A Moment in History: Samuel Brannan and His Namesake Inn

Brannan Cottage Inn

By Elise Moore

Quaint, charming and filled with history, Brannan Cottage Inn portrays the sweet small-town culture of Calistoga. A 150-year-old attendant palm tree greets you at the entrance before walking up the steps where generations before have stood, including Brannan himself.  The wrap-around porch and encompassing arches welcome you into an era of genuine hospitality. Friendly staff are at your service and the sitting room makes you feel like this is your home from another time, complete with maps of the original Calistoga, portraits of the Brannan family and an antique piano.

The Inn is named after Samuel Brannan, the founder of Calistoga.  Upon visiting the area, Brannan found the hot springs impressive. The hot springs’ healing powers were discovered by the local Native American tribe, the Wappos, while Brannan discovered them as a business opportunity.  Brannan, California’s first millionaire had already gained fame by establishing the first newspaper in San Francisco. Known for his love of libations, Brannan shared his vision for the new land to be the Saratoga of California but slurred a mix of the two names, ultimately naming the Calistoga of Sarafornia.

Brannan built a resort around the hot springs, which ignited the development of a civic-minded community, not to mention the wealthy who arrived by train to spend time in the country, away from city life. The allure of Calistoga as a getaway continues with today’s visitors, who make the pilgrimage by automobile for rejuvenation and restoration.

Tradition meets modern-day comforts inside the unique Brannan Cottage Inn. In fact, the inviting blend of genuine hospitality and local influence is found throughout Calistoga. Highlighting the historic reality in the context of one of the world’s finest wine growing and geothermal spa regions makes this a destination point for a conscientious traveler.

From California’s 1860s post-gold rush era, Brannan Cottage Inn is one of the only remaining functional structures in Calistoga. Today, the Inn retains its early purpose as a place for retreat; centrally located for downtown outings, fine dining, wine excursions, trips to the spa, and an overall sense of authenticity within the Napa Valley.

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