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Celebrate the Holidays in Tri-Valley California

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During the holiday season, the Tri-Valley region takes on a whole new charm that makes it an ideal destination for holiday travel or a weekend wine holiday.

tri-valley-livermore-fall-winter-vineyards-photo.jpgThe Tri-Valley offers all sorts of alluring attractions, including 17 premier golf courses, along with 17 regional, National and State parks and is home to over 50 distinct wineries in Livermore Valley. See article. And, several shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries in surrounding areas; Pleasanton, Dublin, and Danville.

Whether you're looking for entertainment, innovative cuisine, freshly caught seafood or friendly, un-rushed tours through some of the country's finest wineries; you'll find it in California's Tri-Valley. You'll also discover a seasonal flare that permeates the countryside, creating the perfect setting for a holiday getaway unlike any other. Read the full blog . . .

Other articles and resources:
Travel Tips for Stress-Free Holidays
Airport Information & Maps
Plan Your Vacation

New to Napa Valley Film Fest - Lifestyle Pavilion

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In it's third year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (November 13-17, 2013) is upping the ante of hip and sophistication with the addition of the swank Lifestyle Pavilion.

nvff-lifestyle-pavilion.jpgThe Pavilion will be centrally located in downtown Napa's Oxbow Market and open to passholders and the public Friday, November 15th - Sunday, November 17th, 10am - 6pm. Experience the latest innovation in cars, technology, and culinary trends; attend film industry panels and cooking demonstrations; and enjoy premier wines at the Wine Pavilion and a chalice or two of Stella Artois. See all the hip details below and if you haven't gotten passes yet, what are you waiting for?! Click Here to buy festival passes now.

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LOUNGES:

CADILLAC LUXURY LOUNGE
See Cadillac's hottest vehicles at the Cadillac Luxury Lounge featuring their all-new 2014 CTS sedan, the centerpiece of the Cadillac line up, that ascends into the heart of the midsize luxury market with expanded performance, elevated luxury, and sophisticated technology.

SONY DIGITAL LOUNGE AND STAGE
Just like Dorothy landing in OZ, your world will burst into a kaleidoscope of vivid colors in the Sony Digital Lounge. Experience the clarity, beauty, and the rich colors of film on a Sony 4K TV. Red, aqua blues, and emerald greens burst from the 4K displays in sharp, realistic fashion.

STELLA ARTOIS
Since 1366, crafting the rich flavor of Stella Artois has been a serious pursuit of excellence. Served in the specially designed Chalice, where every sip is perfection. Thanks to its love affair with the silver screen, Stella Artois supports the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival...and now, the Napa Valley Film Festival.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE STYLE LOUNGE
Come experience the magic of Hollywood through the latest styles and fashions. The beauty of nature juxtaposed with beautiful women...as seen in San Francisco Chronicle's annual wedding issue where such stunning photos serve as a perfect backdrop to Roche Bobois' celebration of exquisite interior design.

Enjoy the Whimsical Crush Season in Calistoga

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The California harvest season is a whimsical experience when staying in Calistoga. Known for its hot springs and world-class wine, this northern Napa Valley town adds another dimension to the wine country.

calistoga-chamber-calistoga-crush-season.jpgThe natural beauty of this perfectly preserved town, named a "Distinctive Destination" by the Trust for Historic Preservation, maintains the intimate nature of yesteryear. During the harvest, from mid-August to October, the vineyards of Calistoga transform from a luscious landscape to a buzzing dance filled with the vivacious movement of the ripened grapes. The ambiance is breathtaking as the season's colors come to life with vibrant hues of tangerine and copper, and the sweet scents of the soft fruity notes from harvest's crush fill the air.

With an all-embracing personality, this spirited community offers a one-of -a- kind experience.  Many local Calistoga wineries host special events featuring the finest of the season's harvest.  Tasting rooms offer opportunities to sample the freshly picked grapes as they make their way to be transformed into the red and white elixir of the appellation. Production tours during the harvest offer a sneak peek into the winemaker's world as they feature the season's crush - the ultimate time to experience the most exciting process of crafting fine collections of decadent wines in Napa Valley.

5 Ways to Uncork Fun in Napa Valley

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Wine tasting, incredible food and breathtaking scenery . . . what more can you ask for when you head to Napa Valley? From girlfriend getaways and guy-only vacays to weekend escapes and family retreats, Napa has something for everyone. Read five ways to live it up and enjoy Napa Valley: 

Meghan-Lamb-Napa-Valley-Oakville-DSC_0044.jpgPhotographer Credit: Meghan Lamb
(1) Walk this Way
Whether Napa is a weekend excursion or a vacation you planned six months ago, wine tasting is at the top of everyone's list. To avoid needing a "DD" or renting a party bus for the day, grab a $25 Taste Napa Downtown card to explore 12 different tasting rooms and wine bars within walking distance of each other. Park your car, take your time, and enjoy the vino without worrying about the next stop on your tour.

ladies_iStock_000004513478XSmall.jpg(2) Ladies Night! (and Daytime too)
Napa Valley is one destination that beckons girlfriends who love to gather, celebrate their sisterhood and sample the grape without the shame and guilt of a Vegas girls getaway. By day, indulge in a soothing spa treatment at many of the spas and wellness centers nearby. Spa Terra located at the Meritage Resort is a perfect choice with their 22,000 square foot Estate Cave spa sanctuary. By night, head to Bistro Sabor for Salsa Saturdays co-hosted by Ceja Vineyards where you can shake what your mama gave you--no cover charge and no partner needed. Just show up!

