If you’re in the mood for a wine country getaway that doesn’t require you to drive after you’ve arrived, then downtown Napa is the place — just stash your keys and relax. On a good traffic day, make the drive from the City in an hour. And after the recent earthquake, Napa needs your support. Visit and help out the local economy.
There are a lot of terrific options – comfortable accommodations, good restaurants, delicious wine tasting and a lively marketplace. Walk or ride a bike wherever you go and get a good workout at the same time. The Napa River snakes its way through town so take in the scene as you go.
Find modern conveniences at the Westin Verasa, overlooking the Napa River in the Oxbow District. The spacious rooms have kitchenettes, large bathrooms and a Heavenly bed (Westin branded) which almost guarantees a dreamy sleep. Other amenities include a gas fireplace, private balcony and high tech connections and stereo equipment. At 5PM, enjoy complimentary wine and tapas in the lobby.
The hotel welcomes pets and implements many “green” programs in its efforts to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. There’s even a gift if you decline housekeeping services during your stay.
The Napa River Inn has a prime location in the historic Napa Mill on the River Walk. In the main house, this boutique hotel offers comfortable rooms in a grand style reminiscent of the 1800s. Some include canopied beds and fireplaces, and all have modern amenities. Outside, lush plants and flowers line the buildings. A complimentary breakfast is delivered to your room straight from Sweetie Pies and still warm from the oven.
The Oxbow Public Market is a fun place to start the day. Get your day kick started with huevos rancheros from C Casa . Pick up treats around the market for a picnic lunch.
Oenotri is a Napa favorite. Airy and spacious with high ceilings and a big open kitchen, the restaurant prides itself on growing 70% of its produce in their garden on the former Copia property. The Italian menu changes daily, but the house made salumi and pasta are constants. Pizzas are not to be missed, including the margherita and the salsiccia with pork sausage, wild nettles and hot peppers. The wine list focuses on California and Italy.
Located in a beautifully restored 1888 building, the Bounty Hunter is always busy. With an interesting line-up of international wines for sale, it’s also the place for delicious barbeque. Choose from ribs, pulled pork and their famous beer can chicken. Whatever you select, it’s “smokin” delicious. If you’re not a carnivore, there’s always seafood or salad.
In addition to the upstairs music venue, City Winery has a large restaurant and bar on the street level. Discover local wines on tap and Mediterranean-inspired dishes like mushroom flatbread, beef carpaccio and orecchiette pasta with chicken, kale and pine nuts.
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Downtown Napa; Napa Valley Tourism Bureau
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb