California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 71

33

Napa Valley's
Silverado Trail
STANK GARAGE
WINERY,
CALISTOGA

CALISTOGA MOTOR
LODGE AND SPA

It wasn't that long ago that Napa Valley
was a bucolic sprawl of vineyards dotted
with quaint, wine country towns. But today
as you near the region's namesake city,
it's clear: This place is booming.
The sleek 21st-century complexes popping up in the area's city

AUBERGE DU SOLEIL

centers are certainly impressive-and just plain cool-but the truth is
that the pastoral hills and nostalgic notions of wine country are still
here, on the other side of the Napa River along the Silverado Trail.

SILVER OAK

The river, in fact, is a good place to start. Bring a pour-over coffee
from downtown Napa's Ritual Coffee Roasters to Trancas Crossing
Park near the base of the 167-year-old trail, and marvel at the kayakers
launching into the current-a nice way to ease into the morning and
simply observe. You'll be driving along the river for the rest of the day,
but this is one of your only chances to see it up close.
Back in the car, cross the river and turn north onto the Silverado,
where suburbia turns remote landscape, and signs for tasting rooms

TRANCAS CROSSING

are posted every city block or so-that is if there were marked city
blocks here. After a few miles of farmers' pickups and the occasional
convertible passing by, you may begin to see bursts of blossoming
yellow (especially in spring). Surely these aren't grapes. No, they're
mustard fields, and many of the parcels are open to the public for
meandering through the flowers.
When you're ready for tasting, there are more than 30 wineries
nearby, including the famed Cabernets of Stags' Leap (on the right
down a series of private roads) and Silver Oak (on the left) a few
minutes north. You'll get a good crash course on why the region
is so agreeable to food-friendly vines at Stags' historic estate, but

DOWNTOWN NAPA

if you want to see the future of winemaking technology, Silver
Oak might be the crown jewel, with its eco-friendly practices
and LEED-certified buildings.

PHOTOGRAPH: JILL RICHARDS

Many winemakers are starting to invite food trucks or open their

Hop back onto the trail for another 15 minutes until you reach
the end of the historic road at Lincoln Boulevard in Calistoga. You'll

own kitchens, but for something formal yet relaxed, snag a terrace

know you're getting close when you begin to see plumes of steam

table at Auberge du Soleil, overlooking the valley. Its Michelin-starred

rising on the left. The town has kept its quirky and quiet side intact,

three-course prix fixe menu changes regularly, but the overall gist is

adding to its appeal as a destination for not only wines but mineral

seasonal Cal-Mediterranean cuisine packed with local ingredients.

hot springs. Drop your bags off at the unabashedly trendy though

Luxuriate as you please, but be mindful of the time. You have

low-key Calistoga Motor Lodge. (Bonus: Hot spring water is pumped

an appointment at CADE Winery, about 20 minutes away. CADE

into the pools!) Then make your final stop Tank Garage Winery at

sits up high on the slope and in many ways is a mash-up of the old

the western edge of town, inside a converted auto shop. The bottles

(gravity-fed grape processing and organic practices) and new (stone

are all limited edition, and the vibe is country-cool. In the back is a

and concrete finishes furnished with contemporary, some might say

vintage motorcycle that will soon have you dreaming about doing the

futuristic-looking, touches).

route all over again.

71



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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