By Guest Writer Beatrice Anderson
Napa brings back fond memories for me. I grew up in the Hollywood Hills, and Napa became our go-to weekend away. My parents loved wine. My Dad loved to hike, while mom insisted on shopping and demanded lots of romance. Napa has it all. I remember going on these fun weekend car trips…singing most of the way from LA to Napa.
Now, as a married woman myself, my husband Donny and I frequent this beautiful community often. We generally like to slip away in the winter…there is less tourists, and it’s a bit cooler. We took a trip to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, and it was simply magnificent.
We have friends there and an open invitation, but we love to try new hotels in the area. Donny decided to surprise me and booked us to stay at a new place…Cottage Grove Inn (1711 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA, 94515), it was simply fantastic. In case you didn’t know, Calistoga is located in the northernmost tip of Napa Valley.
We stayed in an adorable little cottage. My husband splurged and arranged for a spa add-on, which was totally worth it. The room came with a massive tub (big enough for both of us), and a fireplace too. It was so romantic. It was also close enough to walk to town for my early morning coffee.
On one of those family trips, my mom and dad took me on a hot air balloon which made a huge impression on me to this day. Turns out my husband found out from my Dad which balloon company took us up to the Napa sky. He is so thoughtful and heard the whole story and wanted to recreate it for me. Napa Valley Aloft was founded in the 1970s by Jay Kimball, a pilot, who eventually got his entire family into the business. I vaguely remember meeting him, a friend of my mom was good friends with the family. They were so kind and just had so many fascinating stories. I highly recommend this company.
We had an unbelievably romantic time…there is nothing like being in the open air high above the beautiful serenity of Napa…all the while wrapped in the arms of your man. Be sure to take a trip with Napa Valley Aloft one of these days. Visit the website for more info – https://nvaloft.com/
There are some fabulous restaurants in Calistoga, that you won’t want to miss. Lovina (1107 Cedar Street, Calistoga, 94515) is a favorite brunch spot. They also have a great happy hour too. The French Toast (cinnamon raisin walnut bread, seasonal fruit, whipped cream) is one of my all-time favorite dishes. You can also choose to order 1 or 3 pieces, which I love…especially if I am dining alone. Of course my husband love to eat, so I usually get extra when dining with him. The French bread is crispy, sweet and yet delicate to taste….so yummy.
Donny’s favorite is the Breakfast Burrito (scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, hash browns, sour cream, 28 Bullets salsa, cheddar cheese, with breakfast potatoes). It’s huge…there is an option for greens instead of potatoes, but the potatoes are so good….yeah we usually carb it up on vacations.
Needless to say besides all the in-room wine drinking, we also did several wine tastings at local wineries such as Amici Cellars, Jericho Canyon Vineyard, Joseph Cellars, Switchback Ridge, and some others…sorry it got pretty blurry after that.
Another night, we met up with friends for a dinner at Castello Dia Amorosa which is literally a castle. I had attended a halloween event years earlier and really loved the venue and ambiance. They have all kinds of elaborate tastings in addition to food pairings. We opted for the antipasti and wine pairing tour which was excellent. We ended up at one of my favorite sushi places…Sushi Mambo (1631 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA, 94515).
We started off with oysters…paired with smooth Rose Of Charbono Shypoke (Estate Calistoga Napa Valley 2019). For dinner we feasted on the House Tagliatelle (peas, napa wild mushrooms, beurre monte, parmesan), and Grilled Wild King Salmon (sweet yellow corn succotash, grape tomatoes, garden basil).
I love the atmosphere at Solage Calistoga…it’s so laid back and lush. It is part of the Auberge Resort Collection, which has resorts all over the U.S. Visit its website for more info – https://aubergeresorts.com/
One of the best things about growing up in LA is that we can take advantage of these intoxicating weekend trips. I’ll fill you in on some others soon.
If you would like to know more about Calistoga…or Napa in general, there are two websites that I recommend you view when you decide to start planning your trip. https://www.napavalley.com or https://www.visitnapavalley.com