Comparing Stewart Springs & Other Northwest Mineral Spring Resorts
by Stu Ward
Stewart Springs volunteer assistant manager 2000-2002;
cold plunge builder/keeper 1999 -2014
The U.S. northwest teems with historic mineral spring resorts, each unique: water, environment, visitor and resident/staff vibe, clothing-optional policy, amenities... each nuance flavoring visitor's total experience.
While Northwest spring enthusiasts tend to cultivate one or two favorites over time, often for home proximity or being along repeat travel routes, experiencing a new one can be happy revelation. Once smitten, it often becomes a future vacation point or frequent on-the-road stopover.
Region's more popular and well-established ones are compared and contrasted here. While all veritable gems for spring resort enthusiasts, each has relative pluses and minuses, depending on what one seeks.
They're compared here to best of writer's knowledge, including similarities and differences in spa facilities. Mostly not covered are mineral water properties, massage therapy services and overnight accommodations, often beyond writer's kin. More pluses and minuses are listed on places most familiar with.
Notes: Northern California's Big Bend Hot Springs northeast of Redding, long closed since 2006, is rebuilding and getting up to apparent super-steep demands of Shasta County health and building depts. "Extraordinary geothermal springs" on Pit River. Check progress at bigbendhotsprings.org
Also, Harbin, closed for three and a half years after devastating September 2015 fire and still amid intensive re-building efforts, resurrected 1-19-2019.
For added depth, numerological vibrations of resorts are included as distilled from both address and name, along with metaphysical import. Many hold such vibrations influence place's energetics on subtle plane.
Naturally such comparisons barely scratch the surface. And what one considers minus another deems a plus. Some give more weight to quality of water, natural environs, and/or body freedom allowed and general mellowness of place; others to lodging amenities, solicitous service, and bountiful restaurant offerings. (Some no doubt want it all.) Day trippers don’t care about quality or price of overnight stays, maybe not even grounds restaurant: "Just let me soak and sweat and sun in peace a while and I'm happy, mon."
This then is more about sorting out contrasting and common features of resorts than making value ratings per se. It's a starting point to further explore rich variety of mineral spring resorts U.S. northwest is blessed with.
Note: Prices current only when noted. Too much work to keep tracking prices and hours; check website links for current info.
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Listed order for scrolling:
Stewart Mineral Springs - est. 1875 - 4617 Stewart Springs Road - Weed, CA 96094 - Ph: 530 938-2222
Elev. 4,000 ft. (second highest, after Sierra) - 25 acres
"The therapeutic mountain retreat"
Numerology: 9 Vibration by address - keywords: Endings, vision, tolerance, transformation, global awareness, spiritual consciousness, cosmic energy, perfection, "number of God"
1 Vibration by name - keywords: Beginnings, Independence, innovation, leadership, masculine principle, sun energy. (Also: strong moon goddess energy in longtime -2222 phone suffix.) Having vibrations one and nine covering beginnings and endings perhaps makes place alpha and omega springs.
Note: as writer's boycotted Stewart's for over two years now, can't supply any more recent info.
1. Uber-rustic forested old summer-camp ambiance, similar to Breitenbush and Orr, with shake-roofed structures, routed signs; 6 of 13 bathtubs copious clawfoots
2. Quick access off Interstate 5 (12 minutes) like Jackson Wellsprings
3. Grounds restaurant, like Harbin, Breitenbush, and Sierra. (see minus #13.) Visitor-accessible piano (when restaurant open) like Sierra, Orr, Wilbur (?) and Breitenbush
4. Huge two-tiered 17X17' sauna with fire-view wood stove, attendant-stoked. Wood heat warms bones far better than gas or electric, which all others are except Breitenbush, which is geothermal(!). Holds up to 35 sitting; 9 to 13 lying down. Silence policy to foster meditation and relaxation
5. Creek cold plunge, fed by snowmelt lake, true cold plunge (sometimes break ice in winter). Harbin had/will have again? small refrigerated plunge. Jackson, Wilbur & Orr have ambient-temp. outdoor mineral pools doubling as plunges; Breitenbush has flow-thru bathtub by sauna and can make snow angels in winter to cool off; river apparently far too strong
6. River runs thru it (often-strong creek, actually), like Breitenbush. In contrast, Harbin, Orr, Jackson & Wilbur have mere trickling creeks much of year
7. Close to Pacific Crest Trailhead, about 12 mi. away. Harbin, Breitenbush and Wilbur have hiking trails right on own, much larger grounds
8. Accommodates group retreats/workshops, events, same as all
9. Pitch tent most anywhere, last known; (no campfires allowed, same as all). Harbin was also unrestricted beyond busy areas. Breitenbush, Wilbur and Orr have designated sites.
