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Chic St. Helena bills itself as the heart of Napa Valley. With a Main Street begging to be strolled, miles of picturesque wineries lining country roads, and more award-winning chefs in one town than should be legal for the waistline, St. Helena fits the bill. The first few settlers saw the potential of this region as a tourist destination and quickly set up resorts for travelers. However, farmers had a different plan. Settling beneath the shadow of Mount St. Helena, they planted grapes in the fruitful soil, and ultimately made this town famous. These days the artful blend of fine wineries nestled in architectural gems (don't miss the Frank ...

Chic St. Helena bills itself as the heart of Napa Valley. With a Main Street begging to be strolled, miles of picturesque wineries lining country roads, and more award-winning chefs in one town than should be legal for the waistline, St. Helena fits the bill. The first few settlers saw the potential of this region as a tourist destination and quickly set up resorts for travelers. However, farmers had a different plan. Settling beneath the shadow of Mount St. Helena, they planted grapes in the fruitful soil, and ultimately made this town famous. These days the artful blend of fine wineries nestled in architectural gems (don't miss the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hall Winery or Beringer's classic abode), and B&Bs that far surpass expectation prove the first settlers knew their stuff. Popping in and out of the galleries, boutiques, and historic buildings lining Main Street you'll spot winemakers chatting about their latest biodynamic techniques and Lexus-driving tourists applauding their luck on scoring vino. As luxe as "Tree City USA" gets (it is home to the fab Auberge du Soleil), you never forget that real down home folks call this small town home, which makes a visit here a treat for all.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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