Napa Valley Journals

The Napa Valley

A travel journal to Napa Valley by kimntrent

Napa River Inn Photo, Napa Valley, California More Photos
Quote: As they put it, "One of God's best creations."

The Napa Valley

Overview

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There really isn't a lot here in the valley for families. Little kids are easily entertained, but teens find not much to do here. Please keep this in mind when you travel here.

Quick Tips:

People like to travel on weekends during high season, from July to October, but vineyards are not harvesting on weekends. My suggestion is to travel during the week, and the spring (February and March) are amazing here. The vines are new and beautiful. This is my favorite time of the year here.

Best Way To Get Around:

Don't drink and drive. If you are going wine-tasting, take a private car. I suggest California wine tours or Magnium tours. They can take care of all your driver needs.
Napa River Inn Photo, Napa Valley, California
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Absolutely beautiful. The surrounding views of the area still leave a lot to be desired--you have a jail view or a muddy river view--but as fast as the city of Napa is changing, so will the views. This hotel is in an old mill and is very historic. The rooms have a nautical theme to them. They are not the biggest in the valley, but I think they are some of the best-designed. There are ones with balconys and ones with clawfoot tubs. The bathrooms are amazing in each and every one. No matter what your price point is, you will not get a bad room. And if you can stay in their major suite, try to do so. It has the old floor from the oldest gym in Napa--very historical. They have fabulous meeting r...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 28, 2004

Napa River Inn
500 Main Street
Napa Valley, California
1(877) 251-8500

Zin's Valley Cafe

Restaurant

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What a great restaurant. It is off the beaten path in a section of Napa called Browns Valley. This small restaurant provides a very romantic atmosphere, with a beautiful patio perfect for those hot summer days. They have some fabulous entrées, which include onion rings with a blue cheese dressing dip, calamari that makes your mouth water, a kobe beef burger, and a chocolate ooozzz cake that is served warm, and when you cut into it, the warm chocolate ooozzzes out. The prices are moderate. The highest priced item on the menu, I think, is $21. For two of us, we can get away with two appetizers and main courses without wine for $40. With wine, you are going to add $10 to $50 more. There ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Zin's Valley Cafe
3253 Browns Valley Road
Napa Valley, California 94558
(707) 224-0695

Brix Restaurant

Restaurant | "Brix"

Brix Restaurant Photo, Napa Valley, California
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Brix is a fusion-style restaurant. They have a beautiful patio that overlooks the vineyards, which is perfect for the summer and those late nights. There are two separate smaller dining rooms off of the main dining room where you can have a private event. Many people use it for reception sites. The open kitchen faces the restaurant, and the bar area is designed around a fireplace with comfy couches. This restaurant is very open. It has a large wine shop where you can buy the wines you drink with dinner. The best part of this place is the Sunday Brunch. When in the Napa Valley, finish your trip off with an amazing brunch. It is buffet-style with a price point of $25. This includes coffee a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 2, 2005

Brix Restaurant
7377 St Helena Highway
Napa, California 94558
+1 707 944 2749

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen Photo, Napa Valley, California
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From the award-winning chef that brought you Mustards Grill and co-created such restaurants as Fog City Diner and Buckeye Roadhouse comes Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen. Set on a side street in St. Helena, Cindy Pawlcyn has done it again with her amazing atmosphere, fabulous staff, and food that will leave you blown away. Having worked for her in the past at several restaurants, I can tell you that Cindy is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. Although she shares her time at both Mustard’s and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, her influence is felt at both places. As you walk into this restaurant, you are greeted by a brick fireplace, where they cook a good percentage of their meats. D...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 28, 2005

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
1327 Railroad Avenue
Napa Valley, California 94574
(707) 963-1200

Folie a Deux Winery

Attraction

Folie a Deux Winery Photo, Napa Valley, California
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This is one of my favorite wineries. It is set just north of the city of St. Helena by about 5 minutes, right across the street from the St. Helena Outlets(perfect for when the gals wanna shop and the boys wanna relax). It is like going to a friends house for a wine tasting. Their wines are medium-priced and full of flavor. My favorite is the Menage à Trois series--great name for great wine. They have a beautiful wrap-around porch that you can do a picnic lunch on. This lunch they will make for you from a variety of menus, and as you are dining away, you can overlook beautiful vineyards. This winery does not see a ton of people like some of the others, because people tend not to go as far north as it...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 2, 2005