10. Rich history and many incarnations, same as others, all or most going back to pioneering 1800s
11. Walk-ins welcome, same as Jackson, Harbin,
Sierra. Last known (policy might've changed), no call-ahead needed for day use or pot-luck overnighting, unlike Breitenbush, Wilbur and Orr. Tubs, with few exceptions, like scheduled massage tie-in, always first come, first serve
12. Powerful mineral water - Dr. Emoto's staff analyzed water crystal structure; some say photo of it looks like blissed-out circle of little crowned Buddhas
13. Kitchenettes or better in all lodgings except dorm rooms 7-10; like Breitenbush and Orr
14. Wood stoves in cabins, seasonal tepee camping make for adventure. Jackson also has teepees (with electrical option). Choice of 5-6 teepee locations, one right by creek, another ways uphill. No fires allowed
15. Cheaper lodging rates than most - variety of shelters ($70. & up for two) but doesn't include bath; just sauna
16. One of few known mineral springs in world having red water coming up next to white - considered sacred sign by some (see two Vintage Tales)
17. Option to pay just for sauna - no time limit (last known). With all except Stewart, plus Jackson for paid private tub option, one pays for unlimited communal mineral soak and sauna use. Orr and Sierra also have private tubs at no extra cost. Sierra's big enough for several
18. Bargain Days: Locals Monday ($20 baths; $12 saunas - show ID); reduced-price Tuesday ($18 baths)
19. Entire grounds non-smoking. (Also dog-free/alcohol-free.) No designated smoking area, as others offer, while severe, makes most supportive atmosphere for smokers really wanting to quit and spares lungs of others wanting to enjoy Alpine air; can drive incorrigibles nuts having to go outside front gate to puff in peace and not furtively smoke in vehicles or behind tree
1. Not hot spring - only one that isn't geothermal. Mineral-rich water bubbles up cold and is propane-heated. Possible detraction to those who live for geothermal, but water's so rich, many make exception. Advantage: can mix tub's hot and cold mineral taps to Goldilocks druthers
2. No communal kitchen/dining area for fixing meals, as at Harbin, Orr and Wilbur; or year-round buffet or restaurant, like Breitenbush and Harbin, respectively
3. No communal mineral pool; only one lacking such. (Coldplunge doubles as one of sorts in warm weather.) No steam bath as Orr, Jackson, and Harbin have (had), in addition to dry saunas. B., last known, has no dry one
4. Limited bathhouse/office hours and off-season open days. Others either open later (Orr and Jackson til midnite) and/or have 24/7 bathing access (Harbin and Breitenbush)
5. Tub Soak time limit of 75 minutes. Tho more generous than many timed tubs, might be non- conducive to total relaxing if not dialed into time-frame and appreciate how water's potency can make longer soaks inadvisable anyhow; Jackson has similar time limit on private, pay-extra tubs, but with unlimited communal pool soaking. Orr and Sierra have unlimited private tub soak time (tho others might grow impatient waiting to use Orr's two couples-popular side-by-side rooftop star-gazing clawfoot tubs)
6. Tub use is separate fee from overnite stay, again, unlike all others (free sauna, tho). Reason: some overnighters don’t want mineral soak or are there when bathhouse isn't open and don’t want to pay for unused tub soak.
