NAPA VALLEY ROMANCE AT RANCHO CAYMUS INN
An Epiphany of Love & Acceptance
By Denise Schriedel
I like to call Rancho Caymus Inn “Ground Zero” for many reasons: This quaint, lovely Inn has been part of my life since the 80’s when I began visiting Napa Valley in college. Located next to BV Winery www.BVWines.com in Rutherford, Rancho Caymus Inn provides exquisite accommodations at a very affordable rate, offers in-room kitchen & fireplace, lush courtyard with water fountain to relax & enjoy the final wine tasting of the day, provided by Flora Springs Winery www.florasprings.com A full Continental Breakfast is also provided to either dine in the restaurant, or take back to your room for a luxurious “Breakfast-in-Bed” experience, which is what I usually do. During Harvest Season, be prepared to wake up watching the grapes being brought into the “Crush Pad” for pressing, as well as watching BV Wine barrels being fork-lifted, racked and moved around the winery. This is real wine making in action! Adjacent to the Inn is Alex Italian Restaurant www.AlexItalianRestaurant.com serving authentic Italian cuisine and a superb wine list. This beautiful restaurant was formerly La Toque, www.latoque.com owned by world-famous Chef Ken Frank which is now located in Downtown Napa at the Westin Verasa Hotel. A recent interview with their Wine Sommelier Scott Tracy, Gentleman Farmer. www.gentlemanfarmerwines.com
One of my most memorable experiences at Rancho Caymus Inn www.ranchocaymus.com has been staying there with my 2 daughters when they were 3 & 5 years old. Inside the room was a large custom-made cabinet with wrought-iron bars where the girls would play “hide & seek” by hiding inside the cabinet while I was “looking” for them. So every time I stay in the room, I remember that wonderful passage of time when life was magical for me as a new Mother. The girls often refer to Rancho Caymus Inn as their #1 location to stay when we travel to Napa Valley. Now, as teenagers, they appreciate the authenticity of the Inn as their ideal place to stay!
Many of my close friends have also stayed at the Inn. I have also referred a large group of people for a “50th Birthday Celebration” to stay there for the weekend in 2010. Manager, Matt Smith always provides excellent accommodations & group rates and my friends were extremely pleased, especially since Napa is usually sold out during the summer and rates are high.
During my recent visit to Napa Valley in August last month, I was once again re-acquainted with this unique location while on a “working-vacation” at BV & Sterling Winery. I left the comforts of my beautiful home & beach life on Silverstrand Beach in Oxnard, having been looking for work for 2 months where there are no job prospects, only to realize that I wanted to go back to Napa Valley and continue my career in the wine industry (pending one job offer in Oxnard Channel Islands Harbor at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club www.PCYC.org that would hopefully start after Labor Day…). So I packed up my Red Convertible Mustang, imagining myself driving through the vineyards of Napa Valley with the convertible top down, being in the wine industry and really living the wine life, with my “Deep Purple” license plate.
When I arrived in Napa Valley, I immediately started working at BV Winery in the Reserve Room. BV is my #1 favorite Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, with all its Rutherford Dust, including the George de la Tour Clone 4 & 6 bottles of Cab. I loved working in the Tasting Room, meeting many cool, new people, and really explaining my passion for BV, the wines, the history and of course my personal story of how I first began drinking BV Cab in 1978 (a 1968 bottle made by Andre’ Tchelistcheff & Miljenko Grgich). Each night I would be given a bottle of wine for reaching my “Goal” in the Tasting room! Nice perk for a wine girl like me!
I felt I was at Ground Zero. BV is located directly next to Rancho Caymus Inn. I was struck by the feeling of an epiphany that I was to finally realize my strengths as a person, the journey I have been on in my life, overcoming all the losses of lovers I’ve had in my life, and knowing that I am here, now, with drive, determination and motivation to be PRESENT in the world, NOW, by living in the MOMENT and overcoming any mourning of the past, including breakups. It was LOVE that brought me here and it was LOVE that I have experienced at Rancho Caymus Inn and felt LOVED by a person who first said the words “I Love You” at this very location. So it must be LOVE that is the higher power, allowing me to resonate with that feeling of LOVE for myself, my passion of wine, and to heal myself and get over any more heartache due to those losses and breakups.
The events that lead me to Rancho Caymus Inn the first night back in Napa will always be cherished in my mind. It was Monday, August 19th...it was surreal…I truly felt “possessed” and that my life was in despair…being so far from home and the feelings of breakup, memories of the Love I experienced.
