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Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Destination Spas, Resort and Hotel Spas, Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Mohonk Maintains Mission of Healing

Mohonk Maintains Mission of Healing

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Gazebo in Gardens at Mohonk Mountain House (Jim Smith Photography)

Gazebo in Gardens at Mohonk Mountain House (Jim Smith Photography)

Top spa resort celebrates nearly a century and a half of environmental pioneering

Ninety miles north of Manhattan, near the town of New Paltz, a most attractive, sprawling complex of wings on a Victorian castle emerges: Mohonk Mountain House named the #1 spa resort in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler.

Owned by generations of the Smiley family, Mohonk is unusual in many ways. The twin Quakers who originally bought 280 acres and a 10-room inn in 1869 created a success story that resulted in 7,500 acres 100 years later–5,000 of which were set aside as a preserve administered by a trust. And founder Albert Smiley was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his annual conference on international arbitration, which paved the way for the Hague Conferences and the United Nations from 1895 to 1916. Environmentally, the family took an equally unusual tack:  a geothermal system provides heating and cooling, tapping the cavelike temperatures beneath the surface with 48, 480-foot wells.

For guests, Mohonk fulfills its mission as a place of healing, and the 30,000 square-foot spa blends cutting edge techniques with traditional stretching practices from the late 1800s in Timeless Traditions treatments. Mohonk Muscle Rescue is intensive massage, and Warm stone, aromatherapy combined with Swedish, Reflexology, Swedish, head and shoulders, massage aimed at stress, maternity massage, cranial sacral, Reiki, Shiatsu, Breathe Deep and Be Well, Attainable Sleep, relief from the effects of high heels, men on the go for calves and feet, special massages incorporated into mani-pedi.

Creative packages include couples and maternity massage with 50-minute maternity massage and 50 minute Deep Tissue, $320 per couple. They combine micro-current technology, ultrasound and infusions for anti-aging, and use local herbs and stones for their treatments.  A 60-minute massage runs in the neighborhood of $170; 80 minutes  around $220; facials usually $155 for an hour.

Most of the staff is part-time, but the intensely collaborative ethic that permeates Mohonk generates team–inspired treatments and programs, like the Muscle Rescue treatment that was instituted years ago when the property began offering triathalons and the spa staff met to discuss complimentary treatments. Although the original offering addressed muscles related to running, biking and swimming, they found the treatment was embraced by many – weekend warriors,  and became one of their most popular. Later they bundled several such treatments in the “Solutions for Modern Living” that address everything from time spent working with today’s pervasive communications electronics to a breathe deep massage for sinus relief, developed in conjunction with Hope Gillerman, their aromatherapy partner.

Many of these treatments are developed by listening to the guests, Spa Director Barbara Stirewalt said, hearing their problems and addressing them with treatments.  “We talk about what the customers are saying, what’s bothering them, and that begets treatments, “ she added.

Another example was their brainstorm discussion on the physical perils of the digital world. The Tension Tamer, designed for texting and the posture often associated with the eyes on a smaller, lap or handheld device, addresses issues for  both for shoulders and forearms. “As a matter of fact, our entire Solutions for Modern Living offering was developed in the very same collaborative manner, with our team focusing together on issues we have identified and are hearing from our guests,” Stirewalt said.

She is delighted to be able to use the resort’s enormous resources. “I’m the luckiest Spa Director ever,” she said. “From product line selections to the teas we serve in the spa, I have been able to have highly educated biologists guide choices that are truly relevant to our surroundings – an indigenous connection for our guests.” For instance, the Indigo Poultice treatment is named for the plant that grows wild on the Mohonk Preserve.

The spa’s 16 treatment rooms are paired with a solarium with a stone fireplace, glass wrapped verandas for men and women, and signature treatments like the Mohonk Red Massage that combines Swedish, Lomi Lomi and Thai stretches named in honor of Mohonk Red witch hazel that grows on the property. At the end, the senses are revived one by one, ending with taste: grapes and an elixir to enjoy on the Women’s veranda, then swim or enjoy a mineral bath. There’s a lift for any guests who might need pool entry assistance and lifts for stairs in some areas, elevators in most.

