15 Things to Do in the Napa Valley as a PUC Student

There’s a lot to do during your first year at PUC. While you’re settling into your program and making new friends, there’s also plenty of sights in the Napa Valley to see! You may think Napa is stuffy and only for rich people looking to go wine tasting, but there’s so much more to Napa than you know. There’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve wine, or requires a lot of money. So whether you’ve visited PUC every year you’ve been in academy or you’re on campus for the first time, it’s time to get out of your dorm room to explore everything Napa has to offer, and have a lot of fun too!

Eat a macaron from Bouchon Bakery
Photo from thomaskeller.com

There’s are many reasons why this bakery is world famous, and one of them is their absolutely delicious macaron. The first of several, Bouchon Bakery in Yountville makes about 300,000 of them every year, with the most popular one being pistachio, and has been churning out delicious treats since 2003. Stop in to pick up one of their seasonal flavors or find out which one will be your tried-and-true go-to.  

Catch a movie at the historic Cameo Cinema
Photo from afar.com

In operation since 1913, the Cameo Cinema is a charming single-screen theater in the heart of downtown St. Helena which features state-of-the-art technology in sound and projection, including Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos Sound (it is one of just a few theaters in the country to have this). The Cameo is the perfect place to take a date or go with a group of friends, with ticket prices clocking in at just $8.

Be amazed by Castello di Amorosa
Photo from napavalley.com

Did you know the Napa Valley has the only authentic medieval 13th-century castle in the U.S.? It’s true! The impressive Castello di Amorosa is over 136,000 square feet and has 107 rooms. There’s the Great Hall with 2-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists, a drawbridge, a dungeon, and a medieval church; spread across eight levels—four above ground and four below. Even if you only drive up to take an Instagram photo, it’s a sight worth seeing! There are also chickens, goats, sheep, and even peacocks that wander the grounds.  

Wander the Sculpture Meadow at the di Rosa
Photo from dirosaart.org

The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Arts houses a significant collection of notable works, exclusively by Northern California artists. There’s also a 1/3-mile Sculpture Meadow trail that winds its way past dozens of outdoor sculptures. It’s a beautiful place to visit on Sabbath afternoon!

Stuff your face at Giugni’s Deli
Photo from winnie.com

A PUC favorite for decades, stop by Giugni’s in downtown St. Helena and eat the sandwich of your dreams. Choose from a variety of delicious bread options and customize it with avocado, horseradish, chipotle mayo, and too many cheeses to even list. Make sure you get your sandwich with Giugni juice, a top secret family recipe that will take your sandwich to the next level.

Eat an English muffin from Model Bakery
Photo from yelp.com

For almost 100 years, Model Bakery has been a Napa Valley staple. Specializing in breads, pastries, and desserts, there’s plenty of things to make your mouth water. Their English muffins are literally world famous, with Oprah and chef Michael Chiarello counted as huge fans. Stop by in the morning when they’re fresh from the oven!

Enjoy the vistas at the top of Mount St. Helena
Photo from sacbee.com

The hike up the majestic Mount St. Helena in nearby Calistoga is a 2,068-foot climb over 5.1 miles to the summit. Once you’re at the top though, your hard work is rewarded with breathtaking views of the valley terrain below. On clear days, Mt. Tamalpais in Marin and Mt. Diablo near Walnut Creek can be seen, and some have even claimed to see Mt. Shasta, 192 miles away. Put the second-highest peak in the Bay Area on your list of Sabbath afternoon hikes!

Admire the artwork at the Fine Art Photography Gallery at Mumm Napa
Photo from napavalleynow.com

Take a stroll through this small but impressive fine art photography gallery. Currently on display is the “Poetry of Light” collection by famed photographer Ansel Adams, comprised of 27 gelatin silver prints, including several of his most famous photographs from Yosemite National Park.

Explore the Napa Art Walk
Photo from napaartwalk.org

The Napa Art Walk is a rotating exhibit of public art sculptures displayed throughout downtown Napa featuring artists from the western U.S. The featured sculptures change on a bi-annual basis, so keep a lookout for different pieces of art to pop up during your years at PUC. See if you can Instagram them all!

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Learn about Napa’s history at the Napa Valley Museum
Photo from napavalleymuseum.org

This small, cozy, educational museum always has a rotating schedule of exciting exhibitions, which typically focuses on local and regional artists and student showcases. On permanent display is a collection of approximately 15,000 items on the story of Napa Valley’s history, including geological specimens, Native American artifacts, and other items of cultural significance from the mid-1800s to the present. Currently on display in the main gallery is “Walt Disney’s Trains,” a family-friendly exhibition presented in partnership with San Francisco’s Walt Disney Family Museum that explores the influence railroad trains had on Disney‘s life. Watch their calendar for other exciting upcoming exhibitions!

