Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome to Napa Valley 365

So, it's a new year and a new day and... I've been living in this wonderful place called Napa Valley for about 4 years now. Sadly, over the past year I feel like I've spent 90% of the time seeing nothing but my apartment, my classroom (I'm a teacher) and the inside of a bus.

That's a travesty! I sat there and thought about it, and I decided something has to change... I mean, people come from all over the world to this tourist destination! And why not? Sure, there's good wine, but for me that's just a tiny tip of the iceberg. I have never grown tired of the panoramic views driving up Silverado Trail or riding up Hwy 29 in the Napa VINE bus, past glowing orange balloons firing up at the crack of dawn, leisurely floating over hazy, misty vineyards as the valley wakes up.

The fact of the matter is that this place is, quite honestly, close to perfection. Sure, I do love wine and wine tasting (but I'm also going to be the first to admit that, sadly, Napa is a pricey place for that passion -- many places are overpriced, even for tastings. And many Napa wines are overrated, though I've experienced some amazing cabs here). But what I love even more is the weather, mild and often warm but cooled by sea breezes which funnel up from Vallejo and the San Francisco Bay, winding their way along the Napa River. I love the dynamic scenery, ever-changing with the weather such that even when the weather is inclement and prevents some of the great hiking and biking and sightseeing around here, it adds spice and variety to the all-around sensory feast that is Napa Valley.

This is the only place I have woken up and headed to work through a yellow corridor of shafts of sunrise light stabbing through fog-enshrouded palm trees, while a full-on rainbow frames a bright full moon still hanging in the morning sky. This is the only place I've hiked up a mountain past the honeymoon encampment of a famous author and up to 360 degree panoramas of hills and vineyards and quaint towns... and then been able to taste world-class wines upon descent from the mountain, right in the very vineyards that produced it.

And yet, I have started to take this for granted. Life is too short. I need to experience this valley for all it offers -- and I need to share with the world that what it offers is a veritable cornucopia, far beyond the wine, spas, hotels, and restaurants it is known for. So I've decided to partake of one of the local treasures for every day of the year (365 total new experiences) and share those experiences so people can get a sense of the variety of beautiful possibilities here -- and many of them not so pricey (like I said... I'm a teacher. I'm not made of money)

So this blog is for me, for you, and for Napa Valley. Enjoy! I know I will.

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