For a couple that loves to travel as much as we do, we were hoping that having a baby wouldn’t stop us from sharing our love for exploring with our daughter.
Our first two weeks at home with Juliette have been so special and filled with lots of sleepy cuddles, regular evening wake up calls and hours staring at our perfect little bub. And, they’ve been exhausting — feeling like we’re in a “Feeding & Diaper” Groundhog Day. We were ready to shake things up and have a change of scenery.
In Juliette’s first weeks, we made it out to Spruce for Restaurant Week lunch and just before Juliette’s two week birthday, brought her to Justin’s birthday dinner at Flour + Water. So it didn’t take long before we decided to venture out for a night away with our little one. We treated this as a bit of an experiment and personal challenge to see if we could do it. We decided to head to Napa for the night just after her two week birthday. We found a discounted rate for a Sunday night stay and took off for the wine country.
What we brought (and what was most helpful)
I had a small packing cube of clothes for me and a large duffle of things for Juliette — disproportionate to our human sizes. Here are the must haves:
- Diaper changing — How many diapers to pack? We brought a ton, why not? And a pack of wipes, ziplocks to throw them out in, travel changing pad and hand sanitzers.
- TIP: We set up a little diaper changing area in the room as soon as we checked in at the hotel. That made it easy to not have to search for the wipes each time she had a dirty diaper.
- Eating — This girl is hungry and eats around the clock. We timed our drive so that she ate just before we left and got to the hotel just in time for her next feeding. Fortunately, the drive was just the right time to be able to get there in time for that. I brought my pump and pump parts (and dish soap to wash them) and set up a small drying area in the bathroom.
- TIP: Hopefully your baby is as sleepy as ours is post-meal. It may seem obvious, but feed just before you head out — to dinner, in the car…anything where you’d appreciate a sleeping baby.
- Sleeping — Most hotels will offer a small crib. Ours did. We also had the basinet from our stroller which Juliette slept in most of the time.
- TIP: Call ahead and ask what the hotel/Airbnb has so that you don’t have to schlep a Pack n’ Play or other large contraption unnecessarily.
- Baby clothes — We brought a few different onesies and hats. Juliette is not yet in a spit up or blow out phase so she doesn’t really dirty her clothes too often unless it is spilt milk.
- TIP: If you change your baby’s clothes at home often, plan to change them often when you’re on the road. If not, you’re probably good with only a few. Needless to say, she had more outfit changes packed than I did. Better safe than sorry but perhaps a bit of overkill.
I’m so glad that we…
- Booked a hotel downtown
- We were looking to stay anywhere in the wine country (Napa/Sonoma) and by chance ended up at the Archer Hotel in downtown Napa. It was so easy to be able to walk to restaurants, stroll around the shops and head to Oxbow Public Market all without driving. I highly recommend staying places that are walkable and have plenty to do within an easy stroll. It makes getting out much less of a production.
- Had no dinner reservations
- We picked out a Spanish restaurant to go to for dinner. We dropped by earlier to see if they could accommodate a stroller. Although they could, after seeing the restaurant, we decided it would be way more fun to get take out and eat in bed. I really appreciated not having a reservation that we’d want to keep and instead having flexibility to make a game-time call.
- Took the plunge to get out of town
- It felt like a lot of work to get packed up, finally get out of the house and make the trip up there. It would have been way easier just to stay home where everything is familiar and routine. But it was a treat being here at this hotel, up in Napa and continuing to have adventures — now as a family of three.
On our way back to SF, we stopped at the Meritage Resort vineyard where Justin proposed. It was so special being back at that same spot (a bit cloudier), this time with Juliette!
Now that we’ve done this once, we can’t wait to keep pushing ourselves to get out and experience adventures together as a family.
Taking recommendations now for future trips with a baby!