A lot of world trotting travellers tend to be content with picturesque surroundings without delving deeper. It is a matter of style over substance, but Napa Valley is a place for connoisseurs of quality. It is completely understandable if a question crosses your mind – but why Napa? Is it not one of those over-puffed regions everyone recommends, kind of like Toscana or Provence? Well, just like the two marvellous European landscapes mentioned along with it, it is worth the hype. These are the 5 must do things in Napa Valley, California:
Visit St. Helena
A visit to Napa Valley is incomplete without a visit to St. Helena. With a population of nearly 6,000, it does not seem like much of a town on paper, but it is so much more than that. The area is brimming with a variety of interesting activities every newcomer should experience. Visit the CIA campus which was established in 1968 – that is the Culinary Institute of America, if you were confused for a bit.
This locale produced many virtuoso chefs in the area. Also, if you are particularly hungry, you can get a burger at Gott’s Roadside Diner, a bona fide original which opened here in 1999. The town homes numerous wineries and three Michelin-star restaurants, so take your time to have the exact day in St. Helena that suits your sensibilities.
Castello di Amorosa
If you ever set foot in Napa Valley, you simply have to visit Castello di Amorosa. At first, you will not believe your eyes – it is an incredible castle transported straight out of medieval Italy onto the Californian meadow. However, this is far from a reverie and there is actually an interesting story behind it. It first opened to the public in April of 2007, and it is the pet project of Dario Sattui, the 4th generation of wine merchants.
Sattui actually inherited a winery from his grandfather who immigrated to California in 1886, and earned enough to have means to realize such a daunting project. The castle spreads on 171 acres and it has eight level, 197 rooms, a drawbridge and a moat. This was all built out of 8,000 tons of chiselled stone. What’s best of all – you can visit two levels of the castle for a general admission ticket and enjoy 5 wine tastings.
Enjoy some quality art
Napa Valley does not only aim to please your senses, it also wants to delight your mind. If you are in the mood for a refreshing tour of exquisite art pieces, the region does not fall short. Numerous exceptional art galleries, studios, museums and outdoor exhibitions dot the landscape and most of them are fitting for people of all generations, even toddlers in strollers.
If you have a chance, you must visit diRosa art gallery – a 217-acre home to more than 2,000 pieces of contemporary art. The variety of artwork is staggering and you will have an opportunity to enjoy the pieces both indoors and outdoors, in a variety of media. More than 800 artists are responsible for this vast collection, so it is an opportunity you should not miss if you are in the region. Additionally, if you want to have a unique and pleasant experience which is as charming as it is casual, visit Jessel Gallery. Trust us, you will feel as if you are an honoured guest at a reception.
A wine tasting adventure
Of course, what is a Napa adventure without savouring that sweet nectar of Californian hills, the same drink that has been passed onto us, through tradition, from ancient Greeks and through historical whirlwind and turmoil as an answer to all anguish – wine. Coupled with amazing scenery, this wine tasting adventure can turn into a cherished memory you will gladly return to in times of stress.
Believe it or not, there are more than 400 wineries in the region, so it can turn into an unruly excursion if you and your friends are not careful. If you don’t know where to start, after a short consultation with a reliable DMC in California, you’ll be able to get all the information you need and visit some of the best wineries in the area. If you get around it, visit Crystal Cellar, Raymond Vineyard or Robert Mondavi Winery. You will not regret it even if it is out of your way.
Explore the great outdoors
Would you define yourself as an indoor person? If so, Napa Valley is as good a region as any to turn you around completely. Known for its natural beauties and gentle wavy landscapes, Napa Valley has more than 50,000 acres of pure unadulterated nature that include hills, mountains, fields and meadows. All this space if yours to trek, hike, run, bike and explore to your heart’s content. If you truly need a recommendation when it comes to outdoor activities in Napa Valley, be sure to explore Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges.
Some regions are gifts that keep on giving. One of those locations lies at the far end of the world, bathed by the gentle orange sun on the very edge of Pacific. Once you embark on an easy-going trip across the breezy slopes of Napa Valley, you will feel fulfilled by such a gentle surge of joie de vivre, you’ll ask yourself why haven’t you come here sooner? If you ever get a chance to return once more, do not miss it. The wide roads of Napa Valley are welcoming to all visitors, all the time, and if you are an old acquaintance, she is bound to introduce you to more intriguing secrets.