Mud City, the Ultimate Health & Pampering Couples Road Trip

While most kids have played in the mud, Calistoga, California in the Napa Valley, offers couples a wonderful way to renew, recharge, and pamper while playing in the mud. And a couple that plays together, stays together.

What better place to play than Doc Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort. Serving couples looking for a healthy getaway, for generations, owner Mark Wilkinson has helped run the family business since he was a kid.

“Every day is better than Disneyland here at Doc Wilkinson’s,” says owner Mark. And guests agree with him as they return year after year.

“Since 1952 we have offered Calistoga’s famous mud baths. My father, Dr.  John Wilkinson developed them many years ago. We have massage, mud baths, heated pools, and recently renovated lodging.”

“We like everybody; we’re family owned and run.”  “We have great specials going on right now too.” Mark adds.

“The works” is the ultimate in pure bliss for any couple. A mud bath routine includes a volcanic ash mud bath, aromatherapy whirlpool mineral bath, mineral steam room, and blanket wrap. It takes about two hours, and you may just want to do nothing for an hour or two afterwards because the experience is so heavenly, you will both want to savor the afterglow.

Calistoga is blessed with pure volcanic ash and vibrantly mineralized hot springs water. Mark’s dad, Doc, figured out decades ago, how to combine these two elements with Canadian peat to make the mud treatment very effective. For maximum heat penetration and buoyancy, the tried and true formula has long been recognized as Calistoga’s finest. The volcanic ash cleanses and smoothes skin, while the peat provides buoyancy and allows the mineral water’s soothing heat to penetrate more deeply. Natural lavender aromas from the Napa Valley offer wonderful aroma-therapeutic relaxation to the body and mind.

It’s not every day you can find a healthy getaway where the needs of both halves of your couple are nurtured as well as the pocketbook.

In addition to a superb couples retreat, the small town of Calistoga is home to some of the best and most romantic dining in the Napa Valley. This allows couples the luxury of staying in one place and being able to walk to dining, shopping, and other venues, adding to the relaxation factor.

Matt and Sonjia Spector, award-winning chefs and restaurateurs, have opened a relatively new culinary gem in Calistoga, called Jole, Farm to Table. The Spectors incorporate locally farmed and organic ingredients almost exclusively,  and it shines in each and every delightful dish.

Eating at Jole, Farm to Table is not a meal but rather a sensual experience where smaller portions are perfect to share and sample truly outstanding and memorable dishes with unsurpassed quality. You’ll both enjoy creating your own tasting menu with this approach and the prices are accordingly set to reflect this healthy and wonderfully exciting experience. There is not one single thing that could be improved upon at this new Calistoga treasure, except perhaps more comfortable chairs, because you’ll want to take your time and camp out awhile to savor this feast for the palette.

Flatiron Grill in Calistoga continues to offer excellent steaks, the state’s best mac and cheese, and other comfort foods in a warm and inviting atmosphere. New dishes are being developed with a Southern flair so this is another wonderful, romantic option in the heart of downtown.

Barolo, across the street, which used to be a wine bar, is now much more with a new expanded menu offering wonderful dishes to please anyone. You can both unwind and savor a local wine while munching on delicious appetizers or entrees, and did we mention desserts? This is a place to unwind and relax between spa treatments or meals.

Just a minute outside of town is Solage and its delightful Solbar restaurant. If a warm and sunny day greets you, no better place exists for dining al fresco, where spectacular food and outstanding service and ambiance await you. The fish tacos are the best anywhere and the desserts are too-die-for.

Chef Brandon Sharp prides himself in taking fairly mundane dishes and adding special twists and flavors to make “normal” dishes, spectacular.

Calistoga is “the” place to take a couple of days out of the routine to stay and play in the mud. Stroke the inner child by playing together and the fires will be rekindled while the soul is rejuvenated.