Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wallow in mud!

While most people go to Napa Valley to taste wine, we go to the north end of the valley to play in the mud. Calistoga, long known for its healthful mineral water and spas, is also home to mud baths. We like Golden Haven because we can relax in the mud in adjoining tubs rather than go to separate baths for men and women.

We met our RV friend Betty in Calistoga well before our appointment so we'd have time to look around and have lunch. After lunch at the restaurant and brewery at the Calistoga Inn we headed to the spa so we could have time in the mineral pool and hot tub, included in the package.

The basic package includes a mud bath, blanket wrap and hot mineral Jacuzzi with options for massages or facials. The rooms have two or three tubs so you can share the experience with a companion. Suits are optional in the mud rooms.

The mud is actually a mixture of volcanic ash clay and peat moss mixed with mineral water. Like an air mattress, the mud conforms to your body and supports you evenly, allowing your body to totally relax.

After about twelve minutes in the mud, we hosed off, then stepped into a sunken Jacuzzi for another ten minutes or so. Next we were then led to a darkened room and wrapped in a warmed sheet and wool blanket. Soothing music with ocean waves in the background played as we relaxed, cooled off and almost fell asleep. (Actually George did.) We were so relaxed, it was hard to get up. We declined the massage since we driving back to our RV and figured that would truly put us to sleep. We skipped stopping at wineries for the same reason.

Golden Haven offers mid-week specials and other packages. The Chamber of Commerce lists spas in the area.

This was my third visit to the mud baths at Golden Haven, George's second. There are many other things to do in the area but put this unique activity on your list. Like us, when you make the trek through Northern California, you'll detour for a relaxing soak in the mud. Jaimie

Casitoga is a special place for author Jaimie Hall. She is co-editor of RV Traveling Tales: Women's Journeys on the Open Road. In its "Heart Places" section, women share destinations that are special for them. Available at RVBookstore.com





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