Napa Valley
International Destinations

Napa Valley

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Napa Valley

As opposed to most travel destinations covered on this site Napa Valley is not one city but a rural county. The Napa Valley in California is located north of San Pablo Bay and is one of the San Francisco Bay counties. The county’s claim to fame is primarily in its wine production and most visitors come to Napa to follow wine trails and do some wine tasting while enjoying the beautiful vistas. To the north of the county are the Mayacamas Mountains where Mount St. Helena is located and the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.  To the west of the valley is Hood Mountain. Part of the San Pablo National Wildlife Refuge falls within the Napa Valley and the Napa River, Milliken Creek, and Putah Creek run through the valley. There are many lakes in the Napa Valley as well. Some of the cities within the valley include American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, and Yountville.

Viticulture tourism is the main attraction in Napa Valley, here a wide range of wines are produced by over 200 wineries which grow several varieties of grapes and welcome up to 5 million tourists a year. The peak season for wine viticulture travel is from September to October.

Napa Valley Must Sees!

Wine Touring

Wine Touring - Napa Valley
Wine Touring

The obvious activity in the Napa Valley is traveling from winery to winery to taste the local nectar. You can do this on your own with a good map of the wineries or as part of a private or group guided tour. Most of the larger wineries offer daily tastings and tours of the facility. If you’re touring independently then here are a few of the wineries to visit: Beringer Vineyards (St. Helena); Grgich Hills Cellar (Rutherford); Robert Mondavi (Oakville); V. Sattui Winery (St. Helena); Sterling Vineyards (Calistoga); Hess Collection Winery (Napa) and Castello di Amorosa (Calistoga). For something, a little different take the “Wine Train” a vintage train that takes guests on a 25-mile journey into the valley. On the way, you’ll get a gourmet meal, and then once you arrive at your destination a guided tour of one or two wineries. Prices range from $139 to $204.

Calistoga

Calistoga
Calistoga

This small town has quaint stores and restaurants as well as several interesting attractions, one of the unique things about this destination is that fast food establishments are outlawed! Here you can see Old Faithful Geyser (not the famous one of the Yellowstone Park). The geyser gushes up into the air at regular 10 – 15-minute intervals. The Petrified Forest has huge redwood trees that were petrified by volcanic ash many years ago. Calistoga has a museum of the history of the Napa Valley. Most people come to Calistoga for the spas. There are a large number of resorts, hotels, and spas that take advantage of the natural hot springs in the vicinity. Calistoga Spa Hot Springs at 1006 Washington Street has four outdoor mineral water pools and spa treatments available. One of the spa treatments most synonymous with Calistoga is the mud bath first “invented” by the indigenous Wappo Indians. The mud baths are made using spring water, peat, and volcanic ash. They are believed to have rejuvenating benefits for the skin. Try a mud bath at the Golden Haven Spa, Lavender Hill Spa, or the Baths at Roman Spa.

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa - Napa Valley
Castello di Amorosa

Originally built by Dario Sattui to remind him of his Italian heritage this is surreal out of place castle in the USA. The castle is designed to look like a classic 13th-century European castello. A tour of the castle includes wine tasting and there are also food pairing tours and tours of the castle vineyard.  Next, you can go across from the castle to visit Sterling’s Greek Monastery which is accessible by cable car.

Napa Valley Opera House

Napa Valley Opera House
Napa Valley Opera House

Located in the town of Napa this opera house first raised its curtain in 1880, it thrived at first but then the lights were dimmed for about 70 years while the theatre was used for other purposes. In 1973 the theatre became a National Historic Place and restoration and renovation restored it to its former glory. Today the modern yet historic venue presents star performances from around the country. Opera, film, theatre, classical music, and even contemporary artists have performed here. The theatre is located at 1030 Main Street, Napa.

Napa Valley Must Eats!

Mustard Grill

Mustard Grill - Napa Valley
Mustard Grill

This Napa Valley restaurant serves American cuisine at 7399 Saint Helena Highway for daily lunch and dinner. Diners report that the restaurant serves consistently good food with pleasant service. On the menu are items like Ahi tuna crackers, lemon-lime tart, soups, salads, sandwiches, BBQ baby back ribs, quail and crab cakes, and vegetarians can try the mushroom and spinach burger. The roadside diner was opened by Cindy Pawlcyn, it has a great location with large windows. The restaurant is known by the locals as the “fancy rib joint” where you can get fine wine. There are a kid’s menu and a selection of cocktails, beers, and local wines.

Rutherford Grill

Rutherford Grill
Rutherford Grill

This popular American cuisine restaurant at 1180 Rutherford Road, Rutherford is both the overall number one on the Urbanspoon’s list of best Napa Valley restaurants and #4 on the Trip Advisor list. They have indoor and outdoor dining and are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. On the menu are burgers, sandwiches, salads, steaks, enchiladas, roast chicken, and BBQ pork ribs. There are many healthy options like the spinach and artichoke dip and the kale salad. A unique element of dining here is that no cellular phones are allowed in the dining room. They serve a wide selection of wines, sparkling wine, and champagne.

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery
Bouchon Bakery

At 6528 Washington Street, Yountville you’ll find this bakery/restaurant which is open all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The bakery is located next to the renowned Bouchon Bistro (of Thomas Keller fame) which has branches in Las Vegas, New York, and Beverly Hills. The French style Patisserie sells a selection of fine baked goods including French classics like croissants, macaroons, bacon and cheese scones, baguette, pistachio brioche, lemon tarts, and caramel corn. Although originally opened to provide fresh baked bread and pastries to the adjacent bistro the bakery is now open to the public and people crowd into the bakery sometimes even lining up outside.

Genova Delicatessen and Ravioli Factory

This is one of only a few low priced eateries in the valley, most restaurants in the Napa Valley are fine dining establishments or expensive grill restaurants. Genova is located in a mall at 15550 Trancas Street, Napa they serve sandwiches, soups, Italian dishes, and subs. Their bread is baked freshly every day and there is a wide range of cheeses and cold cut meats. There is a distinct Italian deli feel and the prices are very reasonable. Being in Napa they also serve wine. Genova is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

 

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