One of the running themes of our stops along the 1000 Places To See Before You Die has been that we often underestimate a place before we get there only to be completely blown away when we arrive. This is not one of those occasions. As we drove up to Napa Valley on July 4th weekend, we knew we were in for something special.
You can't talk about Napa Valley without talking about wine. Sure, there are vineyard communities all up and down the state of California but none as famous as Napa. The grapes, vineyards and batches of wine coming from this one valley is legendary throughout the world. Movies have been made about it, books written, and pilgrimages undertaken by winos the world over.
One of the most unique ways to experience Napa Valley in comfort and luxury is to take everything in from the Napa Valley Wine Train. We had never been to Napa Valley before but I think this may have been the best way to experience what the region has to offer.
The trip starts off with a glass of wine (of course) and a new glass arrives with each course of the meal. The train rumbles along slowly through the valley and passengers are quickly lulled into relaxation. The continuous flow of wine doesn't hurt either. After dinner, passengers are invited to move to the lounge car and sit in plush seats facing the large windows in the coach. Since this was July 4th, we were treated to something special -- a fireworks show over one of the vineyards.
Even though we didn't get off the train at any point during the trip, we got to see a lot of the valley without having to worry about driving. From the comfort of the plush coaches, we sipped wine and ate delicious food while taking in the scenery. We've taken a similar trip before from Vancouver up to Whistler and this was yet another example of how train tours like this can be so awesome. Riding around in a luxurious train with great food and plenty of wine really is an amazing way to experience a new place.
Napa Valley lived up to all of our expectations. The sun seemed to be a warmer color, the greens were greener and the air smelled fresh. Its amazing to live in a state that produces wine as good as the Napa Valley wines. Its even more amazing to live in a state that can claim places like Napa Valley as its own. Only a few hours of travel time brought us to a location that rivals areas of Europe we've been to in its look and feel. Its so close and yet feels so different. Every area of California can be described in that way and its no wonder that so many of the US's 1000 Places to See Before You Die are right here in our home state. Napa Valley, may be the crown jewel in that collection of places.
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