This time of year when the leaves turn to yellow, pink and red and I watch the big harvest moon in the sky my mind always turns to California.  Strolling along the vineyards, eating the best from the bounty of harvest, having wine country to ourselves.  Slowing down, putting on layers and savoring the quiet and calm after a full-on summer.  It nourishes my soul.  Being in the beauty, drink in the colors, taste and visual magic of the valley.  I love the way the symmetry of planted grapes rhythmically goes as we drive by.

It’s been at least 20 years that we’ve been coming to Calistoga, located at the quiet end of the valley (opposite of Napa).  It’s been getting fancier the last few years, but it’s still small and real and inviting.

It’s the one sunny place we are happy to get out of our van and stay – at Indian Hot Springs.

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It’s old school charm meeting new school California.  There are ping-pong tables and outdoor fireplaces.  Cruiser bikes to use and shuffle board.  The mineral pool is perfect early in the morning with the morning mist and in the late dinner hour when the other guests are at their dining reservation at well known rated restaurants.

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Now you don’t even need to leave the property with Sam’s Club.  The breakfast was next level and the dinner could not have been more scrumptious.

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.. And then there are the pumpkin patches on the ocean near Santa Cruz, and the fall surf, and the fun of being in Ashland coming/going north or south.  Biking there, hitting the co-op, watching a play bundled up under the stars.

Fall is the best.  The light.  The lack of people.  The pace more relaxed.  Warm.  Glowing.  Easy.  It’s a great time to be in California.  I can’t wait to get in our van and go.

 

Some highlight around Calistoga:

Castello di Amorosa

The Market in St. Helena

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Rutherford Grill

The Dry Creek Store

The Jimtown Store

there is a campground between Calistoga and St. Helena