7. After 17 years, no longer clothing-optional as of 11-1-2016, sadly becoming only one that isn't. Jackson Wellsprings is restricted till nightfall / 8 pm, when c/o for adults only. More than few now boycott Stewart's, seeing restriction as deal breaker, hoping new owners will re-sell after de-facto boycott by countless enfeebles operation. (see editorial also Story on 2000 change to clothing-optional; also home page editorial Also 1-2017 re-posted TripAdvisor, Yelp and SMS Facebook rants in Rants & Raves)
8. Narrow steep alpine gorge means no large flat open space and very limited winter sunshine
9. Modest resident population can make place feel abandoned after office/bathhouse closes, most days at six, but then it's this very stillness, with sound of creek soothing counterpoint, that attracts many wanting to commune with nature
10. Bathhouse silence policy unrealistic at times. Bath attendant gives orientation raps to newcomers right by open-topped tub stalls, rather than office as others, self-serve, do, or offer self-guiding map and printed use guide & restrictions. Bathhouse only place day visitors wanting to mingle can do so in cold/rainy/snowy weather, place lacking sheltered outdoor space beyond covered walking bridge outside bathing compound. Can hang at restaurant at rare times it's open, but then have to feed meter and play patron
11. Limited cell/internet reception, no doubt true of most others (good for genuine retreating). Public phone ripped out of booth long ago after AT&T upped service contract to $1,000./month as subtle disincentive to keep
12. Limited public plumbed bathrooms beyond bathhouse and lodgings - porta-potties for campers, & for conference hall users when not also renting adjacent A-frame. Limited drinking water outlets for campers/thirsty bikers unless one trusts creek purity (no one lives/grazes livestock up from it but always wild critters)
13. Restaurant only open half year, usually mid-May - Oct., then often only for weekend meals and sometimes mostly-private catered group use. Until recently place stuck in upscale mode (possibly going back now, no idea), catering more to well-heeled omnivores seeking haughty cuisine than does, say, healthy, tasty-food minded, feed-the-masses Breitenbush. (More about restaurant click here - scroll way down)
14. 48-hour cancellation charge of one night's stay off-season, one week out during peak season; $25. beyond given periods. Others have similar policies
15. Website's Policy page reads like hissy fit. Jammed with daunting "Rules & Regulations", list of penalties, fines, refusals, dismissals and liabilities -- like $25 card tap for not returning key to office. Needless uptight vibe reflects ghosts of place's unruly past, plus green management's reactive controlling mindset while playing at managing. Most other springs' website policies far more diplomatically stated (tho heard Wilbur lost its famous chill since own fire)
16. Sauna goes through mountains of firewood (stove catalytic air-tight, minimizing air pollution by maximizing burn efficiency); similar amounts of propane gobbled heating up cold mineral water for baths
17. Tiny co-ed dressing room for sauna-only & post-bath users, with two curtained privacy nooks at end of narrow space. Bank of open cubbyholes for stashing stuff. One pays price for doing sauna only or lingering after bath by suffering cramped changing quarters. (Some once opted to use deck instead in nice weather, now not doable without risking censure.)
18. Condensed oil-and-water energies for having laundry, housekeeping supply, worker break-room, massage meets, and office all sharing bathhouse roof. Windowed door all separating office from sitting lobby and bathing halls. Yet-to-be-oriented newcomers entering, along with clothed & shod employees and managers threading thru, can detract from getting into more zen space away from creek's white-noise serenity. All other resorts, self-serve, have office, laundry, etc. well apart from dedicated bathing compound
19. Generally higher soak rate: $35 for 75-minute tub; $32 on locals Monday (ID required); un-timed (?) sauna-only, $18, $15. Mondays if local; limited party size (more than 4 in party pay $3. extra each); Modest senior discounts. Higher overhead with bath attendant, propane-heated water, sauna firewood
20. Again, only one not self-serve. Attendant scurries about setting up baths, providing sheets, stoking sauna fire, tracking soak times, refilling drink station. Some fine with this, liking scene hosted; others, used to self-serve, find detracting from deeper relaxation
21. Saturday sweat lodge ceremony of 45 years ended December 2017 by new ownership. Was run by Karuk medicine man Walking Eagle, and revered late medicine man Charlie Thom before. (Something ostensibly to do with affordable fire/liability insurance, but obviously aiming to make place more conventional/upscale/mainstream. Countless more boycotting place in protest. (see reposted rants home page; scroll down 1/3) Breitenbush has monthly ones and Harbin might again once more fully resurrected 22. New ownership appears bent on transforming and rebranding place to serve as their international headquarters of Pneuma Institute, with more affluent, less spa-savvy visitors and general overnighters helping pay freight. Dubious plans might be foiled if enough people boycott and operation hemorrhages sea of red ink and chastened owners get wake-up karma call prompting selling to new, appropriate owner(s) who might revive place's spirit as people-friendly, affordable, progressive healing and rejuvenating non-profit retreat. See intro toRants & Raves
Comparison of Various Springs' Day Use Fees as of 10-16:
Wilbur $59 (!); (Harbin was $20-25 for 6 hrs.); Breitenbush $18-32 sliding scale (limit 20 per day).; Orr $30 (limited; no more than 4 in party); Sierra $20-25; Jackson $10. ($8 senior). All except Stewart's (again, $35 for 75-minute private soak - includes unlimited sauna/deck/creek use) offer unlimited soaking, mostly communal. Jackson and Sierra require nominal membership fee, as no doubt Harbin does again)
Harbin Hot Springs
P.O. Box 782 - Middletown, CA 95461 - 1-800 622-2477 -
"Sacred land and healing waters" "Magic is always afoot at Harbin"
Numerology: 8 Vibration in both address and name - Keywords: Abundance, self-mastery, super-vision, wealth, manifestation, authority, power, success
February 18, 2019
Hallelujah, Harbin's re-opened!
