As recent as 1976, the area known as Napa Valley only housed a few wineries but now the area houses over 500 wineries and is known as the birthplace of modern day Wine Country in the United States. Although it is a popular destination for celebrities, the elite, as well as tourists, Napa Valley provides a laid back setting for an unforgettable getaway. The Valley consists of a series of cities and town each characterized by their own unique personalities.
Where to Stay in Napa Valley
Napa boasts more than 25 wine tasting rooms offering the opportunity for fantastic wine tasting experiences. The town also boasts world class dining establishments such as Morimoto along the Napa riverfront, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, Grace’s Table, and La Toque (Michelin starred). The city also has a lively downtown area with various entertainment venues. If visitors are looking for more than wine & dine, there are kayaks and bicycles available for rent and art enthusiasts can partake in the downtown area Art Walk.
American Canyon is located at the southern end of Napa Valley and offers opportunities for wine tasting in the neighboring Carneros district and is a great starting point for anyone touring the Napa Valley. In this town, visitors will find beautiful wildlife as well as preserved wetlands and hills great for hiking, biking, and bird watching. American Canyon is also known for its world class 18-hole golf courses set among vineyards and lakes. Hotels in American Canyon include the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, and Spa Napa Valley.
The town of Yountville boasts more Michelin star restaurants per capita than any other place in North America. The most popular restaurant in Yountville is French Laundry (three Michelin stars), Bouchon, Botega, and Bistro Jeanty. Yountville’s famous wineries include Domaine Chandon, Cliff Lede Vineyards, and Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley. Yountville is a very walkable town and enjoys a plethora of boutique galleries and small restaurants.
Referred to as the heart of Napa Valley, St. Helena is a charming town that has an extensive history with winemaking dating back to the 1800s. The best restaurants in St. Helena include Tra Vigne, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and Cindy’s Backyard Kitchen. For a more casual environment, visitors can head to Gott’s Roadside where classic American food like burgers is served outdoors. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic with Dean & Deluca and V. Sattui. St. Helena’s famous Main Street also houses independent designer shops as well as the charming Cameo Cinema built in 1913. St. Helena lodging includes Meadowood Harvest Inn and El Bonita.
Calistoga enjoys breathtaking hilltop views while visitors taste their wine. Visitors can walk or take a shuttle to various family owned wineries, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and spas. Visitors can visit wineries like Chateau Montelena, whose winemakers put Napa Valley on the map when they won the coveted 1976 Paris Wine Tasting Competition. Some of the more popular resorts of Calistoga include Calistoga Ranch, Mount View Hotel and Spa, and Chateau de Vie Bed and Breakfast.
Lake Berryessa which is just east of Napa is known for its numerous water related activities such as boating, water skiing, swimming, and fishing. The Pleasure Cove Marina along with the Markley Cove Resort offer visitors jet-ski rentals for an active day on the water. Lake Berryessa’s nearby wineries include Rustridge Ranch, Fog Mountain, and Moss Creek.
This article was written by Walter Godinez.