(3) Just for the Bro's
Trust us, it's not always about MMA Fighting or Nascar when the fellas get together for a guys-only vacay. With more men channeling their inner Anthony Bourdain, food has become the focus for "man-scapes" near and far. Napa Valley is home to more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere in the world and the culinary talents of superstars such as Thomas Keller (French Laundry ring a bell, anyone?). To work off the decadent meals and wine-induced calories, head to Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park for a few rounds of golf. Or paddle your way through the valley by kayaking on the Napa River.

Calistoga - Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival

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Rock out to your old favorite tunes, enjoy the outdoors, and taste delicious food & wine in Downtown Calistoga, March 9, 2013.

calistogaChamber_mustardMudMusicFestival_mustardFields.jpgPhoto Courtesy of Calistoga Visitors Bureau; Photographer Ivan Miller

The annual Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival is returning to Calistoga. Take in the beautiful views of the mustard decorating the city and enjoy 13 bands, 25 wineries, three art galleries, a wellness center and a variety of restaurants with mustard themed food. This fun event happens Saturday, March 9, 2013, from 12 - 5 p.m. along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Calistoga. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets in advance

Participating wineries include Alienor Wines, Bennett Lane Winery, Canard Vineyard, Chateau Montelena, Castello di Amorosa, Envy Wines, Frank Family Vineyards, Joseph Cellars, Tedeschi Family Winery, Twomey Cellars, Vermeil Wines/OnThEdge, Von Strasser Winery, Zahtila Vineyards/Laura Michael Wines, Ziata Wines and more. 

Plan Your Wedding in Napa Valley

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By: Harvest Inn in St. Helena, CA
Photo Credit: Patricia Mark Photography


Wedding-kiss-in-vineyards----credit-Patricia-Mark-Photography-(2).jpgNow is the time to turn a dream of a romantic, al fresco wedding deep in Napa Valley's wine country  into a reality - before the summer is booked up.  Most couples think of having a wedding ceremony at a winery; unfortunately, many Napa Valley wineries are not permitted to serve as a wedding venue. However, don't despair brides, you can still have your fairy tale wine country wedding with beautiful views of the vineyards as the setting.

Harvest Inn, located in the charming town of St. Helena, hosts dozens of weddings annually. Named one of the 'Most romantic date destinations in America' by Redbook magazine, Harvest Inn's eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and vineyards offer a setting unmatched anywhere else in Napa Valley. This gorgeous setting is just steps away from where the happy couple exchanges "I do's".

The perfect place to turn that first date into a lasting commitment is the Vineyard Terrace - a favorite for ceremonies - that creates a stunning setting overlooking the Leonardini Vineyards with views of the Mayacamas Mountains beyond. Afterward, guests can sip cocktails and play croquet and badminton on the Manor House Lawn, while the same Vineyard Terrace is transformed for an elegant dinner. The morning following the big day, newlyweds can wake up to a complimentary wine country breakfast and unwind with spa treatments in a private cabana by the vineyards. Surrounded by redwoods and grape vines, the Inn has a secluded feel, yet guests can still walk to St. Helena's  pleasant Main Street, home to several fine dining restaurants and boutiques.

HarvestInn_Weddings_Tables-set-up-vineyard-view-(2).jpg


Bridal Bliss at Millken Creek Inn & Spa

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Last Minute Elopements and Intimate Events -
 It's Not Too Late for a Dream Wedding in Napa Valley Wine Country

nvWeddings.jpgBridal bliss does not have to take months of planning and stressful arrangements. Sometimes, the best decisions are made in the blink of an eye. For those dreaming of a Napa Valley wine country wedding but think they've missed the boat for 2012, think again. Easy arrangements for intimate weddings are within reach at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa - an exclusive and authentic boutique luxury hotel and spa nestled on the banks of the Napa River.

Small weddings are a big trend. To many, the appeal of a complete retreat from day-to-day cares takes the shape of an elopement - the ultimate in intimate weddings. For others, small groups of close friends or family are cause for celebration. Either way, an added benefit of the small wedding in Napa is that Napa is also the perfect choice for a honeymoon! Why not combine both and enjoy an extended escape.

To satisfy an ever-growing demand, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa has introduced a series of nuptial packages for the newly engaged who seek the utmost in intimate wedding experiences: Elopement, Intimate Wedding, and The Takeover. Each package offers a picture-perfect idyllic garden-setting backdrop. An on-site guest services team is available to ensure newlyweds can relax and enjoy all that Napa has to offer. For those seeking a more customized approach to wedding planning, Milliken's wedding coordinator can create any number of package variations.

See detailed package information below and call 800.822.8418 to speak to a Milliken wedding specialist visit www.MillikenCreekInn.com.

Playing Hooky: It's Not Just for Kids

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Escape Winter Work and Worries for a Wine Country Escape
at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa


It's the time of year that often seems the longest. With no official long holiday weekends until the end of May and summer nowhere near, the days drag. So why not sneak away mid-week and be your own boss for a few days?

Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, a12-room luxury boutique hotel and spa in the very heart of Napa, invites you to "play hooky" and escape to a place where the "daily grind" includes sleeping in a plush luxurious bed, sipping wine by the fireplace and getting massaged by an expertly trained professional. Playing Hooky is not just for kids - just as a power nap helps the brain focus for the rest of the day, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa proposes that a quick and strategic break from the work routine helps refresh the mind and renew the body!

