Napa rocks! Literally! Little did I know when I finally laid down to sleep at 1:30 a.m. after traveling nearly 3,000 miles for vacation to Napa, that I would be waken in less than two hours by a severe 6.0 earthquake in downtown Napa at 3:20 a.m. I thought Jesus was coming back! The 6.0 magnitude originated only 6 miles away from the beautiful home where we stayed, the strongest earthquake in 25 years.
Upon closer examination with a walk through downtown Napa, quake damage impacted a very small part of the valley, mainly the historic downtown area where the post office, library, a 141-room hotel, 150 homes, and buildings were deemed unsafe to occupy. The Belfor Restoration trucks were already busy restoring the historic buildings that were damaged.
I thought all I needed to do to prep for vacation to wine country in Napa Valley was to view the movie, Bottle Shock. Out in 2008, the American comedy-drama from based on the 1976 wine competition termed the “Judgement of Paris,” when California wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test.
Eager to see and learn about the grape growing history, having heard about the beautiful rolling hills, the picturesque country sides of grapevines, the loamy California soil, and the beautiful climate suitable for growing the right size and quality grape for the ultimate chalice of nectar, welcome to Napa Valley! Napa rocks!
John Patchett planted the first vineyard in 1854, he started making wine in 1857 and established his winery in1858. Today there are nearly 2100 wineries and tasting rooms. There’s even an app, Winery Geek to help you search out wineries by variety and amenities. As you see, growing grapes is big business, no earthquake is going to stop tourism here.
Napa does an excellent job helping one experience the valley with private tastings for world-class wines and educational wine tours that we enjoyed at Sterling Winery. At Del Dotto historic winery and cave, we relished the spectacular architecture and were in awe of how they age their wines in their caves. At the Wooden Valley Winery in nearby Fairfield, a hidden gem, family-owned winery for three generations have mastered award-winning wines on a smaller scale.
A slight detour as we ventured up the coast to cooler foggier Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, the location scenes in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed film, The Birds (1963). We ate lunch at the The Tides Wharf and Restaurant (although rebuilt from fire in 1968) we couldn’t help but the notice the seagulls eerily flying about the bay.
The town markets itself with the film in many ways, including its Birds-theme visitor’s center. Tippi Hedren, star in The Birds is scheduled to make her annual appearance to Bodega Bay over Labor Day weekend. The school house and church featured in the film are the originals that still draw attract visitors like us to the Bodega area. Did we ever find out why the birds attack the small town?
You know it is time to say goodbye to summer when vacations end, children go back to school and in Napa you see the grapes stomping sign-which means it is time to harvest the grapes. Side note: I saw one non-stinging bee, one fly and loved the no humidity weather. I hope you agree that Napa rocks not only for their earthquakes but for the charm, beauty and fun that Napa Valley has to offer.