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Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

Escape to romantic Calistoga.

Calistoga is the ideal setting for a romantic love story:  Enchanting castles, a secluded mountain setting, hand-crafted luscious wines, steaming mineral springs, mouth-watering delicacies and picturesque surroundings. Below is a complete itinerary for a weekend hideaway.


Romantic Quarters – However you choose to arrive, make sure to check into the Mt. View Hotel & Spa located in heart of Calistoga. Rule number one of seduction is setting the scene and Mt. View Hotel & Spa happily succeeds. This newly renovated art-deco cosmopolitan hotel seduces every guest effortlessly. Set in a historical 1917 building, it boasts a variety of artist cottages, balcony suites and guestrooms and is the backdrop to many loves stories, including the romance between the proprietors, Michael & Stephanie Woods. With amenity-filled rooms, including winery suites which are paired with local romantic wineries, there are numerous packages to choose from, lovingly created by General Manager Andrea Hoogendoorn, giving guests endless reasons to cuddle and kiss. 1457 Lincoln Avenue (800) 816-6877

Vino & Cuisine – BarVino offers an extensive wine list, three-course menu specials and small plates with big bites. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, BarVino is conveniently located next to Mt. View Hotel & Spa with an entrance in the front lobby. The ambience is hip, modern which translates into a city vibe. Either as a local hoping to escape or a tourist wanting to unwind BarVino provides the best of the both, city sprawl, and urban crawl.


Morning Jolt – Start your morning off right and increase your personal karma by supporting a local poet who also owns the most popular organic roasting house in town. Coffee at Yo el Rey is the best in town and a great place to meet and converse with locals. Located right off Lincoln avenue, Yo el Rey also features local underground art on its walls. Some examples are large stunning photographs by local travel photographer Liza Gershman, and poems hand written by the eccentric owner, J. Kirk Feiereisen. 1217 Washington Street (707) 942-1180

Quintessential Romantic WineriesSterling Vineyards, “one of the more spectacular wineries in Napa Valley,” according to Frank Prial of The New York Times. At this hilltop winery, the reserve tour and tasting at 11 a.m. starts with a tram ride up the hill to the winery, where you will gasp at a nearly 360° aerial view of the valley. These stunning views are sure to set the perfect tone for your romantic day. Your experience at Sterling will also include vintage wine tasting and an escorted winery tour lead by an experienced guide.  1111 Dunaweal Lane (707) 942-3300

Larkmead Vineyards
embodies the picture perfect wine country atmosphere; an astonishing 90 plus wines scored by Robert Parker for their 2006 collection, an on-premise wine dog, picturesque vineyard views and a contemporary interior, there is no need to go beyond Calistoga to experience Napa Valley. Make an appointment in advance and allow time to unwind, learn about wine and soak up the wine-country lifestyle. 1100 Larkmead Lane (888) 743-7446

On weekends, every half an hour, there is a tasting tour at an incredible new winery, Castello di Amorosa, the castle of love. Allow yourself to be guided through this Italian-inspired castle to explore the stairway-filled towers, a medieval torture chamber, vast wine cellars, and Italian artisan hand-painted murals,  “where no detail was overlooked,” says The Boston Globe.  If you have never had the pleasure of exploring ancient European castles, this is your chance to tour an accurately replicated version crafted entirely from select materials imported from Italy.  The result has every ounce of character inherent to an authentic Italian castello. 4045 Saint Helena Highway (707) 942-8200


Relaxation & Leisure – Center your spirit and bond over the “couples indulgence” package to start your morning off right at Mt. View Spa where they practice the ‘art of relaxation’ daily. Enjoy an array of hydrotherapy baths, personal steam rooms and well-deserved massages in their blissful green-friendly spa that is accessible by appointment to anyone seeking the sublime.

Calistoga is a walking town and it allows you to spend a day without having to drive, which is rarity nowadays. After your treatments, start with walking down to the Calistoga Bike Shop and rent a bike for a self-guided bike tour. 1318 Lincoln Ave (707) 942-9687.  Pick up some picnic supplies at Palisades Deli, also located on Lincoln Avenue, and hit the two hottest wineries within biking distance.

