While the media sings the praises of the Northeastern USA fall color, Napa Valley quietly shows off a rainbow of hues sure to dazzle leaf peepers. From vineyards awash in gold, red, and green, to a sea of trees rocking bold color, Napa Valley is one of the most glorious places to be in fall.
Where to Stay: September and October bring Harvest crowds, which means the prices are through the roof. However, midweek deals offer rooms at sought after B&Bs or hotels. The new Sunburst Calistoga offers retro chic rooms. The property might feel like a motor inn at first glance, but the chic interiors, the geo-thermal pools and the proximity to Calistoga make it a decent choice for those wanting to be close enough to walk to town.
In downtown Napa, the RiverTerrace Inn sits near the Napa River, and along a bike trail that leads to Oxbow Market--Napa’s tribute to food. While rooms might be on the small side, a private balcony, a pool, and the location make this a reasonable option for people without a car.
For more hotel recommendations, pick up a copy of my Northern California: An Explorer’s Guide.
Where to Eat: Alfresco restaurants are all the rage in Napa Valley, especially ones with views of the vineyards. For the best lunch with a view, you can’t beat a meal up at the posh Auberge Du Soliel. Grab a seat on the patio of the hotel bar and restaurant, rub elbows with celebs as you stare at the expanse of the valley below. Don’t forget your camera.
For something a bit more down to earth, yet no less delicious, book a patio table at Bistro Don Giovanni. With views of the vineyards, this mainstay in Napa slings traditional Italian fare–fried olives, thin crust pizza, rigatoni with meatballs–paired with fine wines from Italy and Napa. The tiramisu is to die for.
For more food recommendations, pick up a copy of my Northern California: An Explorer’s Guide.
What to Do: With vineyards showing off their colors, you can’t go wrong with a bit of wine tasting. Motor along Silverado Trail and find some hidden gems boasting fab fall color. Make a reservation at Honig to sample their yummy white varietals, or better yet, sign up for a bike tour of the valley with Napa Valley Bike Tours.
Another option for serious leaf peepers is to book the afternoon Wine Train lunch for three hours of bliss as you chug through the valley, hugged by the valley’s vibrant colors.