Savor the fruits of the Napa Valley vineyards

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Swap the scorching days of summer in Boston for a bustling harvest season in America’s wine capital.


Hot air balloon rides offer unforgettable views of the wine region. /Photo by Judd Brotman/Getty Images

Not two syllables evoke relaxation and self-indulgence just like “Napa”. Not only is the Bay Area’s famed valley home to some of the world’s best food and wine, but opportunities for outdoor adventures abound, all featuring landscapes synonymous with “America the Beautiful.”

Harvest season, which begins this month and extends into the fall, is arguably the best time to savor the fruits of the region’s more than 400 wineries. Need help choosing one (or five) to visit? There’s no shortage of concierge services and tour operators ready to take the guesswork out and help you avoid driving under the influence. Circuits vary widely: Napa Valley Wine Cart offers a five-hour outdoor wagon tour for $125 per person, while Towers without limits’ six-hour personalized tour in a luxury vehicle from $449 per group. For those who want to save their calories and commune with nature, Native Tours of Napa has a local-guided hiking option, and Napa Valley Bike Tours allows you to pedal through scenic countryside between tasting rooms.

Like few other places, Napa has become famous for hot air ballooning, and Napa Valley Balloons– which has an impeccable safety record – promises to give you a bird’s eye view of the dawn breaking over the region. For an equally scenic land alternative, take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Traina 36-mile loop on a vintage train car that combines stunning views with wine tasting and dinner.

Speaking of dining: Napa’s most famous dining destination, chef Thomas Keller’s the french laundry, is a bucket list item for many. If you can’t get a reservation, it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal at Michelin star restaurants like Solbarwhere you can play pétanque between courses of chilled corn soup and sake-marinated black cod, and Hurrywhere Osetra golden caviar and black truffle risotto are love letters to the environment land. And these are only two.

Need a break from all the food and wine? Book an ultra-luxurious spa treatment at the brand new Four Seasons remedy, or exercise the right side of your brain with a visit to Ca’ Toga Art Gallery at Calistoge. Operated by artist Carlo Marchiori, who also offers tours of his neighboring villa, it’s a work of art and a work in progress that combines flights of fancy with top-notch craftsmanship. Downtown Napa and Yountville both have their own art walks with large sculptures, while on every corner is either an art gallery or a homewares store resembling one.

Indeed, the best part of Napa is that there’s something enjoyable everywhere you turn, from farmers’ markets to outdoor concerts – so to everything you find, we say “Cheers!”

A bedroom at the chic Estate Yountville / Photo courtesy of Estate Yountville

Getting There

Delta offers nonstop service from Boston to San Francisco on its new A321neo aircraft, which is 20% more fuel efficient, reducing your carbon footprint. From SFO airport, it will take you just over an hour to sip your first glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Stay here

Close to all the Holy Grails of wine country (including the French Laundry), the new Yountville Domain is a 22-acre “village within a village” with two luxury hotels: the busier Hotel Villagio and its quieter counterpart, Vintage House.


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