Some things to do in Napa Valley
Introducing the wine country-Napa
If you like rolling green hills, old country charm and wine, then Napa is the place to be if you are visiting California. Famous for its bed and breakfast and mud baths, this place is a delight for wine connoisseurs. There are a number of wineries which have wine tasting and vineyard tours for the enthusiastic. You can pick and choose and drive along the sloping roads in Napa while enjoying your wine, responsibly of course!
Castello di Amorosa
One such winery is the Castello di Amorosa; also referred to as ‘the castle’ as the building structure suggests. Opened to the public in 2007, this picturesque winery took 14 years to build with a lot of sweat and hard work put in by the owner and the men who travelled all the way from Europe in a successful endeavour to make it as authentic as the castles in Tuscany.
There are a host of activities that one can choose from like tours of the vineyard, wine tasting or a simple tour of the castle and shopping. There are entry tickets for the same and you can choose depending on how you would like to spend your time at the castle.
Nestled in beautiful vineyards and greenery all around, the approach to the winery is simply beautiful. The roads are in great condition and the drive is smooth.
The wine tasting room is artistically decorated and the ambience is lovely for enjoying a couple of hours of pure wine tasting pleasure. You can easily spend another hour down in the cellars where they have set up ancient looking shops to buy a plethora of goodies ranging from cheese cutting boards to olive oil and even archaic notebooks and quills. The staff is very well mannered and courteous; they know how to make even the uninitiated to wine tasting feel at home. The wine bottles sold at the winery are apparently not sold anywhere else and so while you sip and enjoy the various wines from their collection, you can make a note of the ones you would like to buy for another time. The menu matches a wine list form for purchase that is kept at every table.
The castle also has a huge courtyard to just sit and while away some time. It has the charm to transport you back to another time in history, with old world rustic chandeliers and pots sprinkled with pretty flowers and a water well in the courtyard grounds, all you need is a change in attire to match the archaic setting.
The winery is open all through the week and year and closed only on Christmas Day. One can also make reservations for tours and wine tasting for groups larger than 12.
The Castello di Amorosa winery has won many accolades for the quality and variety of its wines.
Another very beautiful and mystic place in Napa is Calistoga. It is situated at the very top of Napa valley and is particularly known for its hot springs. In 2011 they celebrated 125 years of Calistoga ‘s anniversary.
Besides the wine tasting and tours that are famous in Napa, in Calistoga one can find a number of hiking trails and leisure biking trails. It is a great place for a weekend getaway and many folks just head there from the city to unwind and rejuvenate.
Calistoga is also famous for its hot air balloon rides. One needs to book these in advance and they have packages which include breakfast as well as pick up and drop off to your hotel. This unique experience is like aerial tour of Napa and one gets to see the scenic views from a totally different angle.
The Napa valley train ride is another fun activity to do, especially with children. Given that train journeys are becoming a thing of the past, this is indeed a unique experience and an opportunity to take the younger generation on a short train ride. Also called the Wine Train, it is a three hour train ride through the pretty wine country and includes a lunch or dinner in an old world Pullman Dining Car. Tickets range from $99 to $139 per person.
So if you are ever in San Francisco or around and don’t know how to spend a weekend, consider Napa as one of your options, you won’t be disappointed!