Many people drive along Route 96 and the Thruway, not realizing that just off the beaten path is Clifton Springs, a town with Turn-of-the-Century Charm.
At the heart of the town is the Clifton Springs Hospital, originally built by the visionary Dr. Henry Foster, who was one of the pioneers to introduce the use of hydrotherapy and homeothapy into modern medicine.
In 1850, with $1000 of his own money, the deeply religious Dr. Foster inspired investors to purchase stock, and built the hospital that he saw as work commissioned from God. The original wooden structure was erected near a site used by Healers from the Seneca Nation who relied on the healing powers of the sulphur waters to cure tribal members.
Fearful of fires from gas lamps, in 1871 Dr. Foster completed the constuction of a new hospital composed of the brick buildings which give Clifton Springs its signature Victorian character. In 2000, the Hospital opened The Springs Integrative Medical Center & Spa, a day spa which carries on Dr. Foster’s philosophy of integrated care for mind, body and spirit, and which now includes massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and traditional spa services. The Springs Spa is open to the public and hospital patients alike.
The property surrounding the hospital is beautifully landscaped with a sulfur fountain in the front courtyard, a healing herb garden, a Peace Labyrinth and a winding brook with ducks that separates the hospital from Foster Cottage, the beautiful Victorian Home once occupied by Dr. Foster. This lovely building now serves as a museum to the Clifton Springs Historical Society. Foster Cottage Museum is open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While in town, be sure to visit the Chapel located in the Spa Apartments on Main Street, which safeguards a stunning Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile glass mosaic of the Last Supper, installed in 1916 by close friends of Dr. Foster in his memory.
You’ll enjoy shopping or browsing in several inviting gift shops in town. If you’re hunger there are several places to catch a tasty and quick bite, and for a truly unique dining experience, stop by Warfield’s Restaurant and Bakery where Warfield’s award-winning chef, Eric Mueller, prepares elegant country fare with Oriental and European influences, served amid Turn-of-the-Century atmosphere.