By Roger Cox, Editor
There may or may not be an adobe cottage within the walls of the white-columned mansion at the heart of the Silverado Resort. General John Franklin Miller, who later became a U.S. Senator, built the elegant 14-room home in the 1870s on a site along Napa Valley's Milliken Creek. Before he could begin construction, however, he faced a dilemma: there was already a Spanish adobe cottage on that spot, and local superstition held that ill fortune would befall whomever destroyed the adobe structure. Taking no chances, Miller is said to have built around it, a possibility that the three-foot-thick walls at the southwestern corner of the mansion seem to support.
Whatever the truth to that legend, the 1,200-acre Miller estate ultimately became the Silverado Resort, welcoming its first guests in 1966 and quickly emerging as a major vacation and conference option in the Napa Valley. It has a full range of amenities, including 36 holes of golf, a spa and fitness center, and a dozen hard courts.
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USPTA Elite Pro Katie Dellich has presided over the resort's tennis programs since 2012. Originally from Pennsylvania, she played Division I tennis for Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh then launched on a worldwide teaching and coaching career at resorts and clubs in places as far flung as the Maldives, Caribbean, Dubai, Hawaii, Mexico and as close as Virginia and Southern California before she finally settled in Napa.
Tennis Programs. Dellich and her staff offer the staple of clinics and private lessons, but have increasingly attracted attention for their three-day/two-night "Backhand, Vines and Volley" tennis getaways, holiday programming, customized camps, and—unusual in the Napa area—Spring Break and summer camps for kids that combine tennis with swimming and golf.
Courts & Fees. Silverado's 10 courts occupy two locations: there are three courts near the mansion, which is where a small room with a bare minimum of pro-shop accoutrements serves as the main staging area; there are another seven hard courts adjacent to the spa across the road. Court fees: free to guests.
Spa & Fitness
Golf Courses. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. originally designed the 36 holes of golf at Silverado. PGA Hall of Famer Johnny Miller subsequently redesigned both to treat golfers to oak-lined fairways, dozens of water crossings, and elevation changes.
Spa & Fitness Center. The Roman-inspired spa encompasses 16,000 square feet and offers an array of massages and treatments, including aromatherapy, Himalayan salt stone, Chardonnay sugar scrubs, deep-tissue massages, and packages tailored specifically to golfers. The men's and women's locker rooms have saunas and steam rooms and both open out onto a 25-meter lap pool with outdoor whirlpools, and garden treatment cabanas. The spa building also houses a well-equipped fitness center, with weight-training and cardiovascular equipment, as well as some 30 exercise classes, among them cardio, yoga, and step. A Spa Cafe serves smoothies, salads, coffees, and more.
And ... In addition to the lap pool at the spa, there are nine other swimming pools scattered throughout the property. There are also courts for bocce.
Rather than a central hotel, it has scattered its 370 rooms through more than a score of low-rise buildings. Every room has a balcony or terrace and everything from a junior suite to one with three bedrooms also has a wood-burning fireplace.
There are several restaurants, chief among them The Grill, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, al fresco if you like, from a menu that focuses on Wine Country cuisine. There is also the Silverado Market and Bakery, for soups, salads, coffee, picnic fare, groceries, and miscellaneous items.
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Travel Instructions. There is a county airport in Napa; however, most visitors arrive at either San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), or Sacramento International Airport. Travel time is roughly 1 hour from Oakland, 75 minutes from San Francisco or Sacramento.
General Tourist Information. For information about the whole of the Napa Valley, check out the Visit Napa Valley website. Once in the area, stop by the Napa Visitor Center in Napa for information about everything from wineries and restaurants to biking, hot air ballooning, and anything else the region offers.