Welcome to St. Helena
Located in the center of Napa Valley, St. Helena real estate features a collection of winding roads, rolling hills, and historic buildings that belie its nature as one of the most culturally and economically important locations in the county. Historically, the city is home to a collection of nationally and internationally recognized names in wine. However, despite the fame and economic windfall that these wineries have brought the city, the residents of St. Helena want nothing more than to preserve the natural beauty and small town atmosphere of their home.
Lay of the Land
St. Helena sits 65 miles north of San Francisco in the center of Napa County. Sitting on an area of just over 4 square miles, the city is surrounded by agriculturally purposed land and dozens of vineyards and wineries. This is in addition to the protected spaces and national parks that cover the valley from end-to-end. The city is also surrounded by several smaller county communities, with Calistoga to the north and Oakville to the south being its largest neighbors. The city has a modest population of just over 5,000 full time residents. While median estimated household income is an expected $78,306, the median home value of $899,437 reflects the desirability of the area and the rich history of the city.
Napa Valley is just over 5 miles wide at its widest point and just over 1 mile wide at its narrowest. This makes transportation fairly limited and straightforward. The Napa Valley Wine Trail, also known as Highway 29, runs through the center of the valley for its entire length. It eventually connects to Highway 12 which then connects the region to nearby Sonoma County in the northwest. The wine trail also eventually intersects Interstate 80 which runs the length of the region from Sacramento to Oakland.
Public transportation is a singular endeavor managed by the county. The Napa County Transportation and Planning agency operates a series of bus lines and localized shuttles designed to run through the cities of Napa Valley, across the county, and to transit centers operated by Bay Area Rapid Transit services and Solano County. Busses and shuttles stop at various points within the valley itself, including the county airport and the San Francisco bound ferry station in Vallejo.
Not only is St. Helena the geographic heart of the valley, but it is the epicenter of the regional wine industry as well. Winemaking has been a staple in the city of St. Helena since the early 1800s. The remnants of the early history of wine in the region reside in the city today, from the historic Rhine House to the ancient carriage house of Charles Krug, the valley’s very first winery. Modern day St. Helena is home to wine industry stalwarts such as Sutter Home and Louis Martini. The extended success of the wine industry has also lead to the city serving as the banking and financial center of the county, with numerous monetary institutions calling the city home.
The historic locations and local scenery have also lead to a thriving tourist industry centered on walking tours of the city. In addition to the classic buildings and historic wineries, many trips include stops at several designer clothing stores or small boutiques. Many of these tours also extended to bike rentals from the local cycle shop, as well as extended trips into the surrounding countryside, with stops at Lake Hennessey or the Bale Grist Mill.
Like many of the cities within Napa County, St. Helena also features a collection of world class eateries. This includes a surprising number of Michelin Starred restaurants, such as Terra or The Restaurant at Meadowood. Additionally, the city also features the Culinary Institute of America, which not only provides students with a world class education, but also supplies visitors with critically acclaimed dishes at the onsite eatery as well as a wide collection of local vintages at the onsite tasting bar. Finally, the city also features an eclectic collection of locally operated cafes, bars and outdoor eateries, including Gott’s Roadside, where guests can enjoy a Napa Valley twist on traditional American burgers.