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Road Trip: Winding Through Wine Country

Find farm-to-table food, nature, and stunning vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties

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With hundreds of wineries spread across its hillsides and valleys, Northern California is rightfully revered for its wine. But there’s more to Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties than great grapes. You’ll also find innovative farms, famed culinary institutes, and markets reviving old-school techniques with a modern twist. You can easily spend days learning about the local bounty while you bounce between serene spas and stunning vineyards.



Stop one: Model Bakery


This 90-year-old bakery is known for its English muffins. Start your day with one slathered in jam and learn why Oprah gets them flown in from St. Helena. Distance to next stop: 1 mile


Stop two: Culinary Institute of America


One of the country’s top culinary academies, CIA counts chef Roy Choi and the late Anthony Bourdain among its alums. Tour the gorgeous campus in St. Helena or book a cooking demo (with wine, of course). Next stop: 17 miles


Stop three: Robert Louis Stevenson State Park


Named for the revered author of Treasure Island, who spent his honeymoon here in 1880, this park leads from evergreen forest to volcanic mountains. Climb the five-mile trail to the top of Mt. St. Helena for views of San Francisco and, on clear days, Mt. Shasta 192 miles north. Next stop: 8 miles


Stop four: Solage Napa Valley


This boutique resort exudes contemporary California luxury. Hit the sleek spa for a post-hike treatment and soak, and brush up on the benefits of Calistoga’s mineral-rich waters. Next stop: 26 miles


Stop five: Dry Creek General Store


Welcome to Sonoma, where this market/café offers hearty grab-and-go sandwiches alongside kitchenware gifts. Stock up on local bounty for an afternoon picnic. Next stop: 6 miles


Stop six: Preston Farm & Winery


Take your picnic to this biodynamic winery and farm where you can taste organic Zinfandel, meet the sheep, and hear about how Preston cares for its most valuable resource: the land. Next stop: 44 miles 


Stop seven: Balo Vineyards


Hop on Highway 128 and head west to this low-key spot nestled on 14 acres in Anderson Valley. The Pinot Noir is excellent, the bocce courts beckon and the unpretentious staff will answer all your budding oenophile questions. Next stop: 34 miles


Stop eight: B. Bryan Preserve


There’s a herd of giraffe living on the Mendocino Coast in Point Arena. This private preserve has been breeding endangered African hoof stock and welcoming visitors to learn about Grevy’s zebra, roan antelope, and greater kudu for more than a decade. Next stop: 29 miles


Stop nine: Navarro River Redwoods State Park


This petite Mendocino park traces its namesake river for 14 miles, winding through a tunnel of redwoods toward the coast. Pull off to take a dip or snap a photo among the arboreal giants. Next stop: 25 miles


Stop 10: Glass Beach


Follow Highway 1 north to these Fort Bragg coves, where you can glimpse California history in the form of sea-polished glass from years of ocean dumping and explore tide pools teeming with aquatic life.


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