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Napa, California is the gateway town to the Napa Valley, home of some of the finest wines in the world.  It is also a town undergoing rebirth, restoration, and a fine appreciation of what it has to offer.

For instance, the lazy Napa River runs right through the center of town.  Along the shore, cafes and tasting bars line the street, and they are rarely crowded.  There’s a warm feeling of camaraderie.  And, if you have run across some wine snobs, the town of Napa is a sure antidote.   Smile and chat with strangers.  Some of the men and women you’ll meet, those who seem comfortable in their skin and are wearing workingman’s clothes, are often winemakers and owners.  They are a good crew of people.  Down to earth, and with a love of the earth.

While you’re in Napa, California, you may choose to rent a kayak and put out near downtown Napa.  It is a glorious way to spend an afternoon.  You’ll see vineyards that tumble to the shores of the river.  A solitary and ancient palm tree.  Waterfowl that swoop and wheel just above the surface of the water.  A blue heron or red-tailed hawk that soars up into the sky, sudden and swift, that takes your breath away.  Hard to believe you are just a few miles from the San Francisco Bay, isn’t it?And, there is the Oxbow Public Market.  Every sort of Napa wine, fresh local food, produce, and hand-crafts are inside.  It is a tumble of voices and laughter and good smells.  Choose to be happy!

The town of Napa itself was a sleepy place, often over-shadowed by the flamboyant people and history of Sonoma.  No longer.  Napa is the gatekeeper, the fabled bridge, and the beginning of the yellow-brick road that leads to the extraordinary Napa Valley.  After a day of wine tasting, kick back and wander Napa’s streets.  Delight in her Victorian homes.  Listen to the sound of the river.  Napa is yours for the asking.