Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Real Fountain of Youth or Eastern Europe?

Two years ago, on our anniversary, The Colonel handed me this Golden Ticket (of his own making) entitling me to a spa day, gourmet lunch included, at Warm Mineral Springs. The ticket has been stuck to my fridge the whole time, until today (Monday, November 15), when I cashed it in and The Colonel and I visited the springs.

On the bottom of the ticket it states; no rain checks, offer not good in conjunction with other offers, offer expires without notice, redeem for cash value of $1.35 (Canadian).

Thank God The Colonel did not void my Golden Ticket due to my procrastination.

First a little history and stats about Warm Mineral Springs...

In 1942, the Director of Health Foundation Washington, D.C., Jonas E. Miller, officially declared that after extensive research of the available historical accounts, Warm Mineral Springs is the real Fountain of Youth.

Then in 1958, retired Army Colonel, William R. Royal, an an underwater archeology enthusiast, moved to Florida. He explored many under water caves around the state looking for sharks and prehistoric fossils.

He dove the waters of Warm Mineral Springs and discovered stalactites and stalagmites of an underwater cave. After entering the cave he found a bone from a Saber-Toothed Tiger and a human skull with the remains of brain matter still inside. Both the bone and skull were carbon dated at 10,000 years old. The skull was later identified as that of a 16 to 19 year old female.

10,000 years ago Warm Mineral Springs was a dry sink hole with Colonel Royal's yet to be discovered cave about 65 feet down inside and around 8,000 years ago and the end of the last Ice Age, water began to fill up the sink hole to its current level.

This drawing gives you an idea of the different levels of the spring.

This is an aerial view of Warm Mineral Springs.

The miracle waters of Warm Mineral Springs contains 51 minerals; the highest mineral content in America. The waters boast restorative and health benefits. The 9 million gallons of water that flows daily is a constant 87 degrees - perfect for swimming and soaking.

This is what we saw first of the springs, an Old-Florida style, tile mosaic sign. Seeing this, I knew we were in for an Old-Florida attraction treat.

We then entered a tiled tunnel, paid our fee and continued down the tunnel until it opened up onto the grounds of the springs.

The grounds gently sloped down to the water's edge. We made our way to the water and grabbed two of the many lavender chairs that surrounded the water and placed them closer to the shore of the springs.

The springs looked like a round lake and there were entry ramps at certain points around the shoreline.

The Colonel and I didn't get into the water straight away. We sat in our chairs, reading and people watching. There was tranquil, spa-like music being played over speakers on the grounds. It was relaxing, sitting alongside the water, warm sunshine on our shoulders and listening to the music.

The pull of the water began to be too much for me (just like it always did when I was a child at our family's lake house). "I'm going in," I told The Colonel. He was right behind me.

I grasped the metal rail as I walked down the ramp that sloped down into the warm water. My feet left the ramp and landed on the sandy (with an occasional rock) bottom.

The water was 87 degrees, cooler than body temperature, so it took a little bit of getting used to, and then it was perfect. Because it is a Florida spring, the water had a bit of a sulfury smell to it. I also thought it smelled a bit like chicken broth so I told The Colonel the water reminded me of egg drop soup. I was floating in a huge bowl of egg drop soup! After a while you got used to the smell. Some of the water splashed onto my lips and I discovered it had a slightly salty taste to it.

The shallow part of the spring was separated from the bottomless deep part by a floating rope (refer to the aerial photo of the spring). Most swimmers/floaters stayed in the shallow area, moving in a clockwise fashion. The Colonel and I ventured into the deep area. I was more buoyant than The Colonel. I do not know if this was due to my body's reaction to the 51 minerals or my adipose tissue (of which I have more than The Colonel does, so my money is on the adipose tissue theory). The Colonel needed a pool noodle to help him float better, but this being our first visit, we did not think to bring one as many of the others there did. Noodle-less, we made our way back to the shallow area.

Floating clockwise in the shallow area, The Colonel and I caught snippets of the conversations of our fellow floaters. If we closed our eyes we would have sworn we were in Russia or the Ukraine. Nearly every person there was foreign (with an average age of 68). We did hear two couples not speaking Russian, they were speaking German. We also heard three ladies speaking English. They were commenting on the number of non-English speakers at the springs. As I floated by I verbally agreed with her. She was shocked saying, "I didn't think you could understand me." I don't think I look Eastern European...maybe it was my "swvim-vear"?

Remember, my Golden Ticket included a gourmet lunch, so after a bit of soaking, we got out of the water to dry off before lunchtime.

On the grounds is a little restaurant. I ordered a Talapia (type of fish) Reuben. I love Reubens. This fish dish was interesting, but I think I prefer my Reubens with corned beef. The Colonel had a starter of Borscht, a soup of Ukrainian origin (how could they not serve it with all of the Eastern/Central Europeans floating outside and eventually working up an appetite). The Colonel liked his soup. I tasted it, it was Okay, I guess, I don't like beets like The Colonel does. It sure was a pretty color though.

After lunch (without waiting an hour), we went back into the water. It was relaxing, slowly floating around the spring. There was a slight current that gently pushed us along.

We spent about 4 and a half hours at Warm Mineral Springs. It was a very nice day and a great experience to be able to take a dip in the real Fountain of Youth. So glad I finally used my Golden Ticket.

No comments:

Post a Comment