I decided to take a little drive today, a scenic detour to a part of Napa I didn't even know existed: a peninsula of wetlands, vineyards, and riverfront homes nestled right where the Napa River widens and deepens.
I found out about this area -- located south of Hwy 121 (which runs between Napa and Sonoma) by taking Cutting's Wharf Rd -- through my current house hunt in Napa County. There are several homes for sale on Milton Rd. right on the riverfront at the southern end of the peninsula.
I grew up near water (in Maryland, near the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay) and I love it. I love boats and would absolutely love to own a home on the Napa River, but particularly where the river is a little more secluded and is boat-accessible. This is that area.
The drive south is like another world -- flat, marshy fields with flocks of waterfowl silhouetted against the sunlight glinting from shallow pools of water and mud. There is an occasional cow pasture, and still plenty of vineyards, such as Etude (this is, after all, Carneros -- an AVA prized for the temperate cooling breezes and fogs that waft up from the Bay and the river, a territory loved by pinot noir and chardonnay) -- but now there are also boat launches and small harbors.
The strip of houses is different -- gone are the Victorians and craftsman homes so prominent (and beautiful) in most of Napa Valley. In their place are a motley hodgepodge of what can only be described as "beachfront" homes, vintage 50's-70's. It is not a place of staggering wealth, but seems to be a neighborhood of down-to-earth folk who just happen to love the seclusion (and plenty who want the water, replete with boats "out back" on the river)
To me, it's paradise. (Unfortunately, the homes are still too high out of my price range -- apparently nobody's told these folks that the real estate party is over and it's time to come back to reality. They are trying to sell homes for $500-$700k, when they are valued at $300-$500k on Zillow and Eppraisal)