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With Milliken Creek Inn and Spa's "Playing Hooky" package, guests experience:
  • One night accommodations in a Milliken Room with King Bed                                     (Sunday through Thursday only)
  • One 60-minute aromatherapy massage
  • Breakfast for two each morning served in your room or anywhere on property
  • Concierge assistance in planning and visiting the most acclaimed wineries and restaurants in Napa Valley
  • Daily sunset Magic Hour wine and cheese reception


HEALDSBURG, Calif. -- Healdsburg's "Epicurean Winter" heads into its third and final month with events dedicated entirely to pork and pinot noir, consecutive barrel tasting weekends and even a chance to dine, drink and donate to benefit the region's renowned Healdsburg Jazz Festival. The affordable, off-season lodging packages, regional dinner specials and wine pairings that have been a part of "Epicurean Winter" from its January 1 launch continue through March 31 as Healdsburg showcases its culinary bounty.

wineRoad_WineGlassLogo.jpgMarch Highlights:

EVENTS

March 2-4 and March 9-11: Barrel Tasting Weekends
Healdsburg lies in at the intersection of three celebrated appellations - Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and the Russian River Valley - making it the ideal location for wine lovers to sample some of the best wine in the state. Now in its 34th year, this event gives ticket holders the chance to experience private winery tours, taste new wines from the barrel, and sample tasting-room-only and limited production wines. Special offers available at many participation wineries; some tastings by appointment only. Tickets start at $25; visit www.wineroad.com/events or call 888-251-0560 for details.

March 23-24: Pigs & Pinot 2012 - All tickets to this annual event are already sold out!

Now - March 31: Sonoma Neighbor Menu & Live Jazz
Diners will enjoy live jazz accompanying their three-course tasting menu on Mondays and Tuesdays at Hotel Healdsburg's Dry Creek Kitchen.  $36 per guest, $51 with paired wines; $2 from each menu will be donated to the Healdsburg Education Foundation.  For details, visit us online or call 707-431-1500.

Now - March 31: A Taste of Pigs & Pinot
Dry Creek Kitchen will be featuring a special pork and pinot noir pairings all month; starting March 24, diners will have a chance to order an actual dish from the popular Pigs & Pinot Gala Dinner paired with the official Pinot Cup winner. For details, visit online or call 707-433-1500.

Now - March 31: Epicurean Winter Wine Tour
Healdsburg Area Winery Tours specializes in private wine tasting tours customized to guests' personal wine preferences and destination interests. Mention "Epicurean Winter" when making reservations and receive a 10% discount on certain tours. For details, visit www.healdsburgareawinerytours.com or call 707-433-6090.

Tri-Valley Events: February 15, 2012 - February 22, 2012

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Mark Your Calendars

Dublin St. Patrick's Day Celebration

March 17, 2012 - March 18, 2012 - Civic Plaza
  • Festival Friday & Saturday, March 17 & 18 10:00am - 5:00pm.
  • Green & White Gala: Friday, March 16, 7:00pm - Dublin Senior Center.
  • Parade: Saturday, March 17, 9:30am - Dublin Blvd.
  • Pancake Breakfast: Saturday, Macrh 17, 7:00 - 10:00am - Fire Station #16.
  • Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk: Sunday, March 18, 8:30am - Civic Plaza.

Goodguys 30th All American Get-Together
March 24 - March 25, 2012 - Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566-7001

Features: Over 3,000 All American or American Powered Rods, Customs, Classics, Muscle Cars, Street Machines & Trucks • Vendors & Exhibitors • Indoor & Outdoor Car Show • Huge Swap Meet & Cars 4 Sale Corral • Model & Pedal Car Show • Arts & Crafts Show • Kids Play Area • Pinstripers Brush Bash & Auction. For more information visit www.allamericangettogether.com


Barrel Tasting Weekend
March 31, 2012 - April 1, 2012 -- March 31-April 1, 2012 (12-4:30pm)

Sample wines right out of the barrel from over 35 wineries during Livermore Valley's 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. This is your chance to taste wines before they have been bottled, getting a behind the scenes look into the wine-making process. Meet winemakers, bottle your own wines, enjoy food pairings, and other activities that vary by winery. Tickets
are $30 advance ($35 event day) and include: 2 days of barrel tasting, exclusive discounts, keepsake glass, and special activities at each winery. For a list of activities, participating wineries, and to purchase tickets, visit www.LVwine.org.

CLICK HERE for all events over the next 7 days.

Epicurean Winter in Healdsburg: On a Budget?

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healdsburgChamber_sidewalkShopping.jpgThis winter is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with Healdsburg, a charming, picturesque town in Sonoma County which boasts some of California's best wineries and restaurants all ensconced in lush, rolling hills and surrounded by spectacular vineyard views.

Now through the end of March, Healdsburg is celebrating their culinary bounty with the three-month-long "Epicurean Winter," a collection of food, wine, family-friendly and outdoor events designed to highlight the most delicious aspects of this oasis, located just 70 miles north of San Francisco.

What travelers may not realize is how many wallet-friendly options Healdsburg's "Epicurean Winter" has to offer. Even those watching their budget can enjoy the world-class food, wine and entertainment without breaking the bank. Here are some exciting ways that even the frugal visitor can experience the best of this culinary mecca.

Epicurean Winter in Healdsburg: Valentine's Week!

