Oh Napa Valley, now that you’re all French Laundry‘d and Press‘d up, do you think you can disguise who you really are? I want people to know that all it takes is a leisurely cruise on the Napa River to rediscover you: that long lost place that feels so very far from the speeding BMWs of Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. Because I remember how you used to be, back when Halloween pumpkin carving contests, scarecrows and the fall harvest were the big draws. Now don’t get upset, I know you’ve been all about excellent wine for a long time. It’s just that, well, you’ve become a little too big for your britches, and it’s nice to see your folksy side now and then.
All kidding aside, the Napa River cruise is a great thing to do if you have time on your next trip to the Napa Valley. Like the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise, this little journey allows you to see and learn about things you’d otherwise miss because you’re distracted by stoplights, wine tastings, looking for parking, overwhelmed by organic produce, and so on. For example, it’s not widely known that the tanning process to make Napa leather was invented right there on the banks of the Napa River by a German immigrant named Emmanuel Manasse in 1876. These kinds of facts normally are only revealed to you by a grandparent or someone else of yesteryear (way, way yesteryear). But on this boat, you can bring a bottle of wine and some excellent cheese and float along, taking it all in. If you’d like more information on Napa history and Napa leather, this article will tell you more.
Of course, I found it appealing that so many dogs were out and about on the Napa River that day, moving fast or moving slow. It seemed like they had the right idea, and maybe prefer old Napa to the new?