Paddle down the Napa River
Photo from yelp.com

Spend an afternoon kayaking or paddle boarding down the Napa River. Grab some friends and see things from a different perspective as you paddle by river flora, fauna, and wildlife. You might even see a dolphin or two, which are occasionally spotted in the river!    

See our very own Old Faithful Geyser
Photo from calistogaspa.com

Yes, it’s cheesy, but put visiting the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga on your to-do list! While it’s not quite as prestigious as Yellowstone’s geyser, you can still enjoy this natural wonder nevertheless. Besides watching the geyser erupt, you can also visit the on-site petting zoo, home to mountain goats, sheep, and llamas. Use your PUC ID card for a discount.

Wander the stalls at Oxbow Public Market
Photo from oxbowpublicmarket.com

Oxbow Public Market just might be the go-to place for locals and visitors alike. There’s so much to see and do; from browsing local gifts and products, sampling artisanal goods, plenty of restaurants, and even a market for fresh produce. Everyone has something to choose from! Our personal recommendation? Stop by Kara’s Cupcakes for a mini cupcake to go along with a latte from Ritual Coffee. If your sweet tooth is still craving something, get a scoop of ice cream from Three Twins Ice Cream.

Eat a piadine from Pizzeria Tra Vigne
Photo from yelp.com

On any given night, if you walk into Pizzeria Tra Vigne you’re bound to see someone you know from PUC. A favorite spot for both students and faculty alike, you have to make sure you try their infamous piadine, which is essentially a giant Italian version of a taco. It’s delicious!

Catch a show at the Napa Uptown Theatre
Photo from sfgate.com

A beautifully restored historic landmark from 1937, the Uptown brings in a wide variety of music and comedy acts. Besides admiring the luxurious art deco decor, you can also appreciate that no matter where you sit, it will be a great seat, since the distance from the last row to the stage is just 98 feet. Keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming events.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from PUC!

The Christmas season is one of our favorite times of year here at the college on the mountain. Coming together as a PUC family to celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth, enjoy beautiful music from our students, faculty, and staff, and pausing to reflect on God’s generosity to our campus.

We asked faculty and staff across campus to share with us what blessings they are thankful for this year, and what they’re looking forward to the most in 2019.

What are you most grateful for this past year?

“As I look at the amazing blessings in my life this year, I am deeply grateful for the time I get to spend with my father. My dad is age 86, and he is amazing. He is such a blessing with every story he tells, every memory he shares. He lives only 30 minutes from my home, and he spends each weekend and Sabbath with us, telling stories and memories, dispensing wisdom and sharing his sarcasm and delightful sense of humor. He is a U.S. Army veteran and was a non-combatant medical corpsman in the service. He was a building contractor and an Adventist academy boys’ dean and was always the family resident camping expert as he led us on expeditions in the wilds. He is an example to me of a life well-lived. Oh yes, and now, he flies drones as a hobby using heads-up display goggles and revels in the struggle to learn new technology. He inspires me with his quest to keep learning, no matter what.” — Craig Philpott, director of admissions

“I’ll be cliché and say my family and my friends who have become my family (most of them I met as a student here at PUC!).” — Dana Negro, communications specialist

“I’m most grateful that my sister is now recovered and cancer-free.” — Dr. Steve Waters, professor of mathematics

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow. Grow alongside friends who like me are recent graduates, grow alongside family members and new family dynamics, and to grow alongside coworkers who are passionate to serve God through working at PUC.” — Mayte Jimenez, admissions counselor

“I am grateful to belong to a community that values and respects books and the exploration of ideas. I love that we have a community that allows and expects its members to keep learning and growing.” — Dr. Maria Rankin-Brown, professor of English

“Health, family, and friends.” — J.R. Rogers, associate vice president for student life

“I took a ceramics class from the department of visual arts during fall quarter, and I’m so glad I did. I’m grateful for learning a new skill and finding an artistic outlet that is very therapeutic and creatively challenging.” — Katy Van Arsdale, special collections and reference librarian

“I don’t know what I’m MOST grateful for, but I am VERY grateful for the ability to walk out my back door into the beauty of the back 40 and rejuvenate my soul.” — Tammy McGuire, professor of communication

