Road Journals Blog—Main Street in St. Helena, Calif., packs in all of the required pleasures—winetasting, boutique lodging, delicious dining—as well as a few unexpected perks, such as affordable décor and brown sugar banana ice cream.
I recently enjoyed a media visit courtesy of the Wydown Hotel, 1424 Main St., a 12-room, locally owned inn with free parking and a side entrance to the Materra Tasting Room. An easy stroll propelled me to shops selling stylish gifts, inspiring art, and tempting culinary delights. Woodhouse Chocolate, 1367 Main St., combined all three of those themes into high-end chocolates sculpted as elephants, alligators, and tigers.
I didn’t expect to bring home a bargain, but the beautiful mirror that I found at La Boheme,1428 Main St., also came with a beautiful price in support of a good cause—the resale boutique benefits Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services.
Where was my fateful encounter with brown sugar banana ice cream? First, I had an arduous mission: Being treated to a prickly pear margarita while sampling lively salsas and other inventive Mexican food at La Condesa, 1320 Main St. The restaurant’s tantalizing salad of watermelon, tomatillos, jalapeno, mint, and grilled peach-guajillo puree complemented a satisfying chile relleno bursting with manchego and Oaxaca cheese and accented with garlic-tomato broth. The house-made ice creams demanded post-meal attention in bold flavors, including green tea–orange, honey rosemary, and the luscious brown sugar banana.
The next day called for a short jaunt beyond the compact delights of Main Street. Just a five-mile drive to the north, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park’s Ritchey Creek skips alongside redwoods and Douglas firs. A peaceful hike proved a soulful topper for a sweet overnight getaway. It even beat the brown sugar banana ice cream.
Photography by Kristen Loken (chile relleno); Frankie Frankeny (Wydown Hotel room)
This blog post was first published in October 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.