A mini-break in Napa is a good reminder that the most elegant and relaxing of holidays is just a short dive away.
Heading out from the San Francisco Bay Area starts means crossing the famed Golden Gate Bridge. A bright, sunny spring day showcases sparkling blue waters, a shining city on a hill, and a spectacular view of spooky Alcatraz.
Arriving in Napa, involved checking in at the Andaz Hotel in the heart of downtown Napa. A friendly staff, fancy yet informal is the pervading vibe. A late lunch is to be had at famed Napa eatery Grace's Table. Fresh fish tacos, fresh coleslaw accompanied by a sparkling rosé bring out the best of wine country.
A stroll around some of the art galleries and wine stores, and then a restful break at the hotel were the prelude to a low-impact evening. Directly across the street led to the delightful discovery of Oenotri, a Sicilian-inspired restaurant featuring the elegance of back-to-basics recipes such as, wood fired pizzas, cheese and pepper spaghetti, and a divine house-made charcuterie platter.
Starting Day 2, take a break from a busy day and enjoy the warm California sunshine. Enjoy a late lunch at Zuzu, a tucked away tapas restaurant, known chiefly to the locals. Sample local sangria while noshing on grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes, and duck empanadas.
More strolling amidst the bountiful landscape takes you by the Napa River, memorial parks, and a scattering of green spaces. You can stop in for a late afternoon of local wine tasting in the fully stocked hotel bar.
You'll be glad for the light lunch if you have reservations at Thomas Keller's French Laundry. Some of their most exquisite courses are the vegetables picked from their own garden. These is produce like you have never experienced before: magical celery, and humble peas and carrots elevated to divine proportions. After dinner, you are invited for a kitchen tour, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity.
After a multi-course meal, you will need a full night of recovery. A light room-service breakfast, it's time for another walk around downtown Napa to sample the local boutiques is quite in order. Even the tourist information centers are friendly and feature local wines and products.
If you are still full of courage and appetite, you can continue the Italian-themed cuisine at Allegria. Their salads feature local produce and their spaghetti bolognese is made from first principles. At lunch time, you will find the dining area bustling with locals, alongside their sunny outdoor patio.
Whether it is a destination wedding, a honeymoon, or short getaway, Wine Country has much to offer. It is an elegant way for each of us to re-connect with earth, nature and out environment.