AMERICAN CANYON, CA –
American Canyon at the southern tip of the Napa Valley offers a great home base for exploring the Carneros wine-growing region. This region is impressed by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean as well as, the combination of summer fog, warm days and a long growing season ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Whether you are sipping bubbly on the grand terrace of Domaine Carneros or tasting caviar and artisan cheeses, The Carneros Appellation has a lot to offer Visit Madonna Estate to experience an impressive range of red and white wines made from organic grapes. Or linger over a flight in the light-filled, modern tasting room at Cuvaison overlooking sun-gilded vineyards. For a list of wineries in the Carneros Appellation visit Carneros Winery Collective. Wineries in American Canyon itself include Cartlidge & Browne and Spelletich Family Wines.
Napa Valley is known for their wine having numerous and diverse terroirs throughout its 788 mi² land; however, it may come as a surprise to many that honey can have terroir as well. Marshall’s Farm has been hand-crafting natural and organic gourmet honey since 1990. Based on the placement of their hives varietals may include Buzzerkely, Bee Butter, California Sage Honey, Happy Holidays Honey and several other varietals Contact Marshall’s Farm and scheduke a group tours and/or beekeeping workshop. They are among the most interesting things to do in American Canyon.
American Canyon’s rolling hills offer wonderful opportunities for outdoor adventures on foot or by bike. The Newell Open Space Preserve expands across 620 acres of rugged trails and wildlife throughout. Hike through Lynch Canyon to see wildflowers, bobcats, foxes and even golden eagles. Or stroll the Napa River and Bay Trail, a flat 1.4-mile path that winds through groves and wetlands to the river’s edge – with exquisite bird watching along the way. In nearby Jameson Canyon, the Chardonnay Golf Club offers 18 holes set among vineyards, lakes and wildlife preserves.
American Canyon hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts are geared to the wine country traveler. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites features family-friendly accommodations along with a swimming pool (a welcome cool-down after a day in the vineyards). The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Napa Valley is a “green” hotel with a world-class day spa for post-wine-tour or pre-dinner pampering.
ANGWIN, CA –
Angwin sits just below the summit of Howell Mountain.Rising to the east of Napa Valley, Howell Mountain is one of the most storied wine-growing appellations in the world. Above the Valley fog, it drenches grapes in sun and cool mountain air, and its rocky soil forces the vines to root deeply in search of water. This combination creates the amazingly intense, complex flavors for which Howell Mountain wines are famous. At about 1800 feet, the tiny town of Angwin sits astride a single crossroad, home to a small shopping center on one side and the campus of Pacific Union College on the other. Though there’s not a single restaurant or hotel here, wineries in Angwin are plentiful and well worth the climb up “The Hill,” as the locals call it. For a classic wine-tasting experience and views that stretch from St. Helena to Calistoga, stop by Burgess Cellars. Then, continue up the mountain to Viader, where a cool forest opens up to more breathtaking views off the wine-tasting terrace. At the lower edge of Angwin, Cade offers highly rated wines in a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly winery with a strikingly modern design. And even further up are Ladera, Outpost, O’Shaughnessy and others. Some of the Howell Mountain wineries offer tasting by appointment only; it’s best to check before you go.
In addition to creating amazing wine, the dramatic terrain of Howell Mountain offers great opportunities to walk among towering trees, hike to oak-dotted ridges and bike on road and trail, alike. In Las Posadas State Forest, trails lead to creeks, canyons, vista points and a pioneer cemetery at the site of an ancient Native American burial ground. Mountain bikers flock to Angwin each spring for the Napa Valley Dirt Classic, a 22-mile race that takes place on the trails and fire roads behind the Pacific Union College campus.
CALISTOGA, CA –
Calistoga, tucked into the base of Mount Saint Helena at the top of Napa Valley, offers all the rustic charm of a 19th-century western town. Among the many wineries in Calistoga, you’ll find Chateau Montelena, which put Napa Valley wines on the map by beating France’s best at the 1976 Paris Tasting. Adventurous tasters can ride a tram to enjoy the views at hilltop Sterling Vineyards or tour Castello di Amorosa, a winery set in a faithfully reconstructed Italian castle overlooking the Napa valley.
Restaurants in Calistoga are diverse and delicious. If you’ve meandered your way up-valley, wine tasting along the way, lunch on a picnic table at Busters Southern BBQ & Bakery is the perfect mid-day stop. At the other end of town, Michelin-starred Solbar offers some of the finest, most creative food and cocktails in the Valley amid the palm trees and fountains of the Solage resort.
