One of my favorite places in the US for a romantic getaway vacation is Napa Valley. The rolling hills, sweeping vistas, and — of course — incredible wineries with wine tasting tours — make Napa Valley as close to Tuscany in the US as possible. Sure, Napa Valley’s in California, hence there’s a notable lack of Medieval and Renaissance architecture, but what can you do? This is the New World, and the best New World wines are every bit as wonderful as Old World wines (much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of French and Italian vintners). A romantic getaway vacation in the US doesn’t get any better for wine lovers than one in California’s wine country.
Valentine’s Day always brings out the romance in us — and the romantic travel blog posts in travel bloggers like me, too. Today, I’m thinking about the Napa Valley Wine Train. The circa 1915 Pullman and 1952 Vista Dome rail cars invoke a sense of the history of Napa, as well as a nod to the romantic past of rail travel. It’s a great addition to the long list of romantic and wine-based activities in Napa Valley, with a 3-hour, 36-mile round trip train ride through Napa Valley’s town and wineries, to St Helena (one of my favorite area restaurants is here) and back.
This is no coach-class commuter train; the Wine Train is luxurious, with a creative chef and some of the best wine and food pairings around. And that’s saying a lot — remember, the Culinary Institute of America is in Napa Valley, hence, many top chefs cut their teeth at Napa Valley restaurants.
The Napa Valley Wine Train often has something new planned for romantic travelers, and this year, the Wine Train Love Lock Bridge is an eye-catching, appealing romantic element for Valentine’s Day on the Wine Train. A small footbridge that connects the Napa Valley Wine Train’s boarding platform to its train station is the site of overt declarations of love for Valentine’s Day: Romantic couples decorate a small padlock with with names or initials (or, really, whatever they want to fit on a small surface), and then the couple can lock the lock to the “Love Lock Bridge,” and throw away the key. Pretty sweet, isn’t it?
The Napa Valley Wine Train can promise that these Valentine’s Day odes will stay on the Love Lock Bridge at least until 2017. The bridge is scheduled to be removed in 2017, but with enough noise from the locks’ owners, maybe that bridge can become a permanent, creative testament to a perfect romantic Valentine’s Day romantic weekend in Napa Valley CA.
Perhaps a year from now, you’ll be in Napa Valley, adding your lock to the Love Lock Bridge. And who knows — perhaps I’ll be there too, doing the same thing. The creative act of symbolizing an enduring, loving relationship is very appealing! Happy Valentine’s Day to couples everywhere.
This Valentine’s Day post was part of the Travel Blog Mob’s “Creative Romance” challenge. The other participating mobsters are:
Traveling with MJ: My Love Affair with Italy
Wandering Educators: 10 Tips for Creative Romance during Family Travel
Ciao Bambino: Kid-friendly Romantic Getaways
Spot Cool Stuff: Creative Romance