We got back for our annual trip to visit my family in the Napa Valley late Monday night — so after an unplanned break from blogging I thought I’d share a few of my favorite spots in this beautiful region today! Some of my best memories are from my summers in St. Helena and every time I’m there I’m still blown away by the golden light and gorgeous scenery. It’s truly the most relaxing place for me. Over the years we’ve tried a lot of wineries and visited local eatieries (though we mainly cook while we are here!). Wine tasting has become so expensive in the valley – I was blown away by the prices this year. Most places don’t offer a tasting under $30 and the average is closer to $40! There are a few spots that are our favorites, and we typically just buy a glass or bottle of wine and forgo the tasting flights. Read on for my tips to exploring wine country!
Let’s start with the food. Like I mentioned, we spend most of our days at my grandmother’s house cooking and eating sandwiches on fresh sourdough bread (great for my bridal diet) — but we also like to get out for a treat. Model Bakery on Main Street in St. Helena is a great option for breakfast or a sweet anytime of the day. They are known for their English Muffins – and they are delicious on a breakfast sandwich or on their own with jam. This year I tried their spelt version and it was just as tasty and made me feel a tiny bit better about my carb intake for the week. Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville is also a fun visit – though since he has outposts of this bakery all over the country it’s not as exciting (to me) anymore. Try their ‘chocolate bouchons’ for a rich, chocolate treat! We also like Villa Corona for Mexican food, Taylor’s// Gott’s for burgers + shakes and Napa Valley Roasting Company for our coffee fix.
Artesa is our favorite winery to visit for the view – and the wines are good too! It’s up high and overlooks the valley and is just stunning. This year we did a tasting (generous pours, and you can take them outside to enjoy) but we typically just get a bottle of wine and sit on their patio (pictured). We seek out wineries that have more to offer than a cold, indoor tasting room — two other favorites are Honig (they have a really pretty outdoor courtyard in the midst of their valley and reserve tables for their tastings which is nice) and Frog’s Leap. Frog’s Leap has a giant porch and again they reserve tables for tastings which is nice because you can sit, relax and enjoy the scenery while you taste. They also have pretty gardens you can explore and I’ve heard good things about their tour. I reccomend making reservations at Honig + Frog’s Leap – we haven’t had a hard time wondering into Artesa during the week.