Calistoga hot springs and spas have brought visitors seeking renewed health and rejuvenation in the mineral-rich volcanic waters of Calistoga since the 1800s. Throughout town, you’ll find spas and resorts from casual to chic where you can indulge in hot soaks, saunas, massages and the quintessential Calistoga experience: the mud bath. Emerging from the ground at a temperature between 140-150 degrees, Golden Haven is home to a hot spring pool whose minerals always leave you with soft skin.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Calistoga. Compact and bikeable, the town offers shops, galleries and a vibrant Art Walk. The Sharpsteen Museum presents local history within a 19th-century cottage from the area’s first resort, and Villa Ca’Toga sets gems of art and architecture on five acres of gardens and grounds. Nearby natural wonders include a geyser and Petrified Forest, and the trails of Robert Louis Stevenson State Park offer opportunities to picnic and hike.
At the end of a long, fun day, Calistoga hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts beckon. Surround yourself with luxury and comfort at Solage, Calistoga Ranch or Indian Springs Resort, or enjoy the intimate, welcoming charms of small inns like Chateau de Vie just north of town.
NAPA, CA –
The city of Napa sits at the southern end of the Napa valley. Once a jumping-off point for wine country excursions, Napa has undergone a renaissance, becoming a world-class destination in its own right. Tasting bars, including Carpe Diem and Back Room Wines, let you check out small and large producers before heading up further up the valley. And just a stone’s throw from town, wineries in Napa include Michael Mondavi Family Estate and the grand terraces and gardens of the Domaine Carneros winery.
Culinary star power abounds in Napa. Restaurants include Michelin-starred La Toque and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s acclaimed Morimoto. Neighborhood eateries such as Pizza Azzuro and Norman Rose please locals and visitors alike, while the Oxbow Public Market offers the height of artisanal everything, from picnic-ready bread, cheese and charcuterie to tacos at C Casa and pizza at Ca’Momi. Dine al fresco beside the Napa River at Angele or Fish Story, or enjoy the Mediterranean flavors of Tarla or Oenotri in the city’s West End.
Between amazing meals and wine tastings, there are endless things to do in Napa. The city’s vibrant downtown offers opportunities to stroll, nosh and shop, from the West End to the scenic River Walk. The Opera House built in 1879 hosts jazz, blues, theater, dance and contemporary greats. Craving nature? Don’t miss Napa in the spring when the mustard is blooming. Hike the Bay Area Ridge Trail from the river to Skyline Park or rent a bike at Velo and pedal along the River Trail. Art lovers will find heaven among the sculpture gardens and galleries of 200-acre Di Rosa or along the city’s downtown Art Walk.
At day’s end, relax at one of the luxurious condos at Silverado Resort and Spa, the Napa River Inn in the century-old Historic Mill, unwind at The Meritage Resort and Spa or revel in wine country hospitality at one of the many other Napa hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts.
OAKVILLE, CA –
In 1868, H. W. Crabb turned Oakville from a mere water stop on a steam train line between Napa and Calistoga into a wine-growing area that would become legendary. He called his vineyard estate To Kalon (Greek for “the beautiful”), a name that, a century and a half later, makes the hearts of Cabernet lovers beat just a bit faster. Today, To Kalon produces grapes for Robert Mondavi Winery, as well as Plumpjack and other acclaimed producers. Other notable wineries in Oakville include Groth, Folie a Deux and Opus 1, founded on a partnership between winemaking royalty: Baron Phillip de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi.
Fuel up for a day on the go at the Oakville Grocery, where you’ll find everything from artisan cheeses and breads to salads, soups and made-to-order sandwiches. Or opt for a food-pairing flight at Silver Oak, and learn how the flavors of food and wine complement each other.
Beyond wine tasting, local wineries offer some of the most interesting things to do in Oakville. At Robert Mondavi, galleries and sculpture gardens showcase art, and a Summer Concert Series brings a diverse lineup of performers to the winery’s open-air amphitheater. Visitors to Far Niente’s historic wine estate can stroll 13 acres of stunning gardens, see 40,000 square feet of wine-aging caves and take in an impressive collection of classic cars and motorcycles.
RUTHERFORD, CA –
Among Napa Valley’s famed Cabernets, those hailing specifically from the Rutherford area have an especially passionate following. The unique soil in the Rutherford area, once a riverbed, produces wines in which fruit and herb flavors are tinged with a mysterious, almost spicy element known as “Rutherford dust.” Experience this distinctive character at any of the wineries in Rutherford, from celebrated names including Beaulieu Vineyard and Caymus to boutique stars such as Elizabeth Spencer.
