Printer Friendly

Ulysses S. Grant bathed here; it's Vichy Springs, near Ukiah.

Ulysses S. Grant bathed here "While there are numerous springs of a similar character in this State, we can recall none possessing such an abundant flow or a more favorable temperature (90[degrees] F.). The individuality of this water with its exhilarating and refreshing carbonated baths rightly entitle them to be designated 'Vichy Champagne Baths.'" So wrote the San Francisco chemists who inspected the mineral water of Vichy Springs resort near Ukiah in 1914. They went on to describe its therapeutic value for ulcers, rheumatism, and gout.

By the time that analysis was written, the lazy rural retreat about 2 hours north of San Francisco had already been hosting those seeking cures or simple relaxation for 60 years. Among the notables on its guest list were presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt, and such literary lions as Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jack London.

Over the past 10 years, new owners Gilbert and Marjorie Ashoff have been hard at work to restore the appeal of the resort, now a California historical landmark. Both overnight guests and day-users are invited to use the mineral baths and to explore the 700-acre ranch and adjacent public lands. Spring is a particularly pleasant time here, when the grass-covered hills are green, wildflowers are in bloom, and temperatures are still relatively cool.

It's the water

The warm, naturally carbonated water that bubbles out of the ground is still a major draw at Vichy Springs. You can soak in it as it circulates through 130-year-old tubs beside a creek. Or you can take a swim in a newly renovated Olympic-size pool filled with the water.

There's also a modern whirlpool bath for those who like water hotter or more energetic than nature provides. A small cabin near the creek is set aside for 1- to 1 1/2- hour Swedish massages and herbal facials ($45 to $65 with mineral bath).

Over the hills and through the woods

For a $20 day-use fee, drop-in visitors have free rein of the property as well as use of the baths and pool. A lush waterfall is about an hour's ramble up the creek from the resort, but there's not a continuous trail, and the creek's banks are lined with poison oak. The best approach is to wear old tennis shoes or hiking boots you don't mind getting wet and wade up the creek itself when necessary.

About 6 miles of ranch roads on the resort property are available to hikers and mountain bikers. They lead to many more miles of roads and trails open to bikes in the Cow Mountain Recreation Area, though you need to be in good shape to ride them--it's a 3,000-foot climb to the top of the BLM-managed property in the Mayacamas Mountains. Ask at the resort for a road and trail map.

Accommodations, how to get there

Built in 1854, two cottages that accommodate overnight guests are the oldest structures still standing in Mendocino County. One has one bedroom ($125), and the other has two ($135)> both have kitchens. There are also 12 guest rooms ($65 for a single, $95 for a double, all with private baths) in a long, ranchhouse-style building. Room rates include a substantial continental breakfast as well as use of the mineral baths, pool, and grounds. To reserve, write or call Vichy Springs Resort, 2605 Vichy Springs Rd., Ukiah 95482> (707) 462-9515.

For a listing of other accommodations in the area, write or call the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce, 495-E E. Perkins St., Ukiah 95482> 462-4705.

Ukiah is 110 miles north of San Francisco on U.S. 101. To get to Vichy Springs, take the Vichy Springs Road exit and follow the historical landmark signs about 3 miles to the resort.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Date:Mar 1, 1991
Previous Article:Bargain shopping in San Francisco's garment district.
Next Article:All that glitters in southern Nevada isn't neon; exploring the hinterlands northeast of Las Vegas ... dramatic rocks, trout lakes, forests.

Related Articles
Ulysses S. Grant.
Running for Congress?

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters