My husband and I spent our anniversary weekend at Solage Calistoga, a fairly new hotel set in beautiful natural surroundings in Calistoga, California. The old trees have been preserved, and cottages in groups of three are spread throughout the grounds. Each cottage or suite comes with a pair of cruiser bicycles, provided with locks. We did not use these because we had our own bikes with us, but they are good bicycles. What really impressed us was that when we checked in, we were told to drive our car behind the bellman on his bike as he led us to our accommodation. The bellman then hopped off of his bike and carried our luggage in for us. Also the maids and other personnel went about their tasks on bicycles. And it was amusing to see hotel guests with happy expressions cruising about on bicycles.
The Solbar Restaurant, a Michelin one star, at this hotel is a relaxed informal place with innovative fare. The prices are competitive with those of other quality restaurants in this part of California. My husband had a scallops and farro entree, and I had a chicken breast topped with beet puree, pea shoots, and pea puree. For dessert, I had a luxurious sundae with popcorn ice cream, peanut butter ice cream, nuts, and chocolate sauce. After all, it was our 52nd wedding anniversary.
Because this hotel is on the Silverado Trail, there are lots of riding options. Right after we arrived, we jumped on our bikes, turned right on the Silverado Trail, right again on Dunaweal Lane, and right on the Washington Street bike path, which led us to downtown Calistoga, where we purchased food to breakfast in our room the following morning. When we were finished with our shopping, we simply rode back up Lincoln Ave. to the Silverado Trail and a short lovely glide back to our room.
For anyone who likes to visit wineries, this is a perfect location. There are many within a short distance, both on the Silverado Trail and on the lanes leading off of it.
The next day despite periods of drizzle we were able to work in two rides. In Yountville when the sky started to clear, we pulled the bikes out of the car and rode the bike lane of the frontage road that runs along the west side of Hwy. 29 for several miles. Returning along the same route, we lunched at Hurley’s in Yountville, a wonderful restaurant that has a two course luncheon special for $18. I had split pea soup and steak frites, and my husband had the same soup with a seafood risotto. I must say that the split pea soup was the best that I have ever had.
After lunch we drove into St. Helena, parked on a side street and rode all over the residential area and part of the commercial area. It was fun to see the architectural mix of the homes and to get away from the busy main street of the town. Surprisingly, we totted up about five miles on this ride, which together with the six miles from earlier in the day made a respectable (for us) eleven miles for the day.
On the way home the next day, we stopped in Napa and rode along the river, visited the Oxbow Public Market, and ate at Celadon, where I had a spinach and duck confit salad and my husband had a grilled chicken club. The good food combined with the pleasing personality of the waitress made this a memorable stop. And we will definitely return to this restaurant.
Oh, how lucky we are in the Bay Area to have a multitude of places to visit and to ride!