Newly-opened Lava Vine Winery & Tasting Room is the perfect spot to ride your bike up to, park and drink some amazing wine. Syrah is their signature hand-crafted wine however the Viognier is worth noting as well, and my personal favorite. This small production winery has a laid back vibe, an outside seating area and friendly staff making your intimate tasting a delightful experience. The best part is that they hand deliver any wines you’d like purchase to your hotel so you can continue biking without the hassle. 965 Silverado Trail (707) 942-9500

At the foot of Mount St. Helena resides a world-class winery that takes serious winemaking to a revolutionary level — literally.  Notoriously know as the inspiration for the recent movie Bottle Shock, Chateau Montelena remains grounded in a traditional beauty that honors its beginnings.  At the legendary Paris Tasting of 1976, Chateau Montelena’s ’73 Chardonnay defeated the French Meursault-Charmes ’73, history was born and California wine started on the path to its well-deserved fame. Hidden behind the winery under layers of green ivy emerges a classic stone castle carved into the hillside, reminiscent of an old French chateau.  More than a simple tourist attraction, it functions as a unique wine tasting facility; and a serious winery calls for serious tasting, so make sure to experience the Library and Current Release Tasting, which feature some of the rarest and most highly-sought California wines. 1429 Tubbs Lane (707) 942-5105

Keep on Romancing….

About Autumn Millhouse

Autumn Millhouse is a local travel writer, international trekker and self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic”. Author of the hugely popular Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, she is currently working on two books with similar themes dealing with travel and romance. In Calistoga, her book is available at Copperfield Book Store, Solage Spa, Castello di Amorosa and Sterling Winery. Check out her blog at



Magical, romantic, Napa Valley by Autumn

As a hopeless romantic, wine enthusiast, international trekker and bona-fide singleton, becoming a weekly contributor for a wedding-related web site is, with a bit of luck, a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m honored to share my travels, food affections and creative wine preferences with you from this day forward. My intent is to bring you the hottest, hippest and most creative wine, food and romantic travel ideas for prospective brides, grooms and anyone involved in the romantic celebration of love.

As an award winning travel writer based in Napa my first contribution to starts with a sneak peak inside the one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

You guessed it – Napa Valley!

When couples travel here they oftentimes ask the locals where they should go to eat, taste wine and what hotels they would suggest their visiting best friends to stay at. Well, you have an insider right here sharing with you the most romantic places in Napa Valley to eat, sip and sleep.

Most Romantic Wineries

Obrien Estate offers romantic tours for couples looking to get engaged, celebrate a anniversary or just celebrate a special moment. Castello Di Amorosa the castle of love, is a replicated Italian medieval castle filled with luscious wines to taste. Tour the torture room, wine cellars or explore the numerous towers and peek out at the beautiful views. Silverado Vineyards serves my favorite Sauvingon Blanc and some of the best views of the valley’s floor. Miner also possess some great wine and views too.

Most Romantic Hotels

Auberge du Soleil is often referred to as the gem of Napa Valley and is undeniably the most romantic resort. With celebrity guests, four star service and breathtaking views its nickname is richly deserved. Avia is a new boutique hotel in downtown Napa full of sweet hip overtones. Conveniently located next to amazing wine tasting rooms, restaurants and shops you may never need to head up valley.

Most Romantic Restaurants

Michael Chiarello’s new restaurant, Bottega is knocking locals and tourists socks off with his modern Italian cuisine, and relaxing, yet sleek atmosphere. If celebrity sightings aren’t your thing, step across the street for a completely different approach at Hurley’s Restaurant . Bob Hurley is often behind the lines preparing delicious California Cuisine with a non-nonsense unpretentious approach that his customers appreciate. Both restaurants offer al fresco dining, perfect for a starry evening.

Best time of the year to visit is during Harvest (Sept-Nov) when the wineries are at full production, harvest parties abound and the crisp air and golden amber leaves blanket the once green vineyards supplying sun-kissed views. Harvest is a time of the year when you smell the crushed grapes, glimpse the changing of the seasons and get a sense of the community. A community committed to a simplistic, yet richly joyful approach to life that which Napa Valley is well-known for. Understanding harvest is to understand the heart and soul of Napa Valley.

Fly into San Francisco, Oakland or Sacramento and drive into Napa Valley usually within an hour or two after landing.

Lastly, when more details are required pick up the quintessential travel guide for couples; Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples.

Keep on Romancing,

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