Napa Valley-Much More for Couples Than a Wine Destination
The Napa Valley, known internationally for its wines, has much more than wine tasting to offer those willing to venture out and explore a bit. A short day trip from both the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, this California road trip is a comfortable jaunt for most Northern and Central Californians.
Napa has recently gone through quite a revitalization. In the heart of this revitalization stands the historic Napa River Inn, a luxury hotel built in 1884 along the Napa Valley River, located in the Historic Napa Mill. The spacious rooms at this property provide a welcome respite for couples travelers, particularly with welcoming, romantic fireplaces and private balconies. The boutiques and little shops of the Historic Napa Mill, peppered along the boardwalk and attached to the hotel, offer historical interest and some terrific niche shopping.
Another luxurious and exceptional lodging option is the impeccable and thoroughly romantic Napa Old World Inn Bed and Breakfast. A better Bed and Breakfast cannot be found. Luxury, friendliness, hospitality, and attention to detail are the cornerstones at this superb establishment.
One of Napa’s highlights, The Oxbow Public Market is an indoor-outdoor market and truly co-op enterprise. With market stalls inside and two main seating and eating areas, merchants offers their wares, samples, and friendly information and conversation to browsing visitors. Wine merchants, tea purveyors, meat companies, and numerous unique eateries are a few of the offerings and options. In outside stalls you’ll even find local growers selling their healthy, home-grown produce as well.
One gem of a restaurant is The Pica-Pica Maize Kitchen. A truly innovative concept, Father and daughter entrepreneurs, Leopoldo López Gil and Adriana López Vermut teaming with Luis Sosa, have brought traditional, gourmet Venezuelan food to Napa. Their tasty and unique menu is sure to create repeat customers again and again. From arepas and cachapas to yucca fries, these savory foods are a welcome change from the norm.
A few miles along the Sonoma Highway, lies FARM at Carneros Inn, a beautiful restaurant that prides itself on using organic, local, and sustainable ingredients. The menu changes with the seasonally available produce and features spectacular local wines. With luxurious, and romantic dining outside, coupled with relaxed, elegant dining inside, FARM offers a unique, off-the-beaten-path, authentic Wine Country dining atmosphere.
For couples who enjoy unearthing “hidden gems” in their travels, the short road trip north to Calistoga is well worth the time and scenery. Calistoga boasts an inviting, stroll-friendly Main Street bursting with personality and local flavor, with everything from boutiques to mud baths and spas, even magnificent dining, not often found in such a small, picturesque town.
It should be a felony to visit Calistoga without a stop for a couples’ mud bath and massage at Doc Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, where Mark Wilkinson and his family have been providing spa treatments and a slice of heaven for generations.
In downtown Calistoga, The Flat Iron Grill provides a luxurious but friendly feel to one of the town’s best dining choices. From steaks to wine to deserts, it’s a great all around place for an elegant yet casual dinner. The walls are even adorned with local art for all to admire while dining.
barVino’s is a most delightful surprise in Calistoga as most passersby could easily assume it holds only a well-stocked wine bar. But with a closer scrutiny, they pleasantly discover much more. This sassy, retro wine bar and restaurant is an object of textures and sensory experiences—from the walls to the food. barVino’s boasts an excellent full dinner menu that will surprise.
Just a minute’s walk from barVino, Brannan’s Grill offers a rather luxurious atmosphere. Locals and tourists alike know that Brannan’s in the place to make memories, as the place is packed most every night. Excellent food, an award-winning wine list, decadent home-made desserts, outstanding wait service, and live music all add to the greatness. The owners, in addition to being locally and globally active humanitarians, also own an award-winning local winery, so visitors must take time to sample something from their winery as well.
Whether you and your mate are looking for a weekend getaway or a quickie shopping and wine-tasting fix, the Napa Valley has something every couple can savor and appreciate.