Over three years after disastrous wildfire in September 2015 destroyed much of venerable old resort, massive re-building efforts enabled grand re-opening January 19, 2019. Further re-building efforts will no doubt be underway for years to come.
Check website for updates and to make possibly now-needed reservations for day visits and overnighting. Enormous care and attention lavished on pools; limited food, massage and yoga available.
Monday thru Thursday visits are now $25; Fri-Sun visits are $35; (plus $30 annual membership for at least one in group)
Footnote: In amazing numerological synchronicity, re-opening date January 19 was none other than date Stewart Springs legally changed hands, years earlier, to current clueless owners. May Harbin's grand energies re-activation date -- birthdays of none other than wildchilds Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton -- somehow work to affect another critical change in ownership of Stewart's, enabling it at long last to join sisterhood of West Coast's progressive-minded rural mineral spring resorts.
Another note: as writer hasn't yet visited since re-opening, left following pre-fire info up, much dated, if only for nostalgia value, and to offer clue to any unfamiliar with place a hint what it's about...& hopefully to further energize resurrection of what has long been one of West Coast's most popular travel destinations for bohemian-friendly. (Scope new pools in picture below.)
1. Open 24/7; choice of visit length;
walk in any hour - $20-25 for 6-hr. (+ $10 one-month membership - or option of year's - if no one
in party has one)
2. Quality, mostly-veggie restaurant plus communal visitor kitchen/dining room. Also, café and seasonal poolside juice bar
3. Unrestricted body freedom in bathing
compound. Co-ed dressing room & unisex bathrooms, same as Orr (Jackson Wellsprings and Stewart have separate bathrooms); also freebody camping along trails and select roads. Most liberal body freedom (see minus #3)
4. Long-term focus on healing & learning - set up as nonprofit Heart Consciousness Church. (Sister spring Sierra also non-profit; Breitenbush possibly, too)
5. Free morning yoga classes & evening double-feature DVD-release movies in comfy stadium room w/ lots of big pillows on carpeted courses
< Harbin's rebuilding coming along
in leaps and bounds
6. Large resident work force (home to some 150), like Breitenbush, gives place village happening feel
7. Huge grounds like Wilbur and Breitenbush, with far-ranging hiking trails - almost 10 square miles
8. Four communal mineral pools, including super-hot, 113 degrees F. pool (like Wilbur, maybe others) and large ambient temp. mineral lap pool (like Jackson); small refrigerated cold plunge, dry sauna & wet sauna (no private tubs)
9. Modest grocery & notions store right on grounds
10. Free DJ'd Unconditional Dance every Tuesday and Thursday nite
11. Grows some of restaurant's food right on grounds in tranquil garden open for visitors to enjoy
12. Has abiding old hippie earth-religion renaissance consciousness (as does each place, in varying measure, w/ Harbin, Breitenbush, Jackson and Wilbur perhaps strongest - Orr & Stewart used to have more)
13. One designated smoking area on grounds; alcohol banned
14. Large library with easy chairs, same as Wilbur and Breitenbush
15. Two spacious, nicely finished sundecks - option to sleep out overnite on one atop massage building
16. Amazingly nonchalant deer accept humans sharing their turf
17. Spacious co-ed dressing room and bathrooms with timed-use heat lamps in ceiling
18. Lots of foot-friendly soft rubber mats to cushion feet while barefooting over concrete walkways and navigating steps
19. Very car/RV-camper friendly. Choice of two parking areas. Discounted weekly and monthly rates
1. Super-popular destination resort in warm weather; can get swamped (although generally keeps contagious upbeat happening vibe) - minus if one's seeking solitude. (Off season, midweek, certain hours more serene)
2. No pets allowed; restrictions on children and toddler pool use, similar to most
3. Depending on visitor mix given day, lascivious vibe sometimes permeates bathing compound, mostly from bold voluptuary Bay Area visitors, usually weekends. (Once posted sign "No Sex in Pool"; sometimes security guard posted by pool to ensure nobody having too much fun!)
