Wine Country Itineraries: Getting to know the towns of Napa and Sonoma counties
Have a few hours to spare in Wine Country and don't know what to do? Here's a closer look at Petaluma and Yontville.
Two Yountville Hours
Yountville is Thomas Keller land, so no visit to this small town is complete without a stop at one of his ventures. You may not have time for dinner at The French Laundry or Bouchon but you certainly can stop in at Bouchon Bakery (6528 Washington St., 707-944-2253) for coffee, or have a drink at Ad Hoc (6476 Washington St., 707-944-2487), Keller’s new, temporary restaurant, which will be around for only a few months, until its metamorphosis into Burgers and Bottles, his highly anticipated burger joint. Of course, there’s also Philippe Jeanty’s ventures, Bistro Jeanty (6510 Washington St., (707) 944-0103) and PJ Steak (6725 Washington St., 707-945-1000).
There’s plenty to do along Washington Street, most notably at Vintage 1870 (6525 Washington St., 707-944-2451), a historic building brimming with tiny boutiques (and, usually, people). For something more active, try Napa Valley Bike Tours (6488 Washington St., 707-251-8687). This shop offers guided excursions and will even deliver a bicycle to your hotel. Along the way, don’t miss the Napa Valley Museum (55 Presidents Cir., 707-944-0500), just across the highway from downtown. In addition to the museum’s permanent exhibit on winemaking, its changing gallery covers everything from art to history to natural science.Still have time? Stop in for a drink and an appetizer at Redd (6480 Washington St., 707-944-2222), famed Auberge du Soleil chef Richard Reddington’s hot new restaurant, which features clean contemporary cuisine and an ambience to match. Or maybe you feel like a bit of pampering atthe Villagio Inn’s luxurious spa (6481 Washington St., 707-944-8877) or a taste of bubbly at the picturesque Domaine Chandon winery’s new restaurant, Etoile (1 California Dr., 707-944-2280).
Three Hours in Petaluma
Undeniably the most up-and-coming town in Sonoma County, Petaluma
blends historic charm with emerging hot spots. Start with breakfast or lunch at Dempsey’s (50 E. Washington St., 707-765-9694), a river’s-edge restaurant and brewery that serves the best burgers in town, or at Della Fattoria (141 Petaluma Blvd. N., 707-763-0161), a neighborhood bakery and café featuring gourmet soups, salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie. Then, with your appetite sated, saunter along the main drag, Petaluma Boulevard, between Washington and B streets and stop in at Jungle Vibes (136 Petaluma Blvd. N., 707-762-6583), a retro-cool gift and toy emporium; Chelsea Market (132 Petaluma Blvd. N., 707-763-2366), a shabby-chic home decor store; and Chelsea Antiques (148 Petaluma Blvd. N., 707-763-7686), which offers an eclectic mix of European furniture and accessories. If you’re in the mood for noshing, Joe’s A-1 Bakery (109 Petaluma Blvd. N., 707-762-6224) tempts with all manner of old-fashioned breads, cakes, and cookies.
When you get to Western Avenue, head west to the Barry Singer Gallery (7 Western Ave., 707-781-3200). A local favorite, the gallery features rotating exhibits of exquisite fine art photography. For a real treat, cross the street to Winsome Lass Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe (16 Western Ave., 707-477-5491), where you can indulge in a sweet (or two).
Be sure to save some time for a visit to the Marin French Cheese Company (7500 Red Hill Rd., 707-762-6001). You’ll enjoy the short (15 minutes) drive through beautifully rolling hills and be fascinated watching craftsmen make authentic French cheeses (dont’ forget to take some samples when you leave).
For sure, you’ll be left wishing you had more time!