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NapaQuake 2014

The last few days have been a very interesting living in Napa! Most of you have heard by now that we just had a 6.0 earthquake on Sunday morning at approximately 3:30 am. For most people, living in the Bay Area– or even California as a whole– means expecting a few earthquakes now and again. I’ve experienced so few in my 20-something years of living here, that I almost forget to remember we’re prone to earthquakes. I was alive but very young for the 1989 Loma Prieta quake that devastated many parts in the Bay Area. I don’t remember much, but my parents have told me stories about that day. My dad was on his way to the ’89 Battle of the Bay World Series in San Francisco (San Francisco Giants vs Oakland Athletics). My lovely mom and aunt Donna were taking a toddler-aged me shopping. I was also here during the 2000 earthquake in Napa, when my aunt Donna and her Brit hubby were visiting. I remember a picture frame falling next to me and waking me up. The damage to Napa was significant but we rebuilt. Earlier this month, a small earthquake 3.2 rattled me awake but after a short while, I was able to fall back asleep.

Sunday, August 24th was much different. Chef and I awoke at the start of the quake, forcing us to endure many minutes of shaking when it was really only seconds. Moments after the quake stopped, we heard neighbors shrieking to turn off the gas, sirens blaring down our street, and dogs barking incessantly. I realized that this was going to be pretty big.

First, I checked in with my parents to make sure they were okay. Next, I wanted some information about what exactly had just happened. Was San Francisco totally flattened and what I had just felt was a ripple of a larger quake? My mind always goes to the worst case scenario. I knew that Twitter would be abuzz with information soon after the quake and I was able to see that a 6.0 earthquake had just occurred. After reading two or three tweets, my feed wouldn’t refresh. Obviously the world was ending. Chef checked to make sure our front door wasn’t wide open and that our gas stove wasn’t on fire (thank goodness neither happened), but he found that our kitchen was a disaster zone. Glassware smashed to smithereens, a bottle of red wine vinegar we didn’t know we had was sitting in a pool of its former contents in the middle of the floor, all of our drawers were out and cabinet doors had swung open. Just hearing about the mess was making me tired. At this point, we discovered we had no power. *Really heavy sigh* I was able to receive a few text messages from friends checking in, but my service was so intermittent I wasn’t sure if they received my responses. Finally, around 5:00 am, I was able to ignore noise of sirens, dogs barking and chatter of my neighbors in order to fall back asleep.


I woke back up around 9:00 am to the deluge of text messages and voicemails, feeling exhausted and groggy. The aftershocks had done nothing for my beauty sleep. I went downstairs to assess the damage in the daylight, since we were still waiting on power to come back on. Luckily, we did have water (something many folks didn’t have). Chef had cleaned up the floor so I wouldn’t cut my feet or slip on the vinegar and oil mixture on the ground. My spices had leaped from their rack in my cupboard–some were on the stove, others jumped to the sink for safety. I could see that most of my wine glasses in my wine hutch were were already cracked. I sincerely hoped no wine had broken (all bottles survived, woo!).


Chef left to go to check in at his work to assess the damage and I cleaned up a bit around the kitchen. A little while later, I walked the pup down to see how Chef and his crew were doing. I was completely unprepared for how hard downtown Napa was hit by this earthquake. Buildings literally crumbled onto the sidewalk. Two streets were closed off to traffic. Windows shattered. Businesses were closed to assess for damage. An army of fire trucks and first responders lined the streets, waiting to be dispersed. It was scary.


Seeing as how we hadn’t eaten, Chef and I went in search of a restaurant that was open and didn’t have a line around the block. It took a while. We finally nabbed some tasty burritos, which we scarfed down immediately before heading home. Cleaning up our house was a process that took most of Sunday. I may or may not have had napped for an hour. Don’t judge. We hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet, so we tried to track down a restaurant that was open to eat dinner since our fridge was pretty bare. I also wanted to get a first aid kit just in case of aftershocks, because the Disney princess Band-Aids I have probably weren’t going to cut it. Everyone in Napa must have had the same idea because Target was wiped clean of any first aid kits. In an effort to keep me from freaking out about not having a first aid kit, I created my own and paid a ridiculously obnoxious amount of money for everything. Yes, I’m still a little salty about it.

IMG_6162.JPGIt was hard going to sleep Sunday night. The fear of another earthquake and the 3.9 aftershock didn’t help matters. I felt hungover and on-edge Monday morning (and I haven’t been drinking for the month of August, so it wasn’t booze). The old Victorian building I work in had survived, but my office was trashed with papers and books. While it was another day spent cleaning up, I was so happy to see our building still open and standing.

After work, I headed downtown to grab beverages with Mr. and Mrs. O of Mrs. O Around the World! It was unfortunate that the O’s trip was in the midst of earthquake clean up, but I was so pleased to meet them. It was also unfortunate that I wasn’t imbibing during their visit, because I got the vibe that these two would be serious fun on a bar crawl or day of wine tours. I very much enjoyed my time with the O’s and am excited to read about Mrs. O’s adventures in Wine Country.


The rest of the week was spent continuing to pick up the pieces in our community (many pieces were in need of picking up– just check this out) and celebrating small victories (we’re alive, not all of the wine in the valley is gone, and we have a long weekend to recover!). We lost some items (my poor Geoffrey the Giraffe mug, a bookshelf, a clothing drying rack, lots of glassware), but we were alive and safe. Nothing a shopping trip can’t fix. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Many Napa businesses are open and carrying on. Those not currently open, will either be open soon or find another way to come back to their beloved fans. I’m so proud of our community coming together during this traumatic time. Many businesses and wineries are trying to put a positive spin (have you seen the “earthquake sale” that Fontanella Family Winery is having!?) on this bump in the road. One of my favorite bar/restaurants Bank Bar and Cafe is giving drink deals to Napa Valley residents and businesses affected by the quake, just bring in your yellow or red tag after it’s been cleared by the city and you get 2 free drinks!

So come on out to Napa. We’re open and would love to host you. Just ask the O’s about our hospitality. If you need an excuse to buy and drink our wine, tell everyone you are helping the Napa Valley rebuild!

PressOnNapaPhoto courtesy of The Meritage Resort’s Facebook Page


About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

6 responses »

  1. Pingback: Getting Ready for Portland (2014 Edition) | In Natalie's Shoes

  2. wow — this really hits home to see your pics! that was my first earthquake and I was woken up by the shakes in the Mission but of course the city had no damage like up north. glad you’re safe!

    • Our first thought was that SF was flattened and that what we felt was from an earthquake centered there! Thankfully, our beloved City by the Bay was okay 🙂 Glad to hear you made it through your first West Coast quake!!

  3. Pingback: 2014 Highlights | In Natalie's Shoes

  4. Natalie, Loved your post. I’m speaking at the International Wine Tourism Conference next month about the Napa quake ( Would you mind if I interviewed you? Please email me at paul at uprightcomms dot com.


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