More Calistoga photos

A few extra photos from Calistoga – we really liked it there!

A couple of art projects attached to a gallery:

Labyrinth

Wishing trees

Autumn colours:

Clapboard architecture:

The old train station converted into a cafe and shops

Cute house

Autumnal decorations:

Next day – Day 17: Homeward bound.

Day 16: Last Day

Our last full day on honeymoon and we decided to have a bit of a touristy day and visit some of the local attractions.

The California Old Faithful geyser is a little sibling to the more famous Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Apparently, the more often it erupts, the less likely is an earthquake.The geyser erupted about every 10 minutes we were there, which made us confident we were safe!

Another timer shot from our trusty gorilla pod!

Our next stop was the Petrified Forest, created 3 million years ago by a volcanic eruption which knocked down and buried a stand of redwood trees.

A petrified tree. Looks like a tree, feels cold like rock. Curious.

Next we drove over to Napa town. We intended to visit “Copia“, which the guidebook told us was a food and wine based cultural centre and ‘visitor experience’ with lovely gardens. We shouldn’t have trusted the guidebook, since it turned out to have closed down a couple of years earlier! Apparently it was a bit of a grand design by the celebrated winemaker Robert Mondavi, but it never attracted enough visitors to be viable. Pity. The gardens still looked lovely, but we didn’t fancy trespassing and instead went to the Oxbow Public Market next door for lunch and a bit of Christmas shopping.

Followed by a wander round the [slightly run down dare I say] town centre and, for Tom, a bit more wine tasting at Vintners Collective, representing small-scale producers.

Driving back to Calistoga along the Silverado Trail – i.e. the pretty way.

Taken from a moving car!

The vineyards are beautifully maintained and frequently bordered by olive trees, flowerbeds and lavender hedges.

Back in Calistoga it was a bit of shopping for volcanic spa products and some beautiful pottery, a bit of a walk, a bit of sorting out and then a final blow out dinner at Brannan’s.

Sigh.

The date was 16 November 2011. Next – more Calistoga photos.

Day 15: Calistoga

What a lovely time we had in Calistoga! A couple of days of relaxing in the sunshine with good wine and good food was the perfect finale to a wonderful honeymoon.

It seems to me that Calistoga is a very relaxed place. For example, when we arrived, we went out for a drink at the Calistoga Inn. We sat at the bar and watched the Monday night football. When we got hungry, we kept our seats and were able to order some excellent food from the formal restaurant next door. We like that kind of thing.

We stayed at the Wine Way Inn, which I would definitely recommend for:

  • The lovely owners, Nick and Gillian (coincidentally, they used to live in Bristol);
  • Amazing breakfasts – not the usual fry up, but interesting and unusual dishes like sausage and tomato plait, chardonnay baked pears and special muffins. It was cool that all the guests sit at the same table, like a family, so you can chat to each other;
  • Traditional, but not fuddy duddy, style;
  • Grape vine round the porch and maple trees in the back garden;
  • The ‘Wellness’ package (see below);
  • The location: just off the main street;
  • Home made wine for nightcaps!

After a good night’s sleep and a gourmet breakfast, we were ready for our Wellness package consisting of bed and breakfast, a couples’ spa session, two local wine tastings and dinner at a local restaurant.

This was Tom’s first spa experience and I think he enjoyed it. He won’t let me show you the picture of him in a volcanic mud/bubble bath 😦

Instead here are some lovely rubber duckies:

Three rubber ducks in foam bath

Image via Wikipedia

In the afternoon we went for our two wine tastings at Lava Vine and Laura Zahtila. We met some very lovely and friendly people.

The Lava Vine tasting room and (in the garage) wine-making space!

Tom in the Lava Vine tasting room

Interesting idea for tasting dessert wine - dark chocolate, olive oil and sea salt.

Wine tasting aftermath

The very cool BBQ space at Lava Vine - bet they have some great parties!

One of our favourite honeymoon memories is of sitting on the terrace at the Laura Zahtila tasting room. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, we had some delicious wine, there were dogs and a cat running around and we were chatting to the tasting host, a couple who were long-term traveling around the States and some guys from a local restaurant (who we happened to bump into later that evening!)

The wine in the glass is made from the vines in the background.

NB dogs in the background!

That evening we had dinner at JoLé – a ‘small plates’ restaurant where we ate (among other things) lamb bolognese and brussels sprouts with cranberries, squash and hazelnuts. What a good day!

The date was 15 November 2011. Next – Day 16: Last Day.