The “Other” Napa


A few weekends ago my boyfriend and I headed up to Napa—but we weren’t in the mood to do a lot of wine tasting. So why bother, you ask? Well … there’s something about being in wine country that I just love, tasting or no tasting. So we headed to downtown Napa. Aside from a stop at the Visitor Center, most people bypass downtown and head straight for the valley. Myself included.


A few years ago, during the housing market crash, homes in Napa took a hit so I started exploring the idea of buying a vacation home in the area. That idea has not come to fruition (yet!) but it did open my eyes to a new area of wine country that I’d often neglected. And I fell in love with Napa all over again.


The city has done a lot of work the past few years to prevent the Napa River from flooding, therefore more businesses are willing to invest in the downtown area. And it’s really coming along. On our visit we walked around the Historic Napa Mill, which is full of shops, restaurants and a hotel. We crossed the Napa river to the Oxbow Market (a mini-version of SF’s Ferry Building) and took in the local Farmers Market. We meandered around the streets of downtown, and hung out by the river watching paddle boarders. And yes, we did eventually cave in and hit a few wineries.


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