OK all you winos, it is time to take a trip to Napa Valley. I was just recently in San Francisco and took a day trip to the Napa Valley area (specifically Sonoma) and I must admit, it was one of the most relaxing days of my life. I found myself wishing I was staying there for the rest of the weekend. The vineyard way of life is really a refreshing one; those northern Californians know what they are doing. But in all seriousness, if you are in the Bay area and are looking for a quick but good weekend getaway, Napa Valley is it. Napa Valley actually consists of 9 different towns, so how you split up your trip would be entirely up to your preferences. Here are a few tips for 48 hours in Napa:
How to Get There:
The best way to get to Napa from San Francisco is by car (it is only about an hour and a half), but if you do not have access to a car, there are alternatives to getting to the valley.
The first alternative is to take a ferry called Baylink from San Francisco to Vallejo. Once you get to the Vallejo port, there will be public transportation that will take you to your destination town.
The second option would be to take a tour bus. There are some Napa Valley tours that leave from San Francisco and take a specific tour route through Napa. They may be more expensive, but depending on whether you think it is a positive or negative, the tour companies typically plan the whole trip for you.
What to See:
As I informed you earlier, Napa Valley is a big area, so really your itinerary should be dependent on your transportation and the points of interest in your area. However these are a few of the places that other Napa visitors have enjoyed:
Wineries: Obviously, the wineries are the biggest draw to Napa Valley. One highly suggested winery is Velo Vino, which incorporates a love of wine with a love of cycling. Essentially if you want to go for a drunk bike ride through some vineyards, this maybe heaven on Earth for you. Another popular winery to go to is Castello di Amorosa in St. Helena. The winery is modeled after a castle in Tuscany, yet another perspective on heaven.
The Uptown Theatre: Napa has a downtown area with tons of shops and things to do, but maybe one of the more fun things to do is to see a concert at the Historic Uptown Theater. It really is historic and offers an old time feel to a new experience.
Parks: Since Napa is one of the most beautiful places in all the country, it is now shock that there are some outstanding parks to spend the day. Westwood Hills Park and Skyline Wilderness Park are just two of the most recommended parks in the area.
Spas: What would a relaxing weekend be without a massage? Aside from its wine, Napa is known for having some of the best spas in the country. One of the highest rated spas in Napa is Spa Terra, which is a part of the Meritage Resort. For the more adventurous tourist, some spas in Calistoga even offer mud baths. If a facial and a glass of wine doesn’t make you book your ferry ticket right now, I am just disappointed.
Where to Stay:
Meritage Resort and Spa: This is one of the nicest hotels in the area. As mentioned earlier, there is a spa within the resort, so there is a great possibility that is why it is so appealing. It is a breathtaking hotel set in right in the vineyards… instead of checking out, you may have to be kicked out.
Some other nice hotels and inns to look at are:
-Meadowwood Napa Valley
-Chateau de Vie
Where to Eat:
Oenontri: So typical of California, but you have to love it. A bunch of local farmers got together and started selling this world class restaurant their crops. Needless to say, the food is fresh. The chef creates food inspired by southern Italy that will make you swear you are no longer in Napa Valley.
Redd: A fusion of all cultures. This is a culinary work of art for anyone with tastebuds. Locals love this place for the trendy bar, but they stay for the casually outstanding menu.
Kitchen Door: An open air restaurant whose food is as amazing as their atmosphere. It is family style, but that doesn’t mean the food is anything under innovative.
Where to Drink:
Silo’s: If you are still thirsty after all the wine tasting, you have a problem, but I support it. Silo’s is a wine bar, but it also has music and entertainment. It is a great place to continue your tastings into the night, while spicing the day time up a bit.
1313 Main: is a great place to enjoy an outdoor bar with a hip lounge area and new music. It is wine tasting for the late night hours.
Carpe Diem Wine Bar: Yet another wine bar, but you are in wine country so get used to it. This bar prides itself on great food and even better wine. The atmosphere is vibrant but casual. It is best if you are looking for an easy night out (after the rager we know you will pull at Silo’s on your first night).