Color in the City St Helena

"Napa" has become synonymous with  'wine country' here in Northern California. Actually, wine country stretches way beyond the city and county of Napa over an expanse of counties, towns, and regions with more than 400 wineries tucked into a most stunning (and colorful) terrain.

And there's so much more to this country than wine. There's a lifestyle here, for sure, that's different from any other place I've been.

A few years ago I hired this tremendous trio of artists (Tricia George, Sierra Helvey, and Mina Reimer) and spent a month in Yountville painting this home that sat on a little knoll above mustard and lavender fields (the top picture was the view from the guest house) with a grove of olive trees and rafter of wild turkeys that greeted us every morning on our walk to Bouchon Bakery.

For many reasons, this is one of the highlights of my's also the moment I remember feeling the magic of this country and vowing to come back. I could easily spend a month just exploring, but this Summer I settled for a few day trips and mini-adventures focused in Calistoga and St. Helena.

So, let's start here at Indian Springs in Calistoga.

I recently spent the day here with a friend and felt like I was not only in a different world, but a different state of mind. It's no wonder really- Indian Springs is the longest continuously running spa (turns 100 years old this year!) in the area. The natural geysers gush hot healing mineral water into their Olympic size pool and the volcanic ash mud baths. (see the steam rising in this photo? That's the water cooling down in a tank behind the pool)

I had a massage and relaxed by the meditation pond (below) before jumping into the mineral pool for the rest of the day... ahh, heaven...

I asked manager, Brian Rios, about the Merchant family who bought this place about 20 years ago. Without prompting he mentioned that the orange accents (the umbrellas and awnings etc.) were inspired by an artist's work they saw in France.

[caption id="attachment_6563" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="besides the pool and spa there are bungalows and hotel rooms for lodging"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6561" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="lounging is totally encouraged in this inspirational setting that reminds me of the Flintstones and Palm Springs and Old Hollwood all at once..."][/caption]

So the artist who inspired the owners has now inspired me to include a bursting orange in my Color in the City palette for this remarkable region...

and the milky soft blue of the mineral pool that held me all afternoon must be included as well...

While you day dream about visiting this restorative place, I'll work on my post for tomorrow... stay tuned for more Color in the City, St. Helena...


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