“All the accomplishments and goals that I completed in the past year. Things I have done and the memories that have been made.” — Chris Romero, admissions counselor

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

“I am looking forward to some travel in 2019. My wife and I are not yet certain exactly where a summer trip might take us, but that is half the joy, the planning, the ideas, the budget, the timing. It will certainly be a driving trip, and it will involve mountains and National Parks and back roads and dirt roads and likely some 4×4 back-country roads, and it will be a chance to see new vistas, take new pictures and recharge our souls.” — Craig Philpott, director of admissions

“Short-term I’m excited to give my niece her birthday present in January (it’s really good)! Long-term I’m looking forward to taking my puppy on lots of beach trips.” — Dana Negro, communications specialist

“I’m most looking forward to my summer Honors course that I’m teaching in London!” — Dr. Peter Katz, assistant professor of English

“I’m looking forward to reaping the fruits of my labor. 2018 was full of unexpected changes, and I trust that God works all things for the good and with that comes His provision. I’m genuinely really excited!” — Mayte Jimenez, admissions counselor

“I hope we get more rain. I’m looking forward to seeing how fresh the back 40 looks after a solid rainy season.” — Dr. Maria Rankin-Brown, professor of English

“To see what God has planned for PUC.” — J.R. Rogers, associate vice president for student life

“Travel! In 2018 I visited eight National Parks I’d never seen before. I’d like to match that number this year.” — Katy Van Arsdale, special collections and reference librarian

Summer adventures in Colorado on foot and bike!” — Tammy McGuire, professor of communication

From the entire Pioneers family, may you have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year!

PUC Biology Professor Floyd Hayes Scales Matterhorn

By Sarah Tanner

Since 1865, over 500 people have died climbing the Matterhorn. Dr. Floyd Hayes was almost one of them. From August 24 to 26, the Pacific Union College professor and resident rock climber took on Europe’s 14th highest peak, only to be caught in a near-whiteout snowstorm on the way down.

Hayes teaches biology and environmental studies at PUC. In conjunction with quarterly classes, he also conducts student trips to locations around the world including Alaska, Micronesia, Fiji, Panama, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay, and Kenya. It is safe to say the professor is quite the explorer. Along with former PUC professor of mathematics, Roy Benton, Hayes expanded his travels this summer when he flew to the town of Zermaat in Switzerland in preparation to climb the Matterhorn.

Hayes and Benton have been climbing together for years, and the decision to climb Matterhorn came naturally to the two adventurers. To prepare for the roughly 14,700-foot ascent, the professors made a number of solo preliminary hikes as well as a joint two-day ascent of Switzerland’s Breithorn shortly before their Matterhorn ascent.

As part of his training, Hayes explained, “I climbed Mount St. Helena with a backpack and books. It’s about a 10-mile round trip. I also spent the night at 12,000 feet during a 15-mile round trip hike up White Mountain Peak in eastern California.” He smiled, “After this, I think we were in shape.”

Rather than employ a guide, the veteran climbers decided to tackle Matterhorn on their own. Though confident in their ability to scale its summit, the two, Hayes admitted, tended to veer off route. However, these brief diversions from the trail proved to be the least of their worries as they neared the pinnacle of the famed mountain.

On the morning of their first day, the pair made their way to 10,696 feet via a combination of cable cars and normal hiking.

“The next morning we started climbing at 4:30 a.m. and after seven hours, we made it to the top,” Hayes recalled. And that is when it started to snow.

Professor Hayes enjoys the view from the top.

“At 11:30 a.m. just as we reached the summit, the snow started falling. It wasn’t supposed to happen for another three hours, so we thought we had time.” He explained that after weeks of following conflicting weather reports, they had purposely planned to summit the mountain on this particular day because the chance of storms had dropped to a mere 20 percent.

“We spent nine hours descending and did 24 rappels during the storm. It was well below freezing and we could barely see the ropes in front of us, much less the side of the mountain.”

He explained in addition to the inherent danger of the conditions, rappelling in itself is a significant challenge.

“We were afraid the hanging rope would get caught as we were coming down. We have a lot of experience and know how to survive. But accidents happen. You have to be prepared,” Hayes warned.

As the last shreds of daylight slipped between the peaks, Hayes and Benton made their last rappel to the emergency hut stationed at 13,000 feet.

Professor Benton on the climb.

“We slept fully clothed under six blankets and still shivered.” Hayes continued, “The next morning we had to wait for some of the snow to melt before making our way back. This time, we only made two rappels before downclimbing the rest of the way.”

Hayes captured the entirety of the climb, blizzard included, in a video using a small camera he attached to his gear.

