“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
Step into a wine country postcard, and you've arrived in St. Helena. Along Main Street, classic Western dry-goods stores sell runway-ready shoes, old-school hardware stores offer the latest in picnic-basket technology, and vintage 1913 Cameo Cinema features art house movies and organic popcorn. Graze along Main Street to discover Napa-grass-fed burgers at Long Meadow Farmstead, wine-grape sourdough hot from a 1920s brick oven at Model Bakery, and Thai ginger confections at Woodhouse Chocolate. When people talk about the CIA here, they mean the Culinary Institute of America, located in St. Helena's converted 1888 Greystone chateau—call ahead for tastings, workshops or lunch in the Wine Spectator Restaurant. But the best gourmet discoveries are hidden along St. Helena's side streets: extra-virgin elixir inside the farmhouse storefront of Napa Valley Olive Oil company, 10 am star-chef demos at Crane Park's Friday morning farmers market, and stone-ground polenta on weekends at still-functioning 1846 Bale Grist millhouse. The Napa Wine Train stops in St. Helena, but you can linger longer in converted Victorian B&Bs or camp among redwoods at nearby Bothe-Napa Park.