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What Not to Do in Napa Valley

by Christina Henry

Drink and drive

Unless you really want to spend most of your vacation staring at the rear bumper of the rental car in front of you, avoid Highway 29 at all costs. The Wine Train may seem like a good idea, but believe us when we say it's not. The view out the window is nice, for sure, but you will be tied to the train's timeline and will arrive at the wineries at the same time as all the other passengers. And though walking may sound like a good alternative (and it is, within the towns of St. Helena and Healdsburg), most wineries are miles apart and virtually inaccessible by foot. Word to the wise: If you must get behind the wheel, take the more scenic and less traveled Silverado Trail, which snakes up the eastern edge of the valley.

Drink and ride

Experiencing the sights, scents, and sounds of the valley from the vantage point of a two-wheeler gets you up close and personal with the landscape—and out of traffic. Calistoga Bikeshop's self-guided Cool Wine Tours include a customized itinerary of easy routes, picnic spots, and free tastings. The staff even picks up your wine purchases and has them waiting for you back at the bike shop, so you don't have to lug them along yourself. If you prefer to have a guide lead the way, check out Napa Valley Bike Tours (pictured). Its Ride, Wine & Dine tour includes at least three winery stops and a picnic lunch. Wine Country Bikes, based in Healdsburg, offers both guided tours and rentals. But take it easy on the tastings—you are still driving, after all.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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