Hiking and wine tasting on a budget in Napa Valley
After breakfast, we headed out to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park ($4 parking fee) and walked tonearby Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park ($3 each). Built in1846, the mill processed flour and cornmeal back in the valley’searly days. We had come full circle ― from the pinnacle offood preparation at the CIA to this 36-foot wheat-grindingwaterwheel.Our biggest indulgence of the weekend was lunch at Martini House in St. Helena. We’d read the buzz about thisPat Kuleto restaurant, and the place was just as gorgeous as we’dimagined, with a garden patio, woodsy Craftsman interior, and amassive driftwood chandelier. We sat downstairs, next to the bar,and ordered wine, soups, and a cheese plate to share. It was aleisurely, decadent meal for $52.26 ― a pretty penny to be sure, but a lot lessthan dinner here would have cost.
Our palates whetted, we headed out for an afternoon of free wine tasting. We started with white Zinfandel at Sutter Home Winery, and admired the garden as well. Then wejoined a group of tourists to sample Chardonnay at V. Sattui Winery. Finally, we savored a deliciously richNapa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at Raymond Vineyard & Cellar, a small winery, using acoupon for a free tasting from the complimentary Wine Country This Week.
Three sets of tastings wore us out. We wanted a nap, but wecontinued south to the city of Napa for dinner at Zuzu Tapas & Wine Bar. The year-old eatery has drawnraves for its tasty menu and lively ambience― justifiedpraise, we found out, for a dinner costing only $42.64. Afterdinner, we hopped on the Downtown Trolley for a free narrated tour of Napa.Day two
($164 in pocket)
Complimentary breakfast at the motel: FREE
Hiking under Douglas firs and black oaks on the HistoryTrail to learn how an old grist mill operated in 1846: $10
Indulgent lunch and a glass of wine in the bar at MartiniHouse: $52
Tastings at three wineries, including the ivy-covered stoneand timber building of V. Sattui: FREE
Tapas dinner, including mussels, a Spanish tortilla,anchovies, and ceviche, plus sangria, at Zuzu: $43
Trolley ride through Napa: FREE