Solarium with Stone Fireplace at Mohonk Mountain House (Jim Smith Photography)

Solarium with Stone Fireplace at Mohonk Mountain House (Jim Smith Photography)

Body treatments include a hydrating body mask using anti-inflammatory extracts from moss found on the grounds. There are also customized water cures: private hydrotherapy tub treatments with different herbal mixes for rest, renewal and more.

There’s also a whole list of treatments for men, which run from Gentlemen’s Facials to Indigo Herbal Poultice Massage and Deep Tissue to Huguenot hand and foot rescue.

Guests can combine treatments into samplers like the Gotta Getaway Combo where they can choose a 50-minute massage from the menu and a 50-minute facial for $310, and there are special services for older teens.

Overnight guests have complimentary use of pool fitness room, classes from yoga and Pilates to Qi Gong, meditation and stretches. Workouts can make use of the Adaptive Motion Trainer, exercise bikes, free weights, elliptical machines and treadmills, but also the 1,200 acres of hiking, biking, horseback riding and boating facilities.

Judging from the dreamlike state of guests relaxing after their treatments, and their resolution to take the spa’s philosophy home, the spa director is by no means the only lucky one.

 

 

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Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Destination Spas, Spa Reviews | 1 comment

Bio-Vitalhotel Weissenseerhof

Bio-Vitalhotel Weissenseerhof

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Foto Augenblick

It was delightful to stumble upon a jewel of a spa hotel that none of my friends know about. A hotel which nestles high up in the forested hills of southern Austria on the edge of the stunning Lake Weissensee, the highest bathing lake in the Alps,  a hotel which offers not only a heavenly, luxurious, peaceful environment, but also a supremely healthy one. Ideally, I would prefer to keep it a secret, but that would not be fair to the lovely Bio-Vitalhotel Weissenseerhof.

On my plane from London to Salzburg, Austria, I chatted with the TV chef Nigella Lawson. She was off to the renowned VivaMayr clinic for a week, the place where the global elite go and spend a fortune to take the Mayr cure (a brutal regime of gut cleansing and fasting). The following week, Kate Moss was due to be there, too.

Everyone who is – or thinks they are – anyone, seems to head off there at some point, but I felt quite smug, for my destination was not only far more charming, but a great deal less expensive. I, too, have been to the VivaMayr, but I was now on my way to somewhere not so far away, with similar jaw-dropping scenery and level of luxurious accommodation, an option to do the Mayr cure each day if I so desired, or simply to eat wonderful healthy organic food, be pampered in an amazing ‘floating’ spa and indulge in fabulous organic Austrian wine – all at a fraction of the cost.

Everything in this family-run hotel is designed to please. The staff could not be more helpful and friendly overseen by the lovely Sabine Loy, and the chef is superlative. Florian Klinger devotes himself to organic, super-healthy yet gourmet cuisine using fresh produce from the hotel garden and divine cold-pressed oils that he makes himself. A certified dietary chef, he caters for every special nutritional requirement and has 30 years experience in developing the modern Mayr diet. He oversees the medically supervised fasting programs for guests following the modern F.X. Mayr cure and the alkaline fast, as well as producing sensational healthy menus for guests who want to follow a normal diet.

I compromised by devoting one day to the Mayr diet including a session with a Mayr trained doctor, which was no hardship at all, and the rest of the week eating my way through normal, varied, yet extremely healthy, menus. I should add here that serious wine lovers will adore the splendid wine cellar and vinoteca where you can taste and purchase over 600 wines from well-known wine growers around the world.

Days were spent sampling some of the huge number of treatments offered in the fabulous spa which is built right on and over the lake. Here, I had the finest massage I can honestly say I have ever had (thank you Thomas!) and dithered between medical wellness treatments like Lymph Drainage and Fasciae Therapy (for acute and chronic pain), indulgent beauty treatments and body and soul therapies like Reiki.

Austria/Österreich, Weissensee, Bio Vitalhotel Weissenseerhof, Neusach 18, A-9762 Weissensee, Österreich; www.weissenseerhof.at

Austria/Österreich, Weissensee, Bio Vitalhotel Weissenseerhof

There is also a yoga studio, as well as several saunas and lovely sundeck areas from which you can slip into the clear lake on sunny days. Frankly, I never wanted to go off-site, but couldn’t resist a trip by gondola up the mountain one day to sample more traditional Austrian food (delicious) and a restorative walk down the mountain on easy trails.

