Travel: Napa Valley

Head north from San Francisco for about an hour, and you'll come to this lush region of rolling hills and more than 450 vineyards. Uploaded by

It goes without saying that the Napa Valley in California is an American wine lover’s paradise.  People come for the colorful, rolling hills, the breathtaking views, the world-class hotels and restaurants – and, of course, the wine.

Oh yes, the wine.

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The Valley is about 30 miles long, and devotes about 45,000 acres to grapes. That’s only about an eighth of the size of the Bordeaux region in France. Some 450 wineries call the Napa Valley home, and most of them are open to the public. About 4.5 million people visit the area each year, and it was named “The World’s Best Food and Wine Destination” in the Trip Advisor 2010 Travelers’ Choice Awards.

A drive of about an hour north of San Francisco will bring you to Napa, and you’ll pass through scenic vineyards along the way. As you might expect from a region catering to wine lovers, things are a bit expensive in the area. But a little planning can turn up a charming bed and breakfast, or a modest bistro, or even a perfect picnic. (If you’re looking for auto parts, you’ve come to the wrong NAPA.)

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