Spa Escape

It’s been a stressful week, and right now lounging on the couch with my laptop isn’t enough for me to unwind. I would give anything for a day at the spa. New York is known for its mineral spring resorts and healing waters. Read more about the enticing journey through spa city below, from the New York Times Travel article, They Came to New York for the Waters.

“PUNGENTLY sulfurous waters burble up from the ground alongside a concrete 1970s hospital building in Clifton Springs, N.Y., southeast of Rochester, and I’m soaking in them. That is, waters from a mineral spring renowned in the 19th century for healing properties have been pumped from a stream running beneath the hospital lawn into a new spa wing, where I’ve gone more for relaxation than anything curative, and a has prepared a hot bath for me.
In a serene pale-purple treatment room, I step gingerly into the tea-colored water. The vapors clear my head, and I soon feel tingly and light, yet strangely immobile. The sound of the spring outside, gurgling into tiers of concrete fountain pools, mingles with the indoor soundtrack of pan flutes. When a knock on the door comes for my scheduled massage, I’m sorry to let the water drain.
Upstate New York is hardly known as a center of mineral springs. But in the 19th century, the golden age of mineral-water spas, at least 50 New York towns, scattered from Long Island to Lake Ontario, had resorts or sanitariums drawing on water emerging from rocky places underground and laced with elements like magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and sulfur. “There were more mineral baths available in New York than in any other state,” said Charlotte Wytias, the program manager at the Clifton Springs Hospital’s spa.
The official nickname of Saratoga Springs is Spa City, and a few Victorian hotels there still have wraparound porches for lounging between baths. Only two spas in town still draw on certified mineral water: the privately owned, 20-year-old Crystal Spa just outside Saratoga Spa State Park and the state-run 1930s Roosevelt Baths deep in pine groves inside the park. My husband and I opted for the latter, a sprawling Georgian-style brick complex with black-and-white tiled hallways and bright ceiling lights, built during the Depression and used ever since. Wounded World War II veterans frequented it, and the German government paid for Holocaust survivors’ treatments there.

All sorts of healing powers were claimed for the waters, which often carry a metallic or swampy taste and smell. But primarily, the resorts were places to go on vacation. “Life at the springs is a perpetual festival,” an 1850s guidebook said.”

For more check out New York Times Travel.