Cultural Experience | California

Best of Napa for the weekend.

Napa Valley is one of the most beautiful cities in California, known for their decadent wines, the cozy bed and breakfast’s and the hundreds of wineries.

While staying in Napa, for the weekend, I put together the ‘must do’s’ of wine tastings and best spots to eat. Napa will be a place you won’t ever want to leave, take it all in and enjoy it while you can!


Staying at a bed and breakfast in Napa is the way to go. There are many places to stay but where I stayed was incredible, it was called the Candlelight Inn. The cottage section of the inn, which included its own personal balcony, overlooked the Napa River. Perfect! The cottage itself had a gas fireplace, a Jacuzzi tub, a kitchen stocked with complementary wine and cheese platter and breakfast served upon request every morning. The inn had a heated pool along with a mini garden where the owner of the inn would pick his fresh vegetables and herbs for the breakfast. Although it was a very cozy and warm stay, it was closer to downtown Napa instead of the wineries, so the drive was about 20 to 30 minutes. If you cannot stay at the Candlelight Inn, there are many bed and breakfasts located in the same area.

Candlelight Inn Image


Downtown Napa has a market called Oxbow Public Market and there was every type of food one could think of – BBQ, seafood, cheese and wine tastings, organic ice cream, tapas and more! We ate at Hog Island Oyster Co first. The oysters there are out of this world. Try the grilled Worcestershire Oysters and the Hot Island Sweetwater Oysters severed with their traditional Hog sauce. Hog sauce is their supplement for cocktail sauce and contains rice vinegar, parsley, red onion and cilantro. If you are looking for a lunch spot, try La Taberna. La Taberna is a tapa’s style restaurant that serves potato bravos, pig ears – sounds nasty but just try them – smoked trout, squid, octopus, scallops and salads. Six or seven dishes will fill you up and costs around 50 dollars, which isn’t bad at all! For a more romantic outing eat at Angele. Angele is a traditional steak house right along the Napa River and offers everything from seafood to quality cuts of meat. My personal favorite dish was the scallops and broccolini.



Napa is a 20 to 30 minute drive to the wineries, but take an Uber because you should not drive under the influence, and the tastings sneak up on you! Out of the five wineries I visited, my two favorites were Castello di Amorosa and Sterling Winery.

Castello di Amorosa is a Renaissance style castle which was built only fifteen years ago costing around forty million dollars! You have to do the cheese and wine tasting which includes a two-hour tour of the castle. You can learn about the history of the castle, the fermentation of red and white wines, how to properly taste wine and more. To be a member of this winery all you have to do is purchase a case of wine every year. Being a member entails free wine tastings for a year, discounts of any purchase and being able to attend the events held at the castle. They have a New Years Masquerade Ball that I would die to go to!


Sterling Winery has a gondola that takes you up to the top of the hill where the winery is located. The views from the gondola are breathtaking. We got the basic tour at Sterling which cost us about twenty dollars each and was more than enough. The self guided tour consisted of five wine tasting which ended us on their rooftop lounge. We decided to order a cheese platter, which included Duck breast, four types of cheeses, olives and bread. The Duck was amazing when pairing it with a light, Pinot Noir. When traveling to Napa make sure to go to three to six wineries to experience the different history and unique taste of each wine.


Napa was hands down one of the best vacations I have ever been on. It is a romantic place so great place to go with a significant other.  If you prefers to be closer to the wineries rather than Downtown Napa stay either in the town of St. Helena or Rutherford: both quaint and cozy.

For more: Napa on a Budget

Ashley Ulbrich

University of Central Florida | 5 stories

My name is Ashley Ulbrich and I am a senior at the University of Central Florida. My major is Human Communications and my minor is Hospitality Management. I studied abroad my junior year summer, for six weeks, in Florence, Italy. Over the weekends I visited 13 cities and 3 other countries. I had the opportunity to skydive over the Swiss Alps and it was the best experience of my life, it was exhilarating! My next adventure will be traveling to Finland and see the Northern Lights. Other than traveling, I love to work out and eat sushi constantly.

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