It’s hard to believe shabby little Sharon Springs in Upstate New York – a town of just over 500 – was once one of the country’s most heralded resort towns. Thanks to its unique, and unending, natural sulfur springs which were once believed to have healing powers, nearly a dozen or so hotels and baths sprung up in the early 1900s. Drawing tens of thousands visitors each year from all over the world, the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and even Oscar Wilde made the pilgrimage to this burgeoning town.
Today, the town has fallen into considerable disrepair but a few of the springs – if you ignore the “No Trespassing” signs – are available for view. In particular, we walked down below the Imperial Baths to an open-air gazebo that houses the opening to the property’s sulfur spring.
We had read that at this particular site, there was a long spoon for dipping and tasting the water. When we arrived at the open hole, there was not a spoon, but there was a beat up tin cup, which we could only assume was for “taste-testing.”
For the first time on this trip, I had to rein Victoria in. She was completely on-board with this bizarre taste testing. Since I had no idea whose lips (or other orifices) had touched this cup and the hole itself was at foot level, similar to the troughs I remember as a child in the Richfield Coliseum Men’s Room, I had to object to my wife contracting hepatitis. Somehow, I had to repeat my objections a few times.
In the end, we got some pictures, a story and avoided contracting any long-term debilitating communicable disease. That’s a win-win-win.