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This February, "Epicurean Winter" is enticing food and wine-lovers to head to Healdsburg, Sonoma for a romantic and effortless escape to wine country. Widely considered a culinary mecca situated in the scenic Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys, Healdsburg has put together an amazing new winter program with 100+ food & wine events - perfect for a fanciful Valentine's celebration. 

Culinary couples can choose from hundreds of world-class wineries to visit, dine on upscale Sonoma cuisine, and take in the luxurious blend of arts and culture, boutique shopping, and charming hotels that this idyllic yet sophisticated town has to offer. Take advantage of Valentine's Week events and lodging specials:

rodneyStrong_ChocFantasy.jpgEpicurean event highlights include:

  • 23rd Annual Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong - Feb 4th - The barrel room is transformed to showcase chocolate, wine, live music and savory appetizers; $65/person, includes souvenir glass.
  • Friday Night Guest Sommelier at Dry Creek Kitchen -  Feb 10th - Acclaimed Sonoma County winemakers offer diners complimentary tastes of their wine and tips on pairing it with dinner at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen.
  • Winter Farm to Table Dinner and Wine Class at Quivira Vineyard & Winery, Feb 11 from 4pm-8pm - Upscale seasonal farm to table dinner with local chef; exclusive wine-blending session with highly-respected winemaker Hugh Chappelle; $125 per person

Red, White, & Bubbles at AVIA Napa

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Join Chef Aken for his Tasty and Popular Second Sunday Supper Club Plus Small Plates of Soft Shell Crab, Champagne Sparklers
and Live Music on the Terrace


terrace.lounging.jpgAVIA Napa, a AAA Four Diamond hideaway in the heart of Downtown Napa, salutes the month of July with the flavors of summer. Chef Chris Aken, who will be available to chat every Thursday at the Napa Downtown Chefs' Market from 5-9pm, gets things cooking at his popular Second Sunday Supper Club on July 10 from 5:30-7:30pm featuring a four-course dinner of Americana Cowboy Cuisine paired with wines by Bounty Hunter Rare Wine + Provisions. The cost is $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and features an evening of cooking demonstrations and communal grazing.   

Foodies can also stop in anytime in July to enjoy Chef Aken's small plates of seasonal Soft Shell Crab served with corn, roasted tomatoes and citrus beurre blanc paired with a Champagne Sparkler. AVIA A-Listers, an elite group who receive exclusive perks and discounts, can enjoy a complimentary Champagne Sparkler during July when they order the Soft Shell Crab.  To become an AVIA A-Lister, visit www.aviahotels.com.  

Restaurant Month in California

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All around California, restaurants are celebrating the month of January with fabulous dining specials and savings for lunch and/or dinner. Splurge, savor, and save is the name of the game. See if your favorite restaurant or one you always wanted to try is on the list in the regions below.

Gold Country. You may not find gold, but with savings on food like these, you might as well have! Restaurant Week in Gold Country is January 32-30 with a grand finale on January 30th where the area's finest chefs will offer a unique opportunity to be an El Dorado Epicurean in a countywide progressive dinner. More Details

Monterey County. Catch some fresh seafood in Monterey during Restaurant Month. Participating restaurants are offering prix fixe dinner menus for $20.11 all month long. More Details.

Napa Valley - see our Food Writer's top restaurant picks for deals and steals. Or see the full list of Napa Valley restaurants and their specials here.

Santa Barbara Wine Country
  • Santa Barbara -Dubbed "Film Feast", the prix fixe restaurant program coincides with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival all happening January 27-Feb 6, 2011. Film goers and foodies are invited to choose from "Short" (two-course), "Feature" (three-course) and "Epic" (four-course) length seasonal menus at participating restaurants. MORE DETAILS.
  • Santa Ynez Valley - The foodie fun begins January 23rd and ends January 29th. It's this region's first time participating in Restaurant Month and they will be featuring special 3-course tasting menus for $20.11. A list of participating restaurants is listed, but you will need to contact restaurants directly for specific days, dining hours and to make reservations. MORE DETAILS.

Restaurant Week in Tri-Valley/Livermore

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2011RestaurantWeek.jpgEnjoy a true culinary extravaganza-Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week between January 23rd - January 30th!  During this fabulous event ,  food lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy a prix fixe meal, specialty dish or special offer at Tri-Valley restaurants. Some of the finest, most renowned chefs and restaurants in the Tri-Valley will showcase their culinary styles for diners. The event will feature an array of well-known restaurants, casual dining establishments and local purveyors that will provide one of a kind dining experiences offered during this week only.  

Participating Restaurants include Terra Mia, The Peasant and the Pear, The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, The Farmer Restaurant at the Pleasanton Hotel, Blue Agave Grill, Eddie Papa's American Hangout, Campo Di Bocce, Swirl on the Square, Porters Restaurant at Poppy Ridge.

No tickets or passes are required for Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week. Diners simply dine out at as many participating restaurants as they like all week.

Visit www.trivalleycvb.com/tasteoftrivalley to download and print restaurant coupons for Tri-Valley Restaurant Week!

Winter in the Wineries

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wineriesInWinterCalistoga.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - The town's tagline is "Hot Springs, Cool Wines, and Warm Welcome". Warm welcome is exactly what Calistoga is doing this winter when it invites travelers now through Febuary 6, 2011 to enjoy wine tasting, tours, and even the opportunity to meet a winemaker when you visit with your passport!

