One of the most fun parts of a road trip is cruising around looking for fun and interesting places to eat and sleep. If you’re driving across country, there’s no better cure for the boredom of the long, road than discovering a new city or town that has everything you are looking for. One such place that recently came up on our radar is called Calistoga Speedway. We were immediately intrigued by the sound of the name and all that it stood for. We had to see it for ourselves to really understand what it was all about.
The History Of The Place
The story behind Calistoga Speedway begins in the 1960’s with the growth of car culture in the United States. The invention of the combustion engine unlocked the door to a new era of freedom and enabled people to explore the country by road trip for the weekend. This trend continued as gas prices dropped in the 1970’s, enabling people to travel greater distances in less time. The result was a boom in road trips, which coincidentally coincided with the boom in corporate America during that time period.
The number of cars on the road increased by about 60% between 1960 and 1975. In fact, between 1960 and 1970 alone, there were about 1.75 million additional cars registered in the United States. The increased interest in cars led to the rise of the auto enthusiast culture in the United States, and Calistoga Speedway was a natural progression of that interest.
The Racing Season At Calistoga
When it comes to automotive culture, there are two words that always spring to mind when I think of Calistoga Speedway: Harley Davidson and Motorsport.
The Harley Davidson Motorcycle Club was the first to hold an official race at Calistoga in 1966. In 1970, the track was completely rebuilt to its current configuration and has been there ever since. It hosted the largest motorcycle race in America at one time, the Harley Davidson Superweekend, which ran from 1980 to 1983 and attracted thousands of motorcyclists from around the world. The race was discontinued due to lack of interest from attendees, but the track still holds several motorcycle races and tours each year.
For those who love their cars even more than motorcycles, Calistoga Speedway also hosts several car-related events throughout the year. The Spring Masters Series is a popular exhibition of the best muscle cars and customizations from all over the world. The Velocity Tour is another interesting event that runs throughout the year and brings together the finest sports cars from all over the world for display and racing. The track is also the home of the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which celebrates the very best in American automotive design and culture.
The Vibe At Calistoga
When you arrive at the gates of Calistoga Speedway, you are immediately struck by the sheer volume of car enthusiasts in town. The parking lots are usually full of muscle cars, Harley Davidsons, and other expensive vehicles. The overall vibe at the track is one of excitement and enthusiasm.
The owners and managers of the track want to make sure that everyone who visits Calistoga feels welcome and enjoy their time there. To that end, they have done something rather unique. They have opened up their museum to the public. If you’re a car enthusiast, this place is a must-see. The collection of vintage, rare, and exotic cars is incredibly impressive. It is said that the best museum in the world is in Cooperstown, New York, but Calistoga’s is definitely a contender for the title.
The Food At Calistoga
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you might want to skip the grills and head straight for the café. The menu at Calistoga is pretty good, featuring a variety of healthy choices for the discerning diner. The best part is that everything is made with organic and locally sourced produce whenever possible.
On our visit, we ordered the Butternut Squash Burger, which was served on a brioche bun with sweet potato fries. The burger itself was extremely tasty, and the brioche bun added just the right amount of sweetness to it. The restaurant also serves a mean chocolate cake, which is a must for anybody who is a real car fan. We recommend trying the Café Racer, which uses hand-rolled pasta and wafer-thin steak to create an unbelievably unique and tasty dish. The car enthusiasts who run the place are very friendly and are always eager to help out any way they can.
If you want to stay at the historic Hotel Calistoga, which dates back to the 1800s and is the only hotel in the United States made entirely from granite, then you can’t go wrong. Rooms there are pretty darned magnificent, and they often have the best deals if you book far enough ahead. You can also dine there for relatively affordable prices. The service there is pretty good, too.
What Next For Calistoga?
With all the fun that Calistoga has to offer, it is pretty hard to decide where to go from there. If you want to continue your road trip, then you could head to the Bay Area to catch the Apple Blossom Festival. Although the weather in the Bay Area is frightful, it is still a beautiful area to see spring flowers. The city of San Francisco is especially notable for its beautiful spring climate and its many restaurants and bars. You might also like to visit Napa, which is about two hours away from San Francisco by car. It is often said that California is the place to be in the springtime.
If you decide to stay in Calistoga for a while, then you might want to check out the local art and antique stores. There is often lot of character-filled trinkets and knick-knacks for sale there. Many of the stores close in the winter, but the owners often stay in the store, so you might get lucky and find someone there who will let you browse their wares while the weather is still nice. If you decide to stay in town even longer, then you could look into buying a house. The prices there are reasonable, and many people who visit Calistoga on a regular basis buy a home as a second home. It’s the American dream, isn’t it?
When it comes to exploring new places, the fun never ends. If we could make one recommendation, it would be to check out Calistoga Speedway. The collection of cars on display is unparalleled, and the owners and managers are friendly and well-versed in the automotive culture. If you are an enthusiast or just want to learn more about cars, this is the place to be. You can’t go wrong.