CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY
Continued (page 11 of 13)
There are plenty of places to shop throughout Napa County and Sonoma County, but below we focus on the best two. St. Helena is a gem of a town. Give yourself a couple of hours to walk up and down the few downtown blocks, have lunch and then get back to your resort in time for your massage. Sonoma Plaza, the heart of the town of Sonoma, provides a quaint antidote to the sometimes too-cool world of Napa. Beyond these two towns are other options, starting with the wineries you'll be visiting, many of which also have shops; you won't lack for opportunities to whip out the plastic.
DEAN & DELUCA
607 S. St. Helena Highway
This is the be-all and end-all of Wine Country food markets. People come here to ogle the products the way they visit museums to view art. And some of the food here costs as much as fine art. One child had to put a fig back when his mother discovered at the checkout that it cost $7. But there are things that are more affordable. The house-made soups nearly always please, the cheeses and charcuterie are top-notch, and the baked-goods section contains not only fancy pastries but also basic breakfast rolls. The prepared food is at the back, and there’s an espresso bar. The huge wine selection is entirely Californian.
1350 Main St.
This is interiors as art, art as interiors. The buyers at Martin roam the world and find things you never knew existed, that you don’t need but that will nevertheless rivet your attention because they are so well designed and witty. The leather club chairs have taken steroids, the jewelry is displayed on rice, and there’s a tree trunk held together by metal bolts. Don’t ask. Just look. If you find yourself at the airport toting a faux-fur throw, avant-garde flatware or chromed antler candleholders, don't say we didn't warn you. Better pass on the handblown-glass honey-bear bong, though. It might raise eyebrows at the security checkpoint.
NAPA PREMIUM OUTLETS
629 Factory Stores Dr.
Take your vitamins, have an espresso and make your way to this mega strip mall. It is worth it, even if shopping gives you a headache, because there is quality merchandise here: Ann Taylor, Barneys Outlet, Banana Republic, Coach, Calvin Klein, J. Crew and Levi’s. Fifty stores in all—you need to know it’s here. Stop either on the way to winery or on your way out, but stop. You’ll find a classic piece at a fair price. If you come on a hot day, be sure to wear sunblock and drink water because this is an open-air affair.