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Napa Valley Expedition Tours
WineCountry.com is often flooded with requests from travelers wanting to know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. TravelBrains Inc. has the answer! With the development of the Napa Valley Expedition Guide travelers are now more prepared than ever to take a tour through the Napa Valley. After deciding which wineries go to see by visiting www.napavalley.com, travelers can gain the expertise and play-by-play background of the Napa Valley with the Napa Valley Expedition Guide.
This guide is complete with a full color guidebook loaded with vibrant photos and maps explaining Napa Valley history leading to current trends. Also included are two fabulous audio tour CDs (or cassettes) guiding you through the Valley, helping you travel like a local and leaving you more knowledgeable than when you began. The most unique piece of this guide packet, is the first, a CD-ROM that includes animated movies about Napa Valley's wines and history, 3D animation that explains the process of wine making and helps you discover Napa Valleyis grape varieties, and much more. Six multimedia modules provide an entertaining way to add depth to your understanding of wine and the history of Napa Valley.
"This self-guided driving tour is written and narrated by Antonia Allegra, author of Napa Valley, the Ultimate Winery Guide. She is also the founding editor of Appellation a wine country living magazine, and the former wine country TV host for CBS/KPIX "Evening Magazine." Drawing upon her depth of experience, Antonia gives you an insider's tour of this world famous wine region. The tour includes stops at eleven award-winning wineries and five historic locations that are essential to understanding the history and the wines that have made the Napa Valley what it is today." — Napa Valley Expedition Guide
Purchase your Napa Valley Expedition Guide for only $24.95 at http://travelbrains.com/Destinations/NapaValley/NapaValley.htmlFor a complete list of Napa Valley wineries visit: www.napavalley.com
Napa Downtown Trolley
Travel in Style
The City of Napa is proud to boast of the new downtown transportation, the Napa Trolley. This trolley now allows for residents and visitors to enjoy shopping, dining and tourist opportunities in the beautiful downtown, simply by riding the free trolley. "The trolley reinforces the historic ambiance of downtown and showcases our historic neighborhoods while providing a needed transportation service, " said Cassandra Walker, director of the Redevelopment/Economic Development Department for the City of Napa. As Napa awakens from its sleepy town image, the new trolley remedies parking difficulties and provides a classic feel to the celebrated town.
The initial goal of the trolley was to allow residents and visitors to experience downtown from a new and different perspective; to spend more time downtown without having to use a personal vehicle to provide a free public alternate transit service during the summer marketplace and throughout times of renovation and construction. The route best takes advantage of the most number of stores, local services, lodging and dining options, and convenience to the three downtown parking garages, while making it possible for a 33-foot long trolley to maneuver the route in a timely fashion.
The three vintage replica trolleys used for the new service will operate on 20-minute intervals. The trolley service will connect downtown Napa with the Napa Premium Outlets on the west side of Highway 29 and Copia east of downtown. In-between, it will stop at Napa Valley Expo, the Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa Town Center, Fuller Park, and the Library as well as other convenient locations.
The city of Napa is the charming urban gateway and historic center of the Napa Valley. Small town values and tradition uniquely blend with Napa's sophistication in fine wine, food, arts and culture to make it treasured destination by visitors and home to its 72,000 residents. The downtown area, with its mix of meticulously restored landmarks and contemporary projects such as Copia will only further position the city as the center of the Napa Valley.
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
Dining in Sonoma
WineCountry.com is pleased to recommend the Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant as the Dining Recommendation for July. As the Farmhouse may be known for beautifully appointed rooms and a lodging facility loaded with luxurious amenities, the restaurant is truly a delight. From the moment you arrive at this newly renovated landmark, the Sonoma Russian River Wine Valley Inn, you are struck by the stylish decor. The dining room is enhanced by an artistically rendered mural depicting both the owner's family, as well as local Italian families that have farmed this part of Sonoma County for generations.
After being greeted warmly by the maitre d', our waiter expressed his knowledge of the menu and pointed out the frequent use of organically grown, or procured from the wild, meat and produce for the restaurant. They emphasized the use of seasonal produce — deliciously fresh and mouthwatering.
The wine list is comprehensive and boasts many local favorites as well as international selections. Having perused the details while munching on the wonderful bread, we selected one of the restaurants signature dishes, Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit . It proved to be exquisite, as it was a heavenly roasted rack loin of rabbit, wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon dressed with a leg confit seasoned with oregano and cayenne, accompanied with whole grain mustard sauce and fingerling potatoes. If one is inclined to prepare a personal recreation, the recipe follows: http://www.farmhouseinn.com/recipe2.htm
Recently, members of the WineCountry.com staff had the wonderful pleasure of touring and visiting Niebaum-Coppola Winery. Aside from delicious wines, an incredible European appeal, and kind staff, the history of the winery and the role it played throughout Napa's development in the wine industry is reason enough to visit this Rutherford treasure.
Francis Ford Coppola is best known as the five-time Oscar-winning director, writer and producer of such epic films as the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now. Coppola has been making films for nearly 35 years and wine at his Napa Valley estate for 25. He and his wife, Eleanor, purchased part of the historic Niebaum estate in 1975 and made their first vintage of Rubicon in 1978. It was in 1995 that Coppola realized a long-held dream, and purchased the remainder of the original Inglenook estate founded by Gustave Niebaum, restoring it to its historic dimensions. As guests journey throughout the estate on daily tours, it becomes clear how pivotal and influential Gustave Niebaum was as an individual and a winemaker to the growth of the Napa Valley. Coppola has taken great efforts to capture authenticity and preservation of the chateau, the land and vision. To convey the genuine care and attention to detail, the winery and specifically the chateau is designed to marry the history and inspiration of Gustave Niebaum and showcase the appreciation and ingenuity of Francis Coppola. From imported French decor details to magnificent film memorabilia, the union of Niebum and Coppola is truly the essence.
