Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot Sulphur Springs, CO

On our vacation in CO, when my wife suggested we take an overnight trip outside of Denver, I have to admit I never would have guessed that she would have picked a place with an overwhelming aroma of natural gas! Hot Sulphur Springs, CO is a town of 521 residents west of the Rocky Mountains on the Colorado River. We stayed at the Hot Sulphur Springs Spa and Resort. The resort does not have a good reputation from what I read on TripAdvisor, and from what I saw, I understand the complaints that were made. The rooms have no phone or TV and amenities are nil for over $100 per night. The massage therapists were excellent and well worth the price. The esthetician who gave us an herbal wrap was nice, but it isn't something I would do again. There are seven natural springs in Hot Sulphur Springs that range from 104-126 degrees. Fissures, or crevices deep beneath the earth's surface, are heated by volcanic rock which then in turn heat the natural springs. The water from the springs contain sodium, sulfate, potassium, calcium, fluoride and magnesium among other minerals that rejuvinate the skin, relax the body, and some claim that they even cure arthritis. As you would expect, the sulphur springs smell like, well, farts! There are also train tracks nearby and the horns go off at all hours of the night; much like the scenes in the movie "My Cousin Vinnie", as my wife Holly aptly pointed out. The one amenity the resort does have: earplugs for the trains. It is a beautiful spot, as are most places in Colorado, but the resort could do so much more by organizing hikes around the mountains or provide an exercise facility and classes that promote overall wellness. They do none of this, however and it really is a shame. Unless you want a dinner of funyuns and Mrs. Fields Cookies from the vending machine, walk across the river to the Riverside Hotel.

We had one of the best meals we have ever had at the Riverside Hotel. Local Rocky Mountain asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and fontina cheese was our appetizer. I had a ribeye fired directly over wood coals and finished with a balsamic glaze for the right mix of smokiness and sweetness, phenominal!!! Holly had swai fish, which is similar to Tilapia, but more flavorful and less expensive. Side dishes included their fantastic seasonal vegetables, and out of this world gratin potatoes. We finshed the meal off with bread pudding covered in chocolate sauce, and Holly had a strawberry dessert finished with grenadine and whipped cream. We polished everything off, and we don't even like bread pudding, except at this place. Did I also mention we got a table with a window that had the best view of one of the nation's most important rivers, the Colorado River? Afterwards, the Paradise family turned on their big screen TV so we could watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. What a great place. Reasonable too! Stay here instead of the Hot Springs Spa and Resort if you go. The Paradise family will welcome you with open arms, particularly if you're a KU Jayhawk fan.

Also that weekend was the celebration of Hot Sulphur Days. It's a small town summer celebration with events such as fireworks, a pie baking contest, street dance, craft fair, parade and more. The signature event is the Texas Charlie Shootout which re-enacts an Old West story of a high-rolling outlaw that meets his match in Hot Sulphur Springs trying to confront the long arm of the law. The body of Texas Charlie(the actor) is put on pallet and displayed and shown to onlookers in the Hot Sulphur Days Parade.

There is a lot of "white knuckle" driving on the way to Hot Sulphur Springs. US 40 climbs many mountains and ledges and winds through Winter Park, the highest city limits in the entire country. Believe me, you feel it. Winter Park town center is located more than 9,000 feet above sea level, as opposed to 5,280 in Denver. Drink lots of water and be prepared if you are afraid of heights.

1 comment:

  1. Well, we won't be going to smelly Sulphur Springs. Thanks for the heads-up!