A Perfect (Gay-owned) Inn in Napa Valley
Story by Louise Rafkin; image above of Chanric Inn by Niles Hatch Photography courtesy of the inn; the photo below right is of the proprietors/owners Channing McBride and Ric Pielstick, taken by Jeffrey Davila and Daphne Waldo. Ric is the chef.
The Chranic Inn is the perfect Napa Valley B & B. Outfitted like a top-of-the-line boutique hotel, with simple, classic furniture, rooms in shades of soothing browns and greens, and top quality bedding and bath products, proprietors Channing McBride and Ric Pielstick provide a calming venue for an intimate getaway just an hour from San Francisco or the more gay-saturated Russian River.
With reasonable rates $209-349 (the average is $259) including gourmet 3-course brunches, the Chanric is not only one of the more elegant accommodations in the wine country, it's also a great value.
The six rooms in the renovated farmhouse are modern and immaculate and the well-tended grounds, charming and lush. Complimentary Napa wines, sodas and beer are free-flowing both day and night, and biscotti, water and fruit are also provided. Comfortable, classy chaises ringing the large kidney-shaped pool and hot tub make for the perfect setting for a late afternoon chill, with a spectacular view of the Palisades Mountains. An elegant two-person spa room is available for onsite massages, Swedish, deep tissue, or healing stone, ranging from $110-$330 for 60 for a full 90 minutes.
Aside from the absolute charm of the place itself, the proprietors, Seattle transplants Ric and Channing are as charming (and handsome!) as hosts could be. As active members of the Napa community, they provide insider recommendations on restaurants and wine tastings, hiking, biking and other valley activities, and even make arrangements for you. Their "Brokeback Mountain" relationship story of how they met on a cattle farm is worth a visit itself.
But most rave worthy here is the second "B" of the B & B equation -- brunch.
Pielstick, a trained chef, presents outstanding gourmet California cuisine using seasonal, local ingredients. Starting with delicate, homemade fresh-baked pastries, followed by a fruit course – watermelon soup or perhaps mixed stone fruit salad with a delicious syrah reduction sauce – by the time Channing delivers the entree you fully understand why Ric swept him off his feet. Ric often posts his recipes on the Chanric Inn's Facebook page, but whether you attempt such favorites as truffled polenta, or poached eggs with lightly fried green tomatoes in a fresh tomato sauce, or his amazing chived eggs on fontina toast with sautéed spinach and truffle oil, is up to you. Easier for me to simply make another trip to the Inn!
The couple's adorable Labrador, Dinnegan, will romp to greet you -- and if your own pooch is well behaved, he is welcomed as well. Other pluses here are free parking, free wi-fi, a minimum stay on Saturdays only, green cleaning products, plush spa-robes, and spa and romance packages listed on the website. The Inn is also available for small group retreats, and the guys will gladly customize any visit to suit.
The Chanric Inn -- Napa Valley California
877-281-3671 or 707-942-4535
1805 Foothill Blvd., Calistoga, CA 94515