Beazley House celebrates being a “36-year Overnight Success”
Jun. 1, 2017 | by Jim Beazley
After Innkeeping MORE than half-a-lifetime, Beazley House celebrates being a “36-year Overnight Success”
On June 1, 1981 – 36 years ago – Carol and I and our family became Napa’s first INNKEEPERS. In fact, we’ve been Innkeeping for over half of our lives!
From this prospective we’ve seen a LOT of change. Parents have died. Children grew up, got married and Grandchildren were born.
But these things have remained: The Beazley House welcomes everyone to a place where memories are made and promises kept. There have been countless proposals for weddings and then the weddings themselves. Babies have been made and those same children grown to enjoy their parents’ fondest memories. Good food and wine have been discovered and the beautiful Napa Valley has shared her secrets.
We moved into this 1902 mansion and slept in vacant guest rooms and even the kitchen when things got busy. In 1984 we tore down a dilapidated barn and created our Carriage House whose 5 rooms eventually brought our room total to 11. Gardens were planted where there had just been weeds in an open barn yard.
Brides married, lovers swung under the 150-year-old oak and countless glasses of wine toasted endless friendship in the gardens which have matured like a fine vintage wine.
Nature has taught us her cycle of Spring’s re-birth, lush growth and eventual death over the years. A little Dogwood we planted over 30 years ago bloomed her last this April. She has shed her promising green leaves leaving only their shriveled memory. We will plant another of her kind in a sunnier spot where a long-gone apple tree once stood.
As it is in Nature’s garden, so it has been in our hometown.
The old Napa, by-passed by visitors at 70 miles per hour to head “up valley” has been re-born as the “Food and Wine Capital of the Napa Valley.” When the Beazley House opened, the only restaurant we could send guests to was La Boucan – a gourmet French-styled restaurant owned and operated by Algerian born, Jacques Mokrani. A steak house called Petri’s near Silverado Country club was the only other decent choice.
And as the famous sign proclaimed, the Wine Region started just north of Yountville, 8 miles north. Not in sleepy old Napa. There just wasn’t a “there” here. Unless you were looking for unspoiled Victorian neighborhoods with towering Redwoods, a wide, winding river and stubbornly, still charming old downtown.
“Urban Renewal”? – Not so much!
In the 1970s “Urban Renewal” nearly succeeded in tearing out the charming heart of the Napa Valley’s first town. Victorian stores and buildings were demolished only to be replaced by ugly modern edifices and empty, uninviting plazas overshadowed by a monstrosity of a clock tower. The clock stopped working soon after, followed by shoppers who dashed to strip malls in the suburbs.
Napa’s first reason to exist, its navigable river, rebelled each winter overflowing its banks and flooding the downtown which had tried to strangle it. Employers closed Napa’s tanneries, Mare Island, another major employer, was closed and it seemed Napa’s best days were only a memory.
Had it not been for newcomers like the Beazley family who saw Napa’s potential, and some diehard locals, Napa could have stayed that place to quickly pass on the way “up valley.”
In 1998 locals passed the Napa River-Napa Creek Flood Protection Project assessing themselves a ½ cent sales tax called “Measure A” which turned Napa’s future golden.
The project saw the demolition of bridges which used to become dams in floods, widening of the river, the restoration of flood plains and a flood by-pass channel at a spot aptly named the Oxbow. With the completion of the project in the 2015, annual flooding is nothing but a bad memory.
More than anything else, the taming of the wild Napa River has led to Napa Valley’s namesake town’s rebirth as its food and wine capital. Safe now, the only flooding was the tidal wave of investment flowing into the moribund local economy.
Soon new restaurants, shops and wine tasting bars were opening. Now Napa boasts over 30 Zagat rated restaurants and over 25 wine tasting rooms. There are 20 B&Bs in Napa and a dozen hotels and motels. In addition, there are now live entertainment venues including the Uptown Theatre – a revived 1930’s movie palace. And New York’s famed Blue Note Jazz Club franchise has taken up residence in the 1880’s Napa Valley Opera House featuring a 500-seat concert venue upstairs and Blue Note Café downstairs providing an intimate cabaret-style setting of 150 seats for local and national touring acts, as well.
All of this is just 3 blocks from the Beazley House. And now there are touring companies like Platypus Tours who will pick up our guests and take them on a tour of both Napa Valley and neighboring Sonoma.
Since Napa is surrounded by vineyards and now 450 wineries, the Beazley House guests have a whole new wine world to explore.
Every day we use our 36 years of experience to help you find the perfect place to create your own memories!