today’s guide is devoted to a region in california that is almost too beautiful for words: napa valley. blogger, crafter, and napa native, katherine jalaty, is taking us on a tour of the best spots to shop, eat & drink, stay, and site-see while visiting this wonderful part of northern california. if you’re lucky enough to be visiting soon i hope you’ll enjoy katherine’s guide- and have a glass of wine for us. thanks to katherine for sharing her tour through napa valley! [illustration above by julia rothman]
CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!
Napa Valley Guide
Many people travel to the Napa Valley to visit the many wineries and restaurants the region has become known for. Without a doubt, wine tasting and restaurant hopping are both valid and wonderful reasons to visit. However, there is more to Napa than wine and food!
As a Napa native, I have watched the area grow tremendously, and continue to be amazed at all of the new and exciting things going on.
*Heritage Culinary Artifacts is one of my absolute favorite shops in Napa. Located in the Oxbow Public Market, this small space is loaded with amazing finds. Proprietor, Lisa Minucci, travels the world to to stock her shop with early examples of earthenware, cooking and dining utensils, furniture, artwork, and taxidermy. This shop is not one to miss!
*Betty’s Girl owner Kim Northrop has turned her love of vintage clothing into a successful downtown Napa boutique. She keeps her shop stocked with dresses, cardigans, shoes and accessories and offers free alterations for those items you fall in love with but that do not quite fit.
*Copperfield’s Booksis a large independent (and Napa’s only) bookstore with an open layout, a large selection (especially of cookbooks!) and comfortable sofas and chairs meant for getting comfortable with a book before you buy it.
*Antiques on Second is a multi-dealer collective carrying a large selection of antique and vintage clothing, furniture housewares and more, and (if you ask) they will offer a 10% discount on non-sale items over $20.
*Shackford’s Kitchen Store carries everything you need for your kitchen and dining room. As one of the reviewers states, “If they do not carry it, it probably does not exist!” This longtime Napa establishment has been run by the same family for generations.
*Napa Valley Traditions is the place to go for your Napa Valley souvenirs. They carry a selection of tasteful trinkets to remember your trip, as well as a selection of local food products. The coffee shop located inside the store opens at 7:30 a.m.
*V Marketplace (formerly Vintage 1870) is a small complex in an old winery building. Its cobblestone walkways and creaky wooden stairs lead to some treasures, including Tay & Grace (clothing for women) and Sisters Boutique (clothing for both men and women).
*Martin Showroom is the gorgeous showroom for Erin Martin Design, and is another one to add to the “Must Visit” list. While you probably will not be walking away having made any purchases, the inspiration in this space is unparalleled. If you cannot make it to St. Helena to visit the showroom, browse the website and the firm’s selection of items on First Dibs.
*Footcandy carries a gorgeous selection of shoes from the likes of Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Tory Burch and more.
*Jan de Luz carries a large selection of imported linens, including bath towels and robes, bedding and kitchen linens and offers in house monogramming services.
*Lunaria Home Furnishings Boutique “exhibits the talents of Jessica Hall Associates” and carries a well edited selection of flooring, lighting and draperies. The selection here is beautiful and unique, and unlike any other in the Valley.
*Pennyweight is the go-to place for simple, classic stationery.
*Amelia Claire has been in business for the past 20 years and carries an adorable selection of shoes and clothing.
*Napa Valley Vintage Home is (in my opinion) the quintessential Napa Valley home shop. Carrying a gorgeous selection of throw pillows, table linens, items for children and more, Napa Valley Vintage Home combines casual and pretty in a way that is very representative of the area.
*Findings Napa Valley carries vintage and vintage-inspired items for your home. Most have a grape/wine theme, without being blatantly obvious and over the top. Merchandise aimed at visitors can be (for lack of a better description) quite tacky, but Maura Wilson fills her shop with items that are anything but.
*Steve’s Hardware carries not only the standard hardware store merchandise, but also an impressive selection of household and kitchen items, including Le Crueset cookware, Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and more. In fact, they just expanded the existing location in order to give more space and attention to the housewares. If you are getting married, be sure to ask about their wedding registry!
*Angele is a dream of the Rouas family and is run by Bettina Rouas. Come not only for the delicious, rustic French cuisine, but for the ambiance and friendly service. Angele has a large local following and many regulars (including us!) who return time and time again for lunch on the patio (weather permitting) or a burger at the bar to catch up with friends.
*Villa Corona is a locals favorite for delicious, hearty Mexican food.
*Napa General Store is part retail shop (carrying a nice selection of home accessories), part restaurant and part music venue.
