A Sacramentan in Napa

4528064440_43b39b7c84_oBy Megan DeGuerre

In April of this year, my husband and I moved to Napa.

He got a great job opportunity, and Napa was the perfect central location for his territory. We were obviously excited for the new opportunity (and clearly Napa wasn’t the worst place we could be asked to go!), but leaving Sacramento was bittersweet.

We both had grown up in Sacramento and East Sac/midtown was HOME. Sacramento is where we met, dated, wed, and created our life together. It was US.

As we started to pack our things and spend our last evenings at Midtown restaurants (I miss those patios!), I realized how well I knew every. single. street. When someone mentioned an intersection, I realized I could imagine just about every detail and probably had a story to go with the bar down the street or the nearby apartment complex. The grid was imprinted on my mind and heart more than I knew…

But off to Napa we went! We found, after relentless searching, a very cute rental under a mile from downtown Napa. Prices are steep but the weather is awesome. I say that’s what I pay the premium rent for… And it’s worth it.

Since moving here, I’ve realized a few interesting things…

  1. When you say you live in Napa, EVERYBODY says “Oooooh.” Then I tell them that we don’t live on a vineyard and we don’t have AC (don’t really need it, but still) and it’s really just like any other town.
  1. Napa isn’t that far away from Sacramento. Growing up, even with many trips to the area under my belt, I thought of Napa as a ways away. But most people, including me until recently, think of Napa as the wineries waaayyy up Highway 29, an hour and half or more away from Sac. Guess what? Downtown Napa to Downtown Sac takes me 55 minutes. Those towns up the road are Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga… Not Napa.
  1. The food and wine really is THAT good. We are overwhelmed with dining options in this town (and nearby towns). We love date nights and exploring new places and that’s probably the best part of living here (or at least a tie with the awesome weather). The only thing lacking is great cocktails. There are a couple places that really have the art of cocktails down but they choose to charge $14 per delicious drink… So we tend to stick with the widely available wine and bubbles.

We have been here for a little over for months, and it does feel like home. We love our house and our yard – and our pets do too. It’s quiet here and slow paced. The town literally shuts down by 9 or 10pm … every day of the week. But I like it and even if we end up back in the Sacramento area at some point down the road, we will never regret the time we lived in Napa.

I am by no means an expert on Napa (not sure I even qualify as a local yet), but here are a few our favorite spots:

Oxbow Market
Oxbow Market

*Please note, these are places in Napa PROPER, not the Napa Valley… That list would be WAY longer!

  • Oenotri (1425 1st Street) – BEST Pizza and Pasta ever. Literally. Sorry, Onespeed.
  • Zuzu (829 Main Street) – Fantastic tapas and they don’t take reservations, so a great place to walk-in on a weekend night.
  • The Thomas (813 Main Street) – Fun bar to take friends for good (although overpriced) cocktails.
  • The Oxbow (2180 Jefferson Street) – Whether it’s oysters at Hog Island or ice cream at Three Twins, this mini Ferry Building is awesome.
  • Last but not least… GENOVA Deli! The most amazing sandwiches with charming (and by charming I mean rude) East Coast style service! Crazy on the weekends so try to stop by Monday-Friday.

I commute to Sacramento three days a week, but I don’t spend nearly as much time out and about as I once did. Instead of knowing every intersection of midtown, I now know every crack and pothole of Highway 80…

It seems like someone is talking about a new Sacramento bar or restaurant every week, and it makes me feel a little disconnected from the community I once knew so well. But it also makes me so happy to see Sacramento continue to grow and develop into such an amazing city! Napa might be home for now, but Sacramento will always be home in my heart.

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