CALISTOGA (NAPA), CALIFORNIA: Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs Hotel + V. Sattui Winer + dinner at LOVINA + concert in Lake Tahoe

During our February 2018 tour (with the amazing Beth Hart) Nick & I had one and a half days off in between shows. Having been to Napa many times before, we couldn’t pass up on this chance to spend more time in this beautiful valley, to drink wine and relax! 

[This blog was originally posted to MarinaV.com February 2018.
Please forgive any possible re-posting glitches.
Also, very sorry we can’t move your lovely comments!
Original post can be found at: https://www.marinav.com/food-travel ]

OVERVIEW + LINKS: 

We spent a day an a half in the beautiful town of Calistoga (pop. 5,300, est. 1859), located at the Northern part of Napa Valley
We stayed 2 nights at a lovely boutique hotel – Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs – in charming downtown Calistoga
We went wine-tasting at our very favorite Napa winery – V. Sattui Winery (est. 1885), and also at spectacular Merus Vineyard
We ate at Lovina – a farm-to-table restaurant downtown Calistoga
I had my first ever mud bath at the our hotel spa (Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs)
THE DRIVE FROM LAKE TAHOE

I didn’t do a blog post about our show in South Lake Tahoe because I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t take almost any photos. Here is my only one photo of the drive:


I was very out of breath during the show. I knew I wasn’t nervous (in the past that would be the only reason I’d be out of breath), and only halfway through my performance I realized it must have been the elevation. Combination of high elevation and lack of sleep resulted in (what I found out after the show) low oxygen level in my blood (I was at 93, it should have been 97-98). After the Tahoe show I was given my first ever oxygen treatment. Here is the glorious pic with my wonderful caregivers backstage at the Montbleu Resort:


You can hear my singing out of breath clip when you watch our 2018 Winter Tour Documentary (it’s free if you join our 2 SONGS A MONTH CLUB at www.patreon.com/marinav )

But the show went well and the audience was great!
Nick took this photo from side of the stage:

And here are a couple of action shots (thanks, Larry Sabo!):

My boots kept sliding down :)

CALISTOGA

Having driven over 1,500 miles and played 3 shows in a row, Nick & I were ready ready ready to relax in the gorgeous wine country!


Calistoga is a very charming town, full of little shops, restaurants and wine-tasting rooms. Perfect for leisurely strolls!


The weather was in upper 50s. With clear skies it was simply lovely.

Before checking in, Nick & I first went to our favorite little grocery store (Cal Mart) to get some blueberries, snacks and water.
I highly recommend browsing their local wine section, you’ll be in wine shopping heaven!

OUR HOTEL – Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Nick & I loved this hotel. It was recently remodeled, it is beautiful, modern and comfy.


Had to take an obligatory goofy hotel bed photo :)


Having a kitchenette was nice as we had some leftovers and other food from the grocery store.
Bathroom selfie? :)

One of the reasons I chose this hotel was the geothermal pools. Calistoga was initially established as a volcanic hotsprings resort town (back in 1860s). Having stayed at a different Calistoga hotel before I never experienced anything hot-springs related in this town prior to this trip. It was great!

Look at this enormous geothermal Jacuzzi (and the guy reading a book, it was his birthday!):

The water in the geothermal swimming pools was the warmest I’d ever experienced (aside from a geothermal pool in Soltau, Germany). But the second I was out of the pool I was freezing because it was very windy that day:

I really wanted to sit in the Jacuzzi and swim at night, but it was too cold and windy. But so pretty!

WINE TASTING

Our absolute favorite winery in Napa is V. Sattui. I am not getting paid or compensated in any way to say this. I truly love this winery. They’re among the oldest wineries in the region. Nick & I discovered V. Sattui almost 10 years ago, loved them right away and joined their wine club. As a member, you get free tasting in their members-only tasting room, and some other privileges. It’s free to join, and you commit only to a handful of bottles per year. 
V. Sattui makes exquisite wine, they have several varietals and blends, more than any winery I’ve ever been to. Among my very favorites are their cabs, especially Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon.