4. Nicely level tent platforms along creek bed also, alas, along main road - killer chi concern for any sound, scent, or fast-motion sensitives. (Also camp meadow, and one pitches tent most anywhere away from developed public areas, same as Stewart's, last known)
5. Long hike from camping/vehicle areas to bathing compound (along nice hillside trail; good thing if you’ve leisure to tune into laid-back, enjoy-eternal-now Harbin Time)
6. Cell phones verboten beyond cars and lower parking lot and photographing absolutely not allowed (protects any visiting celebrities' privacy as well as that of great washing masses)
7. Visitors' kitchen-dining facility upstairs from changing room, while fully equipped, not as zen as Orr's or Wilbur's, where more relaxed dining areas separate from noisy kitchens)
8. Steam sauna's pre-fab plastic bucket-seated horseshoe set up, while effective, surreal departure from place's creative customized ambiance (both Orr's and Jackson Wellsprings' have custom tile work)
9. After getting used to being bare all day in exotic weather, drag having to put clothes back on and re-enter oppressively overdressed world
Orr Hot Springs
13201 Orr Springs Road - Ukiah, CA 95482 - 707 462-6277
"Small, tranquil resort nestled in the rolling hills of the Mendocino Coastal Range"
Numerology: 7 Vibration by both address & name - Keywords: Solitude, wisdom, spiritual focus, mystical, metaphysical, research, investigative, technology
1. Renovated bathing facilities: Private tub rooms, two rooftop clawfoot tubs for stargazing/sun soaking, two communal outdoor pools, one large; side-by-side dry sauna and steam sauna (last, same as Harbin and Jackson) - visualize Stewart getting one)
2. Guest kitchen/dining room facilities, include good upright piano
3. Close to ancient coastal redwood groves, including second-tallest tree on earth in nearby Montgomery Woods (used to be thought first)
4. Quiet zenned out grounds - no vehicles other than service rigs allowed, same as Breitenbush, similar to Wilbur (still?) - makes for serene environ. Overnighters garden-cart luggage in and out, same as Breitenbush (which also has tow sleds for times of snow)
5. One designated smoking zone on grounds, same as many others; helps smokers quit and spares lungs of non-smokers, while reducing grody ground litter
6.Variety of nice rustic cabins with fully equipped kitchens; also basic apartments and campsites
7. Unrestricted body freedom in bathing compound (like all except Stewart and Jackson); co-ed changing room; some opt for swimsuits, same as rest -- non-issue
