Healing Waters and Magical Mud
After a rigorous day of wine tasting, I needed a place to restore my body and soul. Calistoga, known for its healthful and healing mineral waters, was just the place. With a plethora of accommodations, spas, and restaurants from which to choose, this has become my retreat.
The Indians were the first to discover Calistoga’s natural hot springs, then the enterprising Sam Brannan, who became the town’s mayor and resort owner, and now savvy travelers like me. This trip was all about experiencing the restorative waters, which is why I chose the Hideaway Cottages for their outdoor mineral pool and jacuzzi heated by the hot springs.
The bungalows are arranged around an expansive lawn, towering palms, and shady trees. Outdoor seating is scattered about the property. Each of the cottages are named for various exotic cities – I was delighted to stay in Paris.
The extra space afforded by the living room, kitchen, and bedroom made it so comfortable. I loved the comfy beds, bathrobes, and the serenity. And did I mention the property is adults-only and there are no phones in the rooms?! After dinner, I enjoyed sitting in the pool and soaking in the healthy water while gazing up at the millions of stars.
The next day I checked in for “The Works,” two and a half hours of bliss at Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort. They were instrumental in developing the mud-bath therapy process and have for 60 years contributed to the health and wellness of their guests.
This five-step process includes a soak in their proprietary mud concoction of local volcanic ash and peat, mixed with water from the hot springs; a whirlpool bath; steam room; blanket wrap; and massage. It is designed to eliminate toxins and restore health.
After a short soak in the warm, relaxing mud and a shower, I was escorted to the whirlpool bath filled from the property’s hot springs. The icy cloth was a nice contrast to the warm bath. The steam room was next, where I sweated out what few toxins were left. Attendants supplied cold towels and plenty of citrus water to stay hydrated during each stage of the process.
Finally, I was wrapped in a towel and a light blanket to rest, while allowing my body temperature to return to normal. My relaxation was so complete that I dozed off in the 15 minutes allocated.
The beauty of this treatment is that each step creates relaxation and well-being. By the time the massage came, I was completely relaxed. The massage was superb, with the masseuse alleviating my remaining tension and stress. This must be what nirvana feels like – complete bliss!
Although Dr. Wilkinson is gone, his son Mark runs the business with the same level of care and personal attention that people have come to expect. I know I will be back for more pampering!
Dine: Hideaway Cottages provided a Tote Breakfast each morning. The selection of fresh pastries, farm-fresh fruit, juice and coffee was a delight. Coffee and tea can be made in-room and taken to go, for a day of adventures.
Calistoga Kitchen offers outdoor seating and is open for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy a sandwich or burger, and/or order juice from the juice bar. They have been catering Napa Valley events for 16 years, but have only recently opened the restaurant.
Barolo serves Italian cuisine in a sophisticated environment with red leather banquets and marble-top tables. Enjoy the hip dining room or outdoor tables, and take advantage of happy hour food and drink specials and the selection of local wine by the glass. We loved the Arancine, risotto balls and mozzarella served with San Marzano sauce; Pomodoro Piadine, flatbread pizza with buratta, heirloom tomatoes (from the owner’s garden), and basil pesto; and the daily selection of Buschetta with a glass of wine.
Calistoga is wonderful destination in the Napa Valley wine region, read about a romantic weekend in Napa Valley.
For more information or to plan a visit to Calistoga, see their website.