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Napa Valley, California Travel Guide

Napa Valley is known for its wine industry. Located just 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, Napa Valley is the second most visited destination in the state of California. Only Disneyland is visited by more people.

Main wineries include Beringer Vineyards, Catacula Lake, and Louis M. Martini. Price ranges vary and tours are available by appointment.

Spas like Calistoga Oasis? are some of the most relaxing you will find.

Balloons Above the Valley? is a premiere company that offers exciting balloon tours.

RESTAURANTS

Celadon: For Americans, the phrase "comfort food" brings to mind certain hearty, soul-warming plates. But what about comfort food of other cuisines? Owners of Celadon have branded their menu style as just that: "Global Comfort Food," as the plates reveal Asian, American and Mediterranean layers. Both lunch and dinner are served here; appetizers start at $6, and entrees start at $16. The selection consists of specialty cocktails, small plates (Maine crab cake, pan roasted mussels), green plates-which are the salads, big plates (ribeye steak, ahi tuna, grilled polenta with garden veggies) and a worldwide wine collection to compliment the international cuisine.

Bosko's Trattoria: This casual, family style restaurant ("trattoria," in Italian), started up in 1983. The main focus of the owner is to create comfort food made with the freshest ingredients. At very affordable prices (the average cost of an entree is $10), guests are ordering traditional and delicious Italian fare like salads, panini, 9 different types of pizza, chicken, steak, and seafood. Both the pasta and pizza are made on site, ensuring a dish that is second to none. What is also so great about Bosko's is their use of ingredients not usually seen in local Italian restaurants like ricotta salata, polenta, and pine nuts (ingredients typically used in Italy), which makes for a more authentic meal. Bosko's also has an impressive wine list (after all, you are in Napa Valley), that even includes some dessert wines. The dessert menu is a classic display with tiramisu, cheesecake, and vanilla gelato.

Brix: In June 2008 the Kelleher Family, who also owns the Kelleher Family Vineyard, decided to make their ongoing environmental efforts known by opening up Brix, a farm-to-table dining experience. Two acres of gardens and orchards supply the ingredients needed for the menu inspired by the cuisine of Southern France and Northern Italy. The menu changes daily to accommodate fresh and seasonal produce which includes strawberries in spring, eggplant in summer, potatoes in fall, and Meyer lemons in winter. Brix has a lunch, dinner and brunch menu featuring dishes like apple walnut carpaccio, white corn and porcini soup, mortadella, mussels, oysters, wood oven pizza, swordfish, steak, and duck breast. Ask the wine expert to personalize your meal by choosing from the 800 bottles on site. For a sweet ending, dessert can be classic with s'mores, blackberry cobbler or brownies. Or perhaps you're feeling French for the night, and would prefer a savory cheese plate after your meal. Private dining spaces for special occasions are also available, as well as the lush and fertile garden for weddings.

JoLe: As seen in other dining establishments, and by the indication on the window of JoLe, the farm-to-table movement is spreading like a glorious wildfire. JoLe's birth was dreamt up by a husband and wife team (he's the chef, she's the pastry chef) who had previously owned an extremely successful restaurant in Philadelphia. Looking for a change, they were drawn in by Calistoga's natural landscape and resources. Using what was on hand, the duo composed the contemporary American menu promoting and accentuating all-natural organic ingredients. The smaller portioned dishes are meant to be combined to create a personal tasting menu of fresh veggies, venison, duck, mahi mahi, octopus, and watermelon salad, just to name a few selections. If you're here to celebrate a special occasion, or are just looking for a secluded eatery for your large group, there is an intimate area that can hold up to 25 people for private dining experiences.

LODGING

Milliken Creek Inn and Spa: On three acres overlooking the Napa River is a five-star hideaway that radiates tranquility. Everything about the Milliken Creek Inn and Spa is designed to relax and comfort guests with a natural and contemporary decor. As an inn with only 12 suites, the staff is able to give provide focused attention and service. After check in visitors are shown to their rooms, complete with such amenities like a king-sized canopy bed with sumptuous bedding, fireplaces, 42'' plasma T.V., a large bathtub with high-quality bath products, and a mini-bar. Days can be spent away from the throng of crowds at the attractions in the utmost comfort that luxury can cater. Sit outside and reconvene with nature, or make full use of the spa and its holistic treatments. Start everyday with a gourmet breakfast served in the location of your choosing, and conclude it at the wine and cheese reception at the end of each day.

The Lodge at Calistoga: The town of Calistoga is situated at the base of Mount St. Helena surrounded by vineyards. What makes this particular lodging option so great is that, among all of the pricey accmmodations to be found in Napa Valley, visitors can stay at The Lodge for under $200 a night and will not have to sacrifice any indulgences! The 55 rooms come equipped with either a king or queen-sized bed, bathrobes, wireless internet, and some even have adjoining balconies for a great view. Each room is intimate and classy, reflecting the natural ambiance of Napa Valley itself. Guests will be pleased to know that The Lodge is located in such a place that allows for privacy and a getaway from the crowds of downtown, but is also conveniently in walking distance of a number of great shops and restaurants. Families and couples better make time for all there is to do and see in this little section of heaven. Fuel yourself with complimentary breakfast, spend the day getting aquainted with Napa Valley, and reenergize your mind and body by making a stop at the on-site spa.

ACTIVITIES

There are so many ways to explore Napa Valley. Some of the activities in the area include: skydiving, biking tours, culinary classes, farmer's markets, golf, recreational sports, parks, beaches, and so much more. The follow list of pastimes outlines some of the best ways to discover and view the landscape and culture of Napa Valley.

Balloons Above the Valley: Set your alarm and meet before sunrise for a quiet and magical ascension over the vineyards. For 17 years Balloons Above the Valley has received the most votes over an other competing company, making it the winner of the title "Best Of" for over a decade! For a reasonable price travelers can apprecaite the region in what is possibly the best way to see Napa Valley.

Artisan Wine Tours: What is most likely the most attentive team of wine experts wants to take you on a personalized tour of Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Anderson Valley. Artisan Wine Tours works with any group size to tailor a private and unique experience. Exploring authentic wine and culinary sites in luxury is what this company is known for. All needs will be met when helping experts create your perfect day. You and your family and friends can visit restaurants, sample cheese and wine, and meet the artisans while traveling around in a private luxury vehicle. Wine and culinary enthusiasts can learn the most with Artisan Wine Tours, as they find the most engaging activities to partake in.

Napa Valley Wine Train: The Napa Valley Wine Train has a little of everything to impress its guests. The 3 hour, 36 mile roundtrip takes place in trains that date back to 1915. To compliment the antiquity of the transportation, the interior is adorned with rich colors and finished wood, all of which radiates luxury. While traveling through the past, take a bite of the future. That's right; the lunch and dinner that is served on the train strongly supports the "green" movement that is becoming so mainstream. All the dishes on the menu are prepared with fresh local produce, humanely raised meat, and no chemicals or hormones. Most meals start with a complimentary glass of a local California wine to set the tone. It may be hard to tear your attention away from whatever kitchen creation you ordered, but it will be well worth it, as the view outside the window is unparalled. Vineyards rich in dark plum and emerald green hues are sure to inspire passengers. A trip back in time, a comfortable setting, a clean and seasonal meal, wine, and the best view of Napa Valley; all this can be a part of your visit, as lunch starts at only $50 per person. The Napa Valley Wine Train is also happy to accommodate groups, weddings, and any other special occasions.

SHOPPING

WINERIES/VINEYARDS:


 
 
 
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