I just want to wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you if you are around tomorrow about the Festival of Lights, one of Yountville’s premier holiday events from 2-6 PM. From Yountville Chamber of Commerce’s web site:
In 1831, George Calvert Yount saw the Napa Valley and declared, “In such a place I should love to clear the land and make my home. In such a place I should love to live and die.”
As the first non-native settler in the Valley, Yount enlisted local Wappo Native Americans to help him build a Kentucky blockhouse and a mill. In 1855, he commissioned a surveyor to lay out the city. The new community was christened Sebastopol, even though there was a town with the same name in nearby Sonoma County. George Yount planted the first grape vine cutting into the fertile soil of the Valley. In 1867, two years after Yount’s death, the town was renamed Yountville in honor of its founder.
Gottleib Groezinger established a massive brick winery, wine cellar and distillery in 1870, and the community was soon planted with grapes. In 1884, the Grand Army of the Republic established the Veteran’s Home to honor and care for those injured in service to their country. The Home was given to the State of California in 1897. Gradually Yountville became a quiet residential town. In 1965, it was incorporated as an official California city, and shortly thereafter, the old Groezinger property was revitalized as Vintage 1870, a complex of shops, galleries and restaurants which turned Yountville into a charming visitor attraction.
Through the years until the present day, Yountville has retained its rural charm and residential character while encouraging the commercial centers to retain the charm and taste that has become synonymous with Yountville. Today’s visitor will find a variety of gourmet restaurants, charming lodgings, exquisite retail shops, antiques and art galleries, and world-class wine tasting opportunities. Sunrise hot air balloon rides, an afternoon of golf, a historical walking tour, a set of tennis or a bicycle ride down a quaint vineyard lane are just a sampling of what Yountville has to offer.
In Yountville, the seasons come to life with festivals, celebrations and events! In March Yountville celebrates the Napa Valley Mustard Festival with “A Taste of Yountville!” This all-Yountville showcase features traditional samplings of gourmet restaurant fare, olive oil, vinegar and mustard as well as fine wine and micro-brew tastings. A cornucopia of lifestyle demonstrations by retailers and innkeepers, including fashion shows, tours, furniture restoration demonstrations and celebrity chef mini-workshops awaits visitors.
Christmas past comes to sparkling life the day after Thanksgiving with the kick-off of Yountville’s “Festival of Lights,” heralding a joyous month-long celebration of holiday events and entertainment through New Year’s Eve. Strolling musicians, jugglers, face painters and artists join Yountville’s restaurants and wineries along Washington Street. Vendors offer sumptuous samplings, holiday treats and the wine that makes the Napa Valley famous. That evening join Santa as the entire town is set aglow with thousands of sparkling white lights.