October 2010 Archives

What Makes Healdsburg So Special?

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healdsburg.jpgWell, part of this town's charm is the distinctive lodging properties. Whether a delightful bed & breakfast where you're served a gourmet breakfast or the modern, stylish amenities of the hotels & resorts, you're sure to fall in love with this Sonoma Wine Country place.

Dry Creek Inn  - Tuscan Introductory Deal

Stay in the newly built Tuscan accommodations any Sunday thru Thursday in 2010 and get 50% off the second night! Any additional nights Sunday thru Thursday are 50% off too! Your guest room features a dreamy king bed, gas fireplace, jetted tub, and balcony or patio.
RESERVE NOW

Where to Watch the World Series

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By Deirdre Bourdet

giantsBaseball.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - The Giants are in the World Series! Join fellow fan-atics at these wine country spots to cheer on San Francisco's own orange and black.


Calistoga Inn & Brewery. Beer and baseball are a classic pairing, and this downtown Calistoga bar/restaurant/inn also boasts an award-winning microbrewery, which sells 100% of its beers on the premises. Crispy calamari and buffalo wings rub shoulders with steamed mussels, oysters, shrimp cocktail and Dungeness crab cakes on the appetizer menu, and bring a taste of the bay to northern Napa Valley.

With a pint of local brew and bowl full of seafood, you will be more than set for game time. 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga.

Take a Gourmet Retreat

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casaLanaGourmetRetreats.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - What better way to experience the essence of wine country cuisine than with a gourmet retreat? If you are an avid home cook or food enthusiast, then take your cooking to the next level with a culinary vacation in Napa Valley.

At Gourmet Retreats, located in Calistoga, CA at CasaLana B&B, sign up for hands-on cooking classes taught in a professionally equipped kitchen. To ensure personalized attention and one-on-one attention, classes are limited to only 9 participants. They include printed recipe handouts and a generous sampling or meal of the food prepared served with wine/beverage. All kitchen equipment is, of course, provided as well.

Gourmet Retreats offers Culinary Vacations, Boot Camp, One-Day Wine Country Classes, and Gourmet Weekend Retreats as well. Choose from a variety of class lengths ranging from as little as 5 hours to 5 days.

View sample Itineraries for a Culinary Vacation



Winter in the Wineries

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wineriesInWinterCalistoga.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - The town's tagline is "Hot Springs, Cool Wines, and Warm Welcome". Warm welcome is exactly what Calistoga is doing this winter when it invites travelers now through Febuary 6, 2011 to enjoy wine tasting, tours, and even the opportunity to meet a winemaker when you visit with your passport!

Passports are only $50 and offer an extreme value to anyone visiting Napa Valley. You can use the passport as many times as you would like throughout the passport season and in addition to wine tasting, it includes discounts at several Calistoga's restaurants, hotels, and B&Bs. Restaurants are waiving all corkage fees and lodging partners are offering special room rates for all passport holders.

Top Ten Reasons to visit Fairfield This Fall

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suisunwinery.jpgActivities and Events to Satisfy Every Taste

By the Fairfield Tourism Association

School is back in session and evenings are cool and crisp.  Are you looking for a weekend getaway this fall?  Well, look no further then Good Natured Fairfield.  

Conveniently located along Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Sacramento, Fairfield is the ideal destination to enjoy a fall escape.  Visitors can expect an array of lodging choices and packages, wineries to discover, delicious dining options, unique attractions, and plenty of special events and activities to satisfy any taste.

So, take a break from your daily routine and check out this list of ten popular things to do and see this fall in and around Fairfield.

Napa Valley Film Festival Launching at Last

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nvFilmFestival.jpgThis November heralds the launch of a new signature event for Napa Valley: The Napa Valley Film Festival.  After more than five years of dreaming, festival co-chairs Brenda and Marc Lhormer announced that the Napa Valley Film Festival will debut in November 2011 with a five-day, four town extended weekend of cinematic celebration.  But since 2011 is still a long way off, a three-day Launch Celebration this November gives attendees a taste of the great things in store.

