Along the two square blocks of historic Main Street, you’ll find some of the most charming shops in the entire valley. St. Helena’s downtown shopping area is a trove of authentic, one-of-a-kind items, whether crafted locally or acquired from afar by their discerning shop owners. You’ll find a frequently refreshed stock of high-quality art, jewelry, men and women’s clothing, kids’ toys, specialty food, home furnishings and gifts. With nearly perennial sunshine and a bevy of food and dining options along the way, it’s easy to spend an entire day perusing the shops of downtown St. Helena. And, if you’re shopping for your sweetheart, you’ve come to the right place: Almost all of our shop owners are long-time couples. Blame the fresh air, the Napa Valley sun or the tasty wine—whatever the reason, it’s a good place to fall in love (even if it’s with the perfect pair of flats).
Learning about the history of St. Helena sheds some light on this unique Napa Valley destination, known both for its gorgeous countryside and charming small-town feel. St. Helena remains strikingly pristine. Part of that can be explained geographically; in the days of stagecoaches and bad roads, the valley was relatively remote and hard to reach through the hills. But in modern times, preserving St. Helena’s character and countryside was a conscious act. In the 1960s, Napa County adopted one of the first major agricultural land protection policies in the United States, setting in motion a tradition of preservation. Today, that fierce love of the land and strong sense of community live on. You can see it in historic downtown, where multi-generational family businesses still thrive, as well as in the vineyards themselves, which remain to this day 95% family-owned.