Passports are only $50 and offer an extreme value to anyone visiting Napa Valley. You can use the passport as many times as you would like throughout the passport season and in addition to wine tasting, it includes discounts at several Calistoga's restaurants, hotels, and B&Bs. Restaurants are waiving all corkage fees and lodging partners are offering special room rates for all passport holders.

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

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calistogaBalloons.jpgAlcohol-Free Activities In Calistoga
by Deirdre Bourdet

Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country.  These non-alcoholic activities are also some of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in the Calistoga area.

Take to the Air
What better way to experience the beauty and distinctive landmarks of the northern Napa Valley than to fly above them? Whether you fantasize about lazy balloon rides through early morning air, or World War II-era biplane missions, or swift and exciting modern glider plane trips, Calistoga has got you covered.  Calistoga Balloons offers one of the Napa Valley's best hot-air balloon experiences, thanks to the incomparable scenery of the northern valley.  You will cruise over Castello di Amorosa, the Palisade Cliffs, Mt. St. Helena, Château Montelena, Old Faithful Geyser, and the Petrified Forest, and then enjoy a complimentary champagne brunch at Hydro Grill.  Balloon rides are $225 per person, all inclusive, but only $199 if booked online. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. 

crazyCreekGliders.jpgIf floating at the speed of the wind isn't fast enough for you, head slightly out of town to Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, which offers scenic trips in sleek gliders and restored historic bi-planes, as well as flying lessons to those who yearn to rule the skies. Book your flight directly online where rates range from $149 to $330 for the ultimate glider ride!


Explore the town of Calistoga!

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grapes.jpgCalistoga has drawn residents and visitors to the Napa Valley for over a hundred years. It offers an elegent mixture of old charm and rural sophistication. Hot springs, B&B's, resorts, and the most picturesque wineries and vineyards you've ever seen, and more have made Calistoga a relaxing getaway in wine country.

We invite you to read the following set of articles, reviews, and recommendations on where to explore, what to see and taste, and of course stay in this small tour guide slice of what makes Calistoga so special!

Mini Travel Guide
The Comforts of Home - Stevenson Manor Inn

 

WINE TASTING

Wine Tasting Itinerary
Winemaking Stroll Down Bennett Lane
No Wine Over $25
Beyond the Tasting Room

THINGS TO DO

More To Do Than Just Drink
Upcoming Fall & Winter Events
Calistoga's Michelin Star at the Bar


SPECIALS ALERT!
Sweet Lodging Deals
Calistoga Hotel & Resort Specials
Lavender Hill Spa - Harvest Treatment

The Comforts of Home

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stevensonManor.jpgIt's easy to see why wine country travelers make Stevenson Manor Inn their place to stay in Calistoga (Napa Valley). It has all the comforts of home with a few extras!  They boast 34 boutique-style rooms designed with hotel flair featuring high-speed wireless Internet,  wet bar, refrigerator and much more. Available in-room upgrades include a balcony, fireplace, whirlpool jetted bathtub.

It may be getting a little chilly, but Stevenson Manor Inn also has a year-round heated pool, hot tub, dry sauna, and steam room. And don't miss out on the deluxe continental breakfast. One Yelper recently said "Continental breakfast is very good - the dining area is a bit too small. Waffle aromatherapy is nice :) For you protein-freaks, they always have fresh, boiled eggs which I love that they provide."

Halloween Activities in Oregon

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Looking for a good fright this Halloween? In Oregon, they don't have to "create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit". They've got the real thing with 13 documented ghost towns to explore and lighthouses that hold dark and stormy tales. The Travel Oregon Blog has all the scary details!

Haunted Oregon by Mikhael Romain
It's October and jack-o-lanterns, cackling witches and white-sheet ghosts are peeping up everywhere (not to mention the candy corn). But in Oregon we don't need to create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit--we've got the real thing. With abandoned desert towns, haunted historic hotels, unsettled spirits and mysterious and unexplainable incidents, this state is teeming with the paranormal! (Cue deep-throated screech here).

Eastern Oregon's spattering of retired gold mining settlements makes it ripe for ghost towns, where deserted saloons and bordered buildings are all that's left of these once thriving towns. There are 13 documented ghost towns in this area to explore. Check out Granite, where the once-booming town had a population of 5000 and today only a dozen or so residents call it home. While you're in Eastern Oregon, check out the historic Union Hotel, which is rumored to be haunted.

READ MORE . . .


Oregon: Applegate Valley's "Eye Openingly Good" Wines

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applegatevalley.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I was utterly charmed by Rhône-inspired pours from southern Oregon's new Cowhorn Wine at a Biodynamic® tasting in San Francisco earlier this year.  I reviewed all of my favs from the event here for Wine Country, though I must say that Cowhorn stuck out for its gorgeous packaging and branding (checking out the website is a must!) that - along with the winery's excellent pours - set the spot apart as one positioned to put not only über green wines but also the Applegate region itself on the vinous map.

Lodging Specials in Napa, CA

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It's decided. Your next trip is to Napa Valley. In fact, you are going to stay in the town of Napa, because it's a great home base for all of your spa appointments, wine tasting, shopping, and nightlife needs. And of course, easy access to the rest of the Valley. Great! Now where are you going to stay?  Check out the latest batch of specials and package offers from hotels, resorts, and bed & breakfasts in Napa.

