When you think of California Wine Country, the Napa Valley is most likely the first region that comes to mind. If you're imagining a lush valley with bright vineyards rolling into the distance, historic wineries nestled in the trees, and quaint towns with eclectic boutiques and world-class restaurants, Napa Valley won't let you down. If you've envisioned staying in a rustic B&B where you can see the sunrise over the vineyards, you'll find one. If you long for the yeasty, boozy smell of an historic winery, you'll find that. If you want to taste the subtle combination of flavors in a gourmet dinner from the kitchen of a renowned chef, that's here, too. Want to stomp grapes? Check. Travel the valley in a hot air balloon? No problem. Soak away your worries in a mud bath? Yup, got that too. In fact, the Napa Valley might just be the ultimate adult playground. There's another reason the valley has become so popular: wine tasting is easy.
The valley is just 25 miles long from Napa in the south to Calistoga in the north. Highway 29 runs up the west side of the valley, with the Silverado Trail running parallel to the east, and dozens of small roads connecting the two. The bulk of the 400-plus wineries in the region are neatly gathered along these routes and in the surrounding hills, so you can easily visit any number in a day. There are several small towns along the valley floor, any of which would make an excellent base for your visit.
This is a guide to all of the best wineries, how to get around, the best restaurants, where to stay, entertainment, nightlife - all you need to know.
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Hunter Publishing, Inc.
May 30, 2012
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