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Aetna Springs Resort

Aetna Springs Resort, as seen in an earlier era. A new owner will try to restore the resort to its glory days. Credit: Napa County Historical Society

Owners of Aetna Springs suffered a setback in their quest to create a luxury campground resort with upscale lodging tents in Napa County, Calif.’s rural Pope Valley, according to the Napa Valley Register.

Alchemy Resorts in late 2018 bought 3,100 acres in Pope Valley east of Napa Valley. The 672-acre, historic, former Aetna Springs Resort was only part of the $22 million deal for 50 parcels.

As it turns out, the first proposal to emerge from all of this isn’t for the land with the now-vacant Aetna Springs buildings. Rather, it is for Turkey Hill about three miles away. The idea is to create a resort with 40 lodging tents, perhaps expanding to 80.

But the venture as proposed needs the help of the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District to navigate county zoning that prioritizes agriculture. Aetna Springs ownership offered a deal that would bring money to the cash-strapped district.

On Monday (Sept. 13), a divided Open Space District Board of Directors declined to pursue the private-public partnership, though it took no official vote.

“I feel it is only fair to you to make it clear this project is not a priority in my eyes for the district,” Director Karen Bower-Turjanis told David Wickline of the Aetna Springs ownership.

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