Charming, intimate, upscale—the village of St. Helena offers you everything you want for a Wine Country getaway. Situated in the heart of Napa Valley between Calistoga and Yountville, it’s only about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.
This quaint community of about 6,000 residents has always been an agricultural hub. Over the years as Sonoma and Napa valleys became known for growing grapes and producing world-class wines, the town has made its place on the map. Within walking distance of each other are plenty of tasting rooms, but bucolic St. Helena offers much more to its visitors who hail from the Bay Area and far beyond.
As Healdsburg does for Sonoma, St. Helena lends Napa Valley a small-town atmosphere that welcomes you to stay awhile. Downtown brims with chic boutiques, art galleries and farm-to-table eateries (https://www.sthelena.com/) You can choose from a handful of local spas that will pamper you in style. This is the land of “feel-good,” where it’s all about the experience. Rolling, oak-studded hills, Mediterranean climate, vineyards, fresh air and blue sky add up to paradise. And you might as well enjoy the wine, too.
Napa Valley is a small wine-growing region, relative to how many acres across the globe are devoted to grapes. This preserves the artisan quality of the family-owned wineries and the craft of winemaking. St. Helena may be small, but its winemakers are world renown. It’s home to some of the big names like Charles Krug and Beringer, but there are loads of smaller must-taste wines such as Sinegal, V. Sattui and Trinchero. A day in the valley wine tasting topped off by dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant? It doesn’t get much better.
Those foodies among us know St. Helena for its gourmet fare, and the CIA (Culinary Institute of America: https://www.ciachef.edu/cia-california/). You don’t have to be an aspiring chef to enjoy its cooking and wine classes, tastings, and demos though.
If you prefer a homemade culinary experience, check out the St. Helena Farmer’s Market downtown in Crane Park (http://sthelenafarmersmkt.org). Every Friday, May through October, this is the place to find exotic mushrooms, fresh-caught fish, hand-crafted cheeses and baked goods—you name it! Select fresh ingredients, grab a couple bottles of wine and experience the fun of preparing food with friends at your pied-a-terre in the Wine Country.