California: Calistoga

Our plan to meet again in Napa was hatched in Seoul, the last time the three of us where together. We were not sure where we would each be traveling from, but a girls’ getaway in Napa sounded like a great idea.

Six months before the trip we locked down the essentials – dates, flights and accommodation. As the trip grew closer we finalised other details including a wine tour and spa appointments. With all that sorted, all we had to do was show up and have a good time. And we did! We spent each night soaking in the mineral pools at Calistoga Hot Springs. Downtown Calistoga is a small town with shops, food and tasting rooms within a walkable distance. Our splurge dinner at Solbar was a bit of a hike because sidewalks were missing along parts of the road, but it was worth it for their food. I can rarely enjoy seafood without a guilty conscience, but their commitment to sustainability allowed me to enjoy their ahi poke and halibut. Delicious!

Del Dotto Winery

The three of us created our own wine tour in advance and were especially impressed with Del Dotto’s cave tour and B Cellar’s Oakville Trek. The Oakville Trek is a brief tour of the facility followed by wine and food pairing. It was wonderfully done by our guide Phil.

Our spa treatments at Mount View were relaxing. Their spa facility is not large with the pool and hot tub shared with their hotel guests. However, there were no children and comfy lounges made for a restful start to the day. The Lavender Mudtini is a diluted mud soak for 25 minutes. The bath is surprisingly dark, almost like a rich red wine. After that, Nora gave me an elixir to facilitate deeper relaxation and a massage that I did not want to end.

For me, the highlights of the trip were the wine tour and spa experience, but we also visited the Old Faithful Geyser and I hiked part of the 8-mile Oat Hill Mine Trail. Calistoga is a lovely village. If I return to the Napa Valley I’d be happy to stay here again.

grafted walnut tree

Dates: 17-23 May 2018
Travel with: Beth and Rebecca met me at SFO
Weather: beautiful! warm, sunny days; cool mornings and evenings; 50-70s
Accommodation: Calistoga Hot Springs (!)

  • wine tour with stops at
    • Chandon
    • Del Dotto Historic Cave tour
    • B Cellars – Oakville Trek tour and food pairing
    • V. Sattui
  • Mount View Spa’s Lavender Mudtini and Be Restored massage (!)
  • Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help
  • lap swimming at hotel pool
  • evenings in the hot springs
  • Indian Springs labyrinth
  • Oat Hill Miner Trail
  • wine tastings within walking distance of our hotel at
    • Tank Garage Winery (!)
    • Romeo
    • Huge Bear
    • Chateau Montelena
    • Tedeschi Family Winery (!)
  • Old Faithful Geyser
  • shops in Calistoga. (Calistoga Pottery is worth a stop.)
Tank Winery and Tasting Room

Food & Drink:

  • Solbar (!)
  • Calistoga Roastery (!)
  • Cal Mart
  • Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery
  • Cafe Sarafonia
  • Calistoga Creamery

Transportation: Air New Zealand AKL-SFO; Veterans Aiporter SFO-Calistoga and for the wine tour