Dishing on secret spots in Napa and Sonoma counties

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This facility, Rebounderz, calls itself an “indoor trampoline arena,” and it’s really just that. In all, there are more than 50 trampolines and trampolines that enable guests to feel like NBA players and bounce up to slam. There also are a series of other trampolines to empower guests to jump into a giant foam pit.

I’ve taken my kids (ages 6 and 4) to the place twice and they love it. Perhaps their favorite parts: the arcade and the three-story indoor playground.

Foodie heaven

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone has an outpost in an old castle north of St. Helena (the outpost turns 20 this year), where faculty members train the chefs of tomorrow. In addition to being a great teaching facility, the place is a treasure-trove of great foodie-focused diversions you simply can’t find anywhere else—whether you’re in Wine Country or not.

The first of these secrets is the Spice Islands Marketplace, an open-to-the-public shop on the ground level of the facility. The store sells everything from cook books to pots, pans, and utensils. As the name suggests, it also sells fresh spices. There’s even a coffee shop on-site, as well as a demonstration kitchen where visitors can observe live cooking demos.

Viewfinder Tip: After tasting cider at Tilted Shed, try some local craft beer at St. Florian’s Brewery, which donates profits to local fire departments.

Another way to experience the CIA is to dine in the award-winning Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, where chefs-in-training not only make all food but also serve it. If you prefer a different kind of experience, the restaurant also offers a farm-to-table meal out at the Conservatory at Greystone.

Cider up

Sonoma County—particularly the area around Sebastopol—is famous for its apples. (The Gravenstein apple, which tastes like it’s been sprinkled with honey, is only available in these parts.) For decades the best way to appreciate the bounty of the land was to shop at local farm stands for apples by the pound. Now, however, there’s another way to sample the fruits of local labor: in the form of hard cider.


Categories: Abacos, California, Napa Valley, Sonoma, USA

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