Best Napa Experiences for Summer 2021
- The Latest
July 22, 2021
Wine Tasting in the Vineyard at Trefethen
Located just a quick drive from San Francisco, Napa Valley offers a perfect weekend getaway from the city for epicureans and culture enthusiasts alike. A Californian enclave, the countryside brims with an array of Michelin-starred restaurants, contemporary hotels, quaint markets, and world-class wineries. Summer is one of the best times to make your way to the Valley when you have the widest variety of intimate and family-friendly activities to enjoy. For third-generation Trefethen siblings Hailey and Lorenzo, Napa Valley has been their lifelong home. Born and raised in the Valley, they regularly welcome visitors from all around the globe and have collated their own list of hidden gems and ultimate must-dos over the years. Read on to explore the duo’s itinerary of top things to see and do that will give you a perfect taste of wine country’s diverse and unique flavors.
The pool at Marriott
Where to Stay In Napa Valley
No matter your budget, there are a variety of accommodation options in the heart of California wine country to suit every traveler’s needs. According to Lorenzo, although Airbnb or VRBO options are limited, many guesthouses and hotels are available. His top tip is to book well ahead.
“Busy times tend to be around harvest, from August to November. The Valley always fills up quickly!” he cautions.
The good news? If you are a Trefethen Club Member, you will benefit from discounts offered by our selected hotel partners, or splurge on a number of luxurious spots like Auberge du Soleil – one of the finest resorts in the world. Poetry Inn and Milliken Creek are delightful, too, and there’s an excellent new Thai-themed B&B located near Trefethen called Bann.
“The owner is a well-known Thai chef in San Francisco,” shares Lorenzo. “I really want to go eat there!”
Oxbow Public Market
Where to Eat In Napa Valley
There is certainly no shortage of culinary treasures to savor while visiting Napa Valley – home to one of the highest concentrations of Michelin stars per capita in the world. Hailey and Lorenzo’s eyes both light up when they discuss the gastronomic landscape. “Don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a good meal but make sure you have a healthy appetite when you visit!” laughs Hailey.
First up, Oxbow Public Market is a must-stop for the delicious variety of options,particularly breakfast. Hailey recommends C Casa in particular – a taqueria serving handmade white corn tortillas. Another delectable breakfast spot is Southside, with several locations around town serving authentic Californian cuisine. For lunch, try the Rutherford Grill (the grilled artichoke, pork ribs, and oreo cookie cake are not to be missed) or a perennial favorite for Hailey and Lorenzo: Mustards.
“The fish tostada special is always amazing, and the pork chop is out of this world!” says Lorenzo.
As day turns to night and the Valley fills with beautiful twilight, it’s time to explore dinner options. Cook does not take reservations and serves some of Lorenzo’s favorite food in the valley. “I also adore Ad Hoc, which has a different family-style menu every night, and Compline, which makes the best burger in town. And don’t miss out on the duck fat fries!” he adds.
Both siblings also love Italian dishes and suggest making a reservation at Bistro Don Giovanni to enjoy the best outdoor patio in the Valley with its stunning statuary water fountain.
Entrance to the restored Historic Winery at Trefethen
Things to Do In Napa Valley
Once you’ve explored the rich culinary landscape of the Valley, here is one absolute must-do if you’re in wine country: drink wine! Naturally, Lorenzo and Hailey extend a warm invitation to plan a visit to Trefethen Family Vineyards.
“Our Visitor Center is open, and we have a variety of curated tasting flights for you to enjoy outside on the patio,” says Hailey. “I also wouldn’t recommend doing more than two wineries in a day. Give yourself sufficient time for each experience.”
Besides wineries, there are plenty of activities to fill up your itinerary. Fly above the valley floor in a hot air balloon by booking with Napa Valley Balloon.
“It’s a wonderful way to start the day, especially if you only have 24 hours or so in the valley,” explains Lorenzo. Other outdoor activities include hiking or cycling. “I love biking up Atlas Peak Road, but it is a climb!” says Lorenzo.
For those looking for some R&R, Napa is buzzing with shops to explore.
“Oxbow Public Market is great not only for restaurants but for groceries too. Try Hudson Greens & Goods– a charming grocer sourcing from local farms. Whole Spice is the coolest spice shop where you can smell and buy any and every spice you can think of,” shares Hailey.
If you’re a bookworm, visit Napa Bookmine, and for other gifts, Carter & Co in St. Helena sells great finds from all around the world. To end your day on a high note, check out what’s playing at The Uptown Theatre– “They get some incredible acts, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house,” say’s Lorenzo. For film buffs, a pilgrimage to one of the longest-running cinemas in the country is a must, the adorable single-screen Cameo Cinema in St. Helena. “They even have love seats!” says Hailey.
“If I had to describe Napa, it would be…Beautiful. Welcoming. Delicious.” – Lorenzo Trefethen
Lorenzo and Hailey are passionate advocates for their hometown. For Lorenzo, Napa Valley is exactly what you
expect it to be: a delightful landscape of grapevines, wildflowers, world-class Cabernets, and rolling hills.
“If I had to describe Napa in three words, it would be: Beautiful. Welcoming. Delicious,” he states.
Hailey agrees, “Napa exemplifies the concept of slow living. Yes, it’s becoming more dynamic and fashionable, but it’s still very much an agricultural community that moves at a relaxed pace.”
Lorenzo adds, “I’ve always been comfortable here. You only need to visit once to see what a special place this is. The things that you encounter every day are beautiful and inspiring. As a bonus, big-city culture is only an hour away in San Francisco.”
Hailey nods along with Lorenzo’s musings and adds, “Few people know that Napa Valley is the first and only Agricultural Preserve in the United States and was the first officially designated American Viticultural Area. So the environmental diversity is abundant and, most importantly, protected. The climate is also fantastic. We enjoy warm, sunny days and cool evenings. For me, there’s nothing better than sitting in my backyard at home with a glass of wine and just admiring the surrounding nature. It’s reinvigorating. There is also a wonderful sense of community.”
This concept of community is undoubtedly a cornerstone for the Trefethen family. Founder Gene Trefethen was instrumental in building so many communal institutions, from the business school at Berkeley to the Kaiser Permanente Hospital system. Later, Janet Trefethen led the way in establishing the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley and played a significant hand in setting up the Napa Valley Cooking Classes that took place at Trefethen.
Following last year’s events, coming together and supporting the community is more important now than ever. “The best way to do so is not only to visit but to buy and enjoy the fruits of the valley at home as well,” encourages Lorenzo. Hailey adds: “If you do visit, share the love on your social media platforms and tag the relevant establishment.”
This summer, whether you’re planning a quick 24-hour jaunt or leisurely séjour, make sure Trefethen Family Vineyards and Napa Valley are on your bucket list.
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