Napa Valley

Free desktop wallpaper for September 2012: A birds-eye view of Napa Valley from a hot air balloon.
September 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Napa Hot Air Balloon Rides

This is the August 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series – always free and available for iPad and iPhone too! Get your August 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! This photo of the Napa Valley was taken from 2,000 feet, during an early morning hot air balloon ride.  September is the start of harvest season in California wine country […]

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Napa Restaurants: Foie Gras at La Toque

by Chris on August 14, 2012

Should Napa restaurants serve foie gras, after California passed a ban on the food? Ken Frank of La Toque says yes.
Foie gras at La Toque

With a flourish, Chef Ken Frank set the serving spoons in front of us during a press dinner at his restaurant, the Michelin-starred La Toque in the Westin Verasa Resort in Napa Valley. “This is my favorite preparation of foie gras,” he said, pointing out the fresh corn polenta and the chanterelle mushrooms. Hey, wait […]


My second hot air balloon ride involved gorgeous views of Napa Valley – and luckily, no trees.
Hot air balloons above Napa Valley

This week, I’m serving as a paid spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’ Seven Tickets to Paradise Sweepstakes. The contest, open to Hilton HHonors members through Aug. 31, features seven prize packages to destinations ranging from Bali to Palm Springs to a location of your choice. I previewed one of the prizes, the “Your Ticket To Dine,” in Napa […]


All about my upcoming Hilton HHonors Foodie trip to Napa Valley – and how you can win one too.
Vineyards in Napa Valley

This post continues my ongoing coverage of wine country travel. This weekend, I’m heading to Napa Valley. It will be the second time that I’ve gone this year, and the third time that I’ve visited since I moved out to the West Coast in 2010. To me, wine country getaways, both down in California and closer […]


Wine Country travel: Checking out the art in Napa Valley, in preparation for the Arts in April program.
Hess Collection, Napa Valley

This post continues my ongoing coverage of wine country travel. I’ve written about Napa in the past, but while I’ve enjoyed visiting  the area’s wineries, spas and luxury bed and breakfasts, I never experienced the incredible art collections that you can find in the valley until this year. This month, the Napa Valley Arts in […]


Napa Valley Weekend: JoLe, Calistoga

by Chris on June 15, 2011

Tasting menu at JoLe in Calistoga, run by chefs Matt and Sonjia Spector (formerly of Matyson in Philadelphia).
JoLe Calistoga

Where: JoLe: Farm to Table, Calistoga in Napa Valley Why we went: Napa Valley may be Michelin-star central, but JoLe caught our eye because its chef owners – Matt and Sonjia Spector – ran the insanely popular Matyson Restaurant back in Philadelphia. Since the husband-wife team moved to Calistoga, they’ve racked up accolades in their new […]


Burrowing down in the mud baths at Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Spring Resort in Calistoga, California.
Calistoga Mud Baths

Most of the time, Don loves being the husband of a travel writer. He tags along to five-course meals and stays at hotels where the thread count exceeds the average American’s rent. He visits destinations that he once dreamed about while reading National Geographic in a basement in Iowa. But trying new things means that you’ll […]


An in-town tasting room or visit to a vineyard – which is the better way to experience a wine tasting in Napa Valley? We explore both.
Wine tasting, Napa Valley

Used to be, visiting wineries in Napa Valley required some planning. You’d scout out the wineries you wanted to visit, made appointments when possible, and then made sure that someone in your group stayed sober enough to drive you between the different vineyards. So I was surprised (and yet intrigued) when I saw all the […]


Napa Valley Weekend: Yountville

by Chris on June 6, 2011

The kickoff to our romantic Napa Valley weekend: a night in Yountville, the town that Thomas Keller built.
Napa Valley Weekend

If you’re the type of couple that lives for great food and wine – and has the means to spend serious cash on it –  I’m not sure there’s anything more romantically decadent than a Napa Valley weekend. At least that’s how I felt on our May trip to California wine country. In 48 hours, […]