I found the Jefferson Pools to be a unique and enjoyable historical experience. The buildings that house the pools are very rustic, to the point that once you're in there you realize that the waiver you just signed without reading was acknowledging that the roof might collapse onto your head, but that's what makes it so cool. The structures are so weathered and falling apart that you can't help but to feel the history of the place and that you were transported back in time - "Must be some kind of... Hot Tub Time Machine." Aside from the open air center of the roof half the shingles are gone, allowing light to come in through hundreds of other holes. Kind of cool looking. The water was a nice temperature, crystal clear, and clean aside from the occasional clump of floating algae that thrives in the streams outside. Although there was the smell of sulfur outside, I didn't really notice it inside or on myself on the long drive home. They provided plenty of water noodles to make it easy to quietly float in the pool. I question whether storing them wedged in between wood beams coated with peeling (lead?) paint is a wise idea though.
In the men's pools (and perhaps the women's) there was also a "Bath Overflow" that was a fun experience. You walk down steps below the surface of the pool and sit on floating boards in a narrow passageway. The attendant removes a board from above so that water from the pool blasts through a hole to provide a high pressure massage. Here you can also see the water leaving the building through broken boards and going right into the stream. An interesting perspective since you are essentially sitting in the stream from inside the structure.
I went during family time between 12-2 so my wife could join me and I didn't get stuck floating around with a bunch of naked guys. During this time there is no nude bathing and both the men's and women's buildings are open to everyone and are co-ed. So keep this in mind when planning your visit. Since you are supposed to keep any talk to a whisper, I wouldn't recommend this for kids.
Although I agree with Omni not wanting to restore this site, I felt like they were using that as an excuse to completely neglect the place. I question how long the buildings will last if no structural work at all is done. It's not like the telephone pole holding up the roof is original, so some restoration has been done before. With a $17 per person price tag (not to mention the expense of staying at The Homestead), how about at least maintaining the place? Fix the ripped screen hanging down from the roof. Replace the abandoned house looking shower curtains that you are using as changing room doors (that don't close all the way) with whatever they used originally before plastic so they are true to the time and look presentable. If they get moldy, replace them. Almost all of the wooden pegs were missing from the rack in my changing room and there was a rotting wicker rack with a broken shelf in there too. Why? The changing room next to mine was closed off with caution tape duct taped to the wall. Not exactly historic feeling. Upgrade the nasty bathroom and install a door instead of using a shower curtain torn off half the rings. This is NOT the toilet that Thomas Jefferson used, so there is no reason you can't redo the bathroom to be rustic but not gross using vintage pieces. Come on Omni, you have the money to fix this stuff! Don't let this gem fall apart! Anyway...
If you like unique roadside attractions and want to experience mineral springs in a truly rustic and historic environment you will enjoy Jefferson Pools. If you are looking for a luxurious experience stick with the spa at The Homestead.
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