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How to Make the Most of Three Days in Napa

Visiting vineyards is just one of the many perks of a minimoon to wine country.

Contributing Writer
Napa Valley
Photography by: Bob McClenahan

Not everyone has time for a lengthy post-wedding vacation. If you're planning a minimoon (or a weekend getaway!) consider Napa Valley. This California retreat is easily accessible from any major city, meaning you're just one plane ride away from an epic escape. Need the perfect itinerary for a long weekend away? Here's our guide to enjoying the best Napa has to offer in just three days.

 

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Day 1: Carneros

Start your getaway in this American Viticultural Area (or AVA) just an hour's drive north of San Francisco. There's plenty to love about the new Liana Estates, an intimate farmhouse-style winery and tasting room: You can't see it from the main road, and reservations are required—which means you won't have to elbow your way in for a pour. It also hosts romantic hillside picnics overlooking San Pablo Bay. After a lunch of creamy cheeses and local oysters paired with crisp aromatic whites, unwind at the country-chic Carneros Resort and Spa (from $560 per night). It has 76 luxury bungalow-style cottages and 18 suites, plus bocce courts and yoga classes. And make sure to request a table by the fireplace at its Farm restaurant, where seasonal dishes have included fresh ricotta gnocchi with oxheart carrots and candied hazelnuts.

 

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liana estates napa
Photography by: Michelle Walker Photography

Day 2: Central Napa

Why sit in Highway 29 gridlock when you can avoid the traffic and let a conductor be the designated driver? The Ambassador Winery Tour journey on the vintage Napa Valley Wine Train (from $266 per person) includes special group access at two heavyweights—Charles Krug winery and Raymond Vineyards—plus an onboard multicourse lunch. Come evening, it's time to take on downtown Napa, which most visitors make the mistake of glossing over or skipping altogether. For dinner, leave the decisions to the team at La Toque by ordering the chef's menu, and follow it up with jazz at the year- old Blue Note Napa. As for where to stay, the 68-room Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel (from $695 per night), which debuted last spring in St. Helena, has cozy touches like private fire pits and kits for s'mores.

 

Day 3: Northern Napa

After a lazy morning, fuel up on the California-meets-Japan cuisine at St. Helena's Two Birds/One Stone; don't miss the wok-roasted sweet corn with white miso butter. Then head a few miles northwest to Calistoga Bikeshop (rentals from $28) and pick up a ride to explore the scenic roads, with the pine-studded mountains providing a beautiful backdrop. (Guided tours are also available.) Wrap up with some pampering at the sleek Spa Solage, where couples can take a mineral-rich mud bath and soak in geothermal pools.

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