Bed & Breakfast/Inns

1801 First
Mid Week Special - Stay Sunday - Thursday in a cottage for only $795. Your stay includes a gourmet breakfast as well as complimentary evening wine and cheese. MORE DETAILS

Arbor Guest House
2010 Harvest Retreat - 2 nights in a luxurious room, 3-course gourmet breakfast each morning, signature couples spa treatment, wine reception each each evening and complimentary concierge service. Expires 10/31/10. MORE DETAILS

Bel Abri - Boutique Resorts
Last Minute VIP Special - 2 Night package. Make reservations five or fewer days prior to arrival and receive $50 off first night.  MORE DETAILS


Labor Day Sun, Fun & Savings in Tri-Valley, CA

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livemoreGenericPhoto.jpgTri-Valley, CA - Do you know what you're doing this coming Labor Day Weekend? Why not make a last minute getaway to Tri-Valley. Several hotels, restaurants, wineries and shops are offering discounts and specials. In addition, There are three great events and festivals happening the same holiday weekend. See below:

29th Annual Wine Harvest Celebration
The wineries of Livermore Wine Country have opened their doors Sunday, Sept. 5th and Monday, Sept 6th to celebrate the harvest. Come join the fun and enjoy music, food, arts & crafts and of course wine throughout wineries in Livermore Valley and at Robertson Park. Some wineries will even be offering complimentary vineyard tours and winemaking seminars. Tickets range in price from $10-$65 and can be purchased online.


Yountville: Stay In Style

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By Courtney Cochran

Call Yountville what you like - gourmet mecca, Wine Country paradise, vinous nirvana - just don't miss a stay in this bucolic hamlet superbly situated in the heart of Napa Valley. Herein, tips on where to rest your head when you touch down in this oenological utopia.

Special Offers for Your Yountville Getaway

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - A vacation, weekend retreat,  or day excursion in Yountville is by itself a treat, but to sweeten your escape, why not take advantage of the promotions and offers that many Yountville lodging, winery and spa retreats are offering? Planning a "Suite Romantic Getaway", a "De-Stressing" time out, or off-the-beaten path wine tasting couldn't get any easier. And after all, the more you save, the more you can truly experience Yountville! Some of these offers expire at the end of July*!

Visiting Yountville, CA

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - Luxurious accommodations at four star resorts and hotels, Michelin star rated restaurants, boutique style shopping, art galleries, activities ranging from hot air balloon rides to zip lining, and wineries of every variety and style - welcome to Yountville. Experience why this town is considered the must-stop wine destination in Napa Valley.


Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
Hotel Luca: A Tuscan Getaway
Vintage Inn: A Slice of Provence
Yountville Tasting Itinerary
Taste in Town
Bell Wine Cellars Wins!
Summer Lunching in Yountville
Secret Gardens of The French Laundry & Bardessono
Tomatoville Touches Down
Summer Events

Ready to Plan Your Trip?
Find a place to stay at several resorts, hotels, and bed & breakfasts.
Make reservations in advance at some of the best restaurants.
Print out tasting offers from several wineries on your itinerary.
See the vineyards from a hot air balloon ride, or by bike!

Visiting Sonoma Valley, CA

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SONOMA VALLEY, CA - Visiting Sonoma Valley wine country has a calming aura in the air that speaks to the senses. The rolling hills, picturesque vineyards, and charming towns invite you to linger and take a casual stroll down the street, dine at a host of eateries including bakeries and cheese shops, wine taste at several wineries or wine bars, or window shop at an array of funky boutiques. These are just a few of the treasures that lie ahead. See what WineCountry.com has unearthed for you and start planning your Sonoma Valley trip now!

Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
The Unexpected on Sonoma Square
Wine Tasting in Kenwood
Romance in Glen Ellen - Where to Stay
Off the Beaten Track in Glen Ellen
Sonoma Valley Summer Events
Best Spots To Eat!
Insider Tip on Where to Golf

Getting Married?

Sonoma Wine Country Wedding Guide
Request Wedding Info



Activities In St. Helena

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A 1337 shop in St. Helena

Image by ohkaterina via Flickr

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

By Deirdre Bourdet

ST. HELENA, CA - Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-alcoholic activities to entertain you in just about every sub-region of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. This series of articles will point you to some of the less obvious ways to have fun in the land of wine.
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Adagio Inn - An Enchanting Napa Valley B&B

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adagioFeatureWCIStockpic1.jpgWith breathtaking views of vineyards around every bend and curve of the road, it's no surprise so many people plan vacations to Napa Valley year-round. Of course, choosing a place to stay is no easy to task. There are a host of bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels to choose from all beckoning you with promises of a heavenly stay at their property complete with creature comforts.

Perhaps we can help narrow your choices . . .

Adagio Inn Bed and Breakfast is situated in the historic downtown St. Helena, California, in a quiet neighborhood of the Napa Valley. It is just a two-block walk to world-class restaurants and shops. And the over 400 Napa Valley wineries you passed on your way to Adagio Inn are all, of course, awaiting your arrival as well.

adagioFeatureRoompic.jpgThe Inn features three luxurious guestrooms all designed with your utmost comfort in mind.  As innkeeper/owner Polly Keegan says "People seem to love it ... especially the comfortable king beds, fine linens and expansive, elegant surroundings". Aveda amenities are in the bathrooms, sterling silver and Italian dinnerware in the breakfast room, and comfy rockers on the porch, looking down upon a really lovely garden.

Affordable Wine Country Isn't a Myth

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livermorePromotion.jpgThere's more to love than meets the eye, as a trip to Livermore and the Tri-Valley will quickly reveal. Locals adore the area for its authentic, charming and unspoiled terrain and ambiance.

