only recommendation is to try to get there before dark. Due to flight delays, I left Oakland at 4:00 pm for Napa, and the trip took over 2 hours in rush hour traffic. Directions can be a little tricky at the end, as the house is on a small side street- better to arrive during the day if possible!

    November 2013
  • My wife and I stayed at Allison’s house for almost a week in Nov'13. The place is perfect! The view from the window in the morning is fantastic with mountains and hot air balloons floating just above the tree tops. The breakfast with home-made granola and fruit caps were delicious. Alison shared her recipe with us at the end of our stay and now my mother-in-law making the same granola for us. The room was large, very nicely furnished and immaculate. The location is very convenient for anybody who wants to explore what Napa Valley has to offer. We tried wine tours, biking, hiking, walking around downtown, driving around other towns. One of the greatest experiences was making our own blend of wine at Judd’s Hill Winery which is 5 mins away from Alison’s house. Alison has a lot of recommendations on the places of interest in the area and various restaurants. One of the best vacations we have ever had. The service Alison provides beats staying at any 5 star hotel!

    November 2013
  • Couldn't have been happier with my stay! Alison is so welcoming while at the same time allowing you privacy if you need it. Lovely home... Beautiful yard...very nice amenities ...sweet puppies! : )
    Thanks Alison for everything.
    Carol (and David!)

    November 2013
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English, Español, Français
graduated eons ago from UC Davis
UCD Library; Napa Library; English/ELD Teacher @Armijo High (Fairfield, CA) and Vintage High (Napa, CA)
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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