We've wanted to take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train for ages. We live 30 minutes from all the wineries in Napa, but haven't found the time to take the relaxing ride through wine country until now. And it was only because we were given a gift certificate that we finally set aside the time to go and see what they could offer for an afternoon.
It's funny how you can be so close to so many great things to see and do, and never find the time to go. I spent 8 months in New York earlier in life, and almost didn't make it out to see the Statue of Liberty. I'm very glad now that I did, but it almost didn't happen. The wine train is like that. Because we live so close, the urgency to go isn't there. So years pass, and we always say "we need to go. It would be so much fun." Now we've had the experience, and I would like to share it with you.
The Napa Valley WIne Train has multiple trips for you to choose from. The winery tours are fun and allow you to ride the train and tour one of the famous wineries of the region. We have visited the Castello di Amorosa on our own about a year ago and LOVED it. It's really authentic and just makes you feel like you are in a Tuscan castle. It was great and highly recommended!
Believe it or not, there is a "Murder on the Wine Train Express" excursion that you can book. Check out the detals on their website. There are limited dates for this dinner theater trip.
Our visit started by getting our photos taken as we prepared to board the train. Once on board, we were seated in a very nice dining car. The waiters are very friendly and do a nice job of making you feel at home. They took the time to explain things and gave us time to decide on what we wanted to order for lunch. Their selection included salmon, beef and pork. It was a nice menu to order from and we went with the recommended wine pairings. Before lunch, they offer everyone a red or white wine to try. We tasted one of each. Along with lunch was soup or a salad. I had the beef tenderloin with a sauté of baby vegetables and a balsamic-onion marmalade (I got that from looking up the menu). My wife had the pan seared bacon wrapped pork medallion and vegetables in a Chardonnay-mustard reduction. Needless to say, I tried hers and it was delicious. They also had raviolis and fish of the day (salmon on the day we went).
After we finished lunch, we were invited to move two cars down to enjoy dessert in the lounge car. This car has big windows and plush seats from which to enjoy the view out the window. We were served a chocolate Tiramisu that was unlike any I've ever had. Our server explained that the chef came up with the idea and spent a good amount of time perfecting it. It was really good. While we chatted and enjoyed the view, we were served a nice cup of coffee. That really finished off the meal. Before we knew it, the train was pulling into the station and our long-awaited visit to the Napa Valley WIne Train was over. But not before we purchased our pictures in the lobby before going home.
All-in-all, it was a very nice trip. The great thing about the wine train is that they have more than one thing to do, so you can enjoy another train ride in the future with out-of-town guests or when family is visiting. I'd love to do the wine tours. Maybe dinner next time...
I'd highly recommend taking a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train if you get an opportunity. You can book it through tour operators like Viator.com complete with transportation from San Fracisco and other cities. It becomes really easy to make a very nice day trip to Napa. Here are some links to the wine train website and some youtube.com video so you can see what all the excitement is about.
Tip - Leave your cell phone at home or turn it off, if you can. You'll want to enjoy every minute as you ride through the Napa Valley with a glass of wine and a wonderful meal to enjoy!!
See what Wikipedia has to say about the Napa Valley WIne Train. There's a lot of history to this famous train ride.