The members-only tasting room is beautiful and much more quiet than their general tasting room. And here is Nick’s back too :)
Over the years we became friends with their President, Tom Davies, and their multi-award winning winemaker, Brooks Painter.
Here is my photo with Brooks (excuse my hat and no makeup, it was my day off) :)


A couple of artistic photos from V. Sattui’s spectacular grounds:



The mustard was blooming, look at these colors!!!

After V. Sattui we drove to Merus. Wine-tasting in Napa is rather expensive: a typical tasting will run you $40-60pp, which usually includes 2-5 wines, one ounce pours. However, as members of Foley Vineyards in Santa Ynez, we can taste at most Foley Wine family vineyards gratis. We had made an appointment at Merus. I didn’t take many photos as the light wasn’t very good, but here are a couple, look how pretty this place is!


THE FOOD

We mostly had food & snacks from the Cal Mart and delicious leftover pirozhki from the Russian Festival, but Nick & I did go to one local farm-to-table restaurant that was recommended to us. It’s called Lovina & it was just a minute walk from our hotel.
Look at this beautiful historic craftsman house:


Nick was especially thrilled with their popcorn appetizer.
We shared a couple of soups (chicken dumplings were great!), an entree and a dessert.


Afterwards Nick & I briefly met one of the owners and learned that the restaurant is run by a group of good friends.
THE SPA – MY FIRST MUD BATH!!!

For years I’ve heard about mud baths from friends, have seen in TV shows (one of the characters in “Suits” is a mud bath aficionado) and on social media. When I learned that I could experience it here at Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs, I knew I had to do it.

Sadly, Nick had to work, but he encouraged me to go to the spa and enjoy. I wore the bathrobe from our room and walked a few steps to the spa.
It was such an incredible experience!

(can you see me in the reflection, far, far away?) :)

This is how it went down:

First, I had to get totally naked. At first I was going to keep my bikini on, which I had under my bathrobe. But I learned it’s easier to be naked, plus the mud would totally ruin the bikini. Then I took a hot shower (to wash off any lotions & to open up pores).

Then the (female) spa therapist gingerly helped me into the mud bath (which I learned was mud bath with healing volcanic ash mud, harvested locally).

I had to wiggle and work it to get in because the mud bath was not as liquid as I’d expected (not sure why I’d expect that? “Suits”? :) ).

Actually, I could sit right on top of it! But I got myself in, and the therapist helped put the mud onto my arms and chest. It was very warm and comfy, I almost fell asleep. There were a few tiny twigs here and there, it was so strange, but really, really nice!

After the mud bath (which was about 15 mins) the therapist helped me get out. I walked a few steps to the shower to wash off all of the mud. Immediately afterwards, I went into the Mineral Whirlpool Bath (with Aromatherapy Bath Salts – I was given a choice of which aroma). It is pure mineral water, straight from the ground. In the pools and Jacuzzi outside they add a touch of chlorine (laws, I think?), but in this private bath it was 100% natural!

It was soooo very nice! I spent about 15 minutes there,putting cold washcloth on my head to keep from overheating. Right afterwards I put on my towel and went into the Eucalyptus Steam Bath. I spent a few minutes there, inhaling and relaxing. Afterwards, I put on my bathrobe and the therapist escorted me over to the quiet room, where I laid under a warm blanket for about 20 minutes, to cool down and to relax. I think I did fall asleep then! That was it! It was such a cool experience. I will definitely do it again. The procedure cost me $100. My “treat yoself” treat :)

Here is a silly video from the mud bath: https://www.facebook.com/marinavmusic/videos/10156215988657884/

Okay, that’s all for now!! Thanks for reading.

I really hope we return to Napa/Calistoga soon. Have you been? What are your favorite places here?
 

P.S. Join our 2 SONGS A MONTH CLUB at www.patreon.com/MarinaV to watch the full tour documentary, which includes a few videos from Calistoga/Napa!
Here is the trailer:

 
Disclaimer: my accommodation was graciously provided by Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs in exchange for photos, tour blog inclusion & social media posts.
All photos and opinions are my own. I truly loved this hotel!!!

File in: best winery in Napa, mud bath experience, hotels, places to stay in Napa, things to do in Calistoga

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