Co-directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer are no strangers to the film industry, or the grueling work of planning film festivals. The couple produced and distributed the 2008 movie Bottle Shock, inspired by the 1976 Paris Tasting, and ran the Sonoma Valley Film Festival for seven years.  Marc Lhormer was kind enough to chat with me about the couple's latest venture and the imminent launch party, which he refers to as the "amuse-bouche" for the main event next year.

The Napa Valley Film Festival has three core principles: (1) celebrating the human-scale of human existence by presenting relatable real people with real issues, and the hope that inspires us; (2) exploring multicultural differences of perspective, as well as the commonalities across cultural divides both within the U.S. and internationally; and (3) bringing the artists and the audience together for conversations about the films.  Every film being screened will be represented by the directors, the cast, or both, and Q&A sessions will be the norm, not the exception. Local food and wine will feature prominently in the parties surrounding the films, of course, but this is by no means a festival of food and wine-themed movies.  

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

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calistogaBalloons.jpgAlcohol-Free Activities In Calistoga
by Deirdre Bourdet

Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country.  These non-alcoholic activities are also some of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in the Calistoga area.

Take to the Air
What better way to experience the beauty and distinctive landmarks of the northern Napa Valley than to fly above them? Whether you fantasize about lazy balloon rides through early morning air, or World War II-era biplane missions, or swift and exciting modern glider plane trips, Calistoga has got you covered.  Calistoga Balloons offers one of the Napa Valley's best hot-air balloon experiences, thanks to the incomparable scenery of the northern valley.  You will cruise over Castello di Amorosa, the Palisade Cliffs, Mt. St. Helena, Château Montelena, Old Faithful Geyser, and the Petrified Forest, and then enjoy a complimentary champagne brunch at Hydro Grill.  Balloon rides are $225 per person, all inclusive, but only $199 if booked online. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. 

crazyCreekGliders.jpgIf floating at the speed of the wind isn't fast enough for you, head slightly out of town to Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, which offers scenic trips in sleek gliders and restored historic bi-planes, as well as flying lessons to those who yearn to rule the skies. Book your flight directly online where rates range from $149 to $330 for the ultimate glider ride!


Calistoga Hotel & Resort Specials

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euroSpa.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - There are so many choices of places to stay in Calistoga. Between the charming bed & breakfasts and distinct inns that make for cozy, almost like home accommodations, you might overlook the resorts or wine country style hotels. But with the promise of peaceful tranquility and private accommodations that many of them offer and a host of amenities, we urge you to reconsider. As added encouragement, see the list of specials currently available.

Euro Spa & Inn - Economic Relief Package
Offering a unique mixture of old-fashioned Northern California hospitality, deluxe accommodations, and healthy spa services to provide a memorable wine country getaway experience. This package includes Queen bed accommodations, 1 hour signature massages for two, deluxe continental breakfast, 3-course dinner at local restaurant and wine tastings at any two local wineries.
RESERVE NOW

Mini Travel Guide: Calistoga

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By Robert P. Farmer

fallVineyard.jpgThe story goes that Calistoga got its name when Sam Brannan, who first ventured to these parts lured by the healing waters that were rumored to rival Saratoga Springs in New York, arrived and dubbed it the "Calistoga of Sarifornia," obviously intending to say "Saratoga of California." The name stuck, and so too has Brannan's imprimatur. The pioneering spirit of the Old West is still evident in the charming small town at the northern end of Napa Valley. But Wine Country has grown up around it, and the "healing waters" still exist and continue to be part of the lure.

Calistoga is part geological wonder, part destination to for the good life, and still one of the most popular regions of California's Wine Country--just as it was when it first became a destination in the 1880s, when travelers made their way here to soak in the warm, sulfuric waters of the many area hot springs. In its later life, visitors grew fonder of the excellent cabernets and chardonnays being produced in the region. Modern-day Calistoga combines the best of all worlds, and throws in for good measure a great collection of historic attractions, excellent resorts and tempting restaurants. 