“Out of all the climbing videos we’ve made, this is by far the most spectacular.” he grinned, “I wasn’t very happy about it at the time, but looking at it now is incredible.”

Undeterred by the complications on the Matterhorn, Hayes is hopeful about his future adventures. Having already scaled Grand Teton in Wyoming, Mount Shasta here in California, and various locations in Colorado, he hopes to tackle Washington’s Mount Rainier next.

“My experience is mostly in rock climbing, not mountain,” Hayes explained, “I still have a lot of locations I haven’t tried.”

Students who want to learn more about rock climbing are welcome to talk to Hayes, who has insight about a fledgling club at PUC. He also mentioned a climbing class using the rock wall in the gym is in the works.

For those interested in his Matterhorn adventure, Hayes has posted his video to YouTube, which you can view below.

Merry Christmas from Your Enrollment Counselors!

(From left to right) J.R. Rogers, Janae Bowman, Avery Lay, and Chris Romero.

As 2017 winds down to a close, we’re taking time to reflect back on the past year and look forward to what the new year will bring. We asked your four enrollment counselors to share with us what they’re giving thanks for this holiday season and what they’re looking forward to in the new year.

What are you most grateful for this past year?

“I’m thankful and grateful for five wonderful years with my wife (as of Dec. 16). We have been very blessed with family, work, and a super awesome year and a half old Great Dane.” – J.R. Rogers

“Continued life, health, family, and loved ones. All that God has allowed me to accomplish.” – Chris Romero

“I often put a lot of thought into what I’m thankful for each year, but this year I am most thankful for the intangible things, the things that have helped me grow. One of the biggest things I’m thankful for is the support from my friends and family to continue my education and start graduate school.” – Janae Bowman

“Getting to see my grandmother one last time during the Columbia Union tour. She lives in Virginia so I almost never see her, and she passed away just last week. There was just enough time to go visit her nursing home before my flight back from Richmond.” – Avery Lay

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

“I’m looking forward to whatever God decides should happen to my 2018. We have some fun trips planned personally and some great ideas for PUC.” – J.R.

“All of the above listed plus whatever God has in store for me next this upcoming year.” – Chris

“Opportunities! I am looking forward to the opportunities, whether it be with my job or grad school! I always look forward to seeing what God has in store for me.” – Janae

“Looking forward to volunteering with Berkeley Homeless Ministry and St. Anthony’s Dining Room again. I don’t get to do it in the fall when all the visits and college fairs are happening.” – Avery

A Visitor’s Guide to St. Helena

We often hear from students that there’s “nothing to do” around PUC, or the Napa Valley doesn’t offer the same amenities found in larger towns. However, it’s completely the opposite! You just have to look a little harder for things you’re interested in as opposed to having them as conveniently right outside your front door.

At first glance, St. Helena, the town closest to PUC—a mere eight miles away—can seem like nothing more than a playground for the rich, lacking a price friendly environment. There are places hidden throughout the valley, however, that offer a good time without breaking the wallet. Here are some popular spots PUC students like to go for a break from studying and experience sophisticated Napa Valley culture in nearby St. Helena!

If you want something to eat …

It’s no secret the Napa Valley is known for its incredible, Michelin star restaurants, but there are also plenty of casual places to grab a good bite to eat in St. Helena, depending on what you’re craving:

  • Mexican food: Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or you just want a good burrito, both Azteca Market and Villa Corona offer great food at a great price.
  • A good sandwich: If you talk with any PUC alum, one of the things they may tell you they miss the most about being at PUC is the iconic sandwich joint, Giugni’s. It’s a local favorite for sandwiches and “Giugni juice.” This place is a classic, although you won’t want to forget to bring cash!
  • Italian food: Another PUC local favorite is Pizzeria Tra Vigne, where you will most likely find PUC students, faculty, and staff on any given day!
  • A burger, fries, and milkshake: If you watch the Food Network, you’ve probably already heard of Gott’s, which has been famous in the Valley since 1999 but is now a must stop for tourists after being featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”

If you want a cup of coffee or a snack …

For students looking for a place to sip on a hot beverage or smoothie, nibble on a pastry, or enjoy a sandwich or gelato, there are several different coffee shops in town available to spend time studying or to just relax take a break. There’s the Napa Valley Roasting Company, lovingly referred to as the “RoCo,” offering excellent drinks and patio seating; the Model Bakery, which is your go-to spot if you’re looking for fresh bread and pastries; and Sogni Di Dolci, a student favorite due to its delicious, authentic Italian gelato.

