A Jazzy Weekend in Napa Valley

Jazzy Weekend in Wine Country

I was recently invited to attend Brian Culbertson's Jazz Getaway in Napa Valley so naturally Scott and I decided to make a quick weekend out of it. Wine country is beautiful every season, yet this weekend was simply spectacular. The temperature was in the high 70's with a fresh coastal breeze. Here I am, thoroughly enjoying the pre-show with a glass of Napa Valley vino.

Our weekend getaway started on Saturday with a late lunch in Yountville at a longtime favorite for french fare, Bistro Jeanty of chef Philippe Jeanty fame. We relaxed over fresh salads and cheese plates for the first time in what seemed like weeks. It felt like a mini-getaway to Provence.

Our next stop was to check into our hotel for the night, the recently renovated Hotel Senza. We had stayed here years ago when it  was the La Residence. The spacious suites have been freshened up and modernized beautifully. The lush grounds and pool area are filled with a massive sculpture collection. Lounging areas are sprinkled throughout the gardens near the grapevines.

Hotel Senza possesses a rustic luxe vibe and is in the perfect location to explore wine country. It is located on the NorthWest corner of Napa just off Highway 29 on Howard Lane. From there it's an easy jaunt north to Yountville, Saint Helena or Calistoga. If you head west on Highway 12 it will take you to the picturesque Sonoma Valley.

After checking into the hotel and enjoying the wine/cheese reception presented by a local winery, we headed out for dinner on the terrace at Basalt to sample the seasonal California cuisine. Tapas and a cocktail were the perfect combination for a warm, spring evening on the river. The café lights added just the right romantic touch to this lovely spot.

Following a dreamy sleep, in a comfy bed with luxurious linens, and a substantial continental breakfast at Hotel Senza, we lounged on the patio, near the vineyards, to finish our espresso. By 10:00 am it was time to head out to the parking area at Napa College to catch the shuttle to the Jazz Getaway.

Brian Culbertson initiated the Jazz Getaway in 2012. The 5 day festival is held at several local venues, including Jamieson Vineyard Ranch, on Highway 12, at the gateway to the Napa Valley. With shuttle service, food trucks, wine and water for sale and ample shade areas, it seems the festival planners thought of every detail.

We arrived shortly after the doors opened on Sunday to beat the rush. Food trucks and wine stands were ready and waiting. After much consideration, we chose the Vera Pizza Napoletana pizza and a splash of Rose'. There were many delicious dining options at the Jazz Getaway.

Show Time!!

The show started with the vibrant energy of Vincent Ingala.

Next onstage was Mr. Brian Culbertson himself. Love his splashy green sequin jacket! Brian started this event back in 2012. From the first year, this event has featured a fantastic roundup of wine country concerts and events.  Brian plays each day of the 5 days of the Jazz Getaway with unique artists joining him at each venue. Onstage here he is joined by Eric Darius.

The Temptations brought back a classic vibe. The show ended with Michael McDonald, one of my longtime favorites. I've seen Michael McDonald in concert several times over the years and I always enjoy his soulful style.

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Festival Fashion

I always enjoy observing fashion at an event like this. Short flowy dresses, maxi skirts, palazzo pants, lace shorts, and rompers were very popular. Hats were everywhere, stylish and so practical for sun protection.

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I was honored to be invited to attend the Jazz Getaway this year. If you are a fan of music, jazz, wine country and/or wine, this is a unique experience you will most definitely enjoy. Tickets for many of the events sold out this year, so shop early.