Napa Valley, California, home to rolling hills, scenic vistas, and, of course, vineyards, offers up several ways to enjoy the sites. Depending on where the needle sits on your adventure meter, you can catch spectacular views in unique ways, from train rides to bike tours. Here are five new ways to encounter an old place.
Napa Valley Wine Train
Image via Flickr by ArturoYee
Spend a few hours, or the entire day, rolling through wine country as you rumble along on this trip through time. Tour a winery, enjoy an elegant lunch or dinner on board, listen to a blues band, or sip a chardonnay as the rail car passes through incredible landscapes. Stay at a local hotel for a convenient stop before the conductor bids you aboard.
Napa Valley Balloons
Prefer to float above it all? Take a ride with Napa Valley Balloons that will leave you exhilarated as you sail above breathtaking panoramic views. You'll get an early start as you prepare to board a balloon to be transported nearly 2,000 feet up for heart-stopping scenes.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Keep your feet on the ground with a hike through this state park. More than 10 miles of trails get you up close and personal with nature winding through delicate ferns, babbling creeks, and Douglas firs. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, as you might encounter fox, deer, or bobcat. While you're there, visit the Native American Garden for a display of plants still used by the Wappo people. Have a picnic, take a nap, or spend the night in one of the park's historic cabins or charming yurts. Check weather conditions to dress accordingly for seasonal visits.
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
Go back in time and tour a grist mill and granary built back in 1846. Using materials found locally and naturally, the mill came to life thanks to nearby redwoods and Douglas firs. The mill's foundation consists of natural stone and is where a waterwheel once powered the various grinding machinery. Milling demonstrations and historic tours take place on the weekends. The park is adjacent to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, and it's about a 2-mile round trip from one to the other.
Napa Valley Bike Tours
Pedal power moves you through the valley at your own pace. Join a guided tour, or opt for a self-guided tour with the help of maps and fellow cyclists. Or simply rent a bike and venture off on your own. Stop for a picnic, hike a little, and gaze at natural wonders as you pedal the trails. Want the biking experience without the effort? Try an electric bike tour to visit a winery and linger over lunch with other bike and wine enthusiasts.
Whether you sail over, roll through, or use your own power, there are many unique ways to take in Napa Valley's views and history. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture all the angles you encounter. Oh, and toast the sunset from whatever perch you've chosen.