St Helena Napa Valley California

 

St Helena Napa Valley California

St Helena in Napa Valley California is enough to take your breath away. Think magical, enchanting, beautiful, quaint, friendly, expensive, country, stunning and welcoming then St. Helena has it all.    Tree’s line the streets and you cant help but smile when you drive in and have the idea that in this little heaven of the perfect American town good things are possible.

St Helena Napa Valley California

The Mayor

The first person I met

was the Mayor and her first words were “are you ok”?  Is someone helping you? and when I said no, she proceeded to talk about her town and what it had to offer and its sheer beauty that I decided to book into a hotel and stay.  What a place………………….. What a mayor………… She really loves her town, city really is probably what you might call it but in terms of what Europeans would say its a town.  It has the sophistication of a city but the charm and atmosphere of a rustic small town.  The mayor was so taken with it when she visited from Boston that she relocated.  You can still hear her heavy accent but she loves the place so much its an honor to talk to her, she is infectious with love of her new adopted home.

St Helena Ca map

 

 

 

Where is St Helena?

Location wise St Helena is just over an hour away from San Francisco and is an equally sophisticated place as is most of Northern California.   So far on this amazing road trip of the Napa Valley region we have been exposed to one jaw dropping moment after another with people who were so welcoming and friendly it was a pleasure to be in their country and the way they loved the places they live was intoxicating.  Maybe its the fumes of all that great wine being processed as the locals here are are so happy they are drunk with joy, metaphorically speaking of course. That is what I’m looking for.  For years I’ve said I want to be able to say “I love where I live” and I look forward to someday finding a city I can call home and one that I will miss when I’m away.  To date I’ve never had that but hopefully one day.

St Helena

St Helena Railroad

The railway came to St Helena and Napa Valley  in 1868 and with that recent immigrants began planting vineyards.  The industry began to thrive attracting more immigrants and the town began to grow.

St Helena CA

The Culinary Institute of America

We decided we had to spend the night here.  On our drive in my friend, a chef by trade nearly lost her life when she spotted The Culinary Institute of America.  It was only natural that we returned to see it.  It looks like a castle perched proudly on a hill and you cannot miss it when driving into the town.  A fabulous building.   I’m not a chef and I was impressed.  She took the tour and I wandered around and had a look including coffee and the most amazing salad I’ve had in years all cooked by students for a really good price considering the quality.  If you would like to have dinner here, plan ahead and book.  Its full and people book ahead so to avoid disappointment call ahead.

St Helena

Warm Scallop salad, to die for

St Helena

We booked one of the last available rooms in St. Helena and they are not easy to come by so winging it as we were doing is not always going to work out.  Its not cheap either, there are few bargains to be had in this part of the world.

The hotel was very nicetaylors-refresher-st-helena and we were so shattered after 5 weeks on the road that we decided to stay in, grab take out and watch a movie.  Well I watched a movie, my friend collapsed with exhaustion as soon as she ate.  As for take out, the best take out I’ve ever had.  I decided to have Gotts Roadside Inn, and brace yourself for a wait but OMG it was so worth it.  I went for a burger with blue cheese and the sweet potato skinny fries and I would go back just for that meal again.  I can tell you curled up on my hotel bed watching a movie I felt like a teenager with no worries.  Perfect.

Napa Valley

is just 90 minutes north of San Francisco and you will find cute, quaint little towns full of history, great stories, great locals, many tourists, many rich San Francisco and Silicone Valley types who can afford to move here.  But the locals tell me money isn’t the problem these days, its space.  There is literally nothing left to buy but if something does come available then competition is stiff and price tags high.  Also in this list there are outstanding artisan restaurants full of organic produce and chefs and sommelier from all over the world cooking for you and serving.  Even in France and Italy I’ve never met so many people in restaurants who knew so much about wine and their sheer love of it and all wines and the process of it all.  I had outstanding meals here and drank amazing wine.  I must say as a European that I was a wine snob and never favoured US wine.  I am now a convert and stand corrected.  Truly fabulous wine comes from this region.

Friendly locals :)

Friendly locals 🙂

beautiful shops

beautiful shops

So Why Visit St Helena California

My final thought on St. Helena is “stunning” its a beautiful place to visit and live.  Peaceful, expensive, picturesque, friendly and the list goes on.  Lots of traffic in tourist season close to lots of small towns so you could do 2 a day if you like.  You could probably drive through 6 a day but you cannot claim them as towns you have visited if you do that.  That’s cheating!!!!!! and we leave that to politicians and people who take cruises to do that

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

www.sthelena.com

www.ciachef.edu/california

St Helena


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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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