This morning you will head Up Valley, as locals call the northern end of the Napa Valley, and then you will travel up in the air, with a hot air balloon ride with Calistoga Balloons
. The adventure will give you a bird’s-eye view of the wineries and the dramatic profile of Mount St. Helena. Once you are back on solid ground, you’ll enjoy a brunch with your fellow travelers.
If you want to sample some of the Napa Valley’s most famous product, its famous wines, but aren’t interested in exploring on your own, there are a number of different group tours you can join. On a Platypus
small-group tour, you’ll visit four wineries, have a picnic lunch, and learn about the history and culture of wine making. Or you could take a cable car to four wineries when you board the Napa Valley Wine Trolley
. The six-hour tour aboard a reproduction of an 1890s cable car stops at several wineries and also includes a picnic lunch.
If you’d rather head out on your own, the Tamber Bey Vineyards
are a good option where the staff welcomes visitors either in groups or alone and will introduce the merlots and other red wines the winery is known for. The operation near Calistoga also includes an equestrian facility, and meeting the rescued horses may be the highlight of your visit. Then take an aerial tram to the Sterling Vineyards
, sitting some 300 feet above Calistoga. The unusual winery is modeled after the architecture of the Greek island of Mykonos, and the white stucco buildings glow under the blue skies of California.
Later in the day, experience what Calistoga is most famous for: its hot springs and mud baths. There are a number of different day spas, as well as ones attached to resorts, where you can sit in a bath of volcanic ash mud. (Trust us, the experience is more pleasant than it might sound.) Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs
is a somewhat funkier option, where you’ll get a warm welcome even if the facilities are not quite as luxurious as the Spa Solage at Solage Calistoga or the Indian Springs Resort. Follow the mud bath treatment with a massage or facial, and you’ll end your Napa getaway with a glow.