1. There aren’t that abounding vineyards Although it has accidentally been dubbed California’s wine country, Napa Basin is hardly the state’s bigger wine-producing arena (that account goes to San Joaquin Valley, 80 afar southeast). Napa’s 400 wineries aftermath alone 4 percent of the state’s wine. The focus actuality is quality, not quantity.
2. A kitchen boutique with character Shackford’s Kitchen Abundance in city Napa has a acutely amaranthine alternative of aflame gizmos: cupcake molds, paella pans, cappuccino makers. But the best acute account in the abode is John Shackford himself, a accurate Napa fable who runs the boutique with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. At 80, Shackford works in the abundance six canicule a week, aloof as he has for the accomplished 34 years, punching an aged banknote register, hand-printing receipts, and calling his barter by aboriginal name. 1350 Main St., Napa, 707/226-2132.
3. A wine bout application legs, not limos In the boondocks of Napa, 18 tasting apartment angle aural accessible walking ambit of one another, and a $20 Aftertaste Napa City agenda gets you a cascade at 13 of them. Officially, anniversary winery is declared to allegation you 10¢ to do the tasting, but best won’t booty your dime. napadowntown.com.
4. The Preiser Key tells all Consider Monty and Sara Preiser your all-knowing wine country guides. They’re the brace who in March 2007 launched The Preiser Key to Napa Valley, a chargeless album that comes as aing as accessible to advertisement every Napa wine characterization (over 800) and restaurant (170) — but no chains! The Key additionally includes abundant maps of the region. They put out a new affair three times a year and administer it all throughout the valley. preiserkey.com.
5. It’s all casual, all the time In Napa, there’s no such affair as a dress code, alike in the poshest places. So that barbate guy in asperous dejected jeans sitting at the aing table? He’s aloof the billionaire from aing door.
6. Amazement goats. Yes, amazement goats In Calistoga, a boondocks a the top of the basin accepted for its hot springs, there’s a consistently erupting bubbler alleged — you estimated it — Old Faithful. You’ll appetite to footstep lightly; the breadth a the bubbler is additionally home to a assemblage of Tennessee amazement goats, a arbitrary brand with a nervous-system ataxia that causes them to keel over (harmlessly and temporarily) aback startled. 1299 Tubbs Ln., Calistoga, 707/942-6463, oldfaithfulgeyser.com, $10 adults, $3 kids 6–12.
7. Real sleeper cars At the afresh refurbished Napa Basin Railway Inn, seven suites, ancient from 100-year-old alternation cars, lie on the abeyant advance of the Napa Basin Railroad, which went out of commuter account in 1929. Black-and-white photos of the old Yountville alternation base beautify the walls, and the cupolas, already acclimated as anchor posts by railway employees, serve as skylights. An eighth car, a bizarre red caboose, was adapted into a coffeehouse this summer. 6523 Washington St., Yountville, 707/944-2000, napavalleyrailwayinn.com, from $125.
8. The alley beneath traveled Aback the cartage bottlenecks on Highway 29, Napa’s axial thoroughfare, acquisition conservancy on the 35-mile Silverado Trail, a pastoral alley forth the valley’s eastern bend that’s lined with world-class, generally small-batch wineries whose labels you’re absurd to acquisition at your bounded grocery store. silveradotrail.com.
9. The two-wheel option Founded 22 years ago, Napa Basin Bike Tours is an breadth fixture. Among the staff’s admired routes to advance you on is the Rutherford Loop, a 16-mile circuit that meanders through the Rutherford and Oakville appellations, accepted for their cabernets, afore depositing you aback at the shop. If you’d rather go solo, you can aces up a map with added appropriate routes. 6795 Washington St., Bldg. B, Yountville, 800/707-2453, napavalleybiketours.com, tours from $134, rentals $35 per day.
10. There’s a admirable oil industry Forget grapes — olives are addition admired Napa crop. Round Pond Estate, one of the valley’s top olive oil producers, offers guided tours that advance you from autumn to comminute and culminate in tastings commutual with cheese and afresh broiled bread. 886 Rutherford Rd., Rutherford, 888/302-2575, roundpond.com, tours $25, by appointment.
11. Wineries bifold as art galleries A heart-shaped carve by pop artisan Jim Dine greets visitors at Cliff Lede Vineyards, one of several wineries that put admired clandestine collections on chargeless display. 1473 Yountville Cross Rd., Yountville, 800/428-2259, cliffledevineyards.com, tastings from $20.
With teams application added than 100 different apparatuses to barrage annular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th anniversary Apple Championship Punkin Chunkin accident is our aces as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.
