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This report is brought to you by Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington. Please email the preceding address if you have any questions or comments.

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[For private use only, not for re-publication in any mass media. Copyright 2005 by El Dorado Hot Springs. No part of this report may be reproduced in a public forum or printed in multiple copies without the express permission of Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington.]

Report:

2005. This is one of only two hot springs east of the Mississippi.

WORLD GUIDE CLASS, THE HOT SPRINGS SPA, MINERAL BATHS, AND CAMPGROUND, One Bridge St., POB 428, Hot Springs, NC, 28743, 704-622-7676. Fax: 704-622-7615, was a pleasurable new find located on the NC/Tenn. line, close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where N opportunities abound. We don't ordinarily list non Naturist facilities, but this one is more than worthy of mention because Naturists not needing full-time nudity will be right at home at REASONABLE prices. The campground, completely rebuilt just a couple of years ago, is across the road, a short walk from the springs, "Heated In The Depths Of The Earth, Where The Goddess Of Health Waved Her Magic Wand."

Relatively private sites allowed us to be nude all the time inside and outdoors on the side of the Nomad RV facing away from the public area. Considering what's offered and the generally good condition of the place, we want to repeat; the rates were the lowest we've seen. Management has 0 problem with nudity --"We'd never consider wearing suits in the tubs, and as far as we know, most visitors don't either."--but they told us many prudish types do, so if visiting in an RV, ask for a place in the back where it's the most private and be discreet about nudity. Casual nude use was again confirmed to us in July, 1998, by a couple who visited for the first time. They assured us it won't be their last.

Sites ranging from no hookups to full hookups available. If tenting, that area is more private yet with sunning areas where we doubt being natural would create problems. The tenting area offers sites with optional (at a small additional fee) water and/or electric hookup. Special weekly rates give campers one day free. All in all, it was a really neat set-up even if we did have to put on clothes from time to time.

Seeing the springs is like walking through pages of a history book. Once the site of grand hotels filled with robber barons of the perineum tax era when `taking the waters' (meaning both bathing in and drinking them, from separate taps, that is) was touted as a cure for just about ANYTHING, today's Old Bath House Spring is a much scaled down, more peaceful operation where nude is the norm in the tubs. On the grounds, it isn't acceptable. Gone are the huge hotels, to a number lost to fires, and the elaborate marble bath houses. All that remains of the grandeur of less than a century ago is the shell (no roof) of an old building surrounding the main spring. Initially, the place looked abandoned with the lone derelict building. Then we were greeted by a very friendly woman who quickly made us feel at home, regaling us with tales of a bygone era and giving us detailed answers to questions regarding the history of the springs.

From the old spring house, modern technology has taken over, piping the 104 degree water to private outdoor tubs in secluded areas along the French Broad River and Spring Creek which makes each tub, especially those farthest away from the spring, a haven for Naturists craving to "benefit from the natural heat and the mineral and gaseous qualities of the waters" of which a complete state approved analysis is provided. We couldn't see all the tubs because of natural screening, but we'd guess they numbered about 12; each was in its own private nook by the river, screened by trees and surrounded by small decked sunning areas with opaque fencing, offering complete privacy.

Curiously, water temperature was mentioned neither by the woman who greeted us nor in the literature; we'd guessed it to be a perfect (for us) 104 degrees, with no artificial heating. One of the tubs is about 5 feet deep, offering full immersion while standing; others were of lesser depth, down to that of a typical small hot tub. Called `Deluxe Spas', several had six hydro jets and commanded a slightly higher rate, but we still can't get over how low the rates were--only $12.00 per person from 9:00am-7:00pm. The last treat offered is massage (by appointment) for only $30.00 by the hour or $20.00/half hour. This place has one foot into Naturist Heaven's door; if they ever take the next step, it'll be Paradise for all choosing to be clothed but by the sun.

Rating:

Though non Naturist, we give the Hot Springs Five (clothed, but only some of the time) Moons.

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