Fitness From The Field: Swimming At Sand Springs
The Rural Intelligence region offers a plethora of fitness and healing modalities, but it can be hard to know which is the one that fits your needs, your body type and your schedule. Enter Paula Boyajian, a yoga instructor certified in Interdisciplinary Yoga and Yoga for the Special Child, who has taken on the role of RI’s fitness contributor to sleuth out the details of the many health and wellness options in our area.
I was lucky to grow up just a quick drive from beaches and bayside pools. Having chosen to settle in the Berkshires, I obviously cherish its beauty, but in summer months I long for a place to put my feet up, drink in the sun and even work off some calories by swimming in a pool. Little did I know that just such a place has existed in Williamstown, Mass. since 1827, when Sand Springs first advertised the curative properties of its water. To this day, the spring produces bottled water, as well as a most picturesque place for adults, couples and families to splash, laugh and play.
What It Is
History has it that five Native American nations treasured Sand Springs for the medicinal properties of its thermal spring, which bubbles out at a pleasant 73 degrees. In 1907, when tourism began thriving, the Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built on the site. In 1950, The George family purchased the property and developed the beloved family recreation center. In 2003, the Redstone group bought the Springs and, only five years later, planned to close it. Luckily, local residents banded together and raised enough money to save the landmark location.
Executive Director Geraldine Shen says, “It can only get better from here.” For instance, they’re planning Friday night dinners (during which cocktails can be purchased). The pool – which is still filled directly from the spring – is going to be heated to make children and older folk more comfortable. Offering a variety of snacks and items that we often forget to bring (like sunblock) available for sale helps Sand Springs meet its goal of “creating a sustainable community place where residents and visitors gather in an historic and bucolic setting for relaxation, outdoor recreation, and fitness.”
Any. From napping on a lounge chair, to building up a sweat playing volleyball or getting a non-impact aerobic workout in the pool, there is something for everyone. Two of the pool lanes are always corded off for adults; on Tuesdays and Thursdays (7–10 a.m.) and Saturdays (8-11 a.m.) the entire pool is set up for adult lap swimmers. There is also “adult only” time in the hot tub. For the young — or young-at-heart — there’s a basketball court, cornhole boards (a bean bag game that develops concentration) and a gaga pit. (Not to be confused with Lady Gaga; it’s also known as Israeli dodgeball.)
The choice is yours: get your heart going and build muscle by swimming, let your cares melt away in the hot tub or jump around while playing any of the provided games. Whatever you choose, you’ll join a long lineage of those who have used the Springs for exercise and relaxation.
Five Red Cross lifeguards keep attendees safe. Some, who are trained by Purple Valley Aquatics, also lead children’s swimming classes.
When you looked up “bucolic” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Sand Springs — it’s the epitome of country charm. Despite it being a stone’s throw from Williams College and many restaurants and pubs, the only sound you hear is that of the spring itself. The largest pool is crystal clear, the hot tub inviting and clean and the kiddie pool full of colorful toys. There’s a wide choice of seating, from pool-side tables with umbrellas to covered picnic tables and lounge chairs set on a rolling green lawn. While there is a concession stand, picnicking also is allowed. Clean changing rooms and a sauna are available to members and day visitors alike.
Adult day passes are $10; two-week memberships start at $55; a full-season individual membership is $175; for a family, $495.
158 Sand Springs Road, Williamstown, MA
HOURS* June 24—September 7
Sunday—Thursday 11 a.m.—7 p.m.
Friday—Saturday 11 a.m.—8 p.m.
*Call or check the website in case of inclement weather and for event information.
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