Bacchanalian Feast in the Napa Valley
Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
Napa Valley, a verdant checkerboard of vineyards, picturesque
towns with sophisticated restaurants, comfortable inns nestled
in the hills and art galleries combined with local wineries make
for a marvelous California vacation.
Only one and a half hours north of San Francisco by car, the area
is bathed in sunlight and warmth during the day, with chilly temperatures
at night. The grapes love it and so did I on my recent trip there
with my husband.
Meadowood, a total resort in St. Helena, combined hiking, tennis,
fine dining, all spa activities and private cabins complete with
fireplacesójust the perfect touch on the cool evenings. An interesting
diversion was the croquet lesson on a marvelous green velvet lawn
around which you could have afternoon tea after the game.
The views, food and sculpture garden at nearby Auberge du Soleil
ranked a ten. A walk in charming St. Helena included boutiques,
a fragrant bread shop, a small local newspaper headquarters and
We were fortunate to be able to dine one evening in The French
Laundry, usually requiring a two-month reservation. Truly one
of the outstanding restaurants of the world, the high tab prix
fixe menu was worth every mouth-watering bite.
Vineyards were fun to explore offering wines, tours, art and the
beautiful outdoors. We visited Phelps, one of the few vineyards
requiring a reservation and worth it. The wines were good and
a tour of the grounds was special.
Francis Ford Coppola has a magnificent mansion, which houses an
interesting collection of wines and other objects for sale. The
vineyard is called Neibaum-Coppola, just a short distance from
St. Helena. The Hess vineyard has the most interesting collection
of museum quality modern art.
A feast for the eyes as well as the palate, the Napa Valley truly
gratifies all the senses.
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