Calistoga just feels a little different from the rest of the Valley. It's somehow more open-faced, more raw, more uncut.
Part of the town's charms come from its unique geology. As famed 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson said of Calistoga: ‘the whole neighborhood of Mt St Helena is full of sulfur and boiling springs…Calistoga itself seems to repose on a mere film above a boiling, subterranean lake.'
And indeed, it does. Calistoga is synonymous with mineral water bearing its name, bottled here since 1924, and its springs and geysers have earned it an appropriate nickname: ‘Hot springs of the West.’
The old-fashioned main street lined with quirky shops and diverse characters wandering the sidewalks is the main draw here, as are the wonderful spa treatments to be had in the hot-mud baths that are certain to have some curative powers thanks to the volcanic ash from nearby Mt St Helena.