As I stepped onto my first wine train experience, I thought back to my childhood and the significance of trains.
For those of you unfamiliar with the American tale of “The Little Engine that Could,” when the struggle is real, the childish coined phrase comes to my mind: “I think I can, I think I can.”
As a newcomer to America’s most reputable wine country, Napa Valley, I would not have pinned such a phrase to vino valley until finally experiencing it myself. Currently as a full-time traveler, I often find myself exhausted. When you work hard in America, particularly in California’s competitive corporate or start-up culture, you can end up getting a little burnt out.
Then Napa Valley happens.
We get a boozy bougsie, relaxing, reenergizing, and escaping — putting everything on hold for blue cheese and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
You’re happy, you’re yourself again, and you know you can.
Because you #DoNapa.
Starting in Downtown Napa, I learned about last year’s earthquake and the town’s impressive economic bounce back. The community united to rebuild itself with even better infrastructure.
It looks a little something like this:
I stayed at the Napa River Inn, a luxury boutique hotel with traditional elegance.
Downtown Napa, the heart of the Valley, is walkable and welcoming. While asserting its big reputation, the locals manage to maintain authentic, small town love.
Positive people, and positive vibes — I’ll cheers to that.
In Napa Valley, we eat and we drink.
While Napa Valley is renowned for Yountville’s Michelin Star row, the most per capita in the United States, downtown Napa boasts surprisingly hipster restaurants. Home to culinary experts escaping the mayhem of Michelin Star kitchens, downtown is the go-to for trendy farm-to-table bistros, charming bakeries, and pop-up cucinas a la Copenhagen. Oxbow Market is the perfect balance between darling and cool — your next Pinterest post.
While my very favorite experience was hopping on the Napa Valley Wine Train, run by the granddaughter of the original founder (I love how they kept the business in the family), there are so many fun ways to eat and drink in Napa Valley.
Test your sommelier skills (or lack of them), wine tasting blindfolded at the Napa General Store.
For vogue Chinese fusion, check out Eight Noodle Shop.
Champagne or cocktails? Consider 1313 Main.
Napa Valley Wineries: Wandering through Wonderland
Hopping on and off the wine train, we opted for a classic luxury tasting at Charles Krug Winery.
Charles Krug offers a traditional wine tasting experience fit for King Charles himself.
At a vineyard with a playful New Orleans twist, we chase Alice down the rabbit hole for a Gaudi-like experience. Raymond Vineyards includes a red room with mannequin go-go dancers, a neon blue blending room with fun mirrors, a winemaker-for-a-day experience, and a “Theater of Nature.”
The Willy Wonka wine experience, it’s everything you didn’t know you wanted.
Both the Charles Krug and Raymond vineyards were part of the Ambassador Winery Tour with the Wine Train.
If you prefer to bike and wine than dine and wine, a shady trail leads to Judd’s Hill for an educational tasting experiencing.
Have something to celebrate? Consider one of their micro-crush day camps: bottle your own wine to share later with the ones you love.
Pictured: Travel and Lifestyle blogger, Jessica Doll of Team Wiking.
A warm wine thank you to the Downtown Napa:
I really needed to #DoNapa, and it was a pleasure working with their team to learn about how the community has changed and the direction it is headed in.
To learn more about Downtown Napa, check out their official website.
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