It's been horrifying to follow the news of the wildfires ravaging Napa and Sonoma counties in northern California. This is a region that depends on tourism and its world-class agricultural products like wine, grapes and olives, so the fires have truly disrupted life in every way. The famous Silverado Trail was shutdown. Wineries have been destroyed and all others have battened the hatches. Thousands of homes and businesses have been decimated. Wine productions will be challenged for seasons to come. As of right now, more than 200,000 acres have been scorched.
Most devastating of all is that more than 40 precious lives have been lost and local responders are still searching for those who are missing.
A quiet hike at Westwood Hills Park in Napa, California || August 2017
With my 30th birthday around the bend, my husband, Josh and two of our close friends planned a weekend in Napa and Sonoma in late October to celebrate. We've been following the fire reports over the last two weeks and wanted to keep the trip and show our economic support for the region, however, our hotel recommended that we reschedule. When I spoke with the manager about the recovery progress, he shared that their rooms were all full capacity with evacuees.
Although we've postponed our adventure, I wanted to share the itinerary I created, so you can get some creative ideas of what to do for a couples' weekend in Napa and Sonoma. I built the itinerary for free on an infographic-building platform called Canva, which has really cool, customizable templates to work with. I've made it public, so you can check it out and build your own for your next adventure.
Here are my recommendations for fun things to do in Napa and Sonoma. These are my favorite wineries, eateries and attractions with a few words about why I selected each for our group of four!
- Castello di Amorosa: historically accurate medieval castle with cellar tastings, extensive gift shop with local products like grape seed oil and olive oil
- Genova Delicatessan: best place in town to pack and prepare for your picnic, delicious sandwiches and cheeses
- Grgich Hills Estate: grape stomping in the fall
- Buena Vista Winery: costumed tour guide and tasting
- Kunde Family Winery: family-owned, beautiful vineyard, the family supports many causes in the community
- Basalt: creative American menu with regional ingredients, cool outdoor seating, can customize menu for special events
Don't drink? It's a misconception that there isn't anything to do besides drink on a trip to Napa and Sonoma. I absolutely love the region for its gourmet food, vineyard, castle and cave tours, scenic hiking, grape juice tasting (yes, it's a thing at Castello di Amorosa!) and activities like grape stomping and olive oil tasting.
If you would like to volunteer and help support the region's recovery efforts, check out this Google doc to find the right opportunity for you. In the meantime, please keep the region in your prayers as they rebuild! Let me know your favorite wineries, so I can check them out on our next adventure.
To all those who adventure unabashedly,