Explore the town of Calistoga!

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grapes.jpgCalistoga has drawn residents and visitors to the Napa Valley for over a hundred years. It offers an elegent mixture of old charm and rural sophistication. Hot springs, B&B's, resorts, and the most picturesque wineries and vineyards you've ever seen, and more have made Calistoga a relaxing getaway in wine country.

We invite you to read the following set of articles, reviews, and recommendations on where to explore, what to see and taste, and of course stay in this small tour guide slice of what makes Calistoga so special!

Mini Travel Guide
The Comforts of Home - Stevenson Manor Inn

 

WINE TASTING

Wine Tasting Itinerary
Winemaking Stroll Down Bennett Lane
No Wine Over $25
Beyond the Tasting Room

THINGS TO DO

More To Do Than Just Drink
Upcoming Fall & Winter Events
Calistoga's Michelin Star at the Bar


SPECIALS ALERT!
Sweet Lodging Deals
Calistoga Hotel & Resort Specials
Lavender Hill Spa - Harvest Treatment

Lavender Hill Spa - Harvest Treatment Collection

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saltglow.jpgWith Fall comes harvest and "the crush." Grapes are harvested and crushed as the first step in the wine-making process. Celebrate this most beautiful of seasons in the wine country with Lavender Hill Spa's unique wine and grape inspired spa treatment collection. Book now as these special treatments are only available through the rest of October!

Grape Escape
Lavender Cabernet Bath Treatment with One hour Lavender Cabernet  Massage.(2hrs) - 
 $165 per person 

The Comforts of Home

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stevensonManor.jpgIt's easy to see why wine country travelers make Stevenson Manor Inn their place to stay in Calistoga (Napa Valley). It has all the comforts of home with a few extras!  They boast 34 boutique-style rooms designed with hotel flair featuring high-speed wireless Internet,  wet bar, refrigerator and much more. Available in-room upgrades include a balcony, fireplace, whirlpool jetted bathtub.

It may be getting a little chilly, but Stevenson Manor Inn also has a year-round heated pool, hot tub, dry sauna, and steam room. And don't miss out on the deluxe continental breakfast. One Yelper recently said "Continental breakfast is very good - the dining area is a bit too small. Waffle aromatherapy is nice :) For you protein-freaks, they always have fresh, boiled eggs which I love that they provide."

Calistoga: Beyond the Tasting Room

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couplesmudbath-display.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Tucked cozily into the northernmost reaches of the Napa Valley, Calistoga has long beckoned visitors with its verdant vineyards, country-cute downtown and renowned mineral waters.  Read on for tips on what to do when in town - because there are spoils aplenty to unearth in this Eden après tasting.

Bathe
Dubbed a "quintessential American travel experience" by Conde Nast Traveler, Golden Haven's signature mud bath is a Calistoga must-do.  Available for singles or couples, the treatment pairs a detoxifying mud immersion with a nourishing clay mask, followed by a mineral water-fed Jacuzzi soak and soothing warm blanket wrap.  Once you're through, continue unwinding with another treatment (favorites include herbal facials, massages and body wraps) or invigorate with a few laps in the pool.  In all, it's a sure-fire recipe for R&R, Calistoga style, and ensures you'll be in a perfect state of Zen as you head out on the town or tasting.  
Golden Haven Hot Springs * 1713 Lake St., Calistoga, CA 94515 * (707) 942-8000

Halloween Activities in Oregon

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Looking for a good fright this Halloween? In Oregon, they don't have to "create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit". They've got the real thing with 13 documented ghost towns to explore and lighthouses that hold dark and stormy tales. The Travel Oregon Blog has all the scary details!

