Napa: On a clear day in autumn

After three weeks of rain this fall, green grass has sprouted up, vines are bright with yellow and red leaves in Napa Valley vineyards. Time for a day trip to Napa.

We spent the day around in and around town of Napa, shopping at Saturday Farmers Market and Oxbow Public Market, getting a picnic lunch together, hiking around Alston Park, late afternoon stop at Connolly Ranch to see farm animals.


Napa Farmers Market

Autumn bounty at the Farmers Market in downtown Napa is wonderful – just picked potatoes, colorful red and green peppers, tender green lettuces, all kinds of squashes, locally sourced beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, farm fresh eggs, breads and pastries, takeaway food, such as rotisserie chicken, paella, crepes, samosas, enchiladas, and more.

Napa Farmers Market is Tuesday and Saturday, 8am – 12pm, year round.

While in Napa, Oxbow Public Market is always a stop – today we needed sandwiches and cupcakes for our picnic (photo below).

Market is very kid friendly, and fun dining with kids at Gott’s Roadside, ice cream from Milestone. Also, if you have a vacation rental, Hudson Greens and Goods has super selection of fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta. Coffee, cheese, spices, wines, fresh fish and meats are also available in the market.


Alston Park

Having gathered up our food shopping (we always have a cooler in the car), Alston Park in northwest Napa was our lunch destination.

Our goal, picnic table and panoramic view of the Napa Valley on a clear, sunny day.

Alston Park, a favorite with local families (and is dog friendly) is a lovely open space, bordered with vineyards. The park has easy trails, and is a good location for toddlers to run around.

Just a short walk from the parking lot is a hilltop with large picnic table, convenient trash can, additional picnic benches close by.

After lunch we continued down the trail following around the vineyard. At the post marker, we took a spur trail down to Redwood Creek. We could hear the sound of water bubbling over the rocks before we arrived at the creek and open area under the oak trees.

Tip: In summer, this would be the perfect spot for picnic in the shade.

We returned to the main trail, and walked back on a to the parking lot, where we started. Map shows our trail route.


Connolly Ranch

Not far from Alston Park is Connolly Ranch on Browns Valley Road. At this season, currently the ranch is closed, but you can look at farm animals from outside.

This visit, the most engaging animals were three goats, playing tag with each other. The little goat would hop on the highest wood pedestal to be as tall as the bigger goat, then they would change places, it seemed a lot like children playing.

Also on the ranch, plump sheep, pigs, donkeys and a miniature horse peacefully grazed in the green grass in late afternoon sunshine, very restful.

Connolly Ranch is open on Saturday May to October for visits inside the ranch. Check the website for most current information.


There’s more to explore in Napa Valley, find fun things to do with kids year round on Travel for Kids.

Check out Napa Valley family hotels and Napa Valley vacation rentals.


Alston Park map credit: OpenStreetMaps by CC BY-SA 2.0 © OpenStreetMap contributors