How good does a wine weekend sound right now? Rolling hills, vineyard tours, and endless glasses of vino — it’s the definition of bliss for many, but especially busy moms. Just ask Kristina Burke of Lancaster, California and Missy Burke of Portland, Oregon: they’re two moms who happen to be former sisters-in-law and the best of pals. When distance, hectic schedules, and the pandemic kept them apart for nearly two years, Travel + Leisure knew these two needed a weekend among the vines.
In this episode of Meet Me in the Middle, Kristina, a stay-at-home mom and military wife, and Missy, a working single mom, traveled to Napa — the midpoint between their respective homes — for three days of pure bliss. From wine tastings and train rides to massages and shopping, they had a blissful, relaxing weekend. Here’s what they had to say about it.
Travel + Leisure: Did your first meeting in such a long time play out the way you imagined it would?
Kristina: I think the only way it could have been better is if it was longer! We both really needed the break from our busy lives and getting to reconnect was special. It’s also rare for us to get to have that much time together so we took advantage of it!
Missy: When I found out I’d be spending a few days in Napa with Kristina, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was thrilled to spend some quality time with her without the phones ringing to rush back to the kids. And knowing we were being sent to Napa, I knew that whatever Travel + Leisure had in store for us, it was going to be amazing. Our first meeting was so magical, and naturally, we had to start our moms-gone-wild trip with a toast and cheers.
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How did meeting in Napa add something special to your reunion that meeting up in one of your hometowns may not have?
Kristina: Meeting in Napa was extra special because neither of us have been before. This was a dream trip for both of us, and because we were not in our own hometowns, it allowed us to fully relax and get away from reality. It was my first trip without both kids in five years and I’m so glad I did it. I needed it!
Missy: While I always knew Napa was wine country, I had no idea there was so much to see, so much rich history, or just how unique and special every winery was. Meeting here gave us an opportunity to spend some time refilling our buckets and participating in self-care, which is something I struggle to do at home as a nurse, manager, and single mom.
Can you talk a little bit about your experience staying at Carneros Resort and Spa?
Kristina: What an amazing place. From the minute you arrive someone is there to show you where to check-in, offer you a glass of wine, and drive you to your quaint cottage. The rooms are so cozy and each cottage comes with its own enclosed yard and patio with a fire pit. My favorite part was the huge soaking tubs. Pretty much the first thing [I did] after I checked in was to climb into a giant bubble bath. It was heavenly.
Missy: Carneros offered one of the most beautiful lodging experiences I’ve had. It provided that space to just talk and catch up, and share what’s been going on in our lives over wine and s’mores. It felt like something out of a fairytale book, and so many times I had to remind myself I was actually there and not daydreaming back at my workstation.
What would you say was the most unforgettable part of your trip?
Kristina: How do you pick a favorite? We had so much fun. On the second day, we had brunch at Boon Fly Cafe at the resort. We had the most amazing coffee, mimosas, and eggs Benedict. Brunch is the perfect way to start the day no matter where you are, but I highly recommend it before jumping on the Napa Valley Wine Train. There is a lot of wine on the train so eating a big breakfast is a smart idea.
Missy: I fell in love with the wine train. Seeing all the locks leading up to the platform; so many memories forever encapsulated in one place. There was something so romantic about it. And being able to see Kristina without time constraints was so special! Spending time with just her, knowing that we still had such a close sisterhood even following my divorce from the Burke family, made it all the more meaningful.
You mentioned at the end of your episode that the two of you were already talking about future reunions. Where are you planning on meeting up next?
Kristina: It’s not as glamorous [as Napa] but we do have plans to see each other in a couple of weeks. Right now, the plan is for my family to head to Portland and while there, Missy and I are meeting up for our coffee date tradition. The minute we bought tickets I messaged Missy so we could start planning.
Missy: We already have plans to meet up for some coffee this month and we are over the moon excited! I know the kids have been wanting to see their cousins for some time, and a lot has happened in our lives to catch up on since we were in Napa. We definitely have been talking about another girls’ trip — maybe international! We may even be looking at some other train experiences in England and Scotland. Who knows…maybe Travel + Leisure is up for moms-gone-wild season two!