Petrified Forest – Santa Rosa

My son and I took a trip to the Santa Rosa Mountains outside of Calistoga to visit Safari West. On our way there we took a pitstop at the Petrified Forest. The site has a quick little mile loop where you can read and learn about the petrified forest and the history of the location. We learned about these trees being knocked over 3 millions years ago when Mount Saint Helena erupted burying these trees in ash and thereby petrifying them for posterity. It’s a very interesting little spot which folks can’t see just anywhere. It’s a great way to be outside particularly as COVID lingers on. It’s a lovely drive there and through the mountains or a quick side trip from the beautiful Napa area.

Random Napa

A lot of people go to Napa for the wine. Some come to shop or to visit the spas and places of healing. Many come for the outstanding world class food. I second all of those reasons. But this trip I came for the fresh air. I came for the antique stores and the art. (More of that later)  Mostly I came to get some fresh air.

A life-size corkscrew must bring a smile to your face.  And who doesn’t love a good tree lined drive?  What about a converted gas station wine tasting room?

I also wanted to see the burn area from the recent and devastating fires.  If you look close in a few of the photos you will see a lovely and charming country winery scene. But if you look close the hill behind the winery is the fire line and miles and miles behind it burned along with much of what was in its path. Many moons ago I presented my dissertation at the Mayacamas Ranch which sadly was lost in the fire.  They vow to rebuild and I wish them luck because their place was spectacular.  Its been a little while since the fire so green is growing but all of the trees are dead and much devastation still exists.  And a lot of building…




My photography friend and I headed to Napa with the plan to photograph spring flowers. A quick and random yelp search layer led us to the random Villa Ca’ Toga. After seeing some of the images online and having never heard of this place flowers were out the window and we set coordinates towards beautiful Calistoga. Turns out sadly that the tours of the Villa start next week so we settled on the gallery. (Harrumph.)

A visit to the gallery did not disappoint and has well inspired us to take a trip soon to see the Villa which is home to and created by Carlo Marchiori. Carlo is a multi talented and prolific artist whose muse is his own Villa on the outskirts of Calistoga.  Every inch of the Villa is covered in interesting and eccentric art as well as the grounds which appear to be covered in random sculpture.

Who wants to visit the Villa with me?!




Springtime in Napa – Stirling Vineyards

Flowers and Trees were growing and blooming everywhere we went in Napa last week.  The colors were amazing.  It seems like every direction we looked there was something beautiful to photograph.  We drove by Stirling Vineyards which is the vineyard with a tram/gondola that takes you to its hilltop tasting room with dramatic vistas.  It wasn’t the tram we were interested in this time.  We were taken by its tree lined driveway and overgrown but blooming fields.  It’s times like this I wonder why I don’t live in Napa…

Do you have a favorite Napa winery to visit?

Check out some more Spring Napa Shots here…


 Jennifer’s Unmellow Yellow challenge!

Springtime in Napa – Castello di Amorosa

My friend Diana and I took a nice little drive last week through Napa.  She had always wanted to stop in at Castello di Amorosa and springtime seemed like the time to go!  Napa is stunning this time of year and it wasn’t too hard to convince me to take the day off for a visit.

The main 13th century inspired castle/winery was built in 1993 on 30 acres of rolling hills with 8,000 tons of stone creating 107 rooms and 136,000 square feet.  (Must larger than I was expecting.)  The castle comes equip with a “moat”, a drawbridge, dungeon, torture chamber, and consecrated chapel.  Visitor’s can pay way too much money for a tour or just visit the grounds/gardens and buy/taste the wine for free.  This winery is a lovely spot to stop for a picnic along the wine trail to enjoy a stunning view and soak in some sunshine.

Don’t forget to check out the teeth on that sheep.

For more on my visits to Napa please click here.

Postcards from Calistoga

Calistoga, in the beautiful Napa Valley, is a glorious place to visit any time of the year.  But I cannot wipe the smile off of my face after travelling through the greater Napa valley again this fall.  The grape leaves and tree leaves were vibrant and magnificent this year in their yellow, orange, and red hues.  Even Amelia, who puts the Bulldog in Bulldogtravels, enjoyed her fall adventure this year.