Calistoga

Calistoga is at the north end of the Napa Valley in the Bay Area region of California. Calistoga was founded as a hot springs resort in the 1860s by Sam Brannan, California’s first millionaire, and has long been a destination for its natural hot springs and mineral water and their supposed health benefits. Its position at the north end of the Napa Valley also makes it a gateway to Sonoma County wine country. Calistoga is a visitor’s destination that celebrates being different – franchise fast food is against the law (really!) and healthy hedonists are celebrated. Go wine tasting, have a fabulous dinner, then take a bike ride and have a mud bath before you leave.

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At least since the 1700s, Calistoga’s distinguishing characteristic has been its hot springs, used initially by the native Wappo for medicinal purposes. After the time of Spanish missions and Mexican ranchos, Samuel Brannan bought 2000 acres, founding Calistoga and starting the Indian Springs resort. The resort eventually went into the hands of Doctor John Wilkinson, the founder of the spa industry.

Due to the spa industry, the California wine boom of the 1970s (which Calistoga is responsible for through Chateau Montelena Winery’s surprise Chardonnay win at the 1976 French blind tasting,) the ensuing tourism, and the proximity to San Francisco (which in turn has fueled more tourism,) Calistoga, like the rest of the Napa Valley, has maintained very high property value which has increased the cost of living and essentially the price of everything from coffee to gasoline.

Map of Calistoga

From San Francisco:

Highway 101 North over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Highway 37;
Highway 37 East towards Vallejo/Napa, to Highway 121;
Highway 121 North towards Napa to Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

Alternatively,

Highway 101 North over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Mark West Springs Road exit, just north of Santa Rosa;
Mark West Springs Road East becomes Porter Creek Road;
Continue on Porter Creek Road to stop sign;
Left on Petrified Forest Road to Calistoga.
This route avoids the traffic in Napa Valley.

Yet another route from San Francisco goes via the East Bay.

Interstate 80 East across the Bay Bridge;
Follow directions from Oakland, below.

From Oakland:

Interstate 80 East to Highway 37 at Vallejo;
Highway 37 West to Highway 29;
Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

From Sacramento:

Interstate 80 West to Highway 113 at Davis;
Highway 113 North to Covell Road exit in Davis;
Covell Road West to Winters. Covell Road becomes Highway 128;
Highway 128 West to Highway 29 at Rutherford;
Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

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