Mumm Vineyards – Napa

Heading home from Calistoga I headed towards Lake Berryessa and stopped at Mumm because the Napa Valley was showing off. For me it is easy to get turned off by the glamour and money and tourism of the Napa area. But, on days like this, it reminds me why this area is a world-class location for people to visit from around the world no matter the traffic. Behind me for probably fifty plus miles the earth is scarred from the last fire. But ahead of me is fall, crush, clear sky from the recent rain, and a glorious vista. Cheers.

Petrified Forest – Santa Rosa

My son and I took a trip to the Santa Rosa Mountains outside of Calistoga to visit Safari West. On our way there we took a pitstop at the Petrified Forest. The site has a quick little mile loop where you can read and learn about the petrified forest and the history of the location. We learned about these trees being knocked over 3 millions years ago when Mount Saint Helena erupted burying these trees in ash and thereby petrifying them for posterity. It’s a very interesting little spot which folks can’t see just anywhere. It’s a great way to be outside particularly as COVID lingers on. It’s a lovely drive there and through the mountains or a quick side trip from the beautiful Napa area.

Yountville Public Art

Spring is springing in Northern California. It was time to get out of the house for some fresh air and street art in Yountville, California. Yountville is a lovely alternative to some of the busy wineries and shopping districts of its neighbor Napa, Saint Helena or Calistoga. It was also the perfect place to get outdoors safely masked in public.

Wherever you are today, whether its still snowy or tropical and warm or somewhere in between, I would like to send you some California sunshine from one of the most famous regions on the planet, for good reason.


Di Rosa – Modern Art in Napa

Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is not your average stop in Napa.  The art is serious and IT.IS.LARGE.  The grounds are lovely.  Wine is nowhere to be found (except for the vines on the property) which is welcome in a place where stopping at one winery about hits my max these days.

Di Rosa is highlighting the largest collection (over 100 pieces) of art by Viola Frey in one exhibition ever. Many many pieces were on display including her larger than life pieces in living 80’s color. Most of the pieces are ceramic ranging in size and purpose.

The exhibition space is spectacular.  Be sure to come early since they close at 4 p.m. and one must be shuttled to the exhibition space.  I was lucky visiting during the week as I was the only visitor and had the entire place to myself save one security guard.

Napa has some world class art happening which perhaps could be taken more seriously if everyone wasn’t so tipsy all the time. 😉

My favorite installation is below.  Something about a swinging angel was entertaining and not expected.  And what’s not cool about a random car hanging from a tree?

Below are the grounds and the main exhibition space with some pretty wild and colorful pieces.

Come enjoy Napa.  There is something here for everyone.  Cheers!

Random Napa

A lot of people go to Napa for the wine. Some come to shop or to visit the spas and places of healing. Many come for the outstanding world class food. I second all of those reasons. But this trip I came for the fresh air. I came for the antique stores and the art. (More of that later)  Mostly I came to get some fresh air.

A life-size corkscrew must bring a smile to your face.  And who doesn’t love a good tree lined drive?  What about a converted gas station wine tasting room?

I also wanted to see the burn area from the recent and devastating fires.  If you look close in a few of the photos you will see a lovely and charming country winery scene. But if you look close the hill behind the winery is the fire line and miles and miles behind it burned along with much of what was in its path. Many moons ago I presented my dissertation at the Mayacamas Ranch which sadly was lost in the fire.  They vow to rebuild and I wish them luck because their place was spectacular.  Its been a little while since the fire so green is growing but all of the trees are dead and much devastation still exists.  And a lot of building…




My photography friend and I headed to Napa with the plan to photograph spring flowers. A quick and random yelp search layer led us to the random Villa Ca’ Toga. After seeing some of the images online and having never heard of this place flowers were out the window and we set coordinates towards beautiful Calistoga. Turns out sadly that the tours of the Villa start next week so we settled on the gallery. (Harrumph.)

A visit to the gallery did not disappoint and has well inspired us to take a trip soon to see the Villa which is home to and created by Carlo Marchiori. Carlo is a multi talented and prolific artist whose muse is his own Villa on the outskirts of Calistoga.  Every inch of the Villa is covered in interesting and eccentric art as well as the grounds which appear to be covered in random sculpture.

Who wants to visit the Villa with me?!




Springtime in Napa

It’s springtime in Napa which means mustard flower and cleanup piles. I have always found Napa to be a spectacularly beautiful place. But, I’ve always found the views away from the large commercial wineries to be my favorites. The side roads and country in between the touristy places can take your breath away. Napa is truly the most beautiful big time small town in Nor Cal and I never ever get tired of it in any season.

Springtime in Napa – Chateau Montelena

Visiting Napa this last week made me realize I never posted photos from the last time I took Spring photos in Napa a few years prior.  Now seems as good a time as any to share photos from Chateau Montelena, the winery famous for putting Napa wines on the map in the 70’s when good wine was only known to come from France and Italy.

The grounds here are the most spectacular I have visited in Napa.  The asian-inspired garden is magnificent and truly doesn’t even need the wine to make it enjoyable. The grounds are a perfect place for a blanket and a picnic.  The garden theme doesn’t exactly match the facade of the building though.  However, as separate and distinct items they are both noteworthy and stunning.

Have you ever been to Napa?  Who do you think has the most beautiful winery?  I feel like I could go back every spring foe ten years and not even come close to capturing all of the beautiful wineries.  But, I will sure try.

To check out my other Spring Napa photos please click here. 

Springtime in Napa – V. Sattui Winery

A recent trip to Napa made me realize Diana and I did the same thing a few years ago and I never shared the photos.  Here are a few we took from our prior Spring Photo fling in the beautiful Napa, California.

These were taken at V. Sattui, a  popular stop for anyone who regularly visits the Napa region.  Folks can stop here for tasting, to enjoy the gardens, and for a great picnic spot.

We randomly ran in to a really friendly Georgian Monk Wine Maker visiting Napa to learn more about wine making.  He was interested in our cameras and wanted a photo.  How could I argue?

Check more Spring Napa photos by clicking here…


Springtime in Napa – Hall Winery

Hall Winery Napa – When art and architecture overshadow the wine.


On our way to Castello di Amorosa we couldn’t help but notice the giant shining bunny at Hall winery.  We.Could.Not.Pass.Up.The.Bunny.  What we didn’t expect was a dozen other magnificent pieces of art set in a uber comfortable setting meant for guests to savor the wine, the weather, and the scenery.  If only we had more time to stop at the hundreds of wineries in the area…

What’s your favorite part of Napa?  Favorite wine or winery?

For more of my Napa drive please click here…