OverviewThe northernmost -- and possibly the warmest -- reach of the Napa Valley is sleepy, quaint Calistoga. Its Main Street feels from another era, with galleries, craft shops, bookstores and, of course, the nearby Old Faithful Geyser (whose chief attraction may, in truth, be its goat farm). Calistoga also offers perhaps the more scenic routes between Napa and Healdsburg, either over Petrified Forest Road, or over Route 128, where Napa County yields to the lush Alexander Valley.
This is still Napa Valley; Cabernet is king. Its heavily volcanic soils and dramatic variation between daytime and nighttime temperatures (perhaps more extreme than anywhere else in the valley) produce Cabs of tremendous power. About 40 minutes from downtown Napa, it feels quieter and more secluded here. No wonder people flock to Calistoga for the famous natural mud baths. – Esther Mobley