Those with more energy can spend days hiking or mountain biking in the Weissensee Nature Park; in the winter the lake obligingly freezes over creating the largest natural ice surface in Europe and hours of fun for those who like skating – or falling over.

For me, the unique selling point of the Weissenseerhof is that you can have the most relaxing, pampering holiday there, eating like a king or following a proper, medically and nutritionally designed diet – or do a bit of both. If you want to self-cater, there are also delightful apartments for families. You really can’t go wrong.

Weissenseerhof Hotel, Neusach, Austria

Tel: +43 (0)4713 2219 402

www.weissenseerhof.at

 

 

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in News, Ship Spa, Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Spa Aboard American Queen: Big Surprise

Spa Aboard American Queen: Big Surprise

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spa aboard american queen

Spa aboard American Queen was big surprise 

I wasn’t expecting much when I booked a massage on the sternwheeler American Queen, cruising the Upper Mississippi in August. I heard that there was only one therapist who provided all the spa services – hair, facials, wraps and massages. How good could this be?  But I hoped the treatment would get the kinks out and release some painful muscles around a knee injury. As long as I didn’t get hurt, what could be the harm?

I couldn’t have been more mistaken. What I got was one of the very best massages of my life, and living in New York with every imaginable modality available, that is saying something. And I have been known to get off the table and end the massage if I felt that the work was wrong or too rough.

Cheron  Molina Adams, American Queen’s therapist, obviously has extensive training, but what she has in addition is fantastic hands. In her light-filled salon and treatment room, after discussing my health issues and sensitivities,  she invited me to let her know during the massage if the pressure she used was too great.  I never had to say a word, although she worked quite deep in some areas. She instinctively went with my body, using  Swedish, deep tissue,  myofascial, Reflexology and some indefinable techniques so seamlessly that after a few minutes I just drifted out with pleasure. When I came back at the end, I had a new body.

My chronic knee pain had all but disappeared, soreness in my back and shoulders vanished and my entire body was integrated. And three days later, the effects are still there,  with uninterrupted sleep at night and practically no stiffness in the mornings.

Adams provides massage in 30-,  60- and 90-minute increments, and the longer treatments are a real bargain. Thirty minutes is $90, 60 is $110 and 90 is $140. River stone fusion massages run $115-4175. She also offers men’s and women’s haircuts for $35, cut with shampoo and blow-dry styling at $65, mustache and beard trims for $5. A 45-minute body scrub is $110. Hourlong microdermabrasion and facials run $100-130 and an express manicure is $35.

Probably not one of American Queen’s passengers had factored in top-notch spa services in booking the cruise. But they should have.

 

 

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Destination Spas, Health and Wellness, Spa Reviews | 2 comments

Thermal Delights in Rural France: Part 2

Thermal Delights in Rural France: Part 2

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Situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees overlooking a deep wooded gorge, Molitg-les-Bains has the most remote and romantic setting imaginable. Despite its apparent isolation, Molitg is just 45-minutes by road or rail from Perpignan, an exhilarating journey that encapsulates the many flavors of this glorious part of southern France – pretty hilltop villages, winding mountain roads and sweeping panoramas.

Molitg-les-Bains was the first spa acquired by the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil, Adrian Barthélémy’s group of French therapeutic spas and today consists of the thermal baths with an adjoining 34-room Grand Hotel, a separate small beauty salon, residential apartments and the exclusive Château de Riell, a small castle hotel.

After a scenic drive from Amélie-les-Bains, we were welcomed by friendly hotel manager Pascal Daube and settled into our charming rooms for our two-night stay. After dinner, over coffee and locally produced tipples Monsieur Daube related the fascinating history of Molitg-les-Bains.

The thermal waters were first written about in the 11th and 12th centuries, but their healing properties were not analyzed until the 18th century. In 1785, the Marquis de Llupia, owner of the hot springs constructed the first baths and allowed poor locals free access. The De Massia family took over the spa in 1846, modernizing and extending the facilities. After the Second World War in 1946, a company headed by Adrian Barthélémy bought the spa and undertook a full renovation of the property. A hotel was built using local granite and pink marble and Molitg became the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil’s first property.

