Napa Valley, Romance and Luxury

We recently discovered the best of Napa Valley and Calistoga with an unforgettable and pampering getaway.The perfect vacation began with the perfect home base from which to enjoy our sojourn.

We were absolutely thrilled with our stay at the Old World Inn in Napa. It provided the perfect central hub for our exploration and taste of the valley. We had once stayed at the Old World Inn’s other property a few years ago and were impressed beyond measure so we knew a stay at one of their other properties would not disappoint. This visit we lavished in the décor and ambiance of one of the Acqua room in the Main House. The entire property is a class act and our room was spacious and inviting with gorgeous stone fireplace, feather bed, sitting room, and exquisite native growth redwood.

High speed internet and lovely teas and coffees along with fresh baked cookies were added extras. Delightfully lavish, high end toiletries and linens were a pleasure. Looking forward to breakfast each morning was a highlight. Everything was fresh and esthetically pleasing.

The antique, century old woodwork and old Napa architecture of the property blends effortlessly with all the upgrades and conveniences of modern day travel. Innkeepers Russ and Sharon have been serving their guests with impeccable hospitality for quite some time yet they never stop updating and improving each of their Old World Inn properties.

One thing that couples consider a specialty of the experience is that as local owners, Russ and Sharon provide guests a complete Napa experience by offering a unique wine and cheese event each night in their private cellar, hosted by a local winery.

One of the nights we stayed, we enjoyed a private cellar tasting hosted by Mark Herold Wines. Additionally, Russ and Sharon provide guests with a complete privately tailored concierge service/experience where complete wine tasting maps, itineraries, suggested dining and excursions are both suggested and booked with the assistance of the staff at the Old World Inn. Guests can enjoy and experience everything the Napa Valley has to offer and many tastings, activities and excursions are offered at a reduced price, or free of charge, only for distinguished guests.

More than twenty tasting rooms, dozens of award-winning dining establishments and dozens of boutiques are all within walking distance of the Inn properties. Convenience, comfort and impeccable hospitality are the cornerstone of everything offered at the Old World Inn.

We enjoyed sampling some food and local products at the Oxbow Marketplace a few blocks away. On our day of wine tasting exploration, we enjoyed tasting some wines at Clos du Val where a special tailored tasting of Cabernets was especially enjoyable. Jim Wilkinson, one of the wine education associates made us feel right at home and was very insightful and patient with our questions.

We enjoyed the grounds and relaxed hospitality of Hagafen where some current whites and reds were an enjoyable diversion.

As we meandered through the valley towards Calistoga we stopped at Dutch Henry, a favorite from many years ago. We were so glad to see it has still retained its hallmark charm and laid back hospitality where we engaged in a barrel tasting and the kids enjoyed the resident winery dogs. The owner is quite an accomplished musician and we enjoyed his newest CD immensely. Dutch Henry is a refreshing remembrance of the quieter age of the Napa Valley.

Keeping with the theme of yesteryear, we decided to partake in a piece of Napa Valley history at Doc Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort. This fun, funky, and retro, family-run establishment has been pampering guests for sixty years and are proud to be celebrating their anniversary this year with some wonderful specials.

Owner Mark Wilkinson’s dad began this amazing piece of history six decades ago offering simple relaxation and healthy rejuvenation to guests by way of incorporating Calistoga’s volcanic ash and wonderfully pure mineralized hot spring water with peat moss and natural lavender essence. Mud baths at Doc’s are a time honored tradition in Calistoga and the Napa Valley and make a wonderful diversion for the entire family or for a mom and daughter spa afternoon. After the revolutionary mud bath and blanket wrap, many guests partake in an excellent massage while on site and most enjoy soaking in the mineral pools on site as well. It’s a relaxing, healthy and delightful way to enjoy a true piece of Napa Valley history.

Before we could even think of leaving our favorite family-loved jewel of Calistoga, some hungry stomachs needed to be satiated and Calistoga has it going on, when it comes to excellent dining.

First we stopped in to Brannan’s in the heart of downtown Calistoga. Brannan’s is quite simply beautiful and in an unpretentious way. While Brannan’s menus change with the seasons, one thing always stays the same—the quality. We ordered a mid afternoon snack off the bar menu where tapas style appetizers are spectacular. Local cheeses, crispy fish tacos and melt in your mouth Buffalo wings were just what we needed after a heavenly afternoon over at Doc’s. Brannan’s is the perfect place for a meal, as we know from previous visits but now we know its also the perfect place to get a light bite to fuel up for more valley exploration.

We were glad we saved some room for a visit to Barolo up the street. At this fun Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, we enjoyed the romantic  ambiance. This wine bar is surprisingly hip and innovative yet totally relaxed for all ages. We shared several plates like the Arucola fennel, pancetta and citrus salad. Risotto balls served with San Marzano balls were also a hit. Vongole Manilla clams served in white wine and garlic were delectable and not a drop of  the sauce was wasted for dipping.

Owner Ron Goldin owns Checkers in town also, another local eatery but Ron has something for everyone at his various establishments.  Locally sourced ingredients and even his own organic, heirloom tomatoes into many of the dishes, the flavors pop with goodness. Ron’s own Masked Man Winery selections round out Barolo’s amazing offerings of local wines. We loved his Brian Arden Syrah. Barolo’s award-winning Chef Angelo Chambrone has been featured on many top cooking shows and his expertise and generational culinary talent is evidenced in each and and every beautifully presented specialty.

Napa Valley and Calistoga are both peppered with jewels and gems, history and making history. They create a blend of old and new and the perfect place for a luxurious and memorable getaway to remember for a lifetime.