Hidden Adventures: Mercey Hot Springs

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The road to rejuvenation took us to the western edge of Fresno County.

Our destination was an oasis surrounded by dry grass.

Mercey Hot Springs offers an escape.

Visitors relax in tubs full of mineral water which flows from a natural, underground spring.

"It just makes me feel better, and I think it cleanses my body," said Nick Slater from Oakland.

"This water has a very mild, salty mineral content."

We strolled the grounds with owner Larry Ronneberg.

"We like to think we are keeping history alive," said Ronneberg.

Some of the rustic buildings date back to the 1890s. The "chapel" where you check in served as a bottling plant long ago.

"They would fill bottles with water and sell it as a cure-all elixir for every ailment you ever had," said Ronneberg.

The water remains the big draw though most people prefer to soak in it.

Ronneberg also showed us the campsites.

"You get that rest away from the city, away from the noise. That's what people are coming here for, for rest and relaxation and listen to the birds," said Ronneberg.

They offer a soothing soundtrack.

Even the rabbits enjoy the slower pace here.

"It's pretty important to me to unwind and not have Instagram or social media popping up all the time," said Jordan Turner from Hollister.

Pool time is quiet time so guests can relax and reflect.

"No radios, no iPods, no iPads, no computers. We understand people want to take their phones. We ask them not to," said Ronneberg.

Mercey Hot Springs spans 144 acres.

Some guests discover it while driving on I-5 between LA and the Bay Area.

Others know all about the nine cabins which offer a mix of the renovated to the brand new.

"They all have propane heat, they have air-conditioning, they have memory foam beds," said Ronneburg.

The European touch is the work of Larry's wife, Grazyna.

"Make it nice and comfortable and warm and homey," said Grazyna.

Just like the tubs.

Four private soaking tubs date back to the 1900s.

Visitors appreciate the artistic touch as well as the option of using hot or cold mineral water.

"You can cool down in the baths," said Slater.

Solar panels make this a self-sustaining retreat.

The mineral water measures 127 degrees when the pumps pull it up.

Some guests want it even hotter.

"The mineral water just reinvigorates me," said Slater.

This summer Ronneberg expects to put his new pizza oven to use when the Oasis Cafe opens.

In the meantime, visitors will avoid baking in the sun while silently soaking in the shade.

"We hear enough 'Aaaahhhh' reactions," said Grazyna.

No traffic, no sirens, sometimes no clothes.

The clothing-optional area is popular with people who want to shed more than just stress.

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