Now is the time to plan a visit to wine country.
On a recent trip to Napa Valley, I felt like I was in a scene from Cinderella: The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, wildflowers were blooming. There is an energy to the region that feels fresh and invigorating—heartening to see, given the toll years of wildfires and the pandemic have taken. Amid rebuilding, Napa moved to California’s red zone in March 2021—which means indoor activities, including dining, are slowly returning—and the valley feels fully alive. There are more and more people traveling Highway 29, the main road that leads from Napa in the south to Calistoga in the north, with towns such as Yountville, Oakville, and St. Helena sprinkled in between. Here’s how to make the most of a weekend in Napa Valley, from downtown Napa to Calistoga.
Things to do in Napa
Taste brandy: Try the grape’s more spirited cousin at the California Brandy House. At the elegant tasting room on First Street in downtown Napa, you’ll learn the history of California-made brandy, the distillation process, and taste your way through a flight from Argonaut and Germain-Robin. Even better: Pick your favorite bottle (we’re fans of Argonaut’s spicy Saloon Strength brandy) and the team will engrave it with the message of your choice on site.
Shop (for things other than wine)
First Street in downtown Napa offers a bounty for shoppers, including Copperfield’s Books, which has healthy cooking and travel sections; the clothing store Tay & Grace, and Anette’s Chocolates, a valley mainstay.