California Hot Springs for You
California hot springs, there's no doubt you'll think it's just another reason why we all like the place so much.
California isn’t just subject to intermittent earthquakes but is location of numerous hot springs that bring deep, mineral-rich waters bubbling as much as its surface. For those lucky enough to get live or vacation in their state, the many mineral springs really are a favorite destination for recreation, health insurance and relaxation.
Vichy Hot Springs
Around an hour northwest of Harbin, in Mendocino County, Vichy Hot Springs couldn’t be less cruisy. Perhaps it must do with the water. It’s not scalding, just 90 degrees, making for pleasant soaking on warm days close to the Russian River Valley. But Vichy’s magic is of the different order: the water is carbonated, considered the only natural spring of the sort in California.
The baths there date towards the 1850s. The tubs, across a stream on the wisteria-shrouded footbridge, are mostly concrete sarcophagi designed for serious individual immersion, along with other than in one modern heated tub, there isn’t any communal soaking.
Harbin Hot Springs
These springs were utilized since time immemorial by the Miwoks before a resort was built there throughout the Civil War. It undergone several incarnations, alternately bustling and declining – notably each one of the three times the place burned down.
By the time we visited this spring, Harbin was well into its fourth decade like a New Age center, operated by the nonprofit Heart Consciousness Church.
The place is at the side of a steep gorge a little way – and yet a world away – from Napa’s vineyards. A Tolkienesque round temple having a fanciful shingled roof topped with a stylized hti, an ornate umbrella, anchors the complex.
Sonoma Mission Inn
Probably the most overtly deluxe of the springs we visited, the Sonoma Mission Inn is really a recently restored 1920s resort hotel run by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
A restful complex of baths and steam rooms within an old theater adjoins a warren of treatment rooms, where guests can make use of countless options – from classics like deep tissue massage and reflexology to less intuitively appealing offerings like caviar facials.
Wilbur Hot Springs
No such mistake can be done at Wilbur Hot Springs, a far more remote resort established in 1865 close to a bubbling, seething field of springs around the 1,800-acre site of a former silver mine. A gravel road leads with the mountains to the west from the Central Valley up a narrow canyon in Colusa County. Solar power panels mushroom on the hill above the big, rough-sawn wooden lodge from necessity, with eco-chic a happy side-effect. There is just one pay phone, nor cellphone service nor locks around the doors.