Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19

Our plan on Sunday and Monday was to stop by and see the places that we had wanted to see but didn't have time to earlier in the week. Sunday was our "pick up the slack" in Napa day. Mike had also been waxing poetic about a possible massage all week long, so when I read about "The works" at the hot spring in Calistoga, I booked us for a 2:00 Sunday appointment (all they had). To start off the day, we hit St. Supery in Napa. This winery was in the Frommer's guide as a must-see, as they have an extensive self-guided tour to learn about winemaking. So we decided upon St. Supery as the first stop.

First we went on the self-guided tour, which actually took us out onto a balcony overlooking big winemaking tanks.

They also had this really cool display where you could smell a lot of different smells that are typically in red or white wines. Smelling all those was pretty cool - especially since it wasn't just alot of stuff sitting out in bowls. They actually had little tubes that pumped that smell up to you when you pulled a lever.

We then did a tasting with this really awesome guy named Challo. We hadn't expected to spend much time there, but the wine was so good and Challo was a generous fellow with the pours. When we looked at the wine club information, it was pretty reasonable and the wine was good - so we joined their wine club, too! That made three, but we both like wine so it's OK (plus, most of the places send only 1 or 2 bottles every other month).

After spending almost an hour and a half at St. Supery, we grabbed some lunch at a local deli and headed to Mumm Napa. Once we got there, we only had about an hour before our 2:00 spa appointment, and Calistoga was about 15 miles away. So we wandered around the store for a bit, went to the bathroom in the nicest porta-potties EVER, and hit the road. Seriously, these porta-potties had tile floors, nice stalls, and music going. I had to snap a picture. You know me and my love of nice bathrooms.
This is where the day goes downhill. We headed to Calistoga for our "The Works" appointments. "The Works" at Dr. Wilkinson's includes a mud bath, a soak in a mineral sulfur bath, a steam bath, and a 1/2 hour or hour massage. Sounds downright luxurious doesn't it?
This picture is a dramatization
Now, when you think mudbath you are probably like me and think some sort of clay-mud material. You probably don't think sewage mixed with peat moss with a dash of sulfur and an extra shot of road kill. It smelled straight up awful. They asked me if I wanted a facial mask and I pointed at the mudbath and said "Of this stuff?!?!" When they told me the facial was of clay mixed with lavendar, I was all about it - mostly because I knew I had to have something good-smelling on my face to keep from throwing up. A sulfur mudbath is one of those things that is a good idea in theory, bad idea in practice. At the end of being in the mud, I was literally chanting to myself in my mind "Only a few more minutes! Only a few more minutes!" as I sweltered under a towel that was over my head and tried not to throw up. Mike said he actually whimpered when they pushed the sewage up and over his arms. And that's not even the best part - when you get out you are covered in the crap and have to shower. You have to pick the stuff out of every nook and cranny you've got. I don't know about you, but there is just something about picking sewage out of my belly button that I don't wish to repeat. Mike asked the guy what the mudbath was good for and was told that it improves your circulation. So, basically, since we have good circulation it didn't really do anything for us. It didn't relax us, that's for sure! After the mudbath we got into the mineral jacuzzi bath. That would have been fun, if their idea of bath wasn't scalding hot. Even after she cooled it off quite a bit (as I am standing there buck naked, saying "oooh, still too hot".... so embarassing) it was still making me all woozy, so I sat up in the bath rather than lay down. After the hot sewage & hot bath, I think my temperature was roughly 500 degrees, so I passed on the steam bath. I don't really dig steam anyways, it makes it hard to breathe. So they put me in a little room and wrapped me up like a burrito in this big towel to "make my body temperature" go back to normal. Which would have been a good idea except they laid my head on this big plastic towel which made my head even hotter. Let's just say that the massage was the only good part of the experience. My masseuse was so good, the sewage and sweltering might have been worth it. And since there were separate men's and women's facilities, I didn't have to listen to Mike freaking out about it all either ;c)

One last note about "the works," from Mike: "and what kind of people would work there? I mean, all they do is shuttle naked people to and fro all day.... it's so odd..."

OK, I'll shut up now. That's all I have to say about the mud bath experience.

Oh wait, I lied, I'm not done. So....... I didn't realize at first, but the sulfur smell stuck with us that afternoon. I didn't so much smell it in the car, probably because my senses were still awestruck from the assault. But back at the Marriott we were smelling up a storm. We had to take a couple showers each and really scrub hard to get the smell off. And later, when I was sweating a little at the restaurant, I realized the sulfur smell was back! In my sweat! EWWWWWWWWWW

OK, after the multiple showers, Mike and I took our traumatized selves to downtown Napa and Cole's Steak House. After a week of "froufy" food, Mike was ready for a big ol steak. And get one he did. I had the lobster bisque (little watery, not very much lobster) and the filet. He got the specialty steak, and we shared some mashed potatoes. I have to admit, his steak was better than mine. The filet was very good and cooked perfectly medium rare, but was just a filet. His steak and the seasoning was downright masterful. Our waiter, Galbie, was hilarious and welcoming, and we loved him. He may be our favorite server to date.
After the steaks, we ordered the whiskey bread pudding. Galbie, bless his heart, had caught onto the honeymoon vibe and brought us not only the pudding, but a complementary brownie sundae as well. Ooey gooey warm brownie with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle. I quickly claimed the brownie sundae as my own, told Mike to stick to his pudding, and went to town.

A little walk around downtown Napa capped off our last night there. I truly loved Napa. It reminded me a lot of Bloomington, IN, where I went to college. About the same size, good restaurants, friendly people, educated and artsy vibe. I think I would move there in a heartbeat (St Supery, need an accountant? Will work for wine!)