8. After checking out of lodging, welcome to stay and continue using facilities til 10 p.m.
9. Avoids crowds by setting limit of day-use admissions, all done by hopefuls emailing/calling ahead of time (no walk-ins, same as Wilbur and Breitenbush)
10. website very upfront, transparent, and forthcoming in providing info
11. Friendly cat named Elvis presides
1. Slow, tortuously windy, often edge-eroded mountain road approach - 13-1/2 mile drive west from Ukiah...might feel more like 50. On hairpin turns,"Slow to 5 mph" means it. Bring food or fast, as no restaurant and long haul to town (a few vending machines; others might share kitchen supplies). 31 mi. of similar windy hilly road west onto Mendocino coast
2. Shared detached bathroom for some lodgings
3. Occasional lascivious vibe around edges, like Harbin, tho more isolated
4. No longer offers affordable dorm lodgings - can camp for $40, but lodgings start at $80. (includes unlimited bathhouse) $30 day use
5. Limited camping sites - about 10 designated spots (nicely secluded in woods by trickling creek)
6. Unconfirmed, isolated reports of Lyme disease resulting from camp stays in years past
7. Sloping parking lot situated across road from grounds, while keeping road energy away, uncomfortable to hang in
8. Steep 72-hour cancellation charge. Full amount required when reserving, lost if cancel final 3 days; ($25. longer out); other places similar
9. Tiny resident population, like Stewart and Sierra, makes for less of village feeling (good thing if seeking solitude)
10. Suspect that fresh water, not mineral, is used in steam room, unlike Jackson and Breitenbush (Breathing mineral water as steam one of three traditional mineral water therapies, along with soaking and drinking)
11. Had more down-home, dedicated tribal vibe when collectively owned and operated ages ago, though recent reports of friendly supportive atmosphere
12. Meat now allowed in communal kitchen; possible downer for sensitive veggies/vegans
13. No walk-ins. Must reserve ahead of time, even for day use (which has daily quota limit to keep place from getting crowded)
Breitenbush Hot Springs
Retreat & Conference Center - worker-owned co-operative and intentional community - “A place to bring life into balance” -
"Our mission is to provide a safe and potent environment where people
can renew and evolve in ways they never imagined" P.O. Box 578 - Detroit, Oregon 97342 - 503 854-3320 -www.breitenbush.com- Elev. 2,279 ft. - 154 acres surrounded by national forest
Numerology: 2 Vibration by address. Keywords: Co-operation, unity, peace-loving, helpful, feminine principle - moon energy
7 Vibration by name. Keywords: Solitude, spiritual focus, wisdom, mystical, metaphysical, analysis, science, technology
1. Three bountiful, tasty all-you-can-eat organic veggie/vegan buffet meals a day included with stay, whether camping or cabin-ing, set out like clockwork; far-carrying sound of striking gong when chow's on
2. Off-grid, like Wilbur. Electricity generated by mini hydroelectric plant tapping Breitenbush River; all buildings heated geothermally
3. Unique steam sauna heated directly by geyser vent underneath charming little stone structure
4. Large resident worker community, like Harbin, makes for full anchored village feeling -- more so for being genuine intentional community worker-owned & managed by some 40 members and families
5. Seven different hot springs and 4 smaller tubs of varying temps, all clothing-optional and relaxed non-issue either way
6. Winter wonderland - soak in outdoor pool and take few steps and make snow angel to cool off (Occasional snowfalls at similar high-elevation Stewart and Sierra)
7. Guest access to piano in Lodge lobby -- tho one might feel under spotlight there
8. Free events like folk dance workshops ongoing
9. Resident crew dedicated to clearing snow promptly, even help newbies put on snow chains to get out
10. Historic spacious 80-year-old lodge
11. Sanctuary building always open for meditation & yoga
12. Twelve Inipi tribe sweat ceremonies a year, open to guests
13. No light pollution; awesome for gazing night heavens
1. Serious snowfalls. While beautiful, can make for gnarly driving and walking about - tire chains and snow boots and other snow stuff essential in winter
2. No walk ins. Call ahead even for day visits, same as Orr and Wilbur (makes for more focused & settled group energy)
3. Wet sauna, while unique and charming, only holds few and has dark interior with just ambient moon/starlight thru small windows (last known)
4. Long hike to parking lot, like Wilbur and Harbin. Again, can be a good thing -- unless you forget something important in car and snowstorm's raging
5. Long drive (60 mi.) up-mountain from Interstate 5 corridor at Salem; from Detroit, nearest tiny town, several windy hilly miles of dirt road out
6. One reviewer said it's "like summer camp for adults"; whole place set up self-serve -- help yurself and welcome -- so if like being fussed over and patronized, might be put off
7. Zero cell and internet receptivity - good for genuine retreat from over-busy world
8. Cornucopia of select daily buffet food offerings spoils foodies for any other resort. (Note: bring own coffee and spices if wanted)
Jackson WellSprings est. 1862
2253 Highway 99 N. - Ashland, OR 97520 - 541 482-3376
30 Acres - Elev. 1800 ft.“Profoundly Healing Waters”
"Dedicated to promoting optimal human and environmental health"
Numerology: 3 Vibration by address. Keywords: Saying one's truth, imagination, optimism, playfulness, creative expression.