Molitg’s thermal waters are rich in sulphur, sodium, magnesium and fresh water plankton found only in the deep gorge of the Castellane river. About 20 to 40 litres of plankton are carefully harvested every nine days from a container placed in the river flow for use in the spa. The live gel-like plankton contains algae and friendly bacteria that secrete anti-inflammatory substances to heal, moisturise and restore. The plankton is applied in compresses or poultices to treat burns, deep skin tissues and to soothe eczema and psoriasis. It also restores the mucous membrane in respiratory disorders and relieves pain and improves flexibility in rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions.

After visiting Molitg-les-Bains in 1950, biochemist Jeannine Marissal, developed and patented a method of using the plankton in beauty products under the brand name of Biotherm (now part of beauty giant L’Oréal).  Extracts of thermal plankton are still used in Biotherm products, though the plankton is now produced in a laboratory.

My facial in the Salon de Beauté next morning used Decléor products and finished with a plankton mask. As I relaxed under the gauze while the aesthetician gave my hands a gentle massage, I may have imagined it, but my skin seemed to be tingling. When the mask was removed, my complexion looked fresher – as though I’d had eight hours sleep instead of the usual five! Energised, I walked down to the lake in the bright sunshine, strolling beside the cascading Castellane river and into the deeply wooded gorge. The whole area was ablaze with autumnal colours that contrasted perfectly with the vivid blue sky. As I savored the beautiful scene, my spirits soared with a sudden surge of joie de vivre – Molitg’s magic was obviously working!

Later that afternoon, we changed into swimsuits and bathrobes to visit the spa for our individual treatment programmes. The thermal baths are accessed directly from the hotel and the modern facilities include 45 treatment cabins, 12 beautiful marble cabins with private bath tubs, a large thermal pool with massage jets that seems perched in the trees and a smaller pool where you float weightlessly in warm white mud, similar to the one at Amélie-les-Bains.

Molitg-les-Bains and other Chaîne Thermale du Soleil spas welcome guests seeking rest and relaxation, but their main focus is helping guests improve their health problems. The efficacy of thermal hydrotherapy is clinically recognized and unlike drug therapy, has no harmful side effects. French citizens are entitled to medically prescribed state funded programmes lasting three weeks with treatments carried out six days a week.

My hydrotherapy programme consisted of fine showers and steam for inhalation, a hydro-massage bath, an under water massage and a Vichy shower with body massage. Therapists escort guests to all their treatments, which are relatively short – around 15 to 30 minutes each. My programme complete, I returned to the warm spa pool for an invigorating water jet massage before slipping into the milky waters of the mud pool for an indulgent float.

On our last evening we dined at Le Château de Riell – the spa’s small castle hotel located up the hillside behind the Grand Hotel and surrounded by magnificent oak, sequoia, larch and pine trees. The château’s owner Biche Barthélémy, has styled the castle to reflect her travels; baroque interiors, an ‘Out of Africa’ safari bar and a charming Russian dacha where breakfast is served, built from the estate’s trees by local craftsmen.

Before dinner, we had a short tour of the property, climbing a narrow spiral staircase to view two of the château’s 12 elegant and elaborately decorated bedrooms. A small lift then took us to the giddy heights at the top of a tower, with access to a sunbathing terrace and a panoramic swimming pool set on the ramparts overlooking Le Canigou, the highest mountain in the area. We also toured the castle dungeons, a popular venue for Halloween parties and other events.

After all the excitement, we sat down to dinner in the château’s Catalan-styled dining room, with its extensive hacienda, unusual curved walls and large open fireplace, sadly unlit because of the unseasonably warm weather.

Dinner was a magnificent concoction of beautifully presented gourmet dishes including tender roast lamb, local delicacies and fine wines. Every dish was a work of art.  Afterwards, young Catalan head chef Andreu Coma Roca came to the table so we could thank him for the meal. We were amazed that someone so young (Andreu is in his early 20s) could create and cook such a sophisticated menu. Undoubtedly, a celebrity chef in the making!

Useful information

Molitg-les-Bains is open from the beginning of April to the end of November.

The spa is closed on Sundays.

