My Photo
Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Old faithful mommy

Originally uploaded by marytsao
Today I took the kids on a day trip to Calistoga, a town in the Napa Valley. I was on the search for two things: country and fall color. I found both. Calistoga is traditionally known as a spa town and is home to many spas, but alas, none of them have childcare facilities. I therefore had to discover some child-friendly things to do while reminiscing about the many times I've been there as a childfree person with a penchant for hotel rooms with indoor hot tubs.

Calistoga is about two hours North from where we live. We left early and got there around 10. Our first stop was Bale Grist Mill, a state historic park. It's a working mill and we were the only visitors so I agreed to go on a short tour. And by short, I mean the kids chased a cat while an elderly docent attempted to explain in less than five minutes how the place works. On the way out I bought a bag of pastry flour milled on the premises. We'll use it to make cupcakes when Grammie Martha visits next month.

The next thing we did was go into the town of Calistoga to pick up deli sandwiches and other picnic goodies. I found a parking place right outside the deli, which was clearly a gift from the Heavens. We took our picnic lunch to Old Faithful Geyser.

Old Faithful Geyser is an all-natural phenomenon which tosses a scalding curtain of water anywhere from 20 to upwards of 75 feet into the air. Currently, Old Faithful is erupting approximately every 20-30 minutes, ensuring a minimal waiting period for an exciting and educational experience the whole family is sure to love.

Love is a rather strong word, but we certainly thought it was neat. They also have a petting zoo there with goats, sheep, and llamas that the kids liked.

After being awed by Old Faithful and eating lunch, we headed back into town to visit Pioneer Park. This park is just a block off Calistoga's main street (Lincoln Ave.) and is home to a large playground. The kids played and I wrote some letters. If you asked them, the kids would tell you that this was their favorite part of the day; all they really need to be happy is some playground equipment.

After the playground, we strolled Lincoln Ave. and had some ice cream before heading home to meet Mike for dinner at Chevy's. I wonder how many weeks in a row you have to repeat something before you can officially call it a tradition? We're very close to a tradition with our Sunday night dinners at Chevy's.

Pictures from our fieldtrip up on Flickr.

Yesterday I started on Fall cleaning and decorating. The living room is cleaned and re-decorated in the autumnal colors of plum, maroon, brown, and bronze. Tomorrow I'll tackle the kitchen/family room. I desperately need to sort through the kids's clothing and put away the last of the Burning Man stuff. I'm running out of closet space! That means a carload (or two or three) of stuff has got to find its way to Goodwill. Stat!