As Napa Valley kicks off its high season, there's never been a better time to make the pilgrimage. A host of new openings, renovations, and novelties (, anyone? tastings in a ?) have tourists and locals alike flocking to the region for more than just the food and wine.
Check out our list below to inspire your trip — as if we needed reasons to convince you.
1. LIVABLE LUXURY AT CARNEROS INN
Following a $6.5 million dollar renovation, 's signature cottages have been redesigned with a bright, sun-washed palette, new bedding and furnishings, as well as soaking tubs and heated tile flooring in the bathrooms.
The farm-style cottages are clustered in charming little neighborhoods, surrounded by abundant gardens and sprawling green hills. Guests can rent one of the property's adorable orange cruisers for a jaunt around the countryside, or the less ambitious can laze by the adult-only pool (there's a family-friendly one, too), soak in their private outdoor tub, or cozy up by the fireplace.
2. THE WINERY OF DESIGN LOVER'S DREAMS
Up a long, winding road, perched on a quiet ridge-top is . The concrete, steel and glass building is a modern departure from the other wineries in the area. Its clean-lined, minimal design allows for generous views of the valley below and the distant Mayacamas Mountains.
Sip the Estate Sauvignon Blanc beside the infinity pool or inside the tasting room, decked with Barcelona chairs and sleek furnishings.
3. THE INSANELY INSTAGRAMMABLE MENU AT FARM
Chef Aaron Meneghelli's return to marks a new direction for the restaurant. Using fresh ingredient's from the property's on-site garden, the Napa Valley native prepares exquisite plates that boast the flavors of the season.
Try the Spring Panzanella and the Jidori Chicken, and finish it off with the divine cheesecake. And keep the iPhone at the ready: edible flowers and artful garnishes make for a colorful and highly Instagrammable presentation.
4. THE DONUTS AT BOON FLY CAFE
Highway 12 gets backed up on the weekends, and not just with wine tasters. Cars pull over and the crowds line up for , a roadhouse style eatery serving up some seriously good breakfast.
Before heading on a wine tour, fill up on the cafe's popular Green Eggs and Ham (poached eggs, honey-cured ham, lemon leek-cream) and order a bucket of the famous donuts. After all, they say you should never drink on an empty stomach.
5. MEADOWOOD'S BRAND NEW SPA
Wine tasting is hard work. After a day at the vineyards, head over to in St. Helena. The property, which recently underwent a $60-million dollar renovation, features rustic-modern structures swathed in a muted olive green and flax palette and warm, reclaimed woods meant to blend into the forested surroundings. Highly recommended is 'The Air We Breathe,' a detoxifying mudwrap, leg scrub and Hydrafacial. The Caudalie products aren't so bad, either.
6. COCKTAILS WITH A VIEW AT NINEBARK
The recently opened in downtown Napa occupies three airy floors in a centuries-old historic building. Head to the rooftop patio for an expertly made cocktail (the Napa Spring Punch is our favorite) and a snack (the crab beignet is unbelievable), while enjoying a view of the mountains and Napa River. On your way back down, make sure to stop at the second floor for a peek at the gorgeous dining room — the walls are lined with a rotating display of seasonal herbs, flowers and produce.
7. A DRASTICALLY NEW PERSPECTIVE
While there are no bad views in Napa, the best is arguably from 2,000 feet in the air.
Take in the rolling hills and pastoral landscape with , who have been piloting since 1980. The journey requires waking up at an ungodly hour, but it's totally worth it, and don't worry, you're greeted with coffee and pastries upon arrival and treated to a champagne breakfast post-flight.
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