Day Trip: Yountville

By Kate Riley July 16, 2012

Matt and I spent all day Saturday working on some home improvement projects so we dedicated Sunday to a day of leisure and headed out to Napa County to spend the day at a favorite town, Yountville. 

Yountville is a small town near the big wineries in the Napa Valley – it was made famous by Thomas Keller when he founded the French Laundry almost 20 years ago.  Keller expanded his restaurants on Washington Street to include bistro Bouchon, the Bouchon Bakery next door, and casual Ad Hoc down the street.  To tempt taste buds even more, a few years ago chef Michael Chiarello opened Bottega next to his flagship Napa Style store.  All of the restaurants are within a few hundred yards of each other which certifies Yountville as foodie heaven.  

day trip yountville


Yountville is a very small town, and most businesses, shops, restaurants and tasting rooms are located along the main street (Washington).  Start your day at the Coffee Caboose and don’t miss getting your pastry at one of the best bakeries in the region, Bouchon Bakery, across the street.

yountville coffee caboose

bakery bouchon


You can gather more information on what’s going on in the area at the nearby Visitor Center.  

yountville visitor center


Down the block, spend an hour or two lingering at V Marketplace shops and enjoying the courtyard lawns and fountains. 

v marketplace shops

napa style store

courtyard fountain yountville


There are many marvelous places to eat lunch and dinner, including Bistro Jeanty, Bouchon, and Bottega, and of course the French Laundry if you can get a much coveted reservation many months in advance.  We chose Bottega this time and it was divine!

bistro jeanty

bouchon restaurant

bottega restaurant


Golden beets with blue cheese and pistachio vinaigrette?  Heirloom tomato burrata caprese?  Gnocchi with summer squash?  Yes please (all amazing!)

lunch at bottega


After lunch it’s time for a stroll!  Take a walk down Washington Street past roses, lavender, and other flowering plants and you’ll come to the unfenced gardens of the French Laundry where it’s perfectly fine to walk around and admire the organic gardens of fruits and vegetables growing in the sun. 

rose lined path

flowers along path

french laundry garden and valley

french laundry garden

french laundry heirloom tomatoes

french laundry hens


Keep going and you’ll come to several tasting rooms along Washington Street where you can sample a variety of wines and browse a few art installations too.

maisonry tasting room and gallery

drawers patina maisonry

maisonry seating

jessup cellars


Turn right at Madison and stroll through the small residential neighborhoods a glance at some pretty cottages and homes in the neighborhood.  

yountville cottage


belle maison

belle maison old time car

yountville community church


If you’re traveling with kids, there’s a wonderful park and play structure on the corner of Washington and Jackson.  If not, there’s a bike tour company in downtown Yountville (Napa Valley Bike Tours) where you can rent bikes to head to the big wineries of Oakville and Rutherford a few miles north, or you can walk from downtown over to Domaine Chandon to enjoy the afternoon picnicking and drinking sparkling wine. 

domaine chandon

domain chandon entrance

domain chandon seating

sculpture and picnic

cycle of the grape vine


On your next trip to the Napa Valley, spend a day in Yountville, your taste buds won’t be disappointed! 


  1. I’ve been thinking recently that a return trip to Napa is in order, and your post only whets my appetite.

  2. I love your travelogues Kate & your pictures are beautiful. Northern California have such gorgeous countryside.

  3. OOOh Thanks for posting these awesome pics! I live in Vacaville, so it is always fun feeling like I’m reading posts from someone in my own back yard. My friends have been telling me I need to get my booty to Yountville, and now I think I’m inspired to go! Your blog is one of my faves of all time :)

  4. I’m adding this to my to-do list for when I move to Cali! Your travel posts always pique my interest. :)

  5. Sigh… wish I was there! On one visit many years ago, we went on a wonderful guided tour at Domaine Chandon where we learned all about methode champenoise and tasted wonderful sparkling wines… my dream is to someday have a cottage in CA wine country, it’s just soooo beautiful!

  6. The Napa area is one of my favorite places in the world! We visited about a dozen years ago…pretty much did the ‘7 sisters’ B&B thing up the coast. Loved French Laundry! In fact, I often tell people the best meals I’ve ever eaten have been in Napa. I have always lived in NY and have eaten at some pretty fancy smancy places, but nothing can compare to the freshness of the ingredients in California. I’ll never forget the taste of a REAL peach while I was there. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  7. We just visited there this past Friday (just a couple of days before you!) and I fell in love with Yountville. I couldn’t stop ooohing and ahhhhing over all the pretty landscaping. I was with my neighbor and it was our last stop on a long day of her showing me around, but my hubby and I will be going back soon just to walk around and enjoy the flowers. What I’d like to know is how on earth did you get a picture of Bouchon without anyone out front? LOL The best thing I’ve eaten in ages was a blackberry cream cheese danish from there. I loaded up with several goodies to eat and the macarons are quite tasty as well.

  8. Thank you for this! We are off to Yountville in August, can’t wait to check out the places you have mentioned!

  9. I was in that area last August. Now I REALLY want to go back!! I never thought I’d move out of New England, but the Napa/Sonoma Valley area is where I’d not even hesitate for a second to move to if given the chance. Thanks for sharing it!
    Kris of Cricket Acres Studio & BarnLoft

  10. My mom lives in Windsor and everytime we visit we have such a blast visiting all the little towns and wineries. That whole area is pure bliss!

  11. LOVE Yountville. And please…Chandon is just as gorgeous as it is delicious!!! I seriously haven’t been there in years, but you know what I remember? Great champagne and the best roast beef sandwich (with baked brie in it!) I’ve ever had! : )

  12. Isn’t Yountville wonderful! My daughter and her husband live there. She is floor manager at Hurley’s which is a wonderful place to eat and he is a chef at Domaine Chandon. Haven’t been there yet but look forward to going next time we visit.

  13. We are in the midst of planning our honeymoon, one leg of which will be spent in Napa! So this post couldn’t have come at a better time. So many good ideas!! I’m so excited for our trip in early September!

  14. Same here, Beth A. “I want to go to there” Beautiful gardens – gorgeous buildings…your photos are outstanding. Thanks for the mini-trip.

  15. I’m visiting your blog for the first time via Pinterest. My husband and I went to Napa (we’re from San Diego) for the first time that very same weekend you were there! We ate at Bottega (I had the potato gnocchi too). Sounds like we had the exact same trip, surprised if we weren’t at the same places at the same time as you. Went to Bouchon bakery twice and Jessup Cellars was amazing. We loved Yountville and can’t wait to go back!

  16. Thank you so much for including V Marketplace in your blog! GREAT job of describing our property and of course, amazing BOTTEGA! Come again soon!

  17. My girlfriends and I went to Napa for a birthday celebration. We took many of your suggestions for a day in Yountville. It was wonderful!! Thank you for sharing.

    • So fantastic Megan, thanks for sharing, glad you had a great time!

  18. I’m so excited! I’m re-reading these post because I”m headed to Napa this weekend for a sister’s trip with my sister as a mini-bachelorette weekend! She recently relocated to San Francisco! Can’t wait!!

  19. Yountville is a great place to visit. It’s a charming little town with so many wonderful places to eat and wineries for wine tastings.

    Bistro Jeanty is a favorite. It’s always wonderful food, comfortable setting. Ad Hoc is also great like you say. Make reservations well ahead of time. However, there is open seating at their bar. As a bonus….if you eat at their bar you can order ala carte. You don’t have to order all four courses. You can even share a meal!

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