Rob D. Brodman
Universally adored, guaranteed to perk you up, the antidote to winter blahs ― let's hear it for bubbles. They're round, they're cute, they're fun. And you can find them in all sorts of enjoyable forms in Calistoga, at the northern end of the Napa Valley.
This is one effervescent town. It has housed Old Faithful Geyser of California for eons and is a hot spot for hot-air ballooning. Plus you can slide into mud baths and sample our favorite kind of bubbly delight, sparkling wine. You just might float away.
Calistoga is 75 miles north of San Francisco and 25 miles north of the town of Napa. Downtown runs along Lincoln Ave. between State 29 and the Silverado Trail. For general area information, contact the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce (1506 Lincoln Ave.; 707/942-6333).
Schramsberg Vineyards. Tour the garden and hand-dug caves of one of California's first wineries to make bubbles in the méthode Champenoise style. $25, $45 for food pairings (by appointment Tue-Wed); 1400 Schramsberg Rd.; www.schramsberg.com or 707/942-4558.
All Seasons Bistro. Excellent French- and California-inspired dishes, and a good wine list. $$$; closed Mon; 1400 Lincoln Ave.; 707/942-9111.
Enoteca Wine Shop. Small store has dozens of well-chosen wines, many impossible to find elsewhere. Check out the unusual sparkling choices. 1348 Lincoln Ave.; 707/942-1117.