An even cooler set of wheels is parked out front: the Clif Family Bruschetteria food truck, serving succulent roast chicken and thick-cut bruschetta topped with farm-fresh ingredients. Want some spicier mobile-kitchen fare? Fans of Calistoga's La Gitana taco truck say it dishes up some of the best Mexican food in the valley.
Calistoga is best known for its geothermal waters, including the unexpected spectacle of the Old Faithful Geyser of California. It actually isn't that faithful, gushing every five to 10 minutes in winter and every 25 to 60 in summer; it reputedly pauses longer when an earthquake is imminent.
The other big attraction on the geyser grounds is a herd of Tennessee fainting goats, named for the genetic condition that causes them to topple over when they're spooked. That may be a trait of the breed, but this particular herd seems to have overcome it. Faint? They barely seem to blink when kids rush at them yelling "Boo!"
They're as relaxed as the folks soaking in the town's many mud baths, like those at Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort. Compared with some of the swankier spas dotting the valley (such as the Silverado Resort and Spa, where staffers administer deep-tissue massage using golf balls), Dr. Wilkinson's has a decidedly retro vibe. After all, it's been dunking guests in tubs of mud since 1952.
There's history all over the valley, if you know where to look. Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park (between Calistoga and St. Helena) is home to the only surviving water-powered mill in California. Originally built in 1846, the mill still grinds rye, barley, and other grains; you can purchase some of the results in the visitor center.
About 13 miles away, you'll find Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, named after the Scottish-born author. In 1880, he and his wife honeymooned here. The cabin where they stayed is gone, the only reminder of it a stone marker beside the park's Stevenson Memorial Trail.
The trail leads five miles or so to the 4,344-foot summit of Mount St. Helena. That's an excellent spot to sit down with a picnic, open one of those primo bottles you just bought, and appreciate the full range of what Napa has to offer.