Folie a Deux Winery
3070 N. St. Helena Highway
Napa Valley, California 94574
707.963.1160

Peju Province Winery

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Peju Province Winery Photo, Napa Valley, California
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Peju Province Winery is a beautiful winery in the Napa Valley. This winery just completed a total transformation that has made it into one of my favorites. As you come up the driveway, a koi pond greets you on the left, hidden by beautiful plants. After parking your car, you enter this amazing chateau through wrought-iron gates. The grounds are lush with landscaping and water fountains galore. There are two entrances to the tasting areas: one to the left, through the giant tower, and one straight ahead. Both go over streams of water that come right up to the walkway. In the first tasting room, there are two tasting bars—one on each side. We were on the left side, where our wine presenter was A...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2005

Peju Province Winery
8466 Saint Helena Highway
Rutherford, Napa Valley, California 94573
(707) 963-3600

Father's Day Invitational Auto Show

Attraction | "Napa Valley Father's Day Auto Show"

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I just wanted to let you all know about a Classic Auto Show for Father's Day. It is held at the Vintage 1870 located at 6525 Washington St. in Yountville. This auto show is from 11am to 4pm. It will be on Sunday June 19, 2005. This auto show is free to the public and celebrates the "art of the driving machine." It will include national champions, local favorites, and one-of-a-kind collector curiosities. There will be Packard, Pierce Arrow, Ford, Ferrari, M.G., Mercedes Benz, and more, with more than 100 early and late model autos spanning some 90 years of productions. This year, the event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Fort Thunderbird. This event is wonderful for the whole family. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2005

Father's Day Invitational Auto Show
Vintage 1870
Napa Valley, California

Sixth Annual Home and Garden Tour

Attraction | "6th Annual Home & Garden Tour"

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This home and garden tour is for the historic-minded. It is the Sixth Annual Home and Garden Tour and will be held on Saturday May 21, 2005. It is a walking tour in Napa. It will include five exclusive and stunning Napa Valley properties with an overriding theme of exquisite interior design. In addition, each home has taken design awareness and translated it to the outdoors, developing gardens and outdoor living spaces that complement both the interior and the lifestyle of each property owner. Proceeds benefit the Napa Valley Symphony League. It is $45 in advance and $50 at the door, and it goes from 10am to 5:30pm. For information, please call 707/252-4942, and for tickets, call 707/226-8742.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2005

Sixth Annual Home and Garden Tour
Napa Valley Oakville estate properties
Napa Valley, California
(707) 252-4942

