Sports & Recreation

Best Weekend Getaway 

The Original Springs Hotel

The head says: Wow, what a neat old hotel! It was constructed in the 1890s and offers comprehensive spa services in a completely unpretentious atmosphere rife with small-town country charm. The heart says: All that is true, but it does not address the fact that this place is thoroughly haunted. By ghosts. While the conflict of head versus heart may be a major theme in literature, there's no reason for incompatible opinions at the Original Springs: head and heart are both correct. If David Lynch ever decided to make a movie about a bunch of really nice normal people who run an old hotel, it would be set at the Original Springs. If the Original Springs had a grand elevator, it would open up at night and spill out...well, probably not blood. Maybe beer. The truth is that the Original Springs is the only active mineral-bath spa left over from Okawville's tenure as a health resort, a span that began in the 1860s with the discovery of the mineral springs under the town and persisted into the 1940s. Ladies and gents willing to drive just 45 minutes southeast on Interstate 64 can still "take the waters" in one of eight private, heated whirlpool tubs; get a massage; hang out in the steam rooms and the sauna; take a dip in the pool; and pester the staff about what ghosts they've seen in the winding halls — even without booking a room. But why not stay the weekend and risk catching a glimpse of one of the several past owners or the bank robbers, mobsters and bootleggers who used the Original Springs as a neutral meeting place? Weekend packages for couples start at $235 — and drop to $185 during the week. The feeling that someone from the Other Side is watching you is free.

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