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Weekender: 5 reasons to go to Yountville

Jenna Scatena | July 19, 2012 | Story Travel Weekend Escapes

Wine country can be overwhelming. Instead of spending the majority of your weekend in Highway 29 traffic driving from one crowded tasting room to the next, station yourself in Yountville, a walking-friendly town where Michelin starred restaurants mix with casual up-and-coming fare. Nearby, new ways to experience the vineyards trump idle tastings.

Do: Start your Saturday with a few vinyasas… in a vineyard. Winemaker-cum-yoga instructor Nicole Abioyness is hosting a yoga class at Kristine Ashe Vineyards to kick off the last weekend of Napa’s Festival del Sole. All those down dogs and chaturangas will justify the early morning wine tasting at the end of class.

Taste: Thomas Keller’s buttermilk fried chicken, served with a rotating list of sides like marble potato salad or braised rainbow chard, are worth the trek to Yountville in itself. Eat it out back at one of their picnic tables. For dinner try the wood-fired pizzas at Redd Wood. Cap the night off at the bar with a NoYo Manhattan (Makers Mark, Punt e Mes, and dried Tuscan cherries). Note the outdoor fire pit.

Sip: Not a fan of wine tasting rooms that seem more crowded than a FiDi bar at happy hour? Then opt for an ATV ride through Somerston Estate’s vineyards while getting a crash course in local viticulture. Unwind with a sampling of their estate wines paired with artisan cheese on their patio. Be sure to make an appointment.

See: Get a different view of California through renowned abstract expressionist Ira Yeager’s latest exhibit, Modern, at the Napa Valley Museum. Or embark on a self-guided tour of over 30 of Yountville’s outdoor sculptures.

Stay: Perched on a hillside two miles east of downtown Yountville, the Poetry Inn is a private oasis amid the wine country hubbub. With just five rooms and quiet pool overlooking the valley, it feels more like you’ve scored a weekend at a friend’s vacation home than checked in at a hotel—and the wood-burning fireplace in each room creates the perfect impetus to uncork a cab. Plan on a late checkout: their three-course breakfast, served on your private veranda, will make you want to stay until they kick you out. Which is exactly how a good weekend getaway should end.


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