Heading East to Calistoga

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Leaving the coast meant the end of the journey to me somehow; the end of the journey west and the beginning of the new journey south to my new life in San Francisco.

As we made our way inland, I was eager to get to Calistoga, to experience the nationally renown mudbaths.

We stopped in Guerneville, a small quaint town on the way where they had an interesting outdoor market full of crystals and minerals…..I bought several connected to “vitalizing energy in a new home” and “clarity of thinking.” Expected from me, I was shocked when left brain KPMGer David bought a couple as well.

A bit of history on Calistoga and “the mud.”

It was the novelty of sitting in hot mud that first put Calistoga on the map. Although Native Americans and early Spanish settlers used the area’s natural hot springs, entrepreneur Sam Brannan turned geyser water into gold. After making a fortune selling shovels to prospectors during the Gold Rush, Brannan snapped up the steaming geysers and hot marshlands at the northern end of the Napa Valley with the idea of creating a resort modeled on upstate New York’s famous Saratoga Hot Springs.

Although no records remain, local legend has it that Brannan was the first to mix volcanic ash from nearby Mount St. Helena with hot mineral water to concoct Calistoga’s famous mud baths. He opened his Hot Springs Hotel in 1860, promoting it as the “Saratoga of California.”


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