Napa Valley is a small quaint town that has much to offer for adults and families. Napa Valley begins in the town of Napa and goes up past Calistoga, California. There are two routes you can take to explore the wine country. The first is St. Helena Hwy, and the other road is the Silverado Trail. Both offer numerous spectacular views of the valley along with some great stops for wine tastings.
The town of Napa is a great starting point where there are shopping, dining, and wine tastings, of course. If you are looking for a casual place to dine, we discovered Gotts Roadside. This small quaint establishment offers excellent burgers, fries, and the best milkshakes around. If you are looking for a culinary experience, Napa is home to the Culinary Institute of American. In partnership with American’s Taste Kitchen, you can partake in a day of foodie fun, while up-leveling your culinary skills. Also in town is a place called Oxbow Public Market; this was a great place to find wines, some great food, and even a small bookstore.
There are many options to rest your head while staying in Napa. My choice for families is the Westin Versa Napa. This hotel is in a great location within walking distance to downtown Napa and has a fantastic pool and spacious rooms with full kitchens. In downtown Napa, there are over 25 tasting rooms that you can walk to from The Westin Verasa Napa so you can relax one day and enjoy the area without sitting in traffic up the valley road.
If you want to stay at the quieter end of Napa Valley in the area of Calistoga, there is a beautiful adults-only property, Solage, an Auberge Resort. I love any of the Auberge Resorts, and Solage offers detox, rest, and relaxation. When you stay at Solage, we can provide you with some great added amenities like resort credits and daily included breakfast. The property has a spa, complimentary bike rentals to explore the grounds, and a shimmering pool to relax by after a day of wine tasting in the valley.
Here are some of Erin and I’s favorite wineries to visit in Napa. Each of these wineries is a Scout and Cellar vineyard and offers the best wine and a fun vineyard to explore.
Before there can be quality wine or even quality grapes, there needs to be quality dirt. Frog’s Leap Winery is located in one of the most coveted patches of dirt in the Napa Valley — Rutherford. This is why, when you visit, owner John Williams starts the tour by sticking a shovel in the earth. Dry farmed (no irrigation) and 100 percent organic, the winery is a fully sustainable oasis complete with bees, chickens, and vegetable and flower gardens.
We recommend you schedule a guided tour. The two-hour tour, during which you will learn all about grape farming, concludes with one of the more remarkable tastings in the valley. Overlooking the well-cared-for gardens and vineyards, you feel that you can taste the terroir in their sauvignon blanc, zinfandel, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. Schedule your tour in the late afternoon so you can bask in the setting sun.
No trip to the Napa Valley is complete without a visit to the charming town of Calistoga. Quaint and rich with history, this area offers up some of nature’s finest experiences. Soak in the world-renowned mineral hot springs, treat yourself to a Roman mud bath or tour a Tuscan castle winery.
Upon my visit to Calistoga wineries, my favorite experiences were at Tamber Bey and Castello di Amorosa. Tamber Bey is one of the unique wineries I have ever visited. Located at Sundance Ranch, a world-class equestrian facility, the setting is framed by stunning views of the Palisades as horses graze under the shadow of Mount St. Helena. Here, guests can taste top-rated wines, mingle with the horses, and enjoy an exceptional tasting experience.
If you want adventure and romance, head over to Castello di Amorosa - the only authentic medieval Italian Tuscan castle and winery built in America, it is nestled in the western hills in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga. The Castello is over 136,000 square feet, including 107 rooms, an enormous Great Hall with 2-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists and a 500-year old fireplace, a drawbridge, dungeon and torture chamber; medieval church; and arguably the single most impressive wine barrel room in the U.S., with ancient Roman cross-vaulted ceilings. I highly recommend the Diamond Estate Tour & Reserve Wine Tasting, where you will get an intimate behind the scenes to look at the underground wine caves, production facilities, and the barrel room where you will sample a young wine straight from the barrel. After your tour, you will be lead to a private, small-group tasting room underground where you will taste six reserve wines.
If a United States trip is on your mind for the future, Napa Valley, California, is a wonderful place to explore and relax.
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