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Here in California’s most celebrated wine country, bucolic country roads wind past perennially sun-drenched vineyards. Thanks to a Mediterranean climate and rich soil, the Napa Valley has been growing prized grapes since the mid-19th century. It’s a bewitchingly beautiful vacation destination, with restaurants, wineries, boutiques and more.
At the southern end of the valley, the riverside town of Napa is packed with elegant bistros and wine bars. Step inside the Oxbow Public Market to taste some of the region’s most revered artisan foods. Head out to the wineries on either busy Highway 29 or along the more leisurely Silverado Trail, where celebrity and under-the-radar winemakers pour rare vintages.
Smaller valley towns are also worth a stop for a meal, to shop or to linger overnight. The former Wells Fargo stagecoach stop of Yountville is a premier foodie destination, home to the world-famous French Laundry. Nearby St Helena hosts the Culinary Institute of America. Capping the valley’s northern end is Calistoga, a hot-springs resort where spas offer unique volcanic mud baths.