A beer lover’s Napa Valley
Go ahead, “roll your eyes,” said Joe Heim in The Washington Post. “Napa for beer?” It’s true, though. Deep in the heart of California wine country are some of the America’s best craft brewers. In fact, the first U.S. microbrewery—the New Albion Brewing Co.—started up in nearby Sonoma in 1976. Although it closed down six years later, New Albion helped inspire today’s craft-beer renaissance. The Bear Republic Brewing Co., in trendy Healdsburg, is a good starting point for a beer tour. This brewery’s world-class selections include Racer 5, “a terrific India pale ale.” At the historic Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery, one of the first brewpubs in Napa, visitors can linger at shade-covered tables over a delightful Calistoga Red Ale. Just a few blocks off Highway 101, in downtown Santa Rosa, is the Russian River Brewing Co. Here beer lovers can order a wooden wheel containing small glasses of about 12 beers, “each style identified by a bottle cap next to the glass.”
Hawaii’s most laid-back island
Molokai is “the sleepiest of the major Hawaiian islands,” said Beverly Beyette in the Baltimore Sun. Just nine miles from glamorous Maui, this laid-back island has only two hotels, no traffic lights, no fancy restaurants, and no buildings taller than two stories. For decades, the island was “best known as home to Kalaupapa,” the isolated leper colony run by the famed Belgian priest Father Damien. Now residents cherish its slow, nonstressful pace and unspoiled tropical scenery, and the island’s 7,000 residents are vigorously protesting developers’ plans to transform Molokai into another look-alike collection of palm trees, Wal-Marts, and Hard Rock Cafes. For now, the main street of Kaunakakai, one of the three main towns, remains “a tableau from another century.” The only thing to do here is shop at a general store, have a sandwich at a lunch counter, and pick a mango off a tree on the drive back to your hotel.