Like the chateau, the wines produced at Niebaum-Coppola are absolutely beautiful and range the full gamut from a food friendly table wine to a vineyard specific or an elite estate wine. Chateau tours will guide you through the massive structure providing you history and insights ending with a tasting in a private cellar. If the weather permits, a scheduled vineyard tour will allow you the opportunity to explore the century-old vineyards surrounding the Chateau, and discover what makes Rutherford soil world famous. Each vineyard tour ends with private wine tasting on the knoll, which is surrounded by a spectacular panorama of Napa Valley and Mt. St. John.
A Napa Valley visit is not complete without a tour and tasting at Niebaum-Coppola Winery. The knowledge and perspective gained by your visit will only enhance your Napa Valley experience. Chateau tours are daily and vineyard tours are prescheduled. It is recommended you call ahead to inquire vineyard tour times or to book a private tour. Be sure to visit www.niebaum-coppola.com for more information.
If you are looking for the perfect base of operations from which to explore the Sonoma Wine Country, you need look no further than MacArthur Place. This understated small hotel with 64 rooms combines the right touch of design, service and ambience to appeal to the hideaway honeymooner or vacationing family alike.
Spacious well appointed rooms rich with down comforters, European walk-in showers, Jacuzzi soaking tubs and custom grape seed bath amenities, including a "tea bag" to soften your bath soak, will rest your tired feet and soothe your soul as you recuperate from exploring the town of Sonoma and wineries beyond.
A few steps away are the pool areas with a pampering spa offering over 30 types of massages, facials and body treatments. This sun washed space is set amid beautiful gardens. The fountains gently scattered throughout the property provide a soothing backdrop as you further explore the grounds enjoying the whimsical sculptures that surprise you at every turn.
Reminiscent of a small Victorian village, gravel paths meander through the gardens and the scent of jasmine engulfs you on your way to the property's restaurant, Saddles Steakhouse - which according to some is the place to go if you want the very best steak in town. It is there you can linger over the menu and sip your favorite cocktail at the martini bar. After you've satisfied your appetite it is certainly recommended to enjoy a leisurely stroll back to your room and take in the fresh air.
Closing the doors and calling it a night will be the beginning to one of your most restful night's sleep, where when you awake refreshed and rejuvenated, fabulous coffee and a complete complimentary Continental breakfast will be waiting.
Learn more about MacArthur Place at: www.macarthurplace.com
Grandma Natalie's Baked Beans
- Courtesy of Natalie Kirwin, San Francisco, CA
A 4th of July Essential!
Melt in a frying pan - l tbs. of butter Add l/4 cup chopped onions and cook over medium heat until transparent, stirring occasionallyAdd:
Bring to boil. Stir in 1 lb. can pork and beans. Pour mixture into a casserole dish.
Fry 4-6 slices of bacon, which has been cut in thirds. Add bacon and a little of the bacon fat to the casserole. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes with casserole covered.
This goes fabulously with any BBQ or picnic menu.
Events for July
July 16 - 27 -- Mendocino Music Festival
July 20 - 21 -- Summer Arts & Crafts Fair
July 4 -- Your Ticket to Adventure at Safari West
July 20 -- A Time to Zin, at Koves-Newlan Vineyards
Year 'Round -- Guided Hikes at Bacara Resort
July 4 -- Annual SPARKLE Fireworks Display
July 4 -- World's Shortest Parade
July 19 - 21 -- Santa Cruz Hot & Cool Jazz Festival
July 6 -- Red, White & Blues at Lake Sonoma Winery
July 26 -- Yan Can Cook at Ramekins
An Insider's Day with Beau Wine Tours!
Win an exclusive VIP Napa Valley wine tour for up to 6 people and get an inside look at some of the hottest producers in the wine industry today! Your 6 hour tour begins around 9:30AM (at any Napa Valley location you choose) as you board your own private, customized Stretch Limousine. Your knowledgeable tour guide will greet you and your friends with complimentary sparkling wine. and begin escorting you through the valley.
Your first winery stop takes you 2000 feet up to the top of the Mayacamas mountain range in one of Napa's most celebrated appellations. On your morning tour of the winery you will walk you through lush vineyards, experience cool-climate wine caves, and taste some very limited production wines. Afterwards you will be treated to a catered gourmet lunch overlooking the most scenic vistas in wine country!
Your next stop will be a tour and tasting in the famed Oakville District (home of big Cabernets) at a private winery just off the Silverado Trail. This elegant property has been built adjacent to a "ghost winery" (closed and abandoned after prohibition). Tastings will include highly rated Chardonnays, very rich Merlots, and delicious Cabernets.
Finally, you will be taken on an extensive barrel tasting tour through the caves of one of Napa's hottest new producers. Get ready for sensory overload as you sample several different barrel types that are aging the same Cabernet! This is a true wine connoisseur's experience, but it doesn't end there. A final tasting of the finished product (current releases) takes place in the "back room" along with a variety of aged cheese.
Tour includes: All tasting and tour fees, lunch, limousine, and 15% gratuity (valued at $846)
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Photography © courtesy of Nicholas Elias