While driving through downtown Napa I saw a man in a suit and top hat leading a group of people – I was intrigued, it had to be a tour.
At a later time I perused the Napa Chamber of Commerce and Napa Visitor Center websites for information on the tour - no luck.
Then, I searched for the tour on Google and found George Webber of Napa Walking Tour. I guess I could have just asked around the office as we have written about his tour in the Register before (which I learned during the tour), but Google served me well.
The Napa Walking Tour goes over the history of Napa, including architectural and historical hotspots downtown.
Webber, who is actually a resident of Sonoma and also does a tour there, was a political science major in college, has an interest in history and is an actor. He recently played Charles Krug at the 150th anniversary of the marriage of Charles Krug and Carolina Bale.
I'm kind of a history buff so I really enjoyed learning the history of my new home, including that right down the street from where I live is an apartment building that was once a speakeasy and brothel during Prohibition (that tidbit will serve me well when giving tours to out-of-towners.)
I think all new residents and those that aren't familiar with Napa's history should take a few hours to go on this tour, even if they aren't into history. History buffs visiting Napa should definitely put this on the itinerary.
Webber is entertaining and keeps it pretty light by telling stories about the history of Napa, including stories about historically significant people in Napa's past.
The tour also includes a beer tasting at Downtown Joe's, a local micro-brewery, and bar. Apparently, until the 1870s beer was a bigger export than wine in Napa.
Left: A Cape Cod salt box home that was once the home of a steamboat Captain. Right: Webber in front of a Victorian mansion, the Churchill Manor, the former home of Edward Churchill, who was a major stockholder in Napa's first lending institution and later owned both a brewery and vineyard. Churchill Manor, now a bed and breakfast, was the first Napa Valley residence to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Left: First Presbyterian Church of Napa is located in downtown Napa and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Right: Cedar Gables Inn, which was built as a wedding present for the son of Edward Churchill, it is behind Churchill Manor.
So, readers, what "Napaish" experience should I have next?