All posts by James Van Dellen

Small Towns – Big Rec Centers

Here’s a surprising thing about small towns, or small towns with money anyway:  Your tourist dollars have built many modern, aesthetically pleasing, and inexpensive to visit recreation centers serving the towns and surrounding community.   If your hotel’s “gym” consists of a broken treadmill or you’re road tripping it and need a workout break, search ‘em out before your trip.

Here are a few samples I found over the past year. This past winter I was pleasantly surprised to find this rec center during a ski weekend in Steamboat Springs. I spent an afternoon at the Old Town Hot Springs.  This non-profit community center has a waterslide, rock climbing wall, gym, and multiple pools.

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In September, after a night of camping in New Mexico, I drove to Santa Fe (below) and had a wonderful workout and swim at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center.  Here I found a sauna, ice hockey rink, and huge multi-level workout facility.  It was a busy Saturday morning with classes and early risers getting their workout time in, but far more spacious than my local gym at home.


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Visiting Moab, this small town catering to adventures houses the Moab Recreation and Aquatics Center.

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Best of all, a day pass is very economical for individuals or families. A pass at Steamboat is $15. I used the gym, showers, running track, pool, and hot tubs at the Chavez Center for $6.

These are just the three that I’ve found.  YMCAs in large cities also have surprisingly nice facilities, and perfect for an inexpensive workout if away from your home gym.

And, if you’re a bookwork rather than a gym rat, the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming, is probably the most beautiful and tranquil library I’ve visited.

Airfare Hack . Europe Edition

Heading to Berlin, Amsterdam, or Paris?  Unfortunately prices haven’t fallen this fall like they have in the past.   However, flying to a “gateway city” and taking an inter-Europe flight to your actual destination is a simple way to save, and see a second city.

En route to Berlin?  Airfare from Denver, my hometown, is $1183:

Ouch.

 

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However, fly to Copenhagen on Air Canada and the price drops to $775.

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An hour flight to Berlin on easyjet is $120, or book the train, and you’re in Berlin for hundreds of dollars less.

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Flights to Amsterdam from Denver and other points mid-US are  $1,070 plus.   But if you fly to Oslo it’s $687.  $200 cheaper!

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Hang out in Oslo til the sun sets and a quick KLM from Oslo to Amsterdam is $183,  a $200 savings.

 

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Give yourself ample time to transfer, since your flights are booked separate you won’t be protected if you’re late or delayed on the first one, even if on the same airline.