11/2 Vibration by name. 2 Keywords: Harmony, unity, cooperation, feminine principle. 11 Keywords: illumination, uplifting, global consciousness raising
1. Even closer off Interstate 5 than Stewart's - 2-3 minutes (!)
2. Olympic ambient-temp outdoor mineral pool with smaller heated mineral pool beside (fresh water Monday & Thurday); dry (gas-heated) sauna plus tiled mineral-water steam sauna. Also two private indoor soaking tubrooms, rented separately
3. Clothing optional, adults only, after 8 p.m. or nightfall, whichever comes first, until midnight closing; all others except now Stewarts (imagine policy reversal), unrestricted within bathing compound.
4. Community center building for events and workshops; periodic outdoor faire events
5. Cheapest general admission - $10 day use (excluding private tubs), $8. senior; plus $5. annual membership.
6. Only few miles to two thriving natural food stores: Ashland Co-op (downtown, 1st and A St.) and Shop n Kart, phenomenal hybrid supermarket next to Bi-Mart, open late, off central I-5 freeway exit.
7. Private Jacuzzis, single and double, by 75-minute rental @$25-35
8. Open til midnight
9. Women's Night every Monday 6pm - midnight after weekly pool water change earlier in day when bathhouse closed
10. Independent worker/general public mobile home community on grounds makes for homey settled energy, similar to Breitenbush
11. Closest to Stewarts - scenic one-hour drive away along Interstate 5
12. Teepees to rent, like Stewart, for $30.($33 w/ electricity); sleeping in vehicle/RV for $20 includes bathhouse use
13. Monthly and yearly passes available; senior discount
14. Talking/chanting allowed in sauna, same as Orr and Harbin, and soft positive talking/silence in hot pool (Like Harbin's whisper pool)
15. Office enlarged nicely in recent years, including big skylights illuminating space
16. Generous same-day return privileges
17. Laid-back little restaurant off from office with daily offerings
18. (plus or minus) Installed security cameras to better assure safety and peace of mind of visitors
1. Like Stewart until recently, potentially off-putting hybrid nude policy: clothing-optional sauna, steam room & pools only after nightfall or 8 p.m., whichever comes first, adults only. Second nature to regulars. More all-inclusive, perhaps, allowing more to enjoy place
2. Can hear Highway 99 traffic wash 100-125 yards off in places, including camping and RV parking area. (Not in bath compound, tho.) Not as deep in nature as others
3. Nearby creek flooded land in ‘99 and still has rows of funky ruined guest sheds as eerie reminders (way back-burner plans to renovate some).
4. Members-only operation. Joining’s cheap - $5./yr. - but can make for long check-in period like Harbin & Sierraville with same set-up. Can’t be in a hurry (shouldn't be, anyhow)
5. Bring own drinking water unless curious how mineral water is. (writer loves it). Drinking mineral water at springs once regarded integrated part of mineral water therapy along with steaming
6. Swimming pool lightly powder-chlorinated each night after closing, processed out through water filter system by next morning. (Drained and refilled once a week Monday, when closed til Monday's Women's nite)
7. Four-digit door code to remember, changed daily, plus another once clothing-optional time kicks in, for getting into bathing compound (same as Orr). Can be bother if lysdexic or memory cells challenged; serves to keep out any would-be non-paying sneaks
8. Some not in any closer touch with inner bohemian might be turned off by at times prevailing, unabashed countercultural energy
Wilbur Hot Springs - est. 1865
"Quietude is revered." - "In all the world no water like these."
3375 Wilbur Springs Rd. - Williams, CA - 95987-9709 (Off state highway 20) - (530) 473-2306 - elev. 1,300 ft. - 1,800 acres wilburhotsprings.com
Numerology: 9 Vibration by address. Keywords: Endings, vision, tolerance, transformation, spiritual consciousness, cosmic, global awareness, perfection.
5 Vibration by name. Keywords: Change, sensuality, progressive, freedom, resourceful, versatility
Kitchen fire spread through venerable old hotel March 29, 2014, destroying top two floors. Longtime owner, celebrating 75th birthday that very day, said later, with rare good humor, "That was one birthday candle too big to blow out." He assured spirit of Wilbur lives on; place quickly got more or less back on track.