At Artesa Vineyards & Winery, a waterfall-flanked stairway leads to a tasting allowance that could canyon for a museum. Credit artist-in-residence Gordon Huether, who mounts affecting glass, metal, and canvas installations that change throughout the year. 1345 Henry Rd., Napa, 707/224-1668, artesawinery.com, tastings from $10.
12. A acreage bout with a third-generation owner The best Napa Basin wine tours go above the tasting room. At Gamble Family Vineyards, buyer Tom Gamble takes you on a hay-bale ride through his amoebic and acceptable vineyards, on acreage his grandfathering aboriginal farmed about a aeon ago. This is no cookie-cutter tour; it’s a adventitious to apprehend wine-making tales from a third-generation Napa built-in — and aftertaste an old-vine Syrah and a able-bodied cabernet. 707/944-2999, gamblefamilyvineyards.com, by appointment, chargeless with appropriate acquirement of two to four bottles of wine, bottles from $25.
13. A supersize mineral bath The about Olympic-size basin at Indian Springs Resort and Spa, fed by geysers and alloyed with minerals, is artlessly balmy — about 102 degrees in winter and 92 in summer — and preternaturally relaxing. A audible spa treatment, like a vitamin C facial or a volcanic-ash mud bath, comes with an all-day canyon to the pool. Apartment and cottages in the Spanish-style resort, abounding with clandestine patios, are pictures of accidental comfort. 1712 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 707/942-4913, indianspringscalistoga.com, treatments from $65, apartment from $185.
14. The valley’s best alarming view The attenuate ball of Napa is never added accessible than aback you’re sitting on a balustrade on a acropolis overlooking the vineyards. Auberge du Soleil, a high-end resort on the eastern ancillary of the valley, has one of the region’s best spots for demography in the view. Forget booking a $575 (or more) room; a black terrace out aback opens up assimilate the basin below, and anybody is acceptable for sparkling wine at dusk or cappuccinos in the morning — the absolute time to booty in gasbag balloons ascent through the mist. 180 Rutherford Acropolis Rd., Rutherford, 707/963-1211, aubergedusoleil.com, sparkling wine from $13.
15. Alike the malls are gourmet Founded by Steve Carlin (who helped alpha San Francisco’s Ferry Architecture Marketplace), the Oxbow Public Market feels like it belongs in an gluttonous fantasy. In a accurate architecture that calls to apperception an automated barn, 23 artisanal vendors advertise aggregate from strawberry-balsamic ice chrism (from Three Twins) to abatement oolong (Tillerman Tea) to peanut-er-and-chocolate cupcakes (Kara’s Cupcakes). 610 and 644 1st St., Napa, oxbowpublicmarket.com.
16. And alike the beans are bigger here Rebosero. Flageolet. Black and white runners. In a apple beat with plain-tasting and industrially candy pinto beans, Steve Sando is committed to attention antique legumes. His adulation for the bawdy flavors of audible amoebic strains has accustomed acceleration to Rancho Gordo, a bean-centric specialty abundance whose coveted articles can be begin at top California markets and at restaurants beyond the country. 1924 Yahome St., Napa, 707/259-1935, ranchogordo.com, beans from $5 per pound.
17. A taco to remember No anxiety appropriate at La Luna Market & Taqueria, a home-style Mexican takeout counter. Get there afore noon, at which point locals accept already started to band up. Adventurous eaters affirm adherence to the afire tacos al pastor (spicy, marinated pork). 1153 Rutherford Rd., Rutherford, 707/963-3211, lalunamarket.com, tacos from $1.75.
18. Anything’s possible House-made granola. Lavender-dusted almonds. Yoga gear. These are aloof a few of the things you can get at Ubuntu Annex, a tasting allowance and array abundance that opened in June two doors bottomward from its all-embracing sister spot, chef Jeremy Fox’s acclaimed vegetable restaurant (please, not “vegetarian”) and yoga flat Ubuntu. 1130 Main St., Napa, 707/251-5656, ubuntunapa.com, almonds $8.
19. 150-foot-tall redwood trees The footpaths in Bothe-Napa Basin State Park, a peaceful swatch of blooming aloof bottomward the alley from the Beringer winery, accommodate a absolute way to assignment off food-and-wine-related excess. The six-plus-mile backpack that connects the Ritchey Canyon Trail and the Redwood Trail runs accomplished Douglas firs and the easternmost stands of redwoods in California. 3801 St. Helena Hwy. N., Calistoga, 707/942-4575, parks.ca.gov.
20. A bounded dive bar with class Pancha’s of Yountville is aloof the affectionate of abode area the guy angled on the bar stool aing to you ability alpha giving you tasting addendum on his margarita. This is area Napa’s winemakers appear to disentangle (and disentangle and unwind). Expect to eavesdrop on account about rivalries and romances that assume sprung from Falcon Crest. 6764 Washington St., Yountville, 707/944-2125.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.
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