The Spring Mountain District AVA and the surrounding Napa Valley brings in hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to explore wine country. After spending a morning or afternoon learning more about some of your favorite small vintners, you'll want to stretch your legs and explore some of the most beautiful land in California. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your time in St. Helena.
1. Rent a Bicycle. St. Helena is not a large city geographically, so a bike is a great way to become familiar with the local stores, restaurants and other attractions. In St. Helena, there's plenty of hills and curves to keep the ride interesting, while down in the Valley, you get a more relaxing ride.
2. Picnic in the Park. Take along a bottle of your favorite local wine and head to Crane Park on a sunny afternoon. Playgrounds, bocce courts, tennis courts, volleyball nets and picnic spots abound, so you can enjoy the weather and a relaxing day burning off some excess energy.
3. Hiking Oat Hill Mine. For an all day adventure in the mountains, enjoy an exciting walk along the old stage couch route the Oat Hill Mine Trail. The 8.3 miles of dirt track are surrounded by stunning vistas of the peaks and forests below. Watching the sun move across the sky, lighting up the mountains and valley is an unforgettable experience. If you want a more gentle adventure, you can always turn back at the base of the Palisades. It is a natural halfway point that lets you experience all of nature's wonder.
4. Camp on Spring Mountain. The Bothe-Napa Valley State Park sits virtually on Spring Mountain, with all of the views and natural beauty of the local scenery. Camping is available if setting up for a night under the stars sounds like a romantic way to spend a weekend, and day trips are always welcome. Hiking trails lead you past stands of redwood trees and a variety of firs. Don't forget your swimming gear since the pool is open during the summer season. Pack a fun picnic with a few delicious local wine pairings and soak up the sites as you sip on your bounty.
5. Explore the Mount St. Helena Trail. The challenging Mount St. Helena Trail is 9.3 miles of some fairly tough hiking, but the view from the top might even have you forgetting to break out the wine. The mountain top reaches 4,342 feet, giving you an unparalleled view of the flower covered slopes. You'll climb nearly 2100 feet during the hike, but it is all on a wide dirt track, so no worries about getting lost or breaking new ground.
1. Balloon Accessions. Take an hour or two near sunset to appreciate a bird's eye view of the Valley laid out before you from up high in the sky. With all the noise and activity left behind, you and your significant other can enjoy the serene beauty of floating above mountains, lakes, rivers and more.
2. Saunter up the Napa River and Bay Trail. Romantic views and scenic overlooks are part of the fun along the Napa River and Bay Trail. Walking hand-in-hand as you take in the wonderful views is more than just romantic, it's dreamy and charming as you watch the sunset go down on another great vacation day.
3. Tour the Culinary Institutes of America Campus. Combine a romantic meal with some shopping for your kitchen at this non-profit school that has turned out some world-renowned chefs. Tasting plates and nibbles keep you satisfied without weighing you down as you explore everything the campus has to offer.
4. Tour a Tuscan Castle. You won't need to visit Tuscany to see a castle with that style of architecture. St. Helena has its very own example. General admission tickets are available, and nothing says romance like a classic Tuscan castle.
Whether your next trip to the Spring Mountain District AVA is for business or pleasure, there are plenty of outdoor activities to round out your trip. Be sure to schedule a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards and taste our award winning estate cabernet on your next visit.
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