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Weekend Getaways
Health & Wellness Within The Legendary Napa Valley

The Napa Valley is legendary as America’s preeminent wine, food, and wellness destination. Its authentic country setting offers diverse recreational amenities to satisfy outdoor enthusiasts seeking open-air activity between – and even paired with – The Valley’s culinary wonders. Whether one prefers a relaxed communing with nature, or a vigorous athletic endeavor, The Napa Valley offers many options to enjoy its natural bounty in a healthful and inspiring fashion. Following are recommendations of sporting pursuits visitors can add to their next Napa Valley travel itinerary.

At pristine Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, visitors are greeted by stands of coastal redwoods that give way to mixed evergreen riparian forest. Here one will find the same indigenous flora and fauna early settlers encountered in The Napa Valley. Just a 15-minute drive from either St. Helena or Calistoga, the park offers camping, swimming, horseback riding and hiking trails that wind through forests of coastal redwoods, Douglas-fir, tanoak and madrone. On a leisurely stroll through Ritchey Canyon on the Redwood Trail, visitors will be drawn along by the sounds of water splashing down the rocky creek bed to a delightful spot perfect for a picnic. In addition to Bothe-Napa Valley, the State of California also operates Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and one state historical park, Bale Grist Mill. Plus atSkyline Wilderness Park, visitors can enjoy a large equestrian, hiking, and limited camping park featuring abundant wildlife and native wildflowers.

Another delightful local wonder is the Old Faithful Geyser of California. One of only three geysers in the world sporting the “Old Faithful” designation, this geyser lifts a glorious, thousand-gallon tower of water into the sky at regular intervals. Guests can tote their own picnic or enjoy a memorable meal in nearby downtown Calistoga. Old Faithful Geyser also features a petting zoo with Tennessee Fainting Goats, Jacob’s Four-Horn Sheep, and Guard Llamas — all of which are great additions for one’s photo memory book.  Lake Berryessa is one of California’s largest manmade, freshwater lakes. A recreation destination for those that appreciate activity in, on, and above the water, the Lake offers anglers both cold and warm water species, including large-mouth bass, rainbow trout, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Water sports and boating are also plentiful. Plus, hiking trails along the grassy hills surrounding the Lake are speckled with oak and Manzanita trees, and provide excellent opportunities to view eagles, hawks, songbirds and deer while hiking.

With so many charming places to shop, eat and drink within The Valley’s various communities, the best way to explore their downtown areas is often by bicycle. Eco-conscious hotels such as Solage Calistoga, Auberge du Soleil, and Villagio Inn among others, offer bicycle rentals to guests. Beyond resort grounds and downtown areas, many parks have long-winding bicycle trails that visitors find appealing. The Bardessono, The Valley’s leading “green” hotel with its recent Platinum LEED® certification, offers a Biking and Wine Tasting package that includes bicycles, a map of the wineries, and picnic items for an unforgettable day in The Napa Valley wine country. There are also several independent bicycle tour operators that can organize packages or daily bike rentals.

The Napa Valley is also home to several outstanding golf courses. The Chardonnay Golf Club, Eagle Vines Golf Club, Vintner’s Golf Club and Napa Municipal course each welcome visitors. Overnight guests at Silverado Resort can challenge themselves on their two 18-hole championship golf courses. A world-class destination getaway, Silverado also features a full service spa, 10 swimming pools and 17 tennis courts, as well as hiking and biking trails.

At Meadowood Napa Valley guests may test their skills in a spirited game of croquet – the lawn sport that has been an English staple since the 1860s. The property offers two world-champion-caliber croquet lawns and also offers the finest full-time teaching facility for croquet in the country. Beyond croquet, Meadowood guests enjoy a complete sports and wellness experience with cardio, stretch and strength classes, a tranquil nine-hole walking golf course and resident golf pro, seven tennis courts and a resident tennis pro, swimming, hiking and a full range of spa services.  The Napa River is a jewel of The Napa Valley and perfect for kayaking, canoeing and boating through such outfitters as Kayak Napa Valley. For a workout on the water, join their team of escorts, or paddle solo to spy flocks of pelicans, mallards, green-winged teals, mergansers, wood ducks, herons, egrets, kingfishers, rails and grebes as well as the endangered clapper rail. Mink, muskrat, raccoons, deer, gray fox and bobcat also live in this riparian habitat.

After a day of hiking, biking and more, tired muscles will welcome the opportunity to sink into Calistoga’s Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort experience. At this relaxing escape, guests can swim in a natural hot springs mineral pool, relax on the sun deck underneath the California sunshine, and rejuvenate in their famous Calistoga mud bath, which uses natural volcanic mud to impart therapeutic benefits.

If the sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor adventure in The Napa Valley, why not enjoy a hot air balloon ride? Reservations for this uplifting open-air adventure can be booked at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa through their “Balloon Blowout Package.” This limited-time package includes overnight hotel accommodations for standard and concierge level rooms, wine tasting passes for two, and a fabulous balloon ride experience. There are also a half dozen independent outfitters, such as Balloons Above The Valley, through whom ballooning arrangements can be made.
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