The Lessons of Sulphur Water

The Spring House at The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for a reason.  Sulphur water is what attracted people to the area in the first place.  The Greenbrier’s iconic logo is the Spring House, a Greek revival structure that marks the head of the sulphur spring, and one of the rooms at the Greenbrier features fountains where guests used to be served glasses of sulphur water to drink.  Imagine, voluntarily drinking a glass of sulphur water!

The sulphur water tap room at The Greenbrier

For a long time, Americans thought that sulphur water had significant healing properties and helped cure rheumatism and stomach ailments and other afflictions.  People traveled for miles to “take the waters” at White Sulphur Springs, or sample the “Pluto Water” in French Lick, Indiana, or visit other resorts found at the heads of sulphur springs.  Eventually, of course, tests confirmed that there were no health benefits to consuming sulphur water — or for that matter, steeping in hot sulphur water versus other hot water — and sulphur water became a nuisance to be addressed rather than a boon to be celebrated.

I think of sulphur water when I see a new pop-up website ad touting a simple way to reduce belly fat, or increase energy, or enhance sexual potency.  Americans have always been targets for the snake-oil salesmen preaching about the latest miracle cure — because we don’t want to believe that the only way to a flat stomach is a good diet and plenty of exercise.  At least the sulphur water health phenomenon had the benefit of producing some fine resorts along the way.

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The Arnold Hits Downtown Columbus

The Arnold Sports Festival has returned to downtown Columbus, bigger and better than ever.  It is the one weekend each year where we pencil-necked, out-of-shape downtown office workers feel like we live in an oversized world of gigantic professional wrestlers who sport bulging biceps and barrel chests under tight-fitting clothing.

The Arnold, which runs through tomorrow, is a tremendous boon for Columbus and local businesses.  It is estimated that visitors to The Arnold will spend more than $42 million during their stay in Columbus.  It brings lots of visitors to town from all over the world, and it features events all day at five different venues in the area. Those of us who work in downtown Columbus can see the economic impact firsthand — increased car traffic, increased foot traffic, and lots of activity at hotels and restaurants.

Yesterday Richard, JV and I went to have lunch at the North Market — which is one block away from the Columbus Convention Center, the hub of The Arnold — and the area was jammed with cars and Arnold attendees.  As we left, we saw people lugging huge sacks of product they had purchased from the many retail stalls at The Arnold. I have to believe that, if you are a business selling fitness-related products, The Arnold is the highlight of the year.  The attendees are people who are really serious about body-building, or fencing, or kick-boxing, and they will spend liberally in pursuit of their passion.  We Columbusites welcome them all.