Category Archives: jamie cherry

Christmas at The Inn On First

The holidays are magical here at The Inn On First in Napa, California, a luxury bed and breakfast inn.  Our own innkeeper, Jamie Cherry, pays attention to every little detail in decorating for the holidays.  I’m responsible for the lights on the tree, help decorate the trees, but he is pretty much responsible for everything else.  Attached is a video that shows you a bit of what Christmas is like here for us.  Wishing you and your families/friends a  happy holiday.



Death reminds us to celebrate in the NOW

I know our blog should be about all the great things that are happening right now, but sometimes we need to stop and acknowledge that there is a hard part of our lives as well.  We had a lot of grief in our lives these past few weeks at The Inn On First. Jim’s friend of 38 years, Teresa Bulone East Dominic; Jim’s spiritual mentor, co-author, and dear friend, Juanita Meller; and today Jamie Cherry’s oldest sister, Mary Beth, who had been actively dying from cancer this past year. These are all people who have helped form and shape who we are in our lives today, and we give thanks to them and the growth they inspired within us.

It’s not that our grief paralyzes us.  As a friend of mine said recently: “It is hard until it isn’t.”  And some days it isn’t hard at all, and those are the days we celebrate these magnificent lives that have impacted us over the years.  Our grief turns to gratitude as we remember them.  Our service to our guests continues to deepen, and our love for our guests and each other continues to grow because of those who have loved us well, especially these individuals who have been important anchors in our lives.  Thanks to all the wonderful guests who have been so supportive of us during this time of surrender.  Our call is clear: celebrate the NOW for tomorrow we may not be here.

Holiday Cheer coming your way (w/ Cherry Family Holiday Cookie Recipe)

LR Tree ViewThe Holidays are right around the corner and we at The Inn On First are getting excited to celebrate the season with our guests.  This is Jamie’s favorite season for decorating and he does it well.     LR Shelves

All the shelves are emptied and new items are put into place.  There will be one live tree in the living room next to the piano, and then multiple non-living trees that are decorated.

Front DoorThe doorways are decked with garlands, the historic mansion stairwell filled with miniature ornaments, and in the living room you will find the Holiday Village where there is a blend of both historical (Victorian homes) to modern (sixties trailer park) items all around.

HugoThe fireplace mantle becomes a festival of lights where all of our stockings are hung. Yes, even the dogs get in on the action for the Holidays.   In the dining room the cabinet is filled with Holiday dishes, and special holiday teas and hot chocolate are available.  DR CupboardWe now have an ever-hot tank of water so there is no more waiting for the tea water to boil, and with our tea pots and mugs, as well as a wide selection of loose leaf teas to choose from, we make experiencing the Holidays around the fireplace with a warm drink easy to come by.

One of our special treats during the Holidays is to make the Cherry Family Holiday Sugar Cookie Recipe.  We roll them out, bake them off, coat them, and then decorate them into all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Mantle Fireplace

Imagine sitting in front of the fireplace, the smell of a pine tree in the air, a twinkle of lights all around, a hot cup of cocoa, with a small star-shaped cookie that has a slight hint of lemon and buttery goodness in the crust, with a sugar-frosting and colored sprinkles, and you have a good idea of what celebrating the Holidays is like for us here at The Inn On First.

The decorating starts the weekend after Thanksgiving, so if you want to come and enjoy the Holiday Wonderland, book your reservation between post-Thanksgiving Weekend and New Year’s Day.  We do close down Christmas week (Dec. 21-25) to celebrate our own holiday.  Hope to see you in the Holiday Season.  If not, enjoy this Holiday Recipe from The Cherry-Gunther Family:

Oven Temperature: 350 degrees, Yield: About 2 dozen 3″ cookies

  • 1 pound, Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cup, Sugar
  • 5, Eggs, Large AA
  • 6 cups, All Purpose Flour
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons, Baking Powder
  • Pinch, Kosher Salt
  • 1, Lemon, Large (Rind only, grated)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon, Large
  • 1, Egg White
  • 2 teaspoons, Water, hot
  • 1 cup, Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon, Lemon flavor
  • Colored Sugar Sprinkles, various

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until combined, and then add the eggs.  Mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until combined.  Add to butter-egg mixture.  Add the lemon rind and lemon juice.  Mix until a smooth dough forms.  Cut into two balls and flatten with your hand into large, thick pancake shapes.  Wrap in plastic and place into the refrigerator and chill for two hours or more, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick and cut out desired shapes.  Be sure to dip the cutter forms into flour before cutting so the dough won’t stick.  Dust off excess flour and place onto non-stick cookie sheets.  You can do all of this days ahead and freeze these shapes for future use as needed.

Place into the oven for 9 to 11 minutes, until the edges just begin to turn brown.  If you cut out larger shapes, greater than 3″ in diameter, plan on 11 to 16 minutes to bake.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment add the egg white and hot water.  Whisk until soft peaks form.  Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Place the frosting into a wide baking dish so you can dip the cookies into them.  Set up cookie cooling racks over baking sheets, and have your sugar sprinkles ready.  When the cookies are cool, dip them face down into the frosting and allow the excess to drip off.  Place face up on the cooling rack.  After one-half dozen cookies have been dipped, decorate liberally.  Repeat with the process until all cookies are decorated.  Let the cookies dry.  Once dry store in a covered container for up to one week.


Angele Restaurant in Napa: a great place for romance and dinner

Just a 15-minute walk from The Inn On First, a bed and breakfast in Napa, is the restaurant Angele.  With friends in town we decided to return to the restaurant as it had been awhile since we enjoyed the cuisine.  With a new chef in the kitchen I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I can now report we weren’t disappointed.

The marinated beet salad called to me and I was enthusiastic with every bite, especially with the addition of fromage blanc (I have to admit I have a weakness for cheese in all its forms).  I split that with Jamie as our friends split the heirloom tomato sald with figs and prosciutto (gladly they shared and we loved it).  The quail was my main course, as it sounded just too yummy to pass up with figs and pancetta-leek au jus.  Just delicious.  Jamie obviously enjoyed the braised rabbit with tomato confit which he reluctantly gave up a bite to me.

Thankfully our friend ordered the Duo de Bouef with a small filet and braised shortrib and the pork shoulder with quinoa.  To my disappointment no one ordered the sea bass, and when it was delivered to the table across the way I was sorry we couldn’t squeeze in one more dish.  Check out the full late summer menu on their website.

We still think Angele is one of the great romantic restaurants in Napa, right along the river, with great food, perfect ambience, and wonderful service.  A great value for your money.