Haunted Oregon by Mikhael Romain
It's October and jack-o-lanterns, cackling witches and white-sheet ghosts are peeping up everywhere (not to mention the candy corn). But in Oregon we don't need to create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit--we've got the real thing. With abandoned desert towns, haunted historic hotels, unsettled spirits and mysterious and unexplainable incidents, this state is teeming with the paranormal! (Cue deep-throated screech here).

Eastern Oregon's spattering of retired gold mining settlements makes it ripe for ghost towns, where deserted saloons and bordered buildings are all that's left of these once thriving towns. There are 13 documented ghost towns in this area to explore. Check out Granite, where the once-booming town had a population of 5000 and today only a dozen or so residents call it home. While you're in Eastern Oregon, check out the historic Union Hotel, which is rumored to be haunted.

READ MORE . . .


Sweet Lodging Deals in Calistoga

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cottagegrove.jpgBed & Breakfasts and Inns

One of the hallmarks of visiting Napa Valley, outside of the over 400 wineries, are the charming, distinctive bed and breakfasts nestled among the vines of wine country. Offering a place away from home with gourmet breakfasts served each morning, it's no wonder that many choose to stay at a Napa Valley Inn or Napa Valley bed & breakfast during their wine country vacation.  Fall and Winter are wonderful times to visit and the town of Calistoga is no exception. See the specials being offered right now - some are only available through November!

Calistoga, CA - Upcoming Fall & Winter Events

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Napa Valley Wine Country

nightlife.jpgOCTOBER

October 23 -- Calistoga Blues Fest: Downtown Blues Festival
Festival: Featuring some Smokin' Hot Bands! Stroll through our walkable downtown and taste the wine of 15 different wineries while listening to the sounds of some of the coolest Blues around - Live! New this year is a cigar lounge. Main Stage on Washington Street, Calistoga, CA
Fee: Free/$30 Tasting Pass Time: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 942.6333

October 30 -- The Pagan Halloween Ball at Castello di Amorosa
Celebration: Dario Sattui's, Castello di Amorosa, an authentically-styled, 13th century Tuscan style castle winery, takes a haunted turn this Halloween as it celebrates The Pagan Ball. The event features a haunted tour, an outrageous costume contest, dancing in the Castello's Great Hall to Masterpiece, a 12-piece San Francisco cover band, wine bars and hors d'oeuvres. 4045 North Saint Helena Hwy, Calistoga CA
Fee: $95 WineClub Members, $115 their guests Time: 8 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Phone Number: (707) 967.6274

Beer Adventures in California Wine Country

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Many a winemaker has said "it takes a lot of good beer to make wine"!  There are several beer pubs in and around Northern California Wine Country and GoodBeerTrips.com has scouted them out with reviews, tasting notes and memories of their stay at Safari West. The pubs visited and reviewed were:

    Mendocino Brewing Company

    Bear Republic Brewpub

    Russian River Brewing Company

    Lagunitas Brewing Company

    Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery

 
CLICK HERE to read the full story online!

 

From the Bachelor Pad to The Young & The Thirsty

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youngthirsty_coverpress.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I'm pretty sure it's intentional that the title of the just-released book by Monterey vintner brothers Jesse and Jacob Kovacs sounds like a soap opera.  Fitting especially given that one of the brothers is fresh off of a stint on the salaciously diverting ABC reality program, The Bachelor Pad.  One of the final six competitors on the singles-only show, Jesse Kovacs has grabbed the spotlight (on average, 6 million viewers tuned into hit Bachelor Pad weekly) and is running with it across the US and Canada to promote The Young & The Thirsty.

Oregon: Applegate Valley's "Eye Openingly Good" Wines

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applegatevalley.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I was utterly charmed by Rhône-inspired pours from southern Oregon's new Cowhorn Wine at a Biodynamic® tasting in San Francisco earlier this year.  I reviewed all of my favs from the event here for Wine Country, though I must say that Cowhorn stuck out for its gorgeous packaging and branding (checking out the website is a must!) that - along with the winery's excellent pours - set the spot apart as one positioned to put not only über green wines but also the Applegate region itself on the vinous map.

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