Submitted: April 14, 2011
Stayed: March 2011
Just returned from my second extended stay 'above the clouds'. The estate is like no other. High above the Napa Valley (elevation +2000 feet), the house sits as if it is part of the mountain, almost invisible, blending in naturally with the environment. You will discover this fact when you attempt to capture the house in a photograph. Regardless of the season or weather conditions, the views from almost every room are breathtaking (especially sunrise..each one is unique!). Nature is in abundance. During my most recent visit, a great-horned owl hooted a lullaby, most evenings and numerous song birds and hummingbirds frequented during the day. Rare mountain orchids and wild iris were in bloom. Frogs in the nearby pond chirped during the early evening, and later as the mountain became shrouded in silence and the blackest of night, the sky filled with stars and planets, too numerous to easily identify. The air is clean, and breathing it in is like drinking fresh spring water (which the house offers as its primary indoor plumbing water source). Out the front door and through the main gate, there are plenty of narrow and private roads to explore with several exceptional wineries within walking distance, where you may schedule appointments for wine tastings.The home itself is extremely private, magical, and decorated with European flair and whimsical artistry. It is a warm home well-lived in and enjoyed, not cold, stuffy or formal. If the gourmet kitchen and valley view don't entice you to 'eat in', and you decide to venture down the mountain (each trip seems to become easier and faster, as you become familiar with the mountain road), the Valley offers fine dining as well as some casual and inexpensive eateries, all with excellent menu choices. Wineries are numerous and each offers a special and personalized tasting experience. St. Helena is a great little town to explore. Don't overlook Woodhouse Chocolates for one-of-a-kind hand-crafted confections or Model Bakery, for their array of breakfast pastries, breads and granola. Whether dining al fresco by the pool in summer or sipping a robust cab in front of the cozy fire in winter, the Estate Above the Clouds is a retreat from the frenetic lives most of us lead. It is a place to remember what we may have forgotten; a place to unplug and relax, a place to reboot the soul.
Helpful votes: 3/3
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