The Napa Valley Guide
As total winos, we’re constantly taking notes on the best spots in Napa (cue Escapes for Foodies and Winos). The classics, like The French Laundry, Opus One, and Auberge du Soleil, will always rank high on our list for continuing to set the bar for food, wine, and ultimate luxury. That said, discovering new-to-us wineries, restaurants, and mom-and-pop boutiques is just as exciting. A short drive from San Francisco (45 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge), and a quick flight from LA, Napa continues to be an easy long-weekend getaway for West Coasters and visitors alike.
DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. Napa & Sonoma Bike Tours| 617.776.4441
For the adventurous: a six-day long excursion through the best of California wine country. Duvine, an adventure company known for hosting some of the best tours in the world, runs this trip several times a year, including in October so you can catch the vineyards at peak ripeness. The best part is the hosts seem to know the b-sides of both the valleys, taking you behind the scenes to meet and watch the producers, farmers, and artisans. If you're up for the week-long, intense workout, it's the best way to see area.
Napa Valley Balloons4086 Byway E., Napa | 707.944.0228
There's almost no better way to experience the rolling hills of the landscape here than to see them from above—between the views and the close quarters, a balloon ride is surprisingly romantic, too. The folks at Napa Valley Balloons have been in the business forever—and since these trips typically start at ungodly early hours, they're considerate enough to arrive with plenty of coffee in hand.
Napa Valley Wine Train1275 McKinstry St., Napa | 800.427.4124
Although it's unabashedly touristy, the wine train is an easy, laid-back way to experience the geography of the region, and a great way to do it with kids. You can sign up for a winery tour or a lunch, but we like it best at dinner, when you can watch the sun set over the hills as you chug along.
The Cameo Cinema1340 Main St., St. Helena | 707.963.9779
Nothing says small town like a local movie theater, and this spot—one of the last single-screen theaters in the country—is truly a neighborhood treasure. It's incredibly well-maintained, and since they typically have a good selection of kids movies in the afternoon, it's a great rainy-day activity to keep in your back pocket.