When you first walk in you will notice the grandeur and opulence of an era long gone, but Church Hill Manor manages to keep itself authentic and timely. This place oozes grace and charm and all I can say is – if these walls could talk.
There is so much history here, in 1889; Edward Churchill built this magnificent mansion on what is considered to be the original street of the Napa founders. He built another mansion in 1891 for his son as a wedding gift right behind this one called Cedar Gales. Another mansion north of this one is the Goodman mansion, built in 1872. To the south was the The Manasse mansion, built in 1886 by an executive of the original Sawyer Tannery. This aristocratic lifestyle is reflected in these 4 mansions. Churchill Manor was the first residence in the Napa Valley to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Churchill Manor was the largest residence built in Napa during the 1800s. There are original leaded and beveled glass doors and fireplaces framed with ornately carved ribbon-grained redwood mantels and paneling. Pocket doors created by heritage burl redwood are one of the many fantastic interiors details still remaining. Six solid redwood-fluted Corinthian columns grace the grand staircase and the music room.
The Napa River was an active steamship route from San Francisco; many folks would travel on that river to parties in Napa at The Churchill Manor. Edward Churchill made his money in banking, beer and wine. His Tokalon Vineyards near Rutherford was eventually sold and is now where Robert Mondavi has his famous winery.
Edward Churchill died from an accidental poisoning brought on by himself, he took the wrong medicine and by the time he went to the hospital he was dead. His wife and daughter did a major remodeling of the building after his death in 1903.The original home was designed in the Second Empire architectural style, a two-story symmetrical building with a mansard roof and a square central tower. Changes consisted of removing this tower and adding an expansive colonial revival veranda surrounding three sides of the mansion. The original cornice and brackets were duplicated in the second-floor porch addition, supported by two-story ionic columns. A total of 22 ionic and Doric columns flank the veranda and kitchen porch. Mosaic marble-floored patio was also enclosed to create a bright and cheerful solarium overlooking what was then the tennis court. The exterior wood siding was shingled and third-floor dormer windows were inserted into the mansard roof. Inside the mansion, gas was replaced with electricity and the third floor attic was finished off to accommodate overnight occupancy. Around 1940, the second-story front porch of the mansion was enclosed to create a private apartment for the elderly Mary Louise Churchill. An additional kitchen was an added and large window installed for her to behold her lovely front yard from above.
Edward’s granddaughter, Dorothy Churchill, resided at Churchill Manor as well, she had lots of social events and weddings during that time. Between the Depression and Prohibition, the Churchill family wealth disappeared. Dorothy eventually admitted boarders into Churchill Manor to help her subsidize its upkeep. In 1956 the Manor was sold and several families continued to reside on the second floor of the mansion, while renting the third floor to college students and using the first floor and grounds to host wedding receptions and other special events.
Joanna Guidotti and Brian Jensen purchased the property in 1987 and have continued the tradition of hosting travelers and weddings in the grand scale of the 1800’s.
Here’s what I had for breakfast:
All of their breakfasts are made fresh to order every morning and are delectable; they really do an excellent spread for morning energy call. I would come back just for their great breakfasts.
A soft corn tortilla topped with 2 fried eggs, queso fresco Mexican cheese, roasted mild pasilla peppers, mild salsa, and sour cream. On the side are black beans, beacon, and avocado slices.
Three golden brown pancakes made with fresh fruit of the day served with butter flowers, warmed syrup and bacon on the side.
Filled with Jack cheese, sour cream, marinated red onion, sautéed mushrooms, sliced avocado and tomato. On the side: roasted red bell pepper sauce made with champagne vinegar and slices of sausage.
Churchill Manor French Toast
Sciambria Bakery French baguette slices dipped in orange zest egg batter and served with warmed syrup and a dipping sauce.
This place is the real deal, so elegant and peaceful. The staff is so accommodating, I just can’t say enough. Demitri, Rebecca & Susan were so kind, never missing a beat, but at the same time not be so attentive that it’s annoying. They all added just the right amount of attention at just the right times. They also have wine and snacks between 5:30 – 6:30, one night I was the only guest so Dimintri took the bottle of wine and the snacks into the television room. I watched The Bachelor by myself with lots of yummy treats and a full bottle of great Napa Valley wine.
I just love this place; you are comforted by the grandeur of this old gorgeous home. The rooms are clean, there are no old smells, and everything is perfect. I had the honor in staying in 2 separate rooms during my time in Napa Valley. My first stay I was in The Rutherford, which has a great view, and sits on the corner of the property. My second stay was in the biggest grandest suite, The Stags Leap. Really any room would have been amazing, because just being able to stay at this property would be enough for any weary traveler.
Churchill Manor Bed and Breakfast
485 Brown St, Napa, CA 94559
*Note some text is directly off of the website.