At the northern end of the Napa Valley and nestled into the base of Mt. Saint Helena, lies the city of Calistoga, a community of 5,000 people that embodies and preserves its historic roots. While much of the Napa Valley has undergone more modern renovations to their downtowns and central areas, downtown Calistoga still offers the rustic charm and feel of a 19th century era Western town. Residents and visitors appreciate the town’s casual laid back feel, while also offering the culinary and luxurious amenities many desire today in the Napa Valley.
The town was founded in 1885 by Samual Brannan, California’s first certified millionaire. Attracted to Calistoga’s natural hot springs, Brannan purchased more than 2,000 acres and opened the area’s first resort spa in 1862 with Sarasota Springs, NY in mind. Upon the completion of his railroad six years later, Calistoga began to prosper and attract the rich and famous from San Francisco and beyond. With the spas and hot springs becoming the perfect way for people to melt away the stress after a long week of working, Calistoga’s economy had begun to evolve from its traditional agriculture and mining.
The geothermal hot springs of Calistoga are what has made the town famous. The spas and springs have and continue to attract people, both local Napa Valley residents and tourists, looking to rejuvenate their health for as well over a century. The various spas today offer mineral baths, tradition spa offerings and Calistoga’s unique mud baths. Brannan’s original resort spa can be found at Indian Springs Resort. For those looking for the ultimate in luxury spa and resort accommodations, Calistoga currently features the Calistoga Ranch and Solage Resort, with more resorts and accommodations in the pipeline.
Most of the restaurants and shops are focused on just a few streets, centered around Lincoln Avenue with its eclectic shops, fine dining establishments, and the vibrant Arts Walk. The town touts itself as a destination for happy and healthy pleasure seekers and it offers the ability to walk and bike to just about everything, including to and from the luxury resorts and spas, as well as hiking trails in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Like the rest of the Napa Valley, the town itself is surrounded by famous vineyards, wineries and larger estate properties.