Picture from Golden Haven Website
After the mud bath you spend some time spaying the mud off you. It does go everywhere and takes some time to clean off. You then soak in a hot tub, then you are taken to a room and wrapped in blankets and left there to cool down. They dim the lights and you just relax.
Hot Springs, Massage, and Wine
"Calistoga Has Always Been a Resort Town"
Although the California Indians had long been familiar with its value, Sam Brannon, the newspaper owner whose headlines announced the discovery of gold in 1849, was the first to recognize that the natural supply of hot water and beautiful mountain backdrop in Calistoga would make for a health summer resort town for San Franciscans wanting to get away from the fog. Brannon envisioned a Saratoga in California, hence the town's name. Calistoga, northernmost town in the Napa Valley, has enough geothermal water to heat the city government buildings, schools, and health spa resorts, and the water itself is bottled by the Calistoga Water and Crystal Geyser companies (actually, the bottled water by these companies typically contains little if any of the authentic spring water). Many of the town's quaint cottages built by Brannon have been restored and the pools and spas have been upgraded and otherwise improved. Massage and meditative arts are big in Calistoga.
"Mt. St. Helena and the Palisades are Under Valued"
Despite the beauty of the Palisades and Mt. Helena, which frequently is capped with snow in mid-winter, few hikers wander up there. My brother and I used to hike on moonlit nights with our dogs in this area. Without flashlights, my white poodle-terrier mix helped define the trail. Meanwhile dashing into the forest, my brother's German shepard mut in search of rabbits and deer. The moon streaked through the pine forest, and toward the top of the mountain, there's a break in the forest with a clear view south over the valley and the San Francisco Bay. Robert Lewis Stevenson State Park has the spot where Stevenson honeymoon in the bunkhouse of a squatter. Also in the area are the privately held Old Faithful Geyser of Calistoga and the Petrified Forest. The route from Calistoga through to Santa Rosa or Geyserville are very pleasant wine country drives off the normal beaten path of winery tours.
"The Wineries are Also Undervisited"
Since Calistoga is at the top of the valley, winery wanders often expire before reaching the best of Calistoga. Chateau Montelena, Storybook Mountain, Robert Pecota, and others are great wineries not beyond the reach of tourists on a day trip from San Francisco, but the hundreds of wineries inbetween the city and Calistoga can easily side track visitors. Since the upper Napa Valley is furthest from the moderating San Francisco Bay, the varieties the grow best up here include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. While accommodations tend to be pricey in Calistoga, the benefits of a mud bath, massage, and glass of wine is a rare combination of delights in this part of California.
The Petrified Forest
An impressive look far back into the past offers the Petrified Forest State Park. About 3500000 years ago vulcano Mt. St. Helens (not to mix up with the world famous vulcano) exploded and destroyed the whole area with a brute force that huge trees were falling like little sticks. Afterwards the trees were covered with ashes and over the time the cells of the trees got petrified. Nowadays some of the trees can be visited as they were digged out from the ground.
Entering the park after paying 6 dollars, you can have a self-guided walk using the flyer you will receive after paying.
Impressive how the structure of the tree still remained over this incredible long time.