I love the mud bath!
My favorite is at Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga (I wrote about it before, but didn't have any pictures).
While the mud bath is the highlight, the rest of the resort, all of Calistoga actually, are simply delightful. In 2013 I have been fortunate enough to go three times! In January with DelicateFlower, in June with DelicateFlower, her mom and the new baby (got to check out Dr. Wilkinson's pools and rooms-retro!), and in October with K.
I always have to go to the pool
Here is the steam from the hot mineral springs water that feeds the pool. It is cozy no matter the outside temp.
They have to clean/replace the pipes every 6 months because of the crazy mineral buildup.
And they keep a nice fire going in the winter or cool evenings.
The ground level rooms have a private waterfall in the courtyard in case you need to relax outside your room instead of in the room, at the pool or in the mud bath. The whole place has a water theme (since people have been 'taking the waters' here since pretty much forever).
One of the many water fountains on the property.
There is a meditation labyrinth just outside the resort that I finally walked. I was probably not meditative enough, but it was kind of fun.
The cucumber/lemon water here is the best. I think I would drink more water at home if I could learn how they make it.
The mud is super thick so you basically lie on top of a bed of mud while they glop extra on top. Next a shower and a soak in a tub while cleaning the last of the mud from under your nails. Onto the incredibly hot steam room-use the ice cold washcloth on your face and head to last longer than 30 seconds. Then finally you lie flat, wrapped in a towel with cucumber slices (for real!) on your eyes.
And after the mud bath experience you can wander the private section of the resort which has (more) water features and (more) places to relax.
Oh mud bath I love you so!
There is some amazing food in Calistoga. For the meat eater a must is Buster's BBQ . The bikers stop here on the weekend and parking can be trouble so if possible walk over from your hotel. I love getting a nice dinner at JoLe. The food is farm-to-table, save room for dessert which is something special and definitely get a cocktail-their bartenders are as top notch as the chefs.
I have never eaten a bad meal at any of the other cafes in town, but if you want to snack-meal, definitely hit the Cal-Mart grocery store. They pack in an incredible variety of items catering to anyone and everyones taste.
And the whole town participates in communal note leaving on the olive trees. They have unique themes, like gratitude or past loves and you leave a note with your experience. They are fun too read-most often pointing out universal themes with a specific voice.
On the way home this last time, K and I stopped at Castello di Amorosa. Basically this guy wanted to have a Tuscan castle in Napa Valley, so he built it. We are saving the actual tour for another day, but you can see the outside for free.
Yup, it is a full on castle, turrets, a moat and the crest.
They keep quite an assortment of animals on the grounds.
Emu and many other fowl, fancy chickens, geese and ducks.
And of course I never miss a chance to stop off at Mumm.
The vineyards are beautiful this time of year.
Beautiful presentation of the fall produce. The bottom ones remind me of geese...like in that book Play With Your Food by Joost Elfers.