For rates and further information visit www.chainethermale.fr

For more information on Languedoc-Roussillon please visit www.sunfrance.com and www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com

Photography by Rama Knight and Chaîne Thermale du Soleil

 

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Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Destination Spas, Health and Wellness, Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Thermal Delights in Rural France: Part 1

Thermal Delights in Rural France: Part 1

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With the Mediterranean to the east, Spain to the south and a warm sunny climate, the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France is renowned as one of the world’s oldest and most prolific wine producing areas. It is home to Blanquette de Limoux – believed to be France’s first sparkling white wine and the inspiration for Champagne.

But for spa aficionados, Languedoc-Roussillon is best known for its myriad of hot springs created by geological activity under the nearby Pyrenees heating the subterranean water. Rich in healing minerals, the springs have been used for centuries with towns and treatment centres developed around them. While these ‘natural’ spas lack the luxury element of their modern counterparts, but are more affordable and have their own fascinating ambience and healing tradition.

 

The hot sulphuric springs of the small town of Amélie les Bains (60°C at source) have been easing aches and pains since 200 AD. Named after Queen Amelia, wife of Louis Philippe), the town is a 45-minute drive from the airport at Perpignan. French citizens entitled to free thermal ‘cures’ for their rheumatic and respiratory disorders flock to the town for daily immersions and other treatments. The warm waters are increasingly being used for wellness and relaxation with packages and individual treatments at very reasonable prices.

Amélie les Bains is defined by the French tourist board as a ‘station verte de vacances,’ – a tourist destination with ‘outstanding natural beauty and a natural attraction.’ The thermal springs are the ‘natural attraction’ and were once thought to have magical curative properties. With two thermal spa centres – the busy Mondony baths, which cater for up to 2,500 visitors a day and the quieter Roman baths, built on the ancient site of the old Roman baths – the hot springs continue to be an integral part of the life and culture of the town.

We stayed at the Hotel La Pinéde, a pleasant three-star establishment and one of the Chaine Thermale du Soleil’s group of  thermal spa hotels located throughout France. These spa hotels offer healthy gourmet menus, specially devised in collaboration with Michel Guérard, one of France’s most acclaimed chefs and founder of la Cuisine Minceur (lighter healthier cuisine). We spent a pleasant first evening drinking local wines and sampling his Cuisine Santé Nature, which was delicious and satisfying.

Before visiting the thermal spa the following afternoon, we drove into nearby Ceret – a picturesque small town famous for its cherry festival and a magnet for artists. Towering plane trees line the streets creating dappled shade and small shops are juxtaposed with outdoor cafes and an impressive church. In the 1900s, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse lived and painted in the area and the outstanding modern art museum contains many examples of their work, including some of Picasso’s lesser-known colourful ceramics.

It was fun exploring the little town, which has a large church and many quaint shops including several tempting patisseries. We met up for lunch on the outside terrace of the Hotel Vidal, under vines laden with bunches of tiny black grapes, which we were invited us to sample. The grapes were deliciously sweet and tasted of strawberries!

Back in Amélie les Bains, we whiled away a couple of hours in the Roman baths, enjoying Vichy showers and water bed massages in between dips in the circular thermal pool and having our shoulders and necks pummelled by powerful water jets.  As a final treat, we were led to the thermal circuit’s pièce de résistance  – a warm mud pool, where the combination of 25 per cent kaolin (a type of white clay sourced from central France) and 75 per cent thermal water creates such a buoyant chalky liquid that it was impossible to remain upright! Floating in that warm silky water was a relaxing finish to our first visit to Amélie les Bains.

Useful information

For more information on Languedoc-Roussillon please visit www.sunfrance.com and www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com

For rates and information about the spas and hotels featured visit www.chainethermale.fr

 

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Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Health and Wellness, Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Surfing Nicaragua’s Smaller Waves: My Visit to ChicaBrava Surf Camp

Surfing Nicaragua’s Smaller Waves: My Visit to ChicaBrava Surf Camp

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Surfboards at Playa Hermosa.

Surfboards at Playa Hermosa.

Cloud Farm pool

Cloud Farm pool

 

Cloud Farm interior

Cloud Farm interior

As a young girl growing up in San Diego, I thought that surfing looked like fun. But I wasn’t that coordinated, I didn’t know any surfing girls, and the idea of trying to go out there with the big boys laughing at my uninformed attempts was enough to keep me on a boogie board.

