Traffic jams and sharp elbows in route 29 tasting rooms are an unfortunate price of fame in Napa. The crowds and chaos pile tension and distraction on to what, for most, is supposed to be a relaxing vacation. But safe harbor is not far from the chauffeur-driven pursuit of gastronomic hedonism.
Past the discrete guard shack, the heavily forested driveway meanders towards the resort compound, sunlight percolating through tall conifers in a soft, polite filter. Broad leafed deciduous trees with muscular, moss-stained branches and arthritic roots buckle the driveways. Ivies, deep green and thick, curtain tennis court fences. Flowering vines casually canopy entryways and the narrow passages that thread between buildings. Nature hasn’t quite taken over as much as accepted the resort as its guest.
Even the wildlife seems to be working hard to complete the peaceful scene; the wild turkey are only ever heard faintly in the distance and the deer keep an appropriate distance. After a while you wonder if the animals haven’t attended staff etiquette training. Sure, there is a civility here that is too perfect not to be deliberate, yet it is so naturally draped over the geography that it's felt, more than seen, as a welling calm. Nothing at all feels contrived in this setting which feels closer to Yellowstone than Greystone. There's something abstract about this place that you can't pay for at other resorts; a sense of well being.