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Walnut Creek Magazine

A St. Helena Getaway Worth The Splurge

Feb 27, 2022 08:41AM ● By Pam Kessler

Drive through Oakville on Highway 29 to the heart of California’s famed Napa Valley where its easy to miss the storybook-like brick exterior of the Harvest Inn behind a grove of towering redwoods. Built in the 1970s, the eight-acre property is now part of the distinguished Woodside Hotel Group, exuding the sophistication that is a hallmark of their properties.


Set against a backdrop of vineyards and within walking distance of downtown St. Helena’s boutiques, restaurants, and wine outposts, the Harvest Inn welcomes guests with freshly renovated accommodations and secluded places to lounge and explore. Splurge on a stay in a spacious Vineyard View room or suite for panoramic views of Whitehall Lane's Leonardini Family Vineyards. Inside are wood-burning fireplaces, plenty of natural light, and private patios. Footpaths tucked among the property’s gardens lead to swimming pools and hot tubs.


A central lobby features a full bar and onsite restaurant Harvest Table, with a heated outdoor terrace. Here the California wine country menu shows off seasonal cuisine in $60 three-course Asian-inspired dinners that begin with creamy sweet potato ginger soup, followed by sesame salmon and ends with a matcha bread pudding smothered in ice cream and caramel.



Head to Clif Family Winery for a pairing of incredible wines and delicious bites. Owned by the family behind Clif Bars, the roadside tasting room serves food from the winery’s Bruschetteria Food Truck sourced from their certified organic family farm—slow roasted tomato fonduta, whipped goat cheese and Calabrian chile. Across the street, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is a local favorite for cheddar biscuits, grits, and comforting bowls of zucchini risotto. Hall Wines stands out for its acclaimed art collection—home to the giant Bunny Foo Foo statue as well as works by John Baldessari, Jim Campbell, Nick Cave, Graham Caldwell—and world class Cabs.  At the town’s southern edge, Napa Valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug pours crisp French oak aged Chardonnays on its stunning grounds.



A visit to St. Helena is not complete without a juicy burger and fries or ahi fish tacos at Gott’s Roadside. The first in the franchise, Gott’s opened in St. Helena in 1949, and continues to charm visitors and locals with its nostalgic drive in vibes. Overnight accommodations in St. Helena are on the pricey side, so if you can spare the time, book a midweek escape when the crowds are thin and rooms more reasonable.


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