10 Warnings For Visitors to Napa Valley
Visiting Napa Valley? Coming to “Wine Country” to soak up some of that good life? Heading our way for a relaxing getaway. Good! We are very pleased you are coming, can’t wait to see you and promise to put our best foot forward for you.
However, I do want to offer 10 warnings to those coming to Napa Valley for a quick vacation, particularly those who have never been here before. It’s not about scaring you away because, believe me, we do want you to come here. It’s just about trying to adjust your expectations.
1. Napa Valley Is Going To Cost More Than You Expect
Whether its your room, food, fuel or the nick nack you buy as a souvenir, it’s going to cost more than what you expect. In fact, at some point during your visit, you are going to come to a dead stop, look at your significant other, put on that look incredulity you wear so well and say, “Really????!!” while looking at the price of something. Be prepared. It’s not an exception. It’s the rule.
2. It’s Gonna Be Cold
Pay no attention to daytime temperatures. You are going to be cold at night, even in the middle of summer. That beautiful 90 degree day you enjoyed while strolling the lovely boutiques in Saint Helena after lunch is gong to turn into 64 degrees by the time you finish dinner. Be prepared. And be prepared for us here to respond to your remark of surprise with, “The grapes love the cool evenings!”
3. There Is No Nightlife Here
It’s one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. The rich and famous live here and visit here often. Movies are made here and they write about this place in thick magazines that look like catalogs. But don’t expect a night life to accompany our status as world-class destination. This isn’t Paris. This isn’t Miami. This isn’t New Orleans. This isn’t Cancun. What you have here, essentially, is a farming community. The only thing there is to do at night is eat, and you probably need to sit down by 9pm.
4. You Are Going To Gain a Few Pounds
Some have argued that there is more great food and great restaurants per capita in Napa Valley than any other place in the world. I would not know how to argue against that proposition. You really do need to do yourself a favor, lose five or so pounds before coming here, and be prepared to add it back on from the eating and drinking. If you go to Vegas, you have a “gambling fund”. If you go to the beach, you leave room for a tan. You need a poundage fund when you come to Napa Valley.
5. Your Kids Are Not Going To Like It Here
There is nothing here. Literally nothing here for vacationing kids in Napa Valley that is going to distract or entertain them for more than a few minutes.
6. You Are Going To Think We Are Wine Snobs if You Don’t Love Wine (and we don’t care)
We are going to throw around foreign words like “Terroir”. We are going to make odd faces when we sip on a wine. The wine will spend probably what seems like way too much time in our mouth before we swallow it. We are going to describe what we taste out loud. We are going to be flabbergasted at what a great deal this $50 bottle of Cabernet is. If this sort of thing seems like the work of people way too obsessed with grape juice and the acts of snobs, they you just aren’t going to “get” us. Roll with it. You are in WineLand and this what we do. We aren’t snobs. We are…..well, yes, we are wine snobs.
7. Wine Drinking Leads to Inebriation
If you drink a certain amount of wine, you will feel it. Be prepared. I know. Who’d a thunk it? If you are conscientious, you won’t get drunk. But I promise you that the one of the results of visiting wineries and tasting wine is that the alcohol will make you tired. The fact is, by the time you get back to your room around 4pm or 5pm, you will be tired. Big Tip: Make late reservations for dinner so you have time to nap.
8. Wine Tasting is Expensive
We are going to charge you between $20 and $50 per person to belly up to our tasting bars and taste our wine….at each winery. Why? Because we can. Now, our bars are beautiful. Some of them have very comfy chairs, other have beautiful views. Others are secluded and you’ll feel very content while there. But it’s going to cost you.
9. Yeah, We’ve Got Traffic Here in Paradise
It’s particularly bad on Highway 29 when you are heading north into Saint Helena during the summer and fall months when all of you are here. You are going to sit in your cars, inch along and it’s going to take extra time to get where you want to go. But consider this. Most of the time when you inch along in your car, you look around and see concrete, billboards for cheap attorneys, miles of ticky tacky subdivisions and signs of social decay all around you. Here in Napa Valley, you get to stare out your window at rows of vineyards, wineries, beautiful hillsides and famous restaurants you’ve only read about. It’s not that bad.
10. Bring a Car
There simply is no way to visit Napa Valley without a car. Public transportation is dismal. The “Wine Train” is for eating, not traveling. Either have a car or a driver at your beck and call.
Welcome to Napa Valley!