Wondering which foods pair best with Rutherford dust? Learn all about it during a lunch tasting on the terrace at Round Pond Estate. Or trust the restaurants in Rutherford to know just what to serve with the area’s big, bold reds. Owned by a master sommelier, Alex Italian Restaurant offers rustic fare crafted with fresh, local ingredients. For hearty American food, head to the Rutherford Grill for ribs and cornbread or one of the best burgers in the Valley. Or wind up Rutherford Hill Road to Auberge Du Soleil for wine country cuisine at the resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant accompanied by breathtaking views of the Valley below.
Purchased by film director Francis Ford Coppola in 1975, Rutherford’s historic Inglenook wine estate now houses both the acclaimed Niebaum-Coppola winery and a museum dedicated to the history of Inglenook and the birth of cinema. The antique zoetropes and magic lanterns are fun and fascinating, and the grand old estate is lovely to stroll around.
Cap off a day of tasting with famous wine country hospitality, courtesy of Rutherford hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts. Auberge du Soleil offers luxury spa treatments as well as yoga and Pilates classes in a quiet hilltop setting with romantic Valley views. Or relax and recharge by an in-room fireplace at the charming, Spanish Colonial-style Rancho Caymus Inn, right in the heart of Rutherford.
SAINT HELENA, CA –
Nestled amid the vine-draped up valley hills, St. Helena is the charming and welcoming heart of the Napa Valley. Winemaking began here in the 1800s, its history echoing through the gables and turrets of the Rhine House, now home to Beringer, and gracious carriage house of the region’s first winery, Charles Krug. Today, the wineries in St. Helena range from powerhouses such as Sutter Home and Louis Martini to critically acclaimed small producers including Corison, Spottswoode, Vineyard 29 and Terra Valentine Winery.
Housed in the grand stone building that was once the Christian Brothers winery, the Culinary Institute of America offers superb culinary education with classes, a tasting bar and an acclaimed onsite eatery. Down highway 29 just a bit, restaurants in St. Helena, including Terra and The Restaurant at Meadowood, beckon with well-deserved Michelin stars, and Chef Cindy Pawlcyn creates quintessential California cuisine at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, long adored by visitors and locals alike. For a casual twist on Napa Valley fare, head to Gott’s Roadside where classic burger joint food is served outdoors, or enjoy a perfect picnic among the vines with a favorite bottle or two and treats from gourmet temple Dean & Deluca or V. Sattui.
Wining and dining are by no means the only things to do in St. Helena. Explore Main Street’s independent designer shops, enjoy an olive oil tasting at Olivier and indulge your sweet tooth at Woodhouse Chocolate. Outdoor adventures abound with rented wheels from St. Helena Cyclery and a visit to Lake Hennessy or the century-and-a-half-old Bale Grist Mill. Or take in a movie at the charming Cameo Cinema, built in 1913.
St. Helena hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts, ranging from the famed Meadowood to vineyard views at Harvest Inn to renovated mid-century motel El Bonita, offer casually elegant hospitality — the perfect way to rest a full stomach and dazzled mind.
YOUNTVILLE, CA – The Culinary Capital of Napa Valley
When George Calvert Yount first saw the Napa Valley, he said, “In such a place I should love to live and die.” He settled there in 1836, and planted the first vineyard in the Valley. Today, the vineyards stretch from the Mayacamas mountains to the Napa River, and wineries in Yountville include well-known producers like Domaine Chandon and Cliff Lede Vineyards. Right in town, the tasting room at Masonry Napa Valley pours releases from more than a dozen local boutique wineries in an historic stone building filled with antique furnishings and contemporary art.
Only in the Napa Valley could a tiny rural village boast more Michelin stars per capita than any other place in North America. Yountville is that village, and the stars belong to The French Laundry (which has 3), Bouchon, Etoile and Redd. The line-up of acclaimed restaurants in Yountville ranges from intimate spots like Bistro Jeanty to expansive eateries like Bottega, helmed by renowned chefs who create culinary art with the Valley’s fresh, local ingredients.
Yountville’s compact layout makes it a wonderful place for wandering on foot or by bicycle. Explore the boutiques, galleries and gastronomy-inspired stores like NapaStyle, housed in a winery complex built in 1874. Sip a cocktail beside the rooftop pool at Bardessono’s Dive Bar or drink in your fill of culture at The Napa Valley Museum and the sculpture-filled Art Walk.
If you plan an extended visit — and with all the things to do in Yountville, you’ll want to — you’ll find that Yountville hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts rival the town’s restaurants in breadth and quality. After a day of fine wine and great food, indulge in spa treatments at Villagio and Bardessono, relax by an in-room fireplace at the Napa Valley Lodge, or steep yourself in French country charm at intimate, romantic Lavender Inn.