One of the most relaxing Wine Country getaways is the charming Victorian town of Calistoga, nestled at the foot of Mount St. Helena at the north end of Napa Valley. You can get your fill of relaxing spa treatments, world-class wineries, fine dining and great shopping in a single day or weekend. Head north and prepare to rejuvenate!
Calistoga was originally inhabited centuries ago by the Wappo Indians, who settled in to enjoy the health benefits of the area’s hot springs. The modern Calistoga was established in the 1860s, when San Francisco entrepreneur Sam Brannan arrived to build a spa resort modeled after Saratoga, New York. Calistoga allegedly got its name after a drunken Brannan proclaimed that he would make the town the “Calistoga of Sarafornia,” garbling the words “Saratoga of California.”
Today, Calistoga is a wonderful destination for day trippers and world travelers alike. Plan your stay and start your day at Golden Haven Spa & Resort, located just a few blocks from Calistoga’s main street, Lincoln Avenue. Golden Haven has great room and spa packages available whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just a weekend with friends. Choose from a full slate of spa treatments including body wraps, massage, mineral bath, facials, and the classic Calistoga mud bath.
After the spa, head out for an afternoon of sightseeing and wine tasting. Sterling Vineyards is a must-stop, offering an exciting aerial tram ride to the hilltop winery, great wines and 360-degree views from high above the valley. Then swing over to the north side of Calistoga, where you’ll find boutique wine producers like Vincent Arroyo, Bennett Lane Winery and Summers Estate. On Tubbs Lane, stop at Old Faithful Geyser to see one of only three geysers in the world that erupts on a regular schedule (this Old Faithful shoots 60 to 100 feet every 30 minutes).
When you get hungry, there are lots of dining options in Calistoga. For breakfast, pick up a coffee and pastry at Calistoga Roastery or Village Bakery. At lunchtime you’ll find many locals grabbing soup, sandwiches or the daily special at Palisades Cafe in the historic Calistoga Depot building. For a sit-down lunch, the Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery has a sprawling outdoor patio or a cozy indoor dining room. For dinner, Calistoga has great choices, including Jole, featuring organic, locally farmed ingredients, or Solbar, the Michelin-rated restaurant at the Solage Resort.
Itinerary for a day in Calistoga
Where To Taste:
- Sterling Vineyards, 1111 Dunaweal Lane, 800-726-6136; open M-F 10:30 AM-5 PM, Sat-Sun 10:00 AM-5 PM
- Chateau Montelena, 1429 Tubbs Lane, 707-942-5105; open 9:30 AM -4 PM daily
- Bennett Lane Winery, 3340 Hwy 128, 877-629-6272; open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM daily
Where To Stay And Spa:
- Golden Haven Spa & Resort, 1713 Lake Street, 707-942-8000
- Lincoln Avenue Spa, 1339 Lincoln Avenue, 707-942-2950
Where To Eat:
- Palisades Deli and Cafe, 1458 Lincoln Avenue, 707-942-0145
- Jole, 1457 Lincoln Avenue,707-942-5938; open Wed-Mon from 5 PM
- Solbar at the Solage Resort, 755 Silverado Trail, 707-226-0850; open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Old Faithful Geyser, 1299 Tubbs Lane,707-942-6463; open 9 AM-5 PM
From Napa: Travel north on Hwy 29 or Silverado Trail for approximately 25 miles to the town of Calistoga. From Healdsburg: Travel east on Alexander Valley Road to its junction with Hwy 128, then go east on Hwy 128 approximately 18 miles to Calistoga.