A Basket, a Blanket and Thou: Picknicking in Napa Valley
Whether they’re visiting Toledo or touring Timbuktu, there are all kinds of wanderlust among world travelers. Some seekers trek deep into the woods for solitude; urban explorers flock to cities to engage in metropolitan hustle and bustle. One activity, however, can be universally incorporated into any trip, regardless of destination. Consider the humble yet imminently satisfying tradition of the picnic. Be it with family, friends or in a romantic context, the choice to simply stop everything and find a restful outdoor place to repast is a universal urge.
So it is in California’s majestic and picturesque Napa Valley. This region’s stunning beauty is the stuff of award-winning photography and idyllic scenes of reflection. Rolling hills of warm earth tones blend with emerald flora bring to mind a Van Gough painting. Add to that the area’s many wineries and food purveyors, and the scene of a perfect outing comes into fuller relief. Award-winning vineyards offer libations and beautiful grounds upon which to set one’s basket and blanket. Napa’s vibrant foodie culture provides delectable victuals, often derived of locally sourced ingredients to ensure a tasty accompaniment to the afternoon delight.
Are you ready to enjoy one of the most memorable outdoor dining experiences of your life? Let’s take a look at some of the best places here to embark on a picnic and where to stock up on provisions.
First and Foremost - The Food
Stocking up on sandwiches, salads and snacks is the first order of business whenever planning a picnic. Now, some destinations have their own grocery and deli options on premises (more on that later). But there are some great options to consider if you need to load up before you leave. One local favorite that has deep roots in the community is the Oakville Grocery (7856 St. Helena Hwy, Oakville). Founded way, way back in 1881, this is a full-service deli/gourmet grocery. Expect local wines and olive oils for sale, fantastic pizza to savor and even picnic-focused items – that’s their specialty! You can also be sure to find some perfect items to bring back as gifts to family back home or even to yourself.
Another great place to load up on lunch stuff – and quite a bit more – is The Village (850 Bordeaux Way, Napa). This one-stop shopping experience has everything you need (and many things you don’t need, but want anyway) under one roof. Its Fivetown Grocery provides upscale, farm-fresh menu items. They even have cooking classes! Wine is on sale, of course, and there are tasting rooms. Plus, you can arrange to hold events here. And – wait for it – there are even picnic grounds on premises. That’s as full service as you can get. But even if you’ll be dining al fresco elsewhere in the valley, this is a great place to load up on morsels.