Getting the flavor of…
Napa Valley after the fires
“Northern California wine country wants you to know: It is open for business,” said Dave McIntyre in The Washington Post. After deadly wildfires swept across Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Solano counties last month, would-be visitors canceled reservations en masse, dealing a second blow to a region that relies heavily on its tourism. But only a handful of wineries burned down, and Napa Valley today is as beautiful as ever. Most tasting rooms, restaurants, and hotels have reopened, but are struggling to attract patrons. Some Napa and Sonoma businesses are luring visitors with discounts and donations to the recovery effort, said Brittany Martin in LAMag.com. The Inn on Randolph in Napa, for example, is discounting room rates by 20 percent through December and giving 5 percent of its proceeds to relief funds. Find full listings of openings and closings at visitnapavalley.com and sonomacounty.com.
Key West after the storm
Though Hurricane Irma hit Florida hard, “the party continued virtually uninterrupted in Key West,” said Christopher Muther in The Boston Globe. I recently drove through the Keys to survey the damage, and though Key Largo was “bright, sunny, and relatively unscathed,” things looked increasingly dire as I continued south. Mountains of debris littered the roadside in Big Pine Key, “a stark contrast to the pristine blue water that dazzled underneath nearby bridges.” I expected Key West to look like a war zone, but the sheltered town instead appeared untouched. In late October, the streets were filled with partygoers dressed in over-the-top costumes for Fantasy Fest, Key West’s answer to Mardi Gras. Nearby, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum was clearly in business: “All 52 cats were lounging about as if nothing had happened.” Even on the harder-hit Keys, many attractions are open, waiting for tourists’ return. ■