Mud Bathing In Calistoga, California
Three and a half million years ago, present-day Calistoga was wracked by volcanic activity. The blasts left behind an ashy, nutrient-rich soil and a system of hot springs that, millennia later, the Wappo Indians used for healing therapies. (The warm mud and geothermal waters have properties said to reduce joint pain, draw toxins from the body, and exfoliate the skin.) By its founding, in 1877, Calistoga had become widely known as a place to “take the waters.”
Today, the area is home to 13 hot-springs spas, ranging from the old-school to the luxurious. At the upscale but unpretentious Indian Springs Resort & Spa (treatments from $95), guests can lie in a tub filled with a viscous blend of volcanic ash and hot-spring water, followed by a thorough rinse and a soak in a mineral-water bath.
If you’re looking for a more traditional experience, head to Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort (treatments from $77), which offers a variety of mud- and mineral-water treatments in a no-frills environment, with much of its Midcentury Modern décor still intact.
Whichever spa you visit, plan to go during the fall, when Napa Valley’s foliage rivals New England’s and the grape harvest is in full swing. —Adeline Duff
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