The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Spots to hit in a summer vacation in Napa Valley

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, the decision of where to take your much deserved summer vacation begins to loom. The answer ? Napa Valley!

I am sure by now most of you have seen the movie “Sideways” and are familiar with the allure that comes with a trip to wine country, but whether you are in a relationship or are single, a trip to Napa has what it takes to relax away the semesters past.

First off, I strongly recommend that you give yourself at least five days to do this trip, as part of its enticement is the drive up. There are two main routes: the first being through the cow pasture-infested heart of California via the 5 freeway – which also happens to be the fastest – the second, in my opinion, is the way to go. Although it takes nearly nine hours, the trip up Pacific Coast Highway may be some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States.

Once in Napa Valley, it is important to choose a good place to stay. Most of us students are in the market for something dirt cheap (to save money for alcohol), but if you can find a middle ground and want to stay someplace affordable, yet nice and historic, I strongly recommend the Beazley House. Set in the heart of Napa’s old town, the Beazley House is a full-service bed and breakfast just minutes away from the finest wineries and vineyards, gourmet restaurants, outlet shopping and of course, great nightlife.

Starting at around $169 per night, the circa 1902 mansion includes several amenities that other lodgings do not. For wine-lovers, the Beazley House offers a surplus of coupons for free wine tasting at some of the most storied wineries throughout the Valley. The tastings are hardly a little sip; in most cases by the time you leave a winery you’ve knocked back nearly two full glasses of wine. No worries, though, it is not called a bed and breakfast for nothing ? the breakfasts’ are quite filling, so you won’t have an empty stomach.

In my opinion, there are at least three must-see wineries. The first is the Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather” director) winery, which also has a biographical museum containing the desk from “The Godfather,” Academy Awards and numerous photos of his extraordinary career.

The next would be the Robert Mondavi winery, consistently voted the best tour in Napa Valley, situated on the historic 550-acre To Kalon Vineyard in the Oakville region. In order to explore the vineyard a reservation is usually required, but it is more than worth it.

And lastly, but maybe the most visually stunning, is the Artesa Winery. Nestled within the hills, the modern establishment is designed to blend in with the surrounding terrain, yet the contemporary design sets it aside from the rest. The wine is very good, but the terrace view of the San Francisco Bay steals the show.

After a solid day of wine tasting, the Beazley House can organize dinner reservations, entertainment ideas and even spa packages to relax away the rest of the evening. But before any of that, the popular Beringer winery often sends over a representative to give free lessons on exactly how to drink wine, not to mention give you a ton of it to swig.

Once you have perfected your wine tasting skill, it is time to go to a restaurant and show off you new talent ? and then do it all over again the very next day.

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