Rem and I enjoyed an overnight in Calistoga a few weeks ago. We didn’t go for any mud baths or other spa treatments and we’re not really much into wine but it was a lovely getaway.
It looked like a lovely place to stay – each studio comes with a pair of cruiser bikes to use while staying there. They also welcome canine companions (for a fee, of course) and it was fun seeing a few of the dogs at the resort.
There was beautiful landscaping, fountains, sculptures, bocce courts, and a huge swimming pool. This water feature had a mini fire pit in the center.
But what we really came for was steak frites: Seared flatiron steak, salt and pepper fries, beurre colbert and a bibb lettuce salad. Although they are serving brunch on Sunday at that time, I’d called ahead and asked if we could have the steak frites and gotten the ok from the chef (THE chef, not my friend’s son).
It would have been really incredible but for one detail: the fries were not piping hot. But the steak and sauce were amazing and the salad (not pictured) was perfect. It was worth the drive.
We continued our day with a visit Castello di Amorosa, a 13th century, 107 room, Tuscan style Castle and Winery. There is an entrance fee and again, we felt it was worth it.
I had read the history of the building before our visit. The owner had a passion and spent years bringing it to fruition. Stones were collected from ruined castles in Europe and iron workers made every hinge, nail, lamp and lock.
We didn’t take the guided tour (for another fee) so missed out on the dungeon, armory, torture chamber and other details but enjoyed plenty in the rooms we were allowed to visit, including a beautiful little chapel.
We also saw the ramparts, courtyard and Great Hall.
The wine tastings take place in the arched wine caves. I actually tasted wine (not generally my thing) because I figured it was the right place and right time. I still don’t like it but we did a chocolate pairing and that made it interesting.
We met some locals as we were leaving.
It was time to check in to our B&B, the Pink Mansion.
It wasn’t a recreated 13th Century Tuscan castle but it was quite nice with lots of character. Our bathroom had a claw footed tub and there was a hot tub outdoors that we enjoyed under the stars.
I got up early on Monday morning and had a brisk walk though downtown Calistoga, starting before the sun was up. In fact, I came across a labyrinth in a dirt lot and was walking it as the sun peeked over the hills. Further down the road I saw an owl fly by. It was a wonderful start to my day.
Back at the Pink Mansion we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and packed up. We had some geocaching on our agenda. As it says on the site linked here:
Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.
We found a cache here in front of the Calistoga Mineral Water company in the vicinity of this rusty truck sculpture.
We logged about 5 caches that day. Another one was at the CIA.
We stopped to look at another winery as we headed homeward, not for the wine but for the building. Opus One Winery is visible from the road and has always interested me. Rem went in to inquire about tours and we learned the reservation only tours were $55 per person. The wine may be fantastic (though probably wasted on my palate) but they were closed.
Goodbye to the Napa Valley for now. We will be back before too long.
Thanks for your visit.