1. Rambling historic hotel building w/ deep wraparound sheltered porches has [had?] 20 guest rooms ($150 & up, a splurge for sure) & dorm beds ($75), along with kitchen & dining, office, library. Similar to Sierra's lodge, tho larger
2. Rich mineral water (while no connoisseur per se, theirs was first water writer couldn't get enough of - possibly personal mineral lack)
3.Historically very laid-back atmosphere, perhaps in part because until 2012 same mellow managing couple lived on grounds 23 years. Limited vehicular movement & longtime tradition of meditative silence, plus relaxing waters, make for pronounced non-verbal group head space, super-conducive to going within. (Update: since Harbin fire reportedly not so chill -- see Minus # 9)
4. Off grid like Breitenbush - power generated by some 36 large solar electric panels
5. Guest-chiefs some weekends for soakers with gourmet leanings
6. Clothing optional in nicely zenned bathing compound close by lodgings
7. Fully equipped communal kitchen with impressive bank of solar-powered Sunfrost refrigerators plus copious freezer for guests' food storage
8. Former noteworthy cancellation policy only charged no-shows if had to turn someone away to hold
9. As of 11-16, $59 unlimited day-use rate, good til midnight (must reserve ahead)
10. Among hottest water temps - 112 degrees F. (also milder flumes) Popular with Japanese, who can't get into hot-enough water
11. Part of spring resort triangle with Orr and Harbin, three situated close enough to leisurely sample each over 2-3 days (within 40-50 miles of each other)
12. Cozy library includes collection of guest journals that can connect one to past visitors and capture flavor of place
1. Only 5 campsites. Platformed and secluded; price includes full use of bathing facilities and kitchen
2. No walk-ins (Helps keep energies tranquil, but must call ahead)
3. Far piece - 22 mi. - to nearest town, Williams on I-5
4. Long walk, 1/3 mi. to parking lot if you forget something
5. Pricier than most
6. No steam room, unlike Orr, Harbin, Breitenbush, and Jackson (tho nice-sized wooden dry sauna, if reportedly airless)
7. In certain area of grounds solar electric plant's droning motor fan disturbs place's otherwise sylvan silence
8. Getting lay of land inside old, narrow hallway-ed, labyrinthine hotel's a trip (or was before fire, at least). Example: bathroom doors cryptically labeled "Commodium." Playful nod to place's favor with historic California literary luminaries. Once you get hang of it it's fun, but bewildering at first
9. Since Harbin fire (after which raised prices) and invasion by displaced, chattier Harbonites, plus place's own earlier fire and hasty addition of basic cabins to replace hotel's lost vintage lodgings, place reportedly lost some of former famous laid-back charm
Sierra Hot Springs
Elev. 5,000 ft. (highest) - 600 acres
“Our goal is to provide stewardship of this sacred land”
Numerology: 6 Vibration by P.O. box number. Keywords: Balance, nurturing, responsibility and duty, family focus, domestic and work issues, service oriented.
8 Vibration by name and street address (same as sister spring Harbin! - synchronicity or design?) Keywords: Self-mastery, abundance, manifestation, material wealth, authority, power, success
1. Beautiful high Sierra land
2. Bathing facilities open 24/7
3. As sister spring to Harbin, shares similar spirit and inspired architecture (also same modest required membership fee, good at both)
4. Hot pool, cold plunges enclosed in zenned geodesic dome along with outdoor pool and large sundeck
5. Faux-natural sand-bottomed outdoor communal pool (closed winter)
6. Large baths (seasonal) and dry sauna
7. Bathing areas clothing-optional
8. Lodgings, lobby and office in historic hotel, same as Wilbur
9. Smoking restricted, no alcohol, fires, pets (again, plus or minus depending on person)
10. Vegetarian meals served nights during peak season. (‘Heat-and-eat’ meal items available off season at main lodge office)
11. Yoga on weekends; water yoga Sundays
12. Movies Saturday nights
1. Snow chains sometimes needed in winter - 5,000 ft. elevation
2. Remote location unless already in Tahoe-Reno area. While part of its charm, long haul reaching (but what's a road trip for?)
3. No steam sauna (same as Stewart, Wilbur)
4. Feline presence (same as Orr, and Stewart until recently) if one's sensitive to dander, otherwise, gracious homey energy
For info on some popular Washington State spring resorts, plus more on Breitenbush visit here For impressive site exploring many of world's mineral springs, including Stewart's, visit Timwu.org/hotsprings