As I was looking for some self-care in the Sierra Nevada after a knee injury, I heard about a long-established hot springs at a little outpost called Benton, Calif., near the Nevada border. The word was it offered funky lodging and some hot, healing, reasonably accessible mineral water. Locals have long claimed that these hot springs, with water at a consistent 140 degrees, are among the purest in the world. OK, why not? The tab: $139 for a room with private bath (taxes included) at the Old House and Inn at Benton Hot Springs; no charge for serenity or starry skies. Inn guests can choose from two tiled, above-ground tubs and one deck-level old-style spa — too tricky for someone with a bum knee to access.

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