Arts and Culture

Cheap and Hidden Hot Springs in Magnificent Mendocino

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The path running from the main grounds

The path running from the main grounds

This past weekend my lady and I went to a wedding up in the Mendocino hills.  The wedding was just as lovely as the surrounding scenery and the best part was that it was as far from a traditional ceremony as you could imagine.  The wedding started with all the attendees standing in a circle which then led to a 30 minute hike to a glen where the actual ceremony took place.  Fucking stellar.  I’d post photos, but even I’m not uncouth enough to post someone else’s wedding photos online.

We didn’t have to have the Zipcar back to San Francisco the until 10pm the following day, so we decided to spend it exploring a bit of Mendocino and visiting the hot springs my friend Simon had hipped me to.

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Sitting about a half hour outside Ukiah, Orr Hot Springs is so deep in the cut that they don’t even have a website.  The closest thing is this dude’s write up about it, which I have to say is pretty damn thorough.  I actually brought this poor business planning up to the girl at the front desk and she told me that they do it on purpose to keep it word of mouth.  I’d worry about blowing up their spot, but I know most of you are too lazy to actually go there.

The main grounds and a friendly cat

The main grounds and a friendly cat

The resort at Orr Hot Springs as been around since the late 1850’s.  The springs were first discovered by Whitey when the logging community in Ukiah needed to build a path for easy access to the coast.  How they ever conceptualized this road as being an easy path, is far beyond my realm of comprehension.

Pretty stuff

Pretty stuff

As you see by the photos I’ve littered throughout this post, the grounds of Orr Hot Springs are phenomenally gorgeous and super tranquil.  And the best part is, it’s only $25 to use the springs for an entire day!  One thing you should note though is that it is “clothing optional”, so just like any place that allows nudity, be prepared for old balls and bush.  You can also stay the night at accommodations and choose between sleeping in a regular looking cabin, or one of these things that look like a Hobbit Hole.  But I don’t know how much a night costs because I don’t have the patience to wait for them to call me back (they require you to leave a message and they call you back when they feel like it).

Sleep like a hobbit at Orr Hot Springs

Sleep like a hobbit at Orr Hot Springs

We enjoyed the hell out of our experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a little escape in Northern California.  While actually getting to the spot might cost you a little bit in gas money, it’s totally worth it considering you’re paying so little to get so much at this resort.  If you go, let me know how you dig it.  And if you’re wondering why there are no pics of the actual hot springs, it’s because taking photos of random naked 50 year olds while they’re sunbathing is grounds for expulsion…unless you get their written permission.  I had no interest in the photos or the permission.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. Katie
    February 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Society has moved so far towards the porn-star mentality of Brazilian-waxed into prepubesence that one has to “prepare” themselves for normal female body hair? Or are you just a product of your generation in which you’ve probably never SEEN a woman with a hairy bush? Either way, pretty offensive to be told that if a woman doesn’t wax/shave it all off, it’s something you have to “prepare” for.

    • Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
      February 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Truthfully, I just don’t see many hairy vaginas. It must be a generational thing.

      • Auntie Techy
        May 12, 2015 at 12:05 am

        I don’t see many unshaved va jay jays, because I prefer women not girls.

    • Quixoticism
      May 12, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      It’s also pretty offensive to be told that if you prefer to wax your pubic hair, you are “prepubescent.” Either way is fine, hairy or bald. Can’t we just let people like what they like without judging? My bush is sometimes hairy and sometimes bald, but I do prefer it the latter way. That does not make me a child, prepubescent, or anything near to it. It’s just a personal preference.

  2. February 17, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Odd the words Mendocino and cheap are usually not in the same sentence. Hidden, well that’s another story.

  3. Jack
    April 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Katie, don’t be so offended. I learned early in life that I won’t get as many BJ’s with a hairy bush as I would get with a trimmed bush. It’s just all the hair gets sweaty and no one wants to breath in long nasty pubic hair when they are going down on someone. Plus, people who don’t trim probably don’t trim thier nails, wash thier skin/hair, brush thier teeth etc. (not always true I’m sure but more often than not….it’s true)

  4. Bryan
    December 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Katie hair is great on a woman actually the lack if hair is behind the HPV rates hitting 70% in some age groups… Yuck… But pubic lice or crabs are all but gone… But crabs aren’t in your system forever and they don’t cause cancer.. Hair is ther for a reason.