If you want to watch a movie …

Built in 1913, the Cameo Cinema is one of the oldest running single-screen theaters in the United States. Don’t let its age fool you, though—the Cameo boasts the most technologically innovative projection system in the area, and has Dolby 3D capabilities. The Cameo hosts current movies, art films, concerts, and the annual PUC Diogones Film Festival in the spring, and has also hosted special community screenings of Francis Ford Coppola’s films. The ticket price for students with a school ID is just $7, making the Cameo a perfect place to come on Saturday nights with friends or even a date!

If you want to shop …

Lolo’s Consignment is where you can find relatively new designer clothes as well as discounted furniture, books, and home decor items. College students are always looking for creative ways to stretch their budgets, and Lolo’s is a great place to look for great deals. You can often find items with the tags still on for a fraction of original cost.

Tip: Ladies, be sure to stop by Lolo’s the third Wednesday of every month for “Girls’ Night Out” where the store stays open late and clothing and accessories are an extra 20 percent off.

If you want a good book …

Main Street Books is a charming little bookstore right on Main Street (obviously) offering a large selection of used books, and a modest amount of new books sprinkled in. All used books are half off, and it’s a great place to find classic literature books for some of your English classes, often at an even cheaper price than on Amazon.

Pro tip: Be sure to check out the piles of books in front of the counter—that’s where you will find used books yet to be shelved.

If you want somewhere to relax …

A little off the beaten path, Crane Park is a lovely spot if you’re looking for outdoor relaxation and the perfect place to absorb some vitamin D! The park consists of eight lighted bocce ball courts, six lighted tennis courts, two Little League baseball fields, one lighted volleyball court, a playground, skate park, horseshoe pits, and picnic tables. It’s a great space to hang out, and on Friday mornings you can also enjoy the St. Helena Farmers Market (7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., May through October), featuring local produce, delicious food vendors, and artisanal goods.

Tip: Bring your Giugni’s sandwich to the park for the perfect afternoon picnic!

There are many other amazing places in St. Helena and within the Napa Valley; these are just a few of our favorites. We invite you to visit Pacific Union College and come experience our college and the Napa Valley for yourself! Fill out a visit request at puc.edu/visit, or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to schedule your personalized tour.

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Sometimes you never know the impact a simple act of kindness can have! For JoAnn Bowen, who works as the executive assistant to the president’s office at PUC, helping a stranger one afternoon resulted in a $1,000 donation to the college. We asked her to share about her experience, and we hope her story is a wonderful reminder that you never know how much your actions can mean to others.

A year ago, a man who I later learned to be John O. Pohlmann was biking and had a breakdown–I was on my lunch break coming up the hill to Angwin from Pope Valley. I just happened to have my bike rack on my vehicle and I just happened to go home during lunch to check on my dog! I usually don’t do this since it’s far. So, I drove John directly to Rico Mundy’s (another PUC employee) house who, as an avid biker, was able to repair his bike gear and send John on his way back to Bothe Park, where he camps every year along with his wife, Lyn.

On Tuesday last week, in walks John and Lyn with a thousand dollar check to PUC in honor of me! He said they just wanted to show their appreciation for the goodwill and helpfulness you can still find in the world today.

John is a retired adjunct history professor; he spent 53 years working in the California State Colleges through his career. The last place he worked was California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. His lovely wife is a retired piano teacher.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Pohlmanns for their generosity to PUC.

Looking for inspiration for how you can spread everyday kindness? Read “Casual Kindness at PUC”, which has some suggestions for small acts you can incorporate in your everyday life that can help bring happiness to everyone you meet.

A Website Created Just For You!

As a high school senior, there’s a lot to keep track of when applying to colleges. In an attempt to make things easier for you, if you request information or apply to PUC, you will be given a personal PUC site that has a wealth of information on it, based upon what you tell us you’re interested in.

Personal Site 1

This site comes equiped with everything you could possibly need to help you become a PUC student. Along with information about your major, photos and videos of campus, you can learn about PUC’s study abroad opportunities, scholarships, varsity and intramurals sports, and so much more! You can also find links to follow PUC’s social media accounts or live chat with someone from our Enrollment Services office (business hours only) if you need help with anything, as well as access an application checklist to help you stay on track with the documents you need to submit.

The more information you provide us in your application or inquiry, the more you’ll learn whether PUC is the right fit for you. If you would like your own personal PUC site, fill out an inquiry form at explore.puc.edu or you can apply at apply.puc.edu – our application is always free!

We look forward to getting to know you!