Things to do

Picture yourself in wine country

  If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair. But if you’re headed for wine country, forget the flowers and pack your camera. Doesn’t matter if your photographic equipment consists of a battleship of an SLR you paid way too much money for or a point-and-shoot _ there are…

A belated tribute to mustard season

Yes, it is a little late to be posting a slideshow of mustard season in the Napa Valley. It begins in January, flies into full bloom in February and winds down in March. However, repeatedly crashing one’s site by trying to install slideshow plugins that apparently were manufactured by Webmistress Torture, Inc., will slow one…

Winter in wine country

OK, it’s cold here in Northern California. Like below 40 degrees cold. The other day Child 1 had a shot at inaugurating the Berkeley Unified School District’s first-ever Frost Day. Didn’t work, but she had my support. If we were meant to shiver through actual scarf and hat weather, people, we wouldn’t have earthquakes. Luckily…

Leaf-peeping, wine country style

      Who says New England has all the leaf-peeping action? You can see your blaze of russets and gold in the Napa Valley, too. It’s just a wee bit shorter. I was in Napa recently for interviews and found the valley had already changed into its fall wardrobe. The grass is going from…

Checking out Calistoga

  Set at the top of the Napa Valley, Calistoga is a little bit more laid back than Napa or St. Helena. Which is odd, because below the surface the place is positively seething with energy. Underground thermal activity creates hot springs that feed a spa culture that ranges from no-frills rustic, I’m looking at you Doc…

Napa Riverfront

  It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when downtown Napa was an uninviting place singularly lacking in charm. For fine dining and picturesque settings you went upvalley to Yountville, Oakville, etc. But over the last 10 years or so there’s been a transformation from scrubby to spiffy; the downtown dining dilemma…