Yountville Offers Fine Dining, Wine and Breathtaking Sights

Love the Napa Valley but hate the weekend traffic and crowds? Then set your GPS for Yountville, and enjoy a day of small town charm, fabulous wine, award-winning dining and world-class art. Start your adventure on Washington Street, where you’ll find all  sorts of gems tucked away in plain site.

If you arrive in the morning, stop in at Bouchon Bakery for a croissant and a cappuccino. This Thomas Keller establishment was conceived as a means to keeping The French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro restaurants supplied with fresh-made bread
before becoming a retail shop in its own right. The bakery features a wide selection of breads and desserts that are available to go or can be enjoyed on the patio.

Cross the street and head over to V Marketplace. Once home to Groezinger Winery, the fabulously restored brick building now houses specialty shops and restaurants. Shop for apparel, including some unique hats and purses made from cork, home accessories, specialty nuts, olive oils, cooking salt and more. The Marketplace is home to four art galleries, featuring wine country art, modern and contemporary paintings, art glass and wall art. Sweet tooths will be enticed along the cobblestone walkways
right to Kollar Chocolates, where you can watch chocolates being made or indulge in some gelato goodness.

Washington Street is also home to many tasting rooms. Most charge around $20 for tasting and some offer food pairings. However, if time permits, stop in at Napa Valley Bike Tours and rent a bike to get to some of the outlying wineries. Bikes are available to rent by the hour and rental includes a helmet, lock, route map and free roadside assistance. Better yet, reserve a spot in a small tour of up to 12 guests. The tours are led by a guide and feature a leisurely ride to visit Napa Valley wineries. The tour includes three winery visits, about 3 to 6 miles of riding between wineries, and a catered picnic lunch. Half day tours, self-guided tours and cycling through the vineyard tours are also available. Tours start at $99. Tasting fees are not included.

You’re bound to get hungry, and when you do you are in the right spot. Home to nearly a dozen Michelin-rated restaurants, there is no shortage of fine dining in Yountville, many of which are easy to get into on a Sunday afternoon. Check out some reviews online, or walk from place to place and menu shop to find what suits you best. A group of friends I was with opted for gourmet burgers at Hurley’s, which paired perfectly with a glass of Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc.

If you are a cemetery buff, the George C. Yount Pioneer Cemetery is just down the road. Established in 1848, it will be one of the oddest cemeteries you ever visit, with stones “arranged” haphazardly, in a seemingly random fashion.

Things for you to know: Yountville is located on Highway 29. For restaurant and winery listings, go to www.VisitNapaValley.com/Yountville. For information on bike rentals, please visit NapaValleyBikeTours.com.

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