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If you’re looking for a sense of the old Napa Valley, the laid-back era of Napa, then head to Calistoga.  There are still parts of an old wooden sidewalk and lovely views of the mountains.  It’s easy to imagine horses sauntering down the main street.

Calistoga was, and still is, a spa town.  The natural hot springs and mud baths have been attracting adventurous people to Calistoga for 150 years.  San Francisco businessman Sam Brannan bought thousands of acres of land in Calistoga, a town that was still without a name, and he opened a general store there in the late 1850s.  (Today it’s a historic landmark; go take a peek.)

Calistoga has a relaxed and homey feeling.  It’s the perfect getaway if you’re peopled out.  Watch the soft sun ripple across the Mayacamas Mountains.  Slip into the mineral baths or take a mud bath.   The natural springs are some of the finest in the world.  Then sip a glass of local wine.  Unwind.  Life is good.

Calistoga’s latest claim to fame is the Tuscan castle, just south of Calistoga, built by local Daryl Sattui.  Ironically, the area around Calistoga was the first in the county to grow grapes but was the last to gain its own appellation.  The Calistoga AVA is now official.  It is the 15th appellation in Napa Valley.

Walk the town and enjoy the waters, but don’t plan to do much else that day.  After a few natural Calistoga spa treatments, you’ll feel as if you have lost your bones!  Deep and soft, the feeling is sublime.  Enjoy Napa’s Calistoga.

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Written by Authentic Wine Country’s Featured Travel Writer, Allie Lynch