Re-entry into the real world