Day Trip: St. Helena

By Kate Riley April 14, 2014

We had such an amazing time in St. Helena with our inlaws last weekend we went again on Saturday to dine and shop! The spring weather has been spectacular with gorgeous blue skies so we couldn’t resist. I always take my camera along to capture the sights …

st helena day trip

St. Helena is a little town nestled between Calistoga to the north and Rutherford to the south in the heart of the Napa Valley and it makes for a fabulous day trip for anyone visiting the region.

napa valley map

map from here 

One thing a lot of tourists do is catch the Wine Train in Napa that takes you all the way up to St. Helena and back. We rode the sunset dinner train years ago with friends which was so fun but if you catch the lunch train during the day you will get the benefit of amazing vineyard scenery during daylight hours.

napa valley wine train

If you’re driving or biking along the main road into St. Helena your head will turn nonstop from left to right to take in all the sights. The landscape is covered with hillside vineyards and peppered with wineries, inns, and shops with idyllic grounds where you can stop to taste olive oil, cheese, and of course wine!

st helena winery


long meadow ranch tastings

           winery st helena


inn in st helena

It’s impossible to squeeze it all into one day but it’s worth visiting just to savor the sights and flavors.    

If you want a casual dining scene, weekends at V. Sattui are always a hit, they barbeque outside and offer wine tasting at various stations indoors and out, and you can lounge under the oak trees at picnic tables or on the grass amid the rose bushes.

v sattui picnicgrounds

 v sattui doors


v sattui bbq


v sattui picnic grounds


v sattui fountain


Hall Winery’s tasting room has a a great vibe and I love their ginormous rabbit sculpture at the entrance…

hall winery building


rabbit scuplture


Head north downtown which is just a few minutes away and you’ll find a lot of wonderful shopping including art galleries and clothing boutiques.

downtown 2


My favorite decor shop to pop into is Vintage Home on the south side of the block.

vintage home st helena

vintage home textiles

vintage home products


If you want to stop for an elegant lunch or dinner (or brunch on Sunday), we love Market in downtown St. Helena, on Saturday we split a burger, a crab cake, and gourmet mac & cheese and loved the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Voigner, delicious!

market st helena


As you head north toward Calistoga, there are even more scenic stops, St. Clement Winery has beautiful valley views to be seen from inside and out…

st clement winery


st clement view


st clement window view


The tasting room and beautiful grounds of Beringer are worth a stop…

beringer winery


Here’s my favorite most magnificent looking up to the sky oak tree view of the day… outside the Charles Krug tasting room. 

charles krug tasting room


wine country oak tree


So many people think the time to visit the area is at harvest in fall, but summer is always divine and spring is oh so lovely too!

spring in st helena


Matt and I have talked for years about writing a wine country blog together (you know, with all that extra time on our hands, ha!) so these little weekend trips are our way of sharing our backyard travels stories, thanks for indulging!       

More Wine Country day trips:

the alexander valley


valley of the moon

The Alexander Valley (Sonoma County)

Yountville (Napa Valley)

Valley of the Moon (Sonoma)



  1. Oh, how dreamy! Looks like a lovely getaway! The Vintage Home store looks like some tempting shopping! Have you ever bought anything or do you mostly browse for fun? Thanks for sharing these breathtaking pictures!

  2. It’s been far too long since I’ve spent time in Northern Cali. Thanks for the arm chair tour!

  3. We went there on our honeymoon years ago. Your pictures brought back great memories! Thanks!

  4. Keep the wine blogs coming! They are wonderful resources for our biannual trip to your area. We are planning the fall 2014 trip now.

  5. Ahhhh! I’m dying to get there! We got engaged in Napa and are hoping to make it our 5 year anniversary trip this year. This definitely inspired me to start planning!! I’m jealous that you can make it a day trip…we’re in TX, so it’ll have to be a little longer trip to make it worth it.

  6. We went to the Bay Area on our honeymoon 4 years ago & spent a day in Napa. V Sattui was one of our favorites! We’re actually saving our last bottle from there for some yet to be determined really special event. It made me smile to read this post & remember that very special trip. Thanks for posting!

  7. Your photos bring back so many great memories of our visit there 10 years ago. If you’re going to go and want the ultimate relaxation experience, I highly recommend having a mud bath and massage, it is the perfect way to start (or end) your wine country get away!

  8. We used to live in Yountville–and I NEVER tired of the beauty all around there. :))

  9. We visited this area several years ago and stayed in Napa which was lovely but not much to do besides visiting wineries (which one cannot do all day everyday, hahaha). Which area/town would you recommend that has nice restaurants/hotels and things to do/shopping when one is not at a winery?

  10. I love that store! There were a few others nearby I fell in love with, also. I don’t have much desire to go back to many of the places I’ve travelled once I’ve been there, but I could go back to the wine country every year and never get tired of it.

  11. Stayed in St. Helena last year at Harvest Inn — just got back, stayed at Carneros Inn this time — I love Napa! You are lucky to live so close! Thank you for sharing your day trips and giving tips for future trips!

  12. I’ve been to the Napa & Sonoma Valley areas twice, and St. Helena is my absolutely favorite stop! It’s just so picturesque and inviting, plus it’s home to the most fabulous artisan chocolate shop: Woodhouse Chocolate. Yum!

  13. I’ve only been to Napa once and I absolutely loved it. I can not wait to go back again and indulge in more wine and wine country stops. Although I have to say that I found it quite funny to read the BBQ menu in one of your pics. I’m a Texas girl so you know. :)

  14. We went to Wine Country for the first time to attend the wedding of some very dear friends. And we were at Charles Krug on April 12th for their wedding! Such a small world. Did you see any of the details of their event? It was beautiful!! We stayed at the Wydown Hotel on Main Street in St. Helena and can’t wait to come back and visit again. Such a beautiful little town to explore!

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