Day Trip: Yountville
July 16, 2012
Matt and I spent all day Saturday working on some home improvement projects so we dedicated Sunday to a day of leisure and headed out to Napa County to spend the day at a favorite town, Yountville.
Yountville is a small town near the big wineries in the Napa Valley – it was made famous by Thomas Keller when he founded the French Laundry almost 20 years ago. Keller expanded his restaurants on Washington Street to include bistro Bouchon, the Bouchon Bakery next door, and casual Ad Hoc down the street. To tempt taste buds even more, a few years ago chef Michael Chiarello opened Bottega next to his flagship Napa Style store. All of the restaurants are within a few hundred yards of each other which certifies Yountville as foodie heaven.
Yountville is a very small town, and most businesses, shops, restaurants and tasting rooms are located along the main street (Washington). Start your day at the Coffee Caboose and don’t miss getting your pastry at one of the best bakeries in the region, Bouchon Bakery, across the street.
You can gather more information on what’s going on in the area at the nearby Visitor Center.
Down the block, spend an hour or two lingering at V Marketplace shops and enjoying the courtyard lawns and fountains.
There are many marvelous places to eat lunch and dinner, including Bistro Jeanty, Bouchon, and Bottega, and of course the French Laundry if you can get a much coveted reservation many months in advance. We chose Bottega this time and it was divine!
Golden beets with blue cheese and pistachio vinaigrette? Heirloom tomato burrata caprese? Gnocchi with summer squash? Yes please (all amazing!)
After lunch it’s time for a stroll! Take a walk down Washington Street past roses, lavender, and other flowering plants and you’ll come to the unfenced gardens of the French Laundry where it’s perfectly fine to walk around and admire the organic gardens of fruits and vegetables growing in the sun.
Keep going and you’ll come to several tasting rooms along Washington Street where you can sample a variety of wines and browse a few art installations too.
Turn right at Madison and stroll through the small residential neighborhoods a glance at some pretty cottages and homes in the neighborhood.
If you’re traveling with kids, there’s a wonderful park and play structure on the corner of Washington and Jackson. If not, there’s a bike tour company in downtown Yountville (Napa Valley Bike Tours) where you can rent bikes to head to the big wineries of Oakville and Rutherford a few miles north, or you can walk from downtown over to Domaine Chandon to enjoy the afternoon picnicking and drinking sparkling wine.
On your next trip to the Napa Valley, spend a day in Yountville, your taste buds won’t be disappointed!