Amidst the rolling hills is a golfer and wine lovers paradise and indulgent spa escapes. This not-to-be- missed region also boasts some of the best hotels and resorts, shopping, and fine and affordable dining available. Thinking of a place to get married? Gorgeous vineyard backdrops and venues to make for a memorable wedding all can be found in Tri-Valley. And of course, a host of activities for guests.

In essence, it's the perfect getaway spot for anyone and everyone. So whether you're seeking a romantic, family, girls getaway or man-cation destination, day or night, look no further than the Tri-Valley. 

And just in case you need one more  reason to visit, the Tri-Valley locals are offering a chance to enter their "Win a Spring Break Getaway to Wine Country" giveaway. Winners will receive a 2 night stay at a local hotel, a $100 gas card, two tickets to Livermore Valley Wine Country's Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 20-21, and a welcome bottle of wine. CLICK HERE for more details and to enter.

 

Carmel Valley: Great Food, Wine & Relaxation

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Bernadus.jpgThe ultimate three day weekend in Carmel Valley (Monterey Wine Country) is at your fingertips. The Monterey County CVB offers a detailed itinerary for wine and food lovers alike. Recommendations for lodging, where to dine for some of the best, fresh foods, and of course wine tasting.

Below are is just snapshot of Friday -

1PM - Arrive early and pick from a myriad of inns, hotels or lodges for your first night's stay (Country Garden Inns is located within walking distance of Carmel Valley Village and known for their tasty breakfast buffet. They also are running a Wine Escape special - room rates are only $165 per person and your stay includes dinner and wine tasting tickets. Click here to view special ).

2 PM - Once your settled with accommodations, go on a horseback ride at Holman Ranch.

6PM -  End the night with dinner reservations at the "Dining Room" which features French cuisine with a California twist that highlights locally grown ingredients, and is the perfect spot for a memorable dinner.

Click here for the full three day itinerary.

PRESS RELEASE: Yountville "Moveable Feast" Value Program

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Yountville Chefs & Hotels Team Up with a Variety of Special Menus, Hotel Packages and Culinary Adventures

YOUNTVILLE, NAPA VALLEY, CA. -- 2009 - Sporting six Michelin stars and a chef line-up worthy of a world tour, Yountville turns up the heat this winter with a town-wide "Moveable Feast" program. From value-season hotel/dining packages to a roux of prix-fixe meals rolling off the lines, foodies on a fast track now have another reason to visit this town boasting more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere on the planet!

Available December 1, 2009 - February 28, 2010*, the "Moveable Feast" program and free passport can be downloaded via www.yountville.com or obtained at Yountville Chamber of Commerce. From the new Bardessono inn to a bevy of Thomas Keller restaurants, the passport links visitors to 11 food/wine hotel packages and 12 restaurant deals from three-course prix fixe dinners for $70/couple to $1 oyster specials, 50% off VIP winetasting and up to 25% off hotel/dining packages, starting at $165/double.

CLICK HERE for full press release and additional details.

Other articles on the town of Yountville:


Oregon Odyssey: To Do List - Portland & Willamette

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lux4.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon will note right away that things are done differently here. Shop clerks linger and chat while packaging up your goods, traffic moves more slowly and the pace of life seems firmly dialed to the "enjoy the journey" station. This enticingly mellow pace of life, coupled with Oregon's outstanding natural beauty and prolific food and wine culture, make it an ideal destination for foodies, outdoor adventurers and anyone looking to take things down a few notches. Read on for some of our top picks for activities to indulge in chez Portland and beyond, in the storied haunts of the Willamette.

Oregon Itinerary: Willamette North Valley

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pinotbarrels.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Stop 1: Adelsheim Vineyard

A Willamette tour wouldn't be complete without a visit to well-known Adelsheim Vineyard, which boasts stellar views of the Chehalem Mountains from its newly refurbished tasting room just outside Newberg. Founded in 1971, the winery is run by the affable David Adelsheim, a Willamette wine pioneer whose passion for the area and its world-class Pinots runs deep. It's worth going just to taste the winery's nuanced single-vineyard Pinots - the Ribbon Springs Vineyard ($68) is a standout - though Adelsheim's Willamette Valley-classified bottling ($32) is easier on the wallet and does a better job capturing the full scope of the region's signature aromas, flavors and silky texture.

Tasting Room: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR 97132. Open daily 11am-4pm (tel) (503) 538-3652
Tasting Fee: $15 for 6 wines
Watch My Video of David Adelsheim at the winery

Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it on Adelsheim's spacious outdoor patio (bottle purchase will be appreciated as a courtesy for using the space). There are no other lunch options in the immediate area, and you'll want to make sure to refuel in the midst of a full day of tasting.

Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette South Valley

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ribbonRidge.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon's wonderfully Pinot-centric Willamette Valley will do well to split their tasting excursion into at least two days, as the area's wide open spaces create not only lovely panoramic views but also drives of some distance between wineries. Thus, this itinerary starts in the centrally situated Dundee Hills and meanders from there to the nearby towns of Carlton and McMinnville. Along the way, you'll visit one of the region's best-known (not to mention physically striking) wineries in Domaine Drouhin Oregon, a start-up venture in Scott Paul Wines and the birthplace of Willamette wine in The Eyrie Vineyards. In all, it's a fabulously diverse lineup where Oregon winemaking is concerned - and one just waiting for you to savor.

