by Lisa Adams Walter
Many of us may feel as if there has not been much to make us feel merry over the last year. The good news is that things have changed, and are continuing to get better, in terms of COVID-19 infection rates, availability of vaccines and openings of businesses and activities, rather than closures and shutdowns.
The shift has been gradual while the colors of the tiers have faded, with caution and safety at the forefront of everything that we do. Pandemic, we’ve got you! Together those of us in Napa County have moved forward with fervent care.
Keep in mind that because we live here in the Napa Valley, we can take advantage of experiences and businesses on the days visitors are not flooding the valley in their quest for safe, merry-in-May things to do. On those busy days, you will likely find me tending to my garden or sharing a meal with a small group of loved ones at home.
Unlike last May, when there really wasn’t much for us to get out and do, I anticipate that this month will be the absolute opposite. Therefore, I have plans!
DRIVE - A simple and leisurely drive Upvalley is one of my favorite things to do. Go early in the day if on a weekend, or mid-day other days of the week. If driving from Napa I like to travel up one side (Silverado Trail) and then down the other (Highway 29). Stop along the way if you feel like it, support businesses throughout the valley, relish the scenery and enjoy the ride!
Taste - With the indoor capacity in restaurants and winery tasting rooms increasing, as well as ample outdoor spaces nearly everywhere, I plan to meet up with others in my growing bubble to sip and savor. Reservations are suggested for almost everything. Hop online and save your seats for lunch or a sit-down wine tasting.
Picnic - If it feels too soon to eat, or drink, out in public. Order some food, and plan a picnic. With so many establishments serving only food to go over the last year, this has become a regular, and welcome practice that I believe many of us will continue, perhaps forever. My tip is to assemble a permanent “picnic kit” with items such as utensils, napkins and wipes, glasses, a wine opener, a trash/recycle bag, sunscreen and a moisture-proof blanket. Keep it in the back of your vehicle, so that you can picnic on the fly!
Bowl - Napa Bowl has opened up, and I cannot wait to gather with a few friends and hit the lanes. Full disclosure: I am a terrible bowler. Perhaps even a Queen of the Gutter! I really do not care, I cannot wait to support this local business and have some fun!
Market - A weekly activity that I continued to enjoy during the pandemic, and that remains at the top of my list this May, is a visit to a farmer’s market. We have several here in the Napa Valley that take place in locations such as Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga. If you time it right, a farmer’s market visit could be a stop on an Upvalley drive.
Trek - The Vine Trail is an evolving gem in our community. From cycling, to walking, to scootering, get out and take the trail. It currently runs from the very southern wetlands of south Napa all the way up to Yountville, and will eventually continue in both directions north and south.
Listen - One of the things that I have missed the most over the past 14 months, is live music. With performance venues shuttered, and gatherings banned (for good reason), stages large and small have been dark. Interestingly, some venues are getting creative. The Blue Note Napa Valley has scheduled safe, socially-distanced outdoor concerts at Charles Krug Winery beginning this month. My hope is that opportunities such as this continue. We could all use some tunes to invigorate our souls!
Whatever you choose to do, get out, support our community, be safe, choose kindness and be merry this May!