I'm a firm believer that, every once in a while, you should treat yourself. You should dedicate a Saturday to taking bubble baths and relaxing in your favorite robe. You should soak with a good book in hand, and a plate full of chocolate-covered strawberries near the tub. To top it all off, you should light a vanilla candle, play the latest Ariana Grande album in the background, and ask yourself, "Does it get much better than this?" Honestly, I didn't think so. But then, I discovered Napa Valley's wine train castle tour that will make you feel like royalty. (Crown or tiara, required.)
Everything I know about royalty comes from movies, books, and keeping up with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on social media. On the one hand, Julie Andrews — aka, Queen Clarisse Renaldi from The Princess Diaries — taught me how to wave to a crowd when you're in a parade and how to properly use a fan. She showed me that dresses with a lot of tulle and sleek sunnies are #necessary items in every closet, and that mattress surfing in the palace hall is a great way to liven up a party. On the other hand, Meghan Markle — a real-life royal — has proved to me that fairy tales do exist. (Can we relive that lovely wedding day day, please?)
All of this knowledge hasn't helped me much, though, in the real world. I live in an average-sized apartment — not a castle. I wait in long lines at the airport and top tourist attractions around the world, instead of taking a private jet from one wonder to the next. But, this wine train castle tour that's offered in Napa Valley, California may put my knowledge to the test. And if you come along, you'll be able to channel your inner princess, too.
What do you need to know about Napa Valley's castle winery tour?
Let me paint a picture, and tell you exactly how it's going to go down. According to the description on the Napa Valley Wine Train website, around 10:30 a.m., you'll check in. Then, you'll hop aboard a beautiful train. It has big comfy chairs that look like they could be in a palace, and an incredible meal service that includes the gourmet entrée of your choice, coffee or tea, and dessert.
You'll depart the station in Napa and start eating once you're on your way. The train ride will last about an hour and a half, and you'll hop on a shuttle that takes you to Castello di Amorosa. Once you get there, you'll instantly feel like you've been transported into a different time or world.
You'll tour the castle for about two hours and see all of its intricate details, like the stunning Italian frescoes and underground caves. (For a minute, you may ask yourself, "Am I studying abroad in Italy again?" If there were authentic pasta and gelato included on this tour, then I'd say, "Maybe so!")
You'll enjoy a private tasting, swoon over the vineyards, and see the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines for yourself. Then, you'll head back to the station in total bliss, and end your day around 4 p.m. totally content with your well-spent day.
But, before you get totally whisked off your feet, come back to reality for a minute. You still need to know how to book this experience, and make it a real-life event in your travel schedule.
How can you book one of these wine train castle tours?
How can you make this experience a reality? First, head to the website for the Napa Valley castle winery tour, and read over the package details and what you can expect. Then, text your best friends and see who wants to come with.
Once you find a travel buddy or a few, go through the reservation process, which is also online. Choose the exact tour you want to take (There are lunch trains, dinner trains, half-day winery tours, and full-day winery tours. This particular tour is specifically labeled, "Castle Winery Tour."), and then pick the dates you want to go.
Tickets tend to go quickly, according to the website, so be sure to book sooner rather than later. If I were you, I'd make this wine train castle tour part of a larger trip and check a bunch of spots off your bucket list. Let's talk about that, shall we?
What else should you do when you're on the West Coast?
Napa Valley and its vineyards and castles are only one beautiful part of the West Coast. So, after you're done having grape times in the vineyards and sipping wine, be sure to adventure down the coast of California.
Visit the waterfalls and wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, and check out the lively pier in Santa Monica. Pose along the artsy walls in Los Angeles that line Melrose Avenue, and see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, too. All in all, it'll be a trip that won't disappoint, and one that leaves you feeling like a royal.