The Doc's California Resort!
Our recent visit to Calistoga was part of a reunion with our kids and spouses. I was happy that "The Kids" were game to give Dr. W's a try!
The cute town was laid back and comfortable and more reasonably priced, than the towns of Napa or Sonoma. I doubt they have Harvest Hoedown BBQ celebrations in those wine country towns.
It was around 6, when we headed into the modern looking building, covered in vines. Our group of 6 filled up the little lobby.
I studied the old photos on the lobby walls and asked a few questions.
The gracious woman who checked us in, had been working at the hotel for 20 years.
She pointed out an old black and white photo and shared a little history about Doc and Edy Wilkinson, who opened the resort in 1952. She said the Wilkinson's son and daughter just recently sold the resort.
I was sorry we missed the chance to actually meet members of the original family. I wonder how old the W. Kids were in 1962, when the lodge was spiffed up, with a second level. The vintage photo looks similar to my photo... minus the towering sign and palms.
Off to the Rooms
We were given our keys and headed through the courtyard to the stairs.
The courtyard was a pretty handy gathering place. The next morning we sat at the tables and studied our phones, discussing strategies for caravanning to wineries.
Our 3 rooms were on the upper level. Don and I rolled our bags towards Room 34. I felt like I should be lugging the red, youth-sized American Tourister suitcase I owned as a child.
I would have really fit the scene, had I been toting my mom's old marbled-beige, Samsonite cosmetic case. I remember lots of motels like this from when I was a kid, but I remember no suitcases with wheels!
Bargain in Napa Valley
Our room was not the most deluxe or updated, but it's what I asked for.
For less than $150. we had a room within walking distance of wineries and restaurants, in a charming Napa Valley town.
I have no pics of the kids' rooms, but they were slightly more renovated. However, the youngins didn't have the awesome exposed brick that we had. Our host tried to put us in a room with less worn carpet and hidden brick, but Don and I always go for the vintage.
No Tub 'O Mud
Our bathroom was far from luxurious, but we did have bathrobes and a coffee maker and a wine opener. (wise) There was no tub for soaking... in mud or water.
Besides the location, our group was excited about enjoying what Wilkinson's is known for. Nearly 7 decades ago, Doc and Edy started making good use of the area's geothermal hot spring waters and the ancient volcanic ash.
The signs gave us some ideas about options... mud, steam, mineral, massage, therapy, baths and COLONICS! Yikes.
Most in our group were up for about anything on the sign, besides the colon treatment. A mud bath experience would have been a highlight for me, but our time was limited. We decided to all head for the mineral pools, which was included in our stay.
There were 2 outdoor pools, which looked a tiny bit less inviting in person. Just a bit worn.
Following the Rules
We headed for the indoor pool and had it mostly to ourselves. We could have misbehaved with some singing, or comical water ballet...
However, the wall of rules was a bit intimidating. Some of the info was reassuring, though. There were phone numbers for the ambulance and the pool operator. We had a choice of 2 physicians that we could call. Luckily, no mishaps.
The weather was lovely in the evening. It was such a treat walking out the door and heading down a couple blocks to dinner.
No driving and no parking. We dined outside near the river, with live music. Then we strolled on back to our lil motel. So easy.
It looked peaceful at the old Spa Resort, but I'm not convinced it looked 3 times as good as our quirky little place. Maybe next time we'll splurge and stay there.
Bye Dr. W
I made it back in time to join the others for breakfast at a nearby diner.
Then we said good-bye to our Hot Springs Motel with its fabulous sign. We were off to the wineries.
I'm glad we stayed.
And what a treat that the old sign still glows at night! Next time... Mud Baths!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!