Food For Thought – Gratitude

Grateful for so much this year – the world is healing, slowly. Our clients are embracing travel once again, exploring new destinations and returning to their old favorites.

I’m particularly grateful for exploring the ancient Caravan Path in Morocco, my initial jump into this fascinating world again. An overland Journey of Nineteen Days, a Foreign Affair with this mesmerizing colorful country.

Moroccan people are warm, welcoming and extremely generous, even more so in modest communities. Never say No to Tea and be prepared to be embraced and well fed!

Mustapha’s mum and Auntie- who wanted to keep The Tourist!

Thankful to our five-star team who managed my ever changing schedule and their Mustapha who kept me safe for hours on the roads, in the souks, and in the fields where I wandered to gleefully accept a baby goat from the family who owned the goats in the Argan trees! Shukran, Tanmert.

Family in Skoura who invited me for Tea!
Family near Essaouira with Argan eating tree goats

It’s not what we say about our blessings

Mustapha, always nearby keeping me out of harms way!

But how we use them.

Is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.

Argan Tree Goats

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Wait is Over! Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley.

A century ago, the bucolic town of Calistoga was known primarily for its bubbling natural hot springs, mud baths, beautiful weather, and the initial plantings of grape vines. Calistoga has matured like the fine wines that surround the town and five-star resorts. Ardent oenophiles, foodies, and wellness seekers flock to the valley at the base of Mount St. Helena.

Worth the Wait!  For months we besieged our Four Seasons rep, dear Fabiola – when does Four Seasons Napa Valley open? Is it open yet? Can we visit yet? Repeat at least 20 times! 

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley

Worth the delay for our visit last week, a few of us meandered to Calistoga for a delightful private afternoon on property…the resort style reflects the area, a beautiful chic farmhouse design set amid vineyards and resting at the base of Mount St. Helena and perched on the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains. If you know of local Napa designer, Erin Martin, you will absolutely love this authentic luxury retreat! 

A unique distinction, the Four Seasons Napa Valley is the only resort set within a working winery, truly an asset on sultry summer days – no reason to leave the property! Exclusive wine tastings and in the evening mosey up to the fine dining restaurant Truss, and reserve the chic glassed in Chef Table within the working kitchen!  The outdoor terrace overlooks vines and the two shimmering pools.

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley

Our champagne toasted arrival set the stage for an afternoon of elegance and excellence! My Journey mantra is the arrival is one of the most important aspects of a hotel stay. Approach the natural stone building at the crest of the hilly driveway, enter the glass walled reception and absorb the visual hints of the history of Calistoga. The walls tell the story of the Valley, truly a sense of place is established from the moment you arrive. Behind the check in desk, a wall of black and white straw sombreros line the wall. I loved the juxtaposition of the painted hats, a reminder of the men and women who brought this valley to life and continue to make it thrive, the legacy of the indigenous workers. Another wall is covered with a massive mural installation reflecting a proud woman, a woman with dark skin and a jet-black long braid, she is cradling a hand-woven basket of grapes. Her attire is a collage of natural colors, the soft browns of the soil, the red of the berries, her jacket is bedecked with intricate grape leaves, a melange of patchwork blocks represent water, soil, and life. The Wappo Indians settled here 8,000 years ago, bathing in the warm geothermal waters. The Spanish followed; the reception area honors the early locals. Look left and out the floor to ceiling wall of windows, gaze out toward a long reservoir of shimmering water punctuated by spurting fountains. Water features are featured in several areas of the property, many flanked by lengthy lines of olive trees.

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley

Natural light, comfy luxe interiors, local pale stone, the hotel hosts 85 rooms and one-bedroom suites set amid the grape vines. Grape to Glass is the successful theme. One and two-story villas also compliment the property. BTW, the Villas are all sold out – an amazing feat! Villas will be managed by the hotel and must reflect the hotel décor. No mismatched owner art here! Kiddy pool and an extended adult pool, both amid ancient olive trees with gnarled trunks indicating their longevity in the Valley.

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley

Two dining experiences, the fine dining Truss, is helmed by Michelin starred chef Erik Anderson- farm to table dining and an exquisite chef table within the glass walled kitchen- that looked like a superb exclusive experience!

Campo- mosey to the pool and order Cal-Mexican bites in the rustic open air poolside Cal Mexican fare located between the Resort Pool and the Kiddy Pool. Linger over lunch with spicy cocktails or chilled cervezas! The colorful table setting, and bright yellow umbrellas seem to suggest Celebrate! 

World-class winemaker and Calistoga resident, Thomas Rivers Brown manages the winemaking program at the Four Seasons Resort. A native of South Carolina, he began his California winemaking career in 1997.  As a minimal interventionist, he creates wines that showcase the vineyard. Renowned wine critic Robert Parker Jr. has awarded him 23 perfect 100-point scores on his Cabernet Sauvignon projects over the past decade.

Pick up a bike and go for a ride along local country roads, winding through hidden valleys and lush vineyards. Ask about our Four Seasons guided bike tours. Hot air balloons, a multitude of resort activities if you are inclined.

Full-service spa with nail salon, steam, mud treatments and of course seed to skin treatments. Greek philosophers often praised the healing power of grape seeds. Today, the seeds are recognized for their potent antioxidants and polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, helping to neutralize and eliminate harmful free radicals on the skin. Specialized treatments incorporate grape seeds and olive oil produced from the century-old olive trees on the property. An exfoliating scrub of sugar and grape seeds leaves your skin with a soft, luminous glow.

Founded as a hot-springs resort in the 1860s, Calistoga is committed to preserving its original character. Stroll the charming downtown and explore the array of exclusively independent shops and cafés.

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley was worth the wait, and I anticipate staying and signing up for the grape seed spa treatments and enjoy another scrumptious meal above the vineyards!

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley