Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article with an interesting premise: how to ‘do’ the Napa Valley on a ‘tightwad’s budget’. We’re always somewhat skeptical of such write-ups as they inevitably tend to skew toward the high-end places to dine, stay and play. This particular article, penned by Linda Murphy, did a nice job at sticking to the premise.
Among Murphy’s tips, many of which seemed quite obvious to us, is that it is always cheaper to stay (and dine) in the city of Napa and/or Calistoga versus pretty much anywhere in Yountville or St. Helena. She also warns not to forget about the takeout option for dining–we do this quite often and it’s absolutely a money-saver. Another of her tips that we implement on a regular basis is if you’re going to splurge on a nice meal, do it at lunch when the crowds (and the prices) are typically smaller.
In terms of lodging, we really like the suggestion of El Bonita Motel. Here’s what Murphy had to say:
Up the road in St. Helena is the Art Deco El Bonita Motel, a longtime favorite of visitors who know the value of a dollar. While rates have crept to $135 and up, El Bonita remains a fine value, particularly for a place with a pool and hot tub in chi-chi St. Helena.
Two dining options we agreed with include downtown Napa’s The First Squeeze for breakfast (don’t go looking for amazing ambiance here) and Villa Corona for lunch or dinner.
Murphy describes Villa Corona, which has two valley locations (St. Helena and Napa), as “…a sit-down Mexican place…” where the “…portions are large and the prices right…”
Give the article a read and let us know if you’ve got other inexpensive tips for enjoying the Napa Valley.