Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Calistoga warm-up

I just had a mud bath. And I never felt better.
At Calistoga's Indian Springs Resort and Spa, you get the real dirt: mud from volcanic ash dug on site, mixed with hot geyser water. I'm with a group including my friend Amy and her boyfriend Matt, and honestly, we're iffy about the whole mud thing. But we psyche ourselves into trying it. Later on, we compare notes.

I liken the ritual to plopping down into a vat of hot chocolate pudding (ahhh!). It's followed by a shower, warm mineral bath, and a steam room session. Talk about relaxed—I'm a total noodle!

"Wow- the mud is like really soft, black, and warm," says Amy. "Not what I expected at all!" And as for Matt? Well, let's just say we've never seen him so mellow.

I take a dip in the naturally-heated, gi-normous spa pool. Wreaths of mist dance around my head in the crisp, autumn air. Then I wrap myself in a fluffy robe and sit by the Buddha Pond. Created from steamy geyser water, the pond is a tiny, palm-fringed oasis. Indian Springs Resort may date to 1917, but the Buddha Pond is very now. I stare at the stone Buddha figure and zone out. I am at one with my noodle-ness.

Check out Indian Springs Resort and Spa cottages and the connected Lodge; ask about Winter Specials (which include complimentary mud baths) now through March 31, 2009. And for more lodging and dining info, visit the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

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