 

So when I got the chance to spend a few days at ChicaBrava Surf Camp in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, I was intrigued. A woman-owned surf camp with women instructors and students sounded less intimidating than going surfing with guys. But was this something I wanted to try as a 40+ woman who doesn’t really do adventure sports?

 

Upon reflection, I decided my life could use a little excitement and female empowerment, so I packed my bags and journeyed south to Nicaragua. I’m glad I did.

 

Most of the campers are professional women in their 30s, said ChicaBrava founder and surf champion Ashley Blaylock. But the age range is wide. “Chicas” have been as young as 8 and as old as 70. Last year, two women showed up individually to celebrate their 70th birthdays. And both took home photographic evidence of themselves standing up on a surfboard.

 

Campers have two lodging choices. The Surf House, located in the heart of town, is more hostel-like, with two to three women per room, bunk beds, and a bring-your-own soap, shampoo and beach towel policy. For $1,090 per person, you get lodging, daily breakfast, transfer to and from Managua, surfboard rental, surf instruction, two yoga classes and a one-hour massage.

 

The Cloud Farm is the more luxurious option at $1,700 per person. Up in the hills above the city, you’ll still share a room but avoid the bunk beds. A cook comes in and prepares three meals daily from organic produce grown on the farm. You can stroll the grounds, where you might see a sloth or a howler monkey. You’ll have use of a pool with a view, and the yoga teacher comes to you. Oddly, the bathrooms in the Cloud Farm bedrooms lack doors, so privacy lovers might feel a bit exposed.

 

ChicaBrava offers special weeks for women over 40 who want to surf with their peer groups. They usually favor the Cloud Farm, but some choose to stay in town at the Surf House. The schedule remains about the same, says Blaylock, “but the atmosphere changes because the women are in the same age group. They know the same music and TV shows and are having a great time and want to be together.” Those are her favorite groups, she says, and she’s proud to have created a forum where like-minded older women can learn to surf together. “I think we’re probably the only [surf] company that caters to this many women over 50. Before then, a lot of women wouldn’t even consider it. I feel like we implanted an idea for a segment of the population that wants to be active. We said ‘Hey, you can do it.’”

 

Depending on availability, you can book as a group of friends, a mother/daughter duo, a solo traveler, or just about any other configuration of females. Groups have included bachelorette parties, birthday celebrants, cycling friends and hairdressers.

 

At ChicaBrava, the schedule revolves around surfing. So the tide dictates daily itineraries. Surf students are divided by experience level and assigned to instructors. During my three-night mini camp, I worked one day with Elsi Marin, the first local girl to surf, and the second with Noelani Anderson, a darling transplant from Hawaii. Both could not have been more patient with my flubbed attempts to stand and my many wipeouts.

 

I soon saw what they meant about surfing being a microcosm for life. Like so many other things that happen to us, my task was to try, try again. Wrangle my board out to chest-deep water. Wait with my instructor for the right wave. Heave myself up onto the surfboard. Wait for her to push me into the wave and tell me to stand. Raise myself into plank and then try to position my feet perpendicular to the board, in just the right place, before I fell off. The other beginner in my five-person group got up right away. But it was not so easy for me. However, I kept at it and managed to have a few successful rides. The photos the camp photographer took from the shore are a testament to my toil in the waves. No sexy surf girl am I. Instead, every picture shows me grimacing with intention. I would have looked prettier sitting on the beach. But there’s something to say for the gargoyle face of perseverance.

 

Our work in the waves was rewarded by ChicaBrava’s spa aspects. A restorative class at SJDS’s Zen Yoga was peaceful and relaxing, especially since the screened-in studio is open to breezes. And our massages at Gaby’s Spa and Massage Studio were divine. Don’t let the fact that Gaby has a Laundromat downstairs and a massage studio upstairs make you suspect she and her staff will do anything less than a pro job on your surf-aching muscles. Her Swedish massage felt absolutely perfect and her space is pretty, airy and simple.

 

At times during my two days in the surf, I thought okay, I got up on the board, good enough. If I can manage to get home without stepping on a stingray or being bitten by a shark, I’ll quit while I’m ahead. But now I haven’t even been home a week and I’m already thinking I’d like to stand up on a board again. And if I did it enough times, maybe I could work my surfing face into a smile.

 

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