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Napa Valley is a truly amazing place, with hundreds of wineries, restaurants, and hotels all biding for your attention. The question is, which one do you choose, one where can you get the best bang for your buck? I have worked for 10 years in the hotel industry here, and I know every winery and most of the restaurants. There are so many to choose from. Please write me a note if you have questions, as I would love to help (LiveinNapaValley@aol.com). Some of my favorites are: Hotels: Napa River Inn, Napa and Inn at Southbridge, St. Helena Restaurants: Zinns Valley in Napa and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena Wineries: Quintessa, Nichel & Nichel, V. Sattui, and ...Read More
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I just wanted to pass on this information, which I received today. It is about the 8th Annual Savor St. Helena. What it is: St. Helen'a premium restaurants , wineries, and merchants showcase their best. There are samples of delicious foods, world-class wines, raffle prizes, great shopping deals, and more. Part of the annual Mustard Festival events. In 2005, it happens Saturday, February 26th, from 11am to 3pm, in downtown St. Helena at Hunt Street. The price is $25 per person. Advanced tickets are available at www.sthelena.com/savor, or call the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce at 707/963-4456. This event sells out every year. Email me if you have any questions at LiveinNapaValley@aol.com...Read More
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On Marcy 12th and 13th from 11am to 5pm, the signature event of the Napa Valley Mustard Festival will be happening. It is called The Marketplace, and it's located at Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts in downtown Napa. At this event, you will be able to taste mustards from around the world, along with awesome wine-country cuisine, world-famous wines, and hearty craft brews. This event inclues beautiful arts and crafts and provides a wonderful opportunity to meet with some of the region's most exciting chefs, winemakers, and artists. Rain or shine, this event is wonderful. There will be highlights such as a celebrity-chef cooking demonstration sponsored by Viking Range. The G...Read More
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At Tasting on Main in St. Helena, they will be having a cabernet and chocolate celebration. This celebration will be held every Saturday throughout the month of February. Here you will enjoy a variety of chocolates (including handmade cabernet truffles) paired with reserve cabernets that have been chosen from the selection below of boutique wineries. Each Saturday will feature a different winery with winemakers on hand to sign the bottles. The cost is $10 per person, no reservation required. You can see more at www.tastingonmain.com, or call 707/967-1042. Broman Cellars, February 5th 3 to 6pm Robert Keenan Winery, February 12th 3 to 6pm Richard Partridge Cellars, February 19th 3 to 6p...Read More
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On March 19, 2005, the Mustard Festival continues with The Taste of Yountville. This is the 12th anniversary of this event, which will shut down the main street in Yountville from 11am to 5pm that day. There will be town-wide sampling of gourmet foods from restaurants such as Bouchon, Bistro Jeanty, and Napa Valley Grille, as well as mustards, oils, and wines from the Yountville area. If you are looking for a wonderful event to go to on a beautiful Napa Valley day, this is it. It is free of charge to wander through and enjoy the sites. You never know, you may find something you never thought existed. If you would like more information, please call the Yountville Chamber of Commerce at 707/944-09...Read More
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Napa Valley is known for their fine wines - and their not-so-fine wines. But what happens when you go to a restaurant and you have a bottle of wine, but you can't get to the winery or they don't have a winery. Well, that is when you call in the experts - JV Wine and Spirits. This store is located at 426 First St. in Napa. Their local number is 707/253-2624 or 877/469-9463. Here you are able to purchase bottles of wines that you see throughout the valley, sometimes for less than you get them at the winery. They even carry my favorite wines from Page Wine Cellars. Here you can find a huge selection of wines and a wine-tasting room. They even have a Wine Discovery Club. With this you w...Read More
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If you are looking for something out of the norm in the Napa Valley this June, you may want to look at this. On June 25, 2005, at 4:30pm, A Taste of Howell Mountain will be happening. The location is on the lawn at Krug Winery in St. Helena. The food is by Knickerbockers (very good food, if I might add). This event will benefit the Howell Mountain Education Foundation. Some of the wineries that will be there are Pine Ridge, Beringer, and Cakebread. This is a wine-tasting and auction. Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door. For more information, please call 707/965-2665 or visit the website at www.howellmountain.org. You can email me also at LiveinNapaValley@aol.com, and I will be ha...Read More
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On March 19, 2005, Beringer is having a cellar sale and sausage sizzle. It will be held from noon to 4pm. They will have special opportunities for great deals on odd lots, older vintages, closeout wines, and merchandise. They will also have a complimentary tasting of wine and sizzling sausages. For more information, please call 707/963-4812, or visit www.beringer.com. You can also email me at LiveinNapaValley@aol.com.
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Here is another fun thing to do in March. If you are going to be in the wine country on March 12, 13, 19, or 20th, join Peju for March Merlot Madness. They are going to be having a vertical tasting of Peju 1999, 2000, and 2001 Merlot and a special preview of 2002 vintage. Also, for a special treat, Chef Max will be in his kitchen, where he will show you how to prepare Merlot coq au vin, Merlot ice cream, and white chocolate shortcakes with Merlot-soaked strawberries. They are also offering a pre-release special of 20% off a case purchase of the 2002 Napa Valley Merlot. This event is taking place from 11am to 4pm at the winery, which is at 8466 St. Helena Highway in Rutherford. This is a great...Read More
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Save the date: On July 23, 2005, is the 15th Annual Napa Valley Classic at Calistoga Fairgrounds in Calistoga. This event is an equestrian benefit, combining a tasting of the best foods and wines from the Napa Valley, the anticipation of a silent Calcutta Auction, the excitement of a Grand Prix Horse Jumping, and the warmth of goodwill. Wine tasting and appetizers are from 4 to 6pm, followed by the Lead Line Class and The $10,000 Grand Prix. General admission is $30.00, and seniors and children are $15.00; Grand Prix Table (seats 10) are $500; Classic Picnic Table (Napa Valley picnic basket for 10) $1,000; Winners Circle Table (premium seating for 10, including sparkling wine and dessert) $1,200; Tr...Read More