Best wine destination in 2013: Napa Valley/Sonoma, California.
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Relax: Offering 535 acres of oak woodlands, evergreen forests, and riparian and chaparral ecosystems, the Bouverie Preserve (egret.org/visit_bouverie) is a perfect way to get away from it all. In spring, the Preserve offers stunning wildflower displays, and, year-round, you might spot 130 species of birds, 350 species of flowering plants, plus bobcats, grey foxes, and coyotes. Tours, conducted by volunteers, are offered every Saturday.
Eat: Of course, Chef Thomas Keller’s landmark The French Laundry (6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 707-944-2380; frenchlaundry.com) is the mandatory Napa meal, but, here, excellent restaurants are thick on the ground. If you can’t snag a table at The French Laundry, try the more casual (and reasonably priced) Glen Ellen Star (13648 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 707-343-1384; glenellenstar.com). It’s owned by a wine-country royal Chef Ari Weiswasser, formerly of The French Laundry, and his wife, Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser. Expect locally raised ingredients, often finished over an open fire.
Shop: Shoe collectors won’t want to miss the iconic, handmade ballet flats at Jan Niemi’s St. Helena shop, Flats. There, you’ll find her shoes in the full spectrum of colors, plus clothing, accessories, and more. (1219-B Main St, St. Helena 707-967-0480; flatsnapavalley.com)
Off the Beaten Track: If you’ve ever wanted to be lowered naked into a hot, gloopy stew of peat and volcanic ash, then hit kitschy Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, the oldest spa in Calistoga. NB: Compared to many spas, this one is reasonably priced—but it’s not for the shy or the squeamish. (1507 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 707-942-4102; drwilkinson.com)