Hokey medical spas near Indiana?
January 9, 2012 10:25 AM   Subscribe

My wife really likes run down tourist attractions and old fashioned "medical" spas, both of which are found in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For her birthday this month I need something closer to Indiana (within 200 miles of Indianapolis). Recommendations?

If the two can't be found together within range I would be interested in hearing about good run down tourist attractions near Indiana and then I'll try and find some sort of indulgent experience close to that.

We have already been to Mammoth Cave, KY and staying in a cement teepee motel as great fun.
posted by ChrisHartley to Travel & Transportation around Indiana, IN (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
French Lick, Indiana has the old spas and within range.
posted by vagabond at 10:33 AM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: Oh snap yes I should have mentioned that West Baden (next to French Lick) was the inspiration for this birthday idea but it costs $400+ while my budget is more like $150.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:44 AM on January 9, 2012

The worlds' largest ball of paint! only about 40 miles outside Indianapolis. You can even paint a layer.
posted by Gungho at 11:20 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe not this time but in the future Budapest Hungary?
posted by bdc34 at 11:31 AM on January 9, 2012

You guys have been here, right?
posted by pjern at 12:27 PM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: We've tried to go to the medical history museum 3 times but some logistical catastrophe always intervenes. It is definitely on the list, as is the ball of paint.

I'd be especially interested in learn about any 1900s health/wellness craze centers in OH, IL, IN, MI, or KY - the sort of place where they hung you over a steaming salt bath while you drank whole oat slurries, the sort of place you went to get over TB with the help of leaches. Do any such historic sites still exist? Even better if they still offer oat slurries and leaches.
posted by ChrisHartley at 2:09 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The worlds' largest ball of paint! only about 40 miles outside Indianapolis.
Wow. That's just down the road from me.

Sadly, I think West Baden is pretty much it for that sort of thing in Indiana.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:12 PM on January 9, 2012

If you guys are looking for a truly low-rent, cheesy, skeezy, and completely ironic weekend of l amour, I can highly recommend the Greenwood Fantasuites. It's Greenwood! Bring your own cheap asti, and the scene is set.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:19 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

OMG, Thorzdad. Greenwood... who knew. The "Cupid's Corner" brings to mind Dudley Moore's swinging bachelor pad in "Foul Play." The rest of them look like bad HGTV makeovers.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:28 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not exactly useful for this particular birthday, but maybe useful for a future one - Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Very pretty little town perched up high in the Ozarks. Used to be a holiday spot for all kinds of people, with natural springs peppered throughout the town (most of which are hardly producing any water anymore) and lovely Victorian architecture all over the place. Every building in the downtown area is on the National Historic Register, and there's a huge mansion/hotel at the top of the hill that has exquisite views.

It's kind of a weird filter for tourists, street performers, oddballs and antique hunters now, and is well worth a visit if you're in the area.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:23 PM on January 9, 2012

I feel like this sortof fits what you're looking for in that it's in IN and oldThe circular jail in Crawfordsville( at the bottom of the link) is pretty fun. Not a destination in and of itself, but worth stopping by to see on the way to somewhere.
posted by garlic at 10:18 AM on January 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions of good alternatives. From reading through Wikipedia it looks like there were tons of these sort of spas in the early 1900s but they all burned down by the 1920s or were demolished in the 1970s.

We ended up going to the medical history museum as suggested by pjern and it was fantastic.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:03 AM on January 17, 2012

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