Set against the backdrop of sun-kissed rolling hills and historic architecture, Napa, CA, is a postcard-perfect destination for travelers far and wide. It's also an American Viticultural Area which, simply translated, means grapes used to make wine reign in this region. Thousands travel to Napa just to tour sprawling vineyards and sample world-class wines. But, there's more to the area than just Sangioveses and Syrahs.
Home to a bountiful array of Queen Anne, Victorian, Italianate and Craftsman-style homes, Napa showcases grand architecture at every turn. George Webber, a local historian sporting his trademark top hat, vest and pocket watch, leads the three-hour Napa Walking Tour and delivers an entertaining and historical look at the town and its buildings.
Stops along the tour include the Napa River Walk, a promenade with spectacular views of the Napa River, and Main and First Streets where the Napa Valley Opera House is located. While touring the downtown area, you can catch a glimpse of Napa ARTwalk and this year's installation entitled "Momentum: Art That Move(s) Us." Consisting of 13 three-dimensional sculptures, each piece showcases kinetic works that imply movement.
Of course, no trip to Napa would be complete without a tour and taste at one of the over 600 wineries and vineyards. It's completely possible to spend your entire getaway traversing the valley and stopping by large-scale vineyards to sip and learn about the different varietals. One unique way to explore the scenery is to take a seat on a Napa Valley Bike Tour. An experienced tour guide will take you off-roading through a few vineyard fields and by a wildlife refuge. There's also the Napa Valley Wine Train that offers a three-hour, 36-mile trip through the valley where you can savor a romantic gourmet lunch or dinner on the way.
With the holidays right around the corner, Napa is gearing up for some festive fun. On November 21, you can enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and other seasonal treats while watching Napa's mayor light the city's tree during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Veterans Park. "Do you hear what I hear?" will be the theme of the Downtown Napa Christmas Parade, taking place on Saturday, November 24. Festively dressed cars and horses along with holiday-themed floats will make their way through the streets vying for prizes and ushering in the season. On December 1, Napa's Holiday Historic Tour & Taste Event will give you a chance to admire the seasonal display of decorations at 12 historic inns while sampling the offerings provided by some of the area's premiere chefs and winemakers.
Here are six Napa bed and breakfasts you'll encounter on the house tour's epicurean trail.
--Mary White, CEO and founder, BnBFinder.com
Alluring elegance is a hallmark of Churchill Manor. A former private residence constructed in the late 19th century, this 10,000 square foot Second Empire-style mansion boasts ornate detailing and luxurious touches. The organic, gourmet breakfast can be savored in the marble-floored solarium or in the attached veranda with garden views.
Built in 1906, the Arbor Guest House’s location in a quiet, residential neighborhood offers an oasis of relaxation. After playing a friendly game of bocce ball, you can take a stroll through the inn’s fragrant gardens or sip wine in the charming gazebo.
A beautiful and historic mansion, circa 1902, The Beazley House is situated in a Victorian neighborhood. This luxury bed and breakfast, Napa’s first, includes whirlpool tubs, spa services, and private hide-away rooms with fireplaces.
The Inn on Randolph, an 1860’s Victorian, sits on nearly an acre of landscaped gardens in the Napa Valley. Each of the five guest rooms located at the main house and the five newly renovated cottages boast modern décor and amenities. Enjoy a good book while relaxing on the garden terrace.
With its two-story front bay window, blooming gardens and mix of Belgian and English antiques, the Hennessey House offers an enchanting escape. You can watch the sun set from the Queen Anne’s curved front porch or mingle with other guests under the garden trellis.
The Napa Old World Inn is comprised of six separate buildings – the Cabernet House, Private Cottage, Suite House, Main House and two Craftsman cottages. Warm, wooden moldings are featured throughout along with fireplaces and private baths in each guest room.
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