A Big Surprise at the Harvest Inn
Lush vineyards and an ample amount of wine are enough to make any visit to Napa memorable (The reds, the whites, all those “tastings”—what’s not to like?) But nestled in northern Napa County, in the charming town of St. Helena, I discovered a wonderful surprise.
It’s called Harvest Inn and it’s a keeper.
Located right on Hwy 29 (or Main Street in St. Helena) and just a short distance up from the phenomenal culinary portal Press, which continues to win raves (more on that later), Harvest Inn has the brilliant trifecta of charm, grace, and style. Think of it as “Country Inn Meets Vineyard Manor.” Its rustic allure—all that thick, old polished wood—and spacious setting, nestled up against a gorgeous vineyard, are a few of the features that make it stand out.
But let’s begin at the beginning. The main building is a triumph, somewhat of a behemoth with its vast lobby and mighty staircase heading up to some nirvanic lair. Beyond that, you’ll find a much larger room, the lodge, just behind it, which houses the wine bar and gathering area, and boasts 20-foot ceilings and hand-crafted wood. This, in and of itself is a fine feature, but the magnificent fireplace situated there can probably house a family of three. It simply commands your attention, and is no doubt the perfect hub to warm up on a chilly evening.
It’s in this grand gathering spot that some of the inn’s events and wine tastings take place on Friday and Saturday evenings. Pairing with various vineyards in the area is a good thing, and you can expect to sample some master blends—from cult wines from family wineries to the inn’s own creation. (The wine bar is open until 11 pm.)
And that kind of grandness can found across the inn’s property. Two swimming pools are situated on two different ends of the grounds, both equally inviting, but one of the most enjoyable pleasures is just to take a stroll on the grounds. Follow any concrete path and you’ll stumble upon something unique—the green grotto captured my attention but I was taken in by the wonderful “make-a-wish” bridge leading to an open patio overlooking the vineyard. It’s a scene to behold. Lovers take note: This is a heavenly spot for a wedding.
If you love a vineyard view, I recommend any of the rooms overlooking them here. Most of the vineyard-view rooms feature a king bed, a large wood-burning brick fireplace, and a private outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view of the adjoining vineyard and the majestic Mayacamas Mountains. But consider the “spa vineyard-view rooms” too—in addition to the aforementioned perks, there’s a soft tub whirlpool for two tossed into the mix. Equally impressive are the inn’s wine-country suites, which are two levels and have separate living and sleeping areas. It has the vibe of a spacious apartment or town home, and the downstairs living room also features an oversized brick wood-burning fireplace. In fact, many of the rooms at the inn have that feature, and each fireplace is unique in and of itself—no two on the property have the exact same brickwork.
I stayed in one of the vineyard rooms, and was completely taken in by its comfort. Nothing can compete with walking out of your room in the morning and right onto a terrace overlooking a vineyard. You’re one with nature here, and it’s something to relish. The room itself had its nurturing perks, too—king-sized bed, spacious bathroom, and roomy “living room” area. In the mornings, take advantage of the inn’s Wine Country Kitchen, where a complimentary morning feast awaits. You can find a sweeping view of the vineyard there—both from inside and outdoors (Breakfast is served from 7 am to 10 am, Monday through Friday; 7:30 am to 11 am Saturday and Sunday). There’s more—a new fitness room on the property has just enough for travelers on the go (treadmill, free weights, and more). There are spa services at the inn, too, which I recommend. Inquire about individual massages and specials at the front desk. There’s always some perk being offered, and if you’re on vacation, a massage is a perfect addition to some of the wine-tasting you may be doing in St. Helena and the surrounding areas.
What’s left? Well, more good news: Harvest Inn was actually one of the first hotels in the Wine Country to recycle all of its refuse—daily. And its relatively new Fountain View sleeping and meeting rooms (yes, your company can meet and greet and work while they stay here) were built with a high level of sensitivity to energy and water use.
In other words, this inn likes to go “green.”
Some specials to also note: the inn’s “No Need to Ruff It” offer, which is somewhat of a ‘Love Me, Love My Dog’ idea that gives $10 from each package to Napa Humane. It includes a picnic and wine tasting at V. Sattui Winery. Also, in April, there’s the inn’s “Arts in April Package” – a king guest room with fireplace; arts passport for two (features six tours, wine tasting and more); a bottle of Cabnernet; and more.
With Napa having so much to offer, every once in a while, you simply can’t pass up some lavish charm. The Harvest Inn has an abundance of that—and more. It manages to soothe the soul. Well, that—and your wine palate, too.
Learn more here. Take note of other notables below:
ABSOLUTE MUST: Press. One of the best culinary experiences in Northern California. Press revels in celebrating the reds of the Napa Valley with “the finest prime dry-aged beef grilled over almond and cherry wood, wood-fired rotisserie chicken, and locally raised lamb and pork.” (Do I need to go on?) Should not be missed. Its chef, Stephen Rogers, is a former classical pianist and vocal coach. His wife, Allison Yoder, is former opera singer—she’s the GM. A perfect union.
One Main Street, St. Helena, California
(707) 963-9463 or (800) 950-8466
E-mail: reservations @ harvestinn.com.