That night while I was at the Inn by myself, drinking a fine wine, I decided to write an Essay called “Extreme Faith” which allowed me the opportunity to put into words the state of mind I was in. I was very happy writing this essay in my room, with the crackling fireplace and listening to my Meditation Music. I had bought a bottle of really good wine from La Luna [the Moon] market across the street called “Stepping Stone- Rocks” - very appropriate for me, as a musician and the transition I was feeling…and I loved the label www.CornerStoneCellars.com
The “Message on the Wine Bottle” says: “The blend is our SECRET, the PLEASURE is all yours”…The Pleasure Principle – Gary Numan “Are Friends Electric?” My favorite song…boy am I havin’ a Rockin’ Party all by myself in the Napa Valley with a good bottle of wine!..BV @ Night…Now I’m just chillin’ & enjoying the Sunset & Fragrant Aroma of Napa @ Night. God Love us All. Cool nights – Hot Summer Days…What a great job to meet & greet people from all over the world!
After a few glasses of wine, I began to realize the seriousness of my move to Napa Valley, how I missed my Beach House, my family & friends, and how I had to leave in order to get a good-paying job to help support myself and my daughter Natalie in college who was staying at my Beach House. At least I had a place to come home to! It was the “wine” talking to me…
As I was writing in my journal about Napa, the wineries, the friends I’ve brought to Rancho Caymus and the Love Loss I was experiencing, my whole body, mind & soul began a ritual of a cleansing ceremony, which I can only explain as a moment in time that I felt I was actually outside my body, looking down, watching myself crying, talking out loud to God about the situation and asking Him to help me and that I had already “surrendered” myself to Him and for Him to figure this out. I needed to go home, be with my family, be grateful for my life, my Beach House, my lifestyle, and that I would promise to “raise my consciousness and create a higher vibration for myself” if only He would give me the chance to come back and work in Oxnard at the yacht club, close to my home. I promised to finally get over the breakup & loss of my recent relationship and work harder at loving myself…a promise I needed to fulfill…so despite all the spiritual reading, meditation, trip to Cabo to heal myself and call in “The One, my Soulmate”…I have, at this moment in time, “thrown in the towel” as they say. For here it was, at Rancho Caymus Inn, that I felt LOVE in so many capacities and yet, I was ready to just “let go” of everything…Just “take me now” I heard myself saying. “I’ve done everything I needed to do on this planet: college, career, children, passion, romance, deep spiritual love towards another human being. What is there left to do? What is there left to experience? What if LOVE for me is over?” I asked myself.
All of the sudden, as I was watching myself quiver with sadness, tears and desperation, I received a text, I heard a vibration…someone SAVED MY LIFE ! ! ! ! ! It was 8:08 p.m. and I was getting a message from my young new friend I met earlier that day, who helped me with my luggage - a Cellar Master who said he was getting off work at 10:30 and wanted to say hi before I left Napa. Luckily I had some wine left to offer him when he got there.
Why did this person come into my life that day? What made me connect to this person to allow him to help me with my luggage? Why was he interested in seeing me again? What impact did I make on him to attract him into my life? I quickly washed my face, stopped crying and woke up from a SPELL…an Exorcism that someone refreshed my awareness of my life and put myself back in my body. I immediately felt an enormous positive & cerebral clarity about being in the moment. I even took a cleansing bath and felt myself rid the past and pain that I had experienced.
Life was now back in my hands to make the most of… God gave me a 2nd Chance…A GIFT OF LOVE.
Within one week, my Dreams had come true! I finally received a call from the yacht club in Oxnard offering me the job to start BEFORE Labor Day! I was ECSTATIC! I was coming HOME! Yes! Although I loved working at the winery, meeting people from all over the world, meditating daily in the car listening to Deepok Chopra on attracting Love, Abundance & Health, I knew I was meant to be back at the Beach…where my Spirit soars, my Heart is open and I feel Gratitude for everything that I do have in my life!
I am grateful for the time I spent in Napa Valley. The night before I returned to Napa, I made another Romantic Rendevous to Rancho Caymus Inn, staying one more night to realize my Epiphany and Blessings…enjoying a nice bottle of Robert Craig 2009 Howell Mountain, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, compliments of my new Cellar Master friend, and enjoying the Extreme Love that I have toward Life! This time, my room had a Jacuzzi bathtub, metal 4 post bed and large patio deck, overlooking BV winery where I watched the barrels being squirted & cleaned and enjoying the sounds of BV wine being made. I was in Heaven on Earth, in the Vineyards, in Napa Valley and coming HOME to the BEACH! ! ! !
Message in a Bottle 2:
“Dear God: You have graciously given me the yacht club job after my prayers of wanting to come home and be grateful for everything and not take anything for granted. I have RAISED MY VIBRATION already and am “In Love” with myself and my True Soulmate is closer. I promise to be positive & productive. Napa Valley has heavenly energy and supports Life & Mother Nature. I took a hard look at my life, Died & went to Heaven, my body here at my final resting place in Calistoga. I wanted to LIVE again, go back home & love myself, my family & my friends, meet new people, write & use my time wisely! Meditation on Mark West Springs Road each morning & night shifted my Reality. Both Lovers are in my Heart…Love, Me”
From one extreme to another within one week…amazing! Abundance, Prosperity, Love, ACCEPTANCE…that is Extreme Faith!
Ground Zero – Rancho Caymus Inn
August 19, 2013
From “one extreme” to another.
