NAPA — Milliken Creek Inn and Spa, a 12-room gem hidden away on three acres of Napa River shoreline, is all about romance, said Connie Gore, general manager.
And when it comes to romance, Milliken specializes in what she likes to call the “awe” effect.
It’s something I’ve personally experienced, such as discovering dozens of red rose petals spread across our bed . . . or tiny glass candles placed around the room . . . or candied strawberries and a bottle of bubbly by two wicker chairs with big, soft cushions.
But it wasn’t always this way here.
Picture yourself in 1857, seven years after California declares its statehood: This spot is a stagecoach stop on the Silverado Trail, where travelers rest in what is now the inn’s main house – since rebuilt, of course – and their horses drink by the river.
Back to the present: We’re in Room 12, with a wonderful view of the river and the gazebo on its edge.
Soft jazz fills our accommodations, which comes with a kitchen, bedroom area, large walk-in closet, bathroom with a big walk-in shower, a free-standing tub with a built-in Jacuzzi, wide-screen TV and an electric fireplace we turn on with the flick of a switch.
It’s all a very welcome, soft luxury for guests seeking a tasteful, comfortable retreat from the everyday.
By 5 p.m., we wander across a grassy area, past the small pond with miniature waterfall, to the main house for evening wine-and-cheese-tasting by the fireplace, which, along with the bannister, are relics rebuilt from the earlier dwelling that was here during stagecoach days.
Though guests do their own pouring this evening, Milliken does invite winemakers to pour their vintages, too, including winemakers representing some of Napa’s boutique wineries. This, of course, is good news for guests who want to decide where to do wine touring and tasting the next day.
Come morning, there’s a knock at our door, and a young fellow greets us with a warm “good morning” and a big wicker basket filled with our breakfast – scrambled eggs and potatoes for me and a bagel and cream cheese with lox, sliced red onion and capers for my wife.
There’s also a morning bun from the Oxbow Market’s Model Bakery and, of course, fresh coffee.
In warmer weather we would surely have enjoyed breakfast on our patio (with a great view of the river), but since it was a bit chilly outside on that December morning, we decided to stay inside by the fireplace.
It’s all nice and cozy – and the perfect prelude to another day of luxury on the Napa River.
George Medovoy publishes an internet travel magazine, www.PostcardsforYou.com.