Enriching Your Life Through Travel

Winding Through Wine Country

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You certainly have a special treat waiting for you when you sign up for this elegant visit to early 20th Century opulence!  Beautiful mansions, gardens, a champagnery and an exquisite train adventure through the Napa Valley.  Add to this, lots of opportunities to savor the succulent and full bodied tastes of Napa Valley wines.   Interlude has positioned this trip with comfort and care so that you can enjoy the very best of this region.

If you think things look vaguely familiar, it is because Filoli was the opulent setting for the 1980’s hit TV series “Dynasty”.  Just wish I could remember in which of those elegant rooms the famous cat fight took place between the lovely Krystal and the mean spirited but beautiful, Alexis.  The Carrington mansion was actually the Filoli Estate. It was built in 1916 by William Bower Bourn, Jr., with the profits from his Empire Mine in Grass Valley, and is now operated as a museum by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the many destinations on this mini-vacation to the west coast.

The name “Filoli” was derived from the first two letters of the three words derived from the motto “To FIGHT for a just cause, to LOVE your fellow man, and to LIVE a good life.”

Designed by Willis Polk and noted for its elegant interiors, the House is an interpretive museum exhibit for an extensive collection of 17th and 18th century English antiques. Please pay special notice to the Butler’s Pantry and Kitchen with the walk-in safe, the wood paneled library and the 1925 Ernest Peixotto paintings in the Ballroom. In the Study, be sure to look for the concealed panel to the right of the Carrara marble fireplace surround.  It originally led to a safe and was later converted to a wine cellar. On the left side there is another concealed door which is a closet where the original owner kept his business records. Now it is a convenient bar with a sink and small refrigerator – oh to live in this lap of luxury!

A prime example of the California eclectic style, Filoli provides an inspiring vision,  with bountiful land, plentiful resources and an emphasis on self-sufficiency. Built more than sixty years after the California Gold Rush that inspired massive migration to Northern California, and ten years after the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, Filoli represented a desire to create a magnificent and enduring country estate. The 654-acre estate is a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. This outstanding showcase of early twentieth-century architecture and garden design is yours to enjoy on this escorted vacation.

Exquisitely beautiful and ever-changing, the gardens of Filoli offer the chance to learn about the estate’s renowned horticulture practices or to simply enjoy the serenity for which they were designed. Filoli had the distinction of being one of the last country places built on the Peninsula and the one that survived the longest in its original design.   When you visit Filoli, you will fully understand the meaning of its Curator Tom Rogers statement, “Filoli is a magical place that changes with the seasons, and every season is a great time to visit.”

And if lavish 20th Century opulence is what you’re looking for, this trip has it for you in spades. Just board the Napa Valley Wine Train and one of the most unique and celebrated Napa restaurants is yours (for the afternoon).  This dining establishment is housed in an antique train that runs on 25-miles of track in the heart of the Napa Valley. The train itself has two engines, two kitchens on board, and a collection of early 20th century rail cars that are pure Americana. It offers great regional food and fabulous, hard-to-find wines.

The expertly refurbished 1915-1917 Pullman Cars create an atmosphere conducive to relaxation and the most lavish of luxury.  Meals are crafted by an Executive Chef and prepared in a specially fabricated kitchen car located immediately adjacent to each dining area. The meals are freshly prepared on the train using environmentally responsible ingredients, humanely raised, hormone-free meats and fresh, line-caught fish. The lounge cars are luxuriously furnished and equipped with picture windows to maximize the view. All the rail cars are expertly finished with Honduran mahogany paneling, etched glass partitions, brass accents and original artwork by Nepo. While on this train adventure you will be invited to explore the train and visit the kitchen car to see the chefs in action, (a must do – it’s absolutely fascinating) visit the wine tasting bar, where their wine expert can help you find a favorite new wine, or the observation deck to enjoy an unobstructed view of the valley.

The tasting bar is located in a historic Pullman rail car that is almost 100 years old and reflects a time of luxurious passenger travel served with the exciting addition of today’s sophisticated pastime: sipping wine, learning about wine, and enjoying the graciousness of life – savor and enjoy this unique and very special experience

Dedicated to preserving a past way of life, the Napa Valley Wine Train is instrumental in maintaining and using historic rail cars that no longer exist on the American landscape. For Napa, they also preserve an important transportation corridor that would have been abandoned decades ago. By layering a unique and award-wining restaurant, with an opportunity to explore the wine country in an inimitable manner, the Wine Train truly captures the opulence of another time.

The Napa Valley Wine Train provides a relaxing three-hour along the thirty-six mile round-trip journey between the historic town of Napa through one of the world’s most famous wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena and back.  During your train excursion you will be able to view vineyards gently rolling past as you sip some of the world’s most amazing vintages. Depending upon the time of year, you can watch the vineyards as they move slowly through their life cycle – from the barren vines being caned in wet vineyards to the pregnant purple fruit hanging pendulant under full canopies of green – it is one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts.

As guests aboard the Wine Train, you will be all set to  enjoy a freshly prepared lunch, view vineyards and wineries from any of the vintage and lavishly restored cars as you discover the  beautiful Napa Valley  wine country.

Please check out the full itinerary – so many wonderful places to see and exciting things to do!  Call Interlude today to be a part of this “return to yesteryear luxurious experience.”

Wine, Rail & Redwoods (call for dates and details) (6 days, 8 nights)

– Interlude blog team

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