My husband and I got married in Minneapolis on August 16 and spent the following week on our honeymoon exploring Napa Valley, California. Neither of us had been before, so we arrived armed with a mile-long list of musts to see, eat, drink and do. Here’s what we loved the most:
We had a number of delicious, fresh meals while there, but the place we enjoyed best was Grace’s Table, located in the heart of downtown Napa. Thanks to local sourcing, the quality and caliber of food was unbelievable and we knew we set the bar high for all other meals.
We spent an afternoon exploring Oxbow Public Market, a 40,000-square-foot space with a variety of food vendors, artisan cafes and local farmers selling organic produce. While there are a number of restaurants within the market, we chose to enjoy happy hour at Hog Island Oyster Bar. We’re not oyster fans but we knew we had to try one, and boy, we’re glad we did. Turns out, if you grill an oyster and add butter, white wine and shallots, they’re delicious!
You can’t go to Napa Valley and not go to wineries. The first winery we visited was Domaine Carneros, which is situated amongst the valley’s rolling hills in an old chateau. It’s a must-go for the scenery, sparkling wine flight and gorgeous architecture.
As a recommendation, we scheduled a tasting at Williamson Wines, located in Healdsburg, roughly an hour from Napa. We were treated to a seven course wine and food pairing. We learned about the wines, the process and how to pair the right wine with the right light bite.
When we weren’t overindulging in food and wine, we visited two places I had dreamed about going for the last year while we planned the honeymoon. The first is the Healdsburg SHED. You can eat, drink, shop and learn all in one incredibly unique space. We had lunch and explored the shop, which is separated by cooking, farming and home provisions.
The other day trip we went on was to the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. We enjoyed a guided tour of the grounds, learned about the different programs offered, the historic building and what a day in the life of a culinary school student looks like.
We had a wonderful visit and while we have a few bottles of wine to remember the trip by, we can’t wait to go back.
Photos by Kalin LeBrun