Monday, February 7, 2011

Discovering What to Do in Napa

I'm exhausted and this is another one of those all-work, no-play days. Left for work at 6:10 am, got home at 6:10 pm. Needless to say, there won't be anything too exciting for me to talk about today.

However, I have been pondering about how hard it is for me to actually figure out what is going on in the valley at any given point in time. How do people do it? For example, in the recent Calistoga wine tastings I have done, the tasting rooms were far busier than I would have expected. It turns out that there was a Winter Wine Passport promotion going on for the first time this year, in which $50 would get you a "passport" you could use for free tasting at several local tasting rooms: W.H. Smith, Ochoa/Rios, Lava Vine, Twomey, and Castello di Amarosa... amongst some others. This had been going in since the beginning of December, and this was the first I'd heard of it! (It just ended yesterday)

I do see signs for the local events in Calistoga, as they are advertised on banners strung across Lincoln Ave. For example, right now they are hyping the Mustard, Mud and Music weekend featuring jazz events in Calistoga on March 5 and 6. Nearby I often notice banners outside Calistoga Inn and Brewery advertising special events there (the one for a "Brewer's Dinner" of various beers paired with multiple courses in a prix-fixe meal caught my eye, and I've made a reservation to be attending that on Wednesday at 6:30 pm, $50/person for a six course meal and lots of different beers... should be good!)

Anyway, I really am clueless, so I decided to start going online and finding various tourism websites and listings of activities and events. It's actually not so easy to find out what is going on around here! How do people do it?? I imagine a lot of tourists might get info from hotels when they are calling and making reservations, or from the concierge once they arrive (ie. stumbling upon them by accident), but it would be nice if there were some sort of mailing list(s) or RSS feeds or something that would send auto-updates of special events. Unfortunately, the web designs of a lot of the local websites in the Valley are pretty rinky-dink. I mean, the wineries sure shell out money to get top-notch web design (because, let's face it, the Napa "brand" is 50% glitz and hype and marketing), so why can't the B&B's and city chambers of commerce and tourist bureaus do the same?

Anyway, I've started searching around for websites I can frequent in order to see the 411 for the Valley, so I'll share the ones I know about right here... if anybody knows other good sources or feeds for information, please share!

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