Second Stop: Calistoga

Downtown Calistoga is an old western town with modern amenities. 

As the northernmost place to visit in Napa Valley, it’s rustic yet charming with a laidback vibe and relaxing atmosphere. Eateries line the main thoroughfare with craft brews and vegan lasagna, while a community of friendly and hardworking citizens gather at the Calistoga Inn to raise a glass to a hard day’s work in the tasting rooms and vineyards. Accommodations range from Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs to the luxurious and pricy Solage from the Auberge Resorts Collection.

I’ve been eyeing up Solage for quite some time. I’ve often perused their website dreamily in hopes I’d find a discount code that cut the thousand dollar room rate in half. Since I’ve yet to find a code that comes anywhere near that, I had to explore some other options.

I did my research and came across something I just couldn’t resist.

This bungalow…

Let us introduce you to The Bungalows at Calistoga.  This is your HGTV dream come true.  With three adorable bungalows to choose from (A, B, or C), you’ll find yourself wanting to book two more trips to Calistoga just so you can try them all.  We chose B for its enticing outdoor space, though the chill of the northern California air kept us inside for most of our visit. 

This gorgeous fireplace kept us warm while sipping on local wine and trying to figure out how to build our own bungalow when we got home. We were in awe of the colors and the design: the vivid artwork, the teal doors, the gold fixtures, the shiplap paneling, and that green sofa.

The Bungalows at Calistoga are conveniently located just a block and a half from Lincoln Avenue. From here, we were able to walk the entire town from top to bottom, drink wine at a refurbished gas station, and treat ourselves to an overly priced lunch at Solbar, the swanky poolside restaurant at the Solage Resort. That $15 beer might have tasted more refreshing if we were allowed to drink it while taking a dip in the “For Guests Only” pool.

But who needs a pool when you have a whole bungalow? A place where you can put your feet up after a long ride through the vines and enjoy a few sips of the local wine.

It’s a must that you bike in Calistoga; we insist upon it. It’s the only way to really explore the beauty and magnificence of northern Napa Valley. Here’s how we did it:

We secured a couple of bike rentals with the Calistoga Bike Shop and opted for the self-guided wine tour with two or three tasting options. For $84.99 per person, we got bikes, helmets, a detailed map, and tasting reservations at two wineries. You can taste at three wineries for the same price, but we don’t advise it. Two is just enough to make for a leisurely day and a picnic lunch without feeling rushed.

We picked up our lunch on our walk to the bike shop and stowed it in these perfectly sized panniers on the back of our bikes. The turkey sandwich from Bella Bakery was, quite honestly, the best turkey sandwich we’ve had in years. Thin sliced turkey on soft focaccia topped with blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, and mayo. It was heavenly, and much needed after all of the calorie burn.

We were thankful that we also packed this large bag of chips…

Our two tastings were booked at Vincent Arroyo Family Winery and Bennett Lane Winery. We had such a lovely time at both learning about the history, the winemaking process, and meeting the kind people who put everything into creating these incredible wines.

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting Bill at Bennett Lane Winery. Our friend, Roxann, recommended that we visit Bennett Lane prior to us booking our bike tour and that we meet her childhood friend, Bill, while we were there. For weeks, Rox and I tried to figure out just the right date that Paul and I could get there. And then, just like that, fate stepped in and did the rest. The Calistoga Bike Shop booked our tasting at Bennett Lane without any knowledge of what we were up to. As luck would have it, Bill was working that day, and he was able to host our tasting. A Monmouth County native himself, he made the move to Calistoga and now spends his days pouring wine and educating visitors at this gorgeous winery. He convinced us to get a membership, and now we can enjoy the taste of Calistoga delivered straight to our door.

The weather didn’t cooperate much on this trip. Usually, the bright sunshine lights everything up in Napa Valley. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and cool for most of our visit. It didn’t stop us from taking a rest and snapping some photos of the clouds as they floated above the vines.

If you get to Calistoga, we recommend you take it slow. Breathe it all in.

Have the vegan lasagna at Lovina, even if you aren’t a vegan.

Have a drink with the Calistoga locals.

Join a wine club.

Draw up your plans to build your bungalow at the Jersey Shore…

In the meantime, return to Calistoga. Rent A.

Come back to rent C.

Let us know which one you like best.

One Comment on “Second Stop: Calistoga

  1. Wow this part of your trip sounds great! I feel like we need to travel to Calistoga and definitely rent a bungalow- thanks for sharing your experience.

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