Much More to Napa than Wineries


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

I want to talk a bit more about Napa Valley and the surrounding areas. Napa is a well-known place for excellent California wine, but I want to make sure that people also understand this destination for its other activities and tastes.

First of all, even as a Christmas and New Year’s destination, the weather is in the 60s; this year it got to 68F with only half a day of rain (Sunday the 29th, after 1pm until very late night).

My family is into exercise and hiking, and this is a perfect place for us. The Westin Verasa Napa has a great location in downtown Napa with a very nice gym including a Peloton (for the aficionados).  For runners, the concierge of the hotel can provide different routes depending on the desired distance.

For hiking, we got incredible options, from the easy to hard, from pavement to rocky, and one very close to our hotel.  Skyline Wilderness Park is only 2.5 miles from downtown Napa and offers different options, with a total of 25 miles of trails. Some are easier and some are very steep. We spent a couple of hours hiking there and worked up a good appetite for lunch at Oxbow Public Market. This is a must-go place for excellent food, fantastic olive oils and balsamic vinegars with different infusions. The Olive Press is my favorite place. I love their fig balsamic vinegar and bought 4 gallons of it for my salads and roasted vegetables. I usually joke that I am allowed to drink this delicious vinegar before 5pm, and after that I reach for my favorite Cabernet, LOL!

For those who enjoy olive oil, I really recommend going to an olive oil tasting – it is very fun. Many places do not offer bread but teach you how to taste it by drinking a small portion. It is a great learning experience, and they don’t card you!

Early in the morning you can see lots of hot-air balloons in the sky. Honestly, I haven’t tried them because I am afraid of balloon rides, but for those brave enough, I bet it is a great experience.

Visit Santa Helena, Sonoma, and Yountville, these are beautiful towns with so much charm. Walk around and enjoy a coffee shop or even a great meal, they even offer Michelin restaurants for all tastes (reservations in advance are a must).

Make sure to visit Napa and Sonoma county as a fun destination. As much as I love traveling abroad, you can catch me there at least 3 times a year!


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