For more on wineries further north, check out our North Valley itinerary.

Oregon Odyssey

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oregon_wine_country.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oregon's famed Willamette Valley - a wonderfully bucolic spot an hour's easy drive from Portland - may just be the anti-Napa Valley. You won't find any medieval castles or Persian Palaces here, though you WILL find no shortage of ridiculously good wine, an incredibly warm people and a far slower pace of life than that in bustling California. So slow down (literally, the police ticket a lot around these parts), take your time and prepare to be awed by the natural beauty of your surroundings, the superb quality of the wines and the kindness of the people serving them. It's not exactly wine country in slow motion, but it's not far off.

And given the hectic pace of our lives these days, this can be a very good thing.

See, Taste, Eat and Sleep!
Portland & Willamette Valley To Do List

Wine Tasting & Itineraries
Top 10 Willamette Wines
Willamette Itinerary: North Valley
Willamette Itinerary: South Valley




Itinearary: Golf Swingin' in Monterey

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montereyGolf.jpgIt doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why Monterey ranks as one of the top golf destinations in the world. It's home to Pebble Beach and is a favorite for the U.S. Open Championship. In fact, it will be hosting the championship a fifth time in a row in 2010.

But with so many golf courses to choose from, let alone figuring out lodging and dining if you are planning a weekend getaway, where does one begin?

No worries. Monterey County CVB has it all worked out for you with a golf weekend itinerary. Each day by hour is completely detailed out for you. For full itinerary, CLICK HERE.

Monterey.Winecountry.com is your resource for more lodging and dining choices. And of course if you are traveling with the Mrs. or family in tow, be sure to check out other activities for them to do while you are golfing!


Napa Valley Festival Del Sole

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festivalDelSole.jpgPress Release

Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of the world's most distinctive summer festivals, announces its fourth season in California's beautiful wine country, July 17-25, 2009.
 
With performances every day, music is the centerpiece of a festival hailed by The New York Times as a "feast for the senses," featuring the finest cuisine, wine and hospitality the Napa Valley has to offer. The weeklong schedule includes world-class concerts, exclusive receptions, lunches and dinners, wine tastings, art exhibitions, free community concerts showcasing talented young performers, and more.

Some of the world's most renowned artists travel to Napa Valley each year to perform at Festival del Sole, and to wine, dine and celebrate the "art of life" with Festival guests.

Livermore: More to Love

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RollingGrapeVines.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

To many drivers traversing the gusty Altamont Pass east of San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley is little more than the vast open space they drive though before reaching the sea of windmills atop Altamont, one of the world's most important - and hard to miss - wind energy generation sites.

But folks familiar with California wine lore know that Livermore's undulating grasslands harbor not only some of the state's oldest documented grape vines but also a vibrant vinous past that dates to the mid Eighteenth Century. Savvy wine tourists also know that the valley affords a low-key alternative to the state's more popular wine regions, a place where limousines are scarce, but increasingly good wine and hospitality are anything but.

Willamette Valley Wonder

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By Courtney Cochran

theTastingRm.jpgWILLAMETTE VALLEY, OR - A big thanks to Jim White over at the NapaMan (napaman.com) blog for tipping me off to the wine wonders available for sampling and sale at The Tasting Room (pinot-noir.com) in Carlton, OR.  Situated smack dab in the middle of the Willamette Valley - Oregon's Pinot Noir heartland - The Tasting Room offers tastes and bottle sales of 40-50 of the state's best under-the-radar producers, many of whose wines aren't available for sale anywhere else.

Bright Lights, Cool Country

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By Courtney Cochran

towncountry.jpgAnyone who's rued bypassing the cosmopolitan charms of San Francisco en route to wine country no longer need despair.  Because with the new partnership between Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco and Meadowood Napa Valley, well-heeled (and well-financed, I might add) visitors can now enjoy the charms of both spots in the context of one very sweet deal.

Top Ten Must-Sees On a Maiden Napa Voyage

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by Courtney Cochran

mondaviwinery.jpg

For most wine fans, a first trip to Napa kindles the kind of giddy excitement most kids feel on a first visit to Disneyland. And while the pursuits in this storied wine region are of a decidedly adult nature, they've been known to inspire the kind of sheer enjoyment that's nothing short of ageless. Read on for the lowdown on the top spots and activities we think any first timer should experience on a maiden voyage to Napa.

We've even included a fairy tale castle for good measure.

Lodi's Grape Expectations

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By Robert Farmer

lodivineyard.jpgIt had been some time since I visited Lodi. And so it was on a recent drive through the once-slumbering farm town that I was truly amazed to see the growth. But it wasn't just the growth of the town itself that caught my eye - complete neighborhoods now stand where I recall from previous visits only open fields and farmland. No, I was also quite impressed to see the incredible amount of vineyards seemingly everywhere I looked.

The Monterey Way - Great Grapes, hold the Wrath

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by Robert P. Farmer

John Steinbeck wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, in 1939 and in so doing solidified the Monterey region's place in the canon of American literature. But in spite of the gloomy outlook of the novel's protagonists and the commentary on the changes in the agricultural landscape and those who work in it, the novel at least hinted at a part of the prosperity on the horizon.

Today that prosperity can indeed be found in Monterey in the form of grapes. The Monterey Wine Country is an industry rooted in history but with an eye toward the future. Marked by unique terrior and playful microclimates, the countryside produces wines as varied and interesting as its beautiful landscape.

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