Saratoga – A Wyoming Hot Spot [GALLERY]
Fresh on the heels of my recent nuptials; the new wife and I were gifted with a "mini-moon" of sorts - a luxurious and enlightening weekend in beautiful Saratoga, Wyoming. Having never been there before, at least that I could remember, I was eager to not only immerse myself in the healing waters, but to document the experience as well.
We hit the road on a beautiful Saturday morning over the Memorial Day weekend. Our mission (and we chose to accept it) was to bunk up for a couple of days at the famed Saratoga Resort & Spa. We were also to enjoy a fine dinner at the historic Hotel Wolf, a massage or two, and a creamy concoction served up at legendary Lollypops.
We both had a wonderful time in Saratoga! The resort itself is beautifully rustic and quaint, accented with a rock fireplace, old timbers and facades, and several trophy mounts of local animal species populating the walls. Chess seems to be a recurrent theme both inside the resort and outside on the grounds. I asked about this. I was informed that the owner happens to be a big chess fan. Each year the resort plays host to the Wild West Chess Tournament. Occupancy is filled during this time with other chess enthusiasts and participants, and a grandmaster from Germany flies in to instruct and oversee the action.
GETTING OUR FEET WET
Hearing so much about the famed hot springs, I was anxious to view the grounds and decide which pool I would dip my toe into first. There are four tepee-enclosed hot tub springs in various sizes, bearing the names of famous Native Americans, and complete with temperature readings. There's another uncovered smaller jacuzzi-style spring, and then there's the big one...aaahhhhhh. We would sample them all before we were done, and truly felt reinvigorated after each submersion. I don't think I've ever really noticed having soft skin before. I did on this trip.
The resort also offers a golf course, tennis courts, and access to river rafting and boating. I, myself spent quite a bit of time in their pub and microbrewery. In addition to great ales with a local flair, I fancied the decor of the place. The bar stools were welded iron complete with old west pistols for arm rests that could actually be cocked and fired. Talk about cool!
EXPLORING THE TOWN
When it came time for my new bride to enjoy a much deserved and lengthy massage, I took the opportunity to walk around town and explore the town of Saratoga. The town itself reflects a dichotomy of sorts. On one hand, the ample recreational opportunities offered year round; coupled with the hot springs, make Saratoga an ideal tourist location. On the other, this is another one of Wyoming's smaller towns that due to the loss of one of its biggest employers, the town sawmill, has seen its population and way of life somewhat decline over the years. That is too bad. The people are friendly and very fond of their town and their heritage. With the recent forest beetle infestations, there has been talk of getting the old mill up and running again, but so far we have just heard talk. Walking around, I saw old and new wierdly juxtaposing, revitalization taking place, old buildings preserved for their history; some worth saving, some obviously decrepit. It all reminded me a bit of my old hometown, and I quietly reflected on the efforts that it takes to keep such a special place alive. I wish the town of Saratoga the best with those challenges.
The region is also home to the Old Baldy Club and golf course - a legend in its own right, known not only for its world-class links and superior play, but for the notable celebrities who've accepted its challenge over the years.
So, thank you Saratoga, Wyoming; for your history, your kindness, and your flavor. I can't think of a place more fitting to have spent our "mini-moon," and we shall return.