*Norman Rose Tavern recently opened to rave reviews. With its cozy pub atmosphere, extensive beer selection and down home food featuring seasonal, local ingredients, the Norman Rose is an excellent choice for either lunch or dinner.
*Azzurro Pizzeria E Enoteca is the first restaurant opened by Michael and Christina Gyetvan (who recently opened the Norman rose tavern). Azzuurro is known for its delicious pizzas from the woodburning oven, and for manciatas–a ‘handful’ of just baked dough with a salad on top. Fold and eat just like a sandwich!
*Buttercream has been a Napa Valley staple since 1948. Most of us grew up with a Buttercream cake in a pink box for our birthdays, and breakfast at the counter on the weekends. There is still a line every weekend of customers who want eggs and hashbrowns served by the familiar faces of the Buttercream ladies.
*Bouchon Bakery started as a place to bake bread for Thomas Keller’s nearby restaurants, The French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro, but soon grew into a full scale boulangerie. Locals and visitors alike line up for coffee, macarons, croissants, Thomas Keller Oreos (TKO), and sandwiches on housemade baguettes.
*Clemente’s at Val’s Liquors serves delicious family style Italian food made from scratch. the catch? It is takeout only–perfect if you have had a long day of wine tasting (easy to do) and would rather eat dinner in your room than a restaurant.
*CalMart is an independent grocery store and the perfect place to stop for picnic supplies and snacks before you head out for the day.
*Napa River Inn is located in the Historic Napa Mill and offers rooms with balconies overlooking the Napa River and a courtyard which includes the outdoor seating area of Napa General Store. The hotel manages to maintain a feel of luxury while preserving some of the original details of the building’s industrial past.
*If you are looking for the ultimate B&B experience, Churchill Manor is the place for you. Built in 1889 and located in downtown Napa, Churchill Manor has ten rooms, and offers full, gourmet breakfast service, afternoon sweets, and an evening wine reception. One of the benefits of a small inn such as this is that the owners, Brian Jensen and Joanna Guidotti, are a constant presence and are happy to make recommendations and help with whatever you may ne during your stay.
*If you will be going back and forth between the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, you may want to tryCarneros Inn, which offers 86 individual cottages. Each cottage is 450 square feet, fully furnished, both indoors and out. There are two restaurants on the property, The Boonfly Cafe (try the breakfast flatbread or the banana pancakes!) and Farm, as well as Market, which carries groceries, wines and artisinal products from around the area.
*If you would like to stay somewhere that is a little bit off the beaten path, Calistoga Ranch may be the place for you. Calistoga Ranch is on a gorgeous 157-acre site and provides an atmosphere which promotes relaxing and
*Many of the hotels in the area are dog friendly, however do not allow you to leave your animals unattended in your room during the day. Where should you leave your pet while you are out exploring the Valley? Ruff. Dog Daycare + Hotel provides both day and overnight care for dogs and cats and on top of it is a beautiful space. Owners, Theresa and Shane Holden, have worked hard to provide a place with a modern, clean aesthetic with lots of personal details. Photos of their own dogs (taken by both Theresa and Shane and Chien Chien Fine Art Dog Photography) as well as friends and customers line the walls, a large indoor/outdoor space (complete with shallow wading pools and misters for warm weather) and modern furniture is strategically placed for the comfort of both pets and their owners. Most importantly, the staff at Ruff. will care for your pet as if he or she is their own.
*In May, the historic Uptown Theater will reopen as a live music venue. After much controversy and years of renovation, I am looking forward to the opening!
*Hess Collection Gallery is not only a winery, but a gallery, which houses part of the massive art collection of Donald Hess. Although it is a bit out of the way, the trip to see work by such artists as Francis Bacon, Franz Gertsch, Robert Motherwell, and Leopoldo Maler is well worth it. Plan on spending a few hours to see the art, taste some of the Hess Collection wines and explore the beautiful grounds.
*Schedule a wine tasting at Ma(i)sonry to not only taste wine, but view a well curated selection of artwork and furnishings in this living gallery. Ma(i)sonry is located in a historic stone building, and strives to be “a setting in which people come to be inspired by all things aesthetic.”
*Are you interested in moving to Napa or the surrounding area? If so, real estate agent Nicole McIntosh of Lifestyle Properties is your best resource. Not only does she have impeccable style, but she knows this Valley well. Her blog, I Heart Napa, is one of the most comprehensives Napa Valley guides I have seen (and it showcases her beautiful photography!).