That seems to be the tone of my “working vacation” in Napa Valley.
I left Oxnard on Monday, August 12th, one week ago with a “Leap of Faith” that I knew my Dreams & Desires would come true.
I call Rancho Caymus “Ground Zero” because it was here, exactly 4 years ago today that my ex-boyfriend first told me that he “Loves” me…8 months after we started going out.
Here I am now, feeling the LOVE for myself today, now & forever, moving forward on this wild ride we call LIFE.
I also call this Ground Zero because my favorite winery BV is here and I worked there 2 days last week!
I made my promise to be POSITIVE & be the BEST I can be!
One day Love will find me. Now, in Napa Valley, I am being myself!
Always Grateful, Loving & Appreciative.
I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.
I have Extreme Faith that my life will continue to be full of joyful surprises in anticipation of meeting “The One”…!
Other highlights of my Napa Valley “Working Vacation”:
Sterling Vineyards www.sterlingvineyards.com Attended Wine Reception with top 3 winemakers out on the terrace, listening to live music performed by 2 tasting room staff members!
Beaulieu Vineyards www.bvwines.com Channeled Madame de la Tour for guidance
Rock Napa at Krug Winery – Blood, Sweat & Tears – received “comp tickets”
Robert Foley – Winemaker & Musician “Sabotage”…great song! I love the lyrics www.robertfoleyvineyards.com
Nelson Staffing Temp Agency – found me a job at BV the very same day! www.nelsonstaffing.com
Copy Corner – downtown Napa - Randy made copies of my resume & became my “home office”
Hurley’s Restaurant – Yountville – Bob Hurley has been a long-time friend & has been generous with many silent-auction donations in Los Angeles www.hurleysrestaurant.com
Sacramento trip – saw my friends’ beautiful new baby and 2 year old. Great people, great memories with them.
La Cucina Mexicana – Outstanding Authentic Mexican Restaurant off the 80 Freeway in Dixon, CA
Whole Foods Napa – Sonoma Chicken Salad – The best I’ve ever had!
A special THANK YOU goes to my friend Patty. When I lived in Napa 13 years ago for a few months, I met many wonderful people who I am still in contact with today, including our close friends Patty & her 2 daughters and her winemaker son Shane. We continue to see each other each year and take vacations together. Patty was kind enough to offer to let me stay at her beautiful home while I was on my job search! She also suggested the Deepok Chopra Meditation CD's that also transformed my life. She is truly my "Soul Sister". I also met another wonderful Spiritual Woman Mary Wells who offered me deep spiritual blessings during my journey & job search in Napa Valley. http://www.marymarywls.worldventures.biz
History of Rancho Caymus Inn
“A Place of rustic luxury dedicated to Art & Romance”
Over five years in planning, the two story 26 room Rancho Caymus is unique in its blending of modern comforts, classic crafts and romantic atmosphere. Named after the Caymus Rancho Land Grant given to George Yount by General Villejo in the 1800’s, Rancho Caymus takes its theme of art and romance from designer Mary Tilden Morton, who personally made the Inn one-of-a kind when she opened her incarnation of Rancho Caymus in 1985. A sculptress and third generation developer, Tilden applied her talent in the arts to make Rancho Caymus a dramatic setting for hand-crafted work from many cultures. “I’m really sculpting in space,” she claims, when speaking about the stucco and oak beamed Inn modeled after the style of the early California settlers.
The defining element that gives the Inn its aged appearance is the 93,000 linear feet of white oak, pine and cedar that came from an 80 year old barn located in Yorkshire, Ohio. The Hecht family barn was carefully dismantled and brought back to the Napa Valley. The huge oak timbers were adapted to make the Inn’s exposed support beam, while other lumber from the weathered barn was used to create custom doors, stairways, railings, cabinets, wet bars, cabinet tops and hand hewn beams. In 2007 they had to replace the two 75 foot stairways that were found on either side of the central courtyard which were originally built with wood from a single oak tree.
All rooms open to the central courtyard where 100 year old roof files were hand-cut and artistically set in a mosaic pattern. The garden that weaves through and around the courtyard was recognized with a first place award in the 1986 California Landscape Contractor’s Competition. The courtyard was further enhanced in 1999 with the addition of a nineteen century copper fountain relocated from a New Orleans mansion.
Exotic locations from throughout the Americas provide some of the furnishings for the rooms. Hand- woven wool throw pillow, wrought iron light fixtures [and bed posts!], and hand-carved black walnut headboards for the beds were commissioned from Ecuador. Craftsmen in Guadalajara built the matching Parota wood dressers, chairs and tables.
Artistic treasures were found closer to home, as displayed in the beautiful painted tile pictures by Bill Granizo, and a number of stained glass windows designed and made by Gaye Frisk, both local artists. Mary Tilden herself is responsible for the unique beehive fireplaces which were molded from her original design.
“Beautiful wood, like other fine things, should be kept, felt and loved.” Aaah-Men