I wanted to take my kids on a trip to Lake Tahoe for skiing, but chose to skip it until more fresh powder is sprinkled on the slopes of sierras. If rainfall trend is an indicator, I can fairly assume, we won't be skiing in Tahoe this year!
However, in California, there is no shortage of alternate travel destinations. Little did I know about this beautiful town, north of Marin in Napa valley, until I heard about it for the first time from one of my friends while discussing about hot springs in Costa Rica.
We decided to spend a few days in Calistoga Hot Springs town. This time, without any vested photographic interests. Instead wanted to visit this town, relax and spend some quality time in the hot spring pools. Made a last minute reservation at Roman SPA Hot Springs Resort. Slightly pricey but highly recommended for someone who is looking for a clean, family friendly resort. This resort is one of the few resorts, with mineral pools fed by natural hot spring water in the area. Just 2.5 hours from south bay, it was an easy drive on a presidents day holiday. We reached the resort by 3 pm and my kids could not even wait for the check-in process to be completed before rushing in the pool area. It was time well spent..a very relaxing evening in deed. Disconnected completely from the virtual world and internet, I couldn't have asked for a better time off with my family. Being a photographer, I could not resist scouting for some locations in the area with whatever patchy internet connection I had on my cell phone. I wanted to photograph hot air balloons launch over Napa valley the following morning, but due to dense fog, the launch was cancelled. I ended up driving 30 mins up and down to a small town called Yountville without much luck.
After spending a few more hours in the pool, we checked out of the resort and headed to the Old Faithful Geyser of California. Having seen the real one in YellowStone, this was more like a miniature version, a good one nevertheless. Kids also had enjoyed animals in the petting zoo inside the geyser park.
We had a good lunch at Cafe Sarafornia. A nice little restaurant which has been in the area for more than 100 years! For that matter, there are a lot of nice restaurants and ice cream shops on Lincoln Ave, which is the main street in downtown Calistoga.
On our way back to the bay area, we stopped by Napa Valley Vineyards and took some pictures of the mustard blooms in the vineyards. Mustard blooms normally happen in March/April timeframe, but this is 2012! I drove up on Tioga pass in January and was not surprised to see mustard blooms in Napa in February.
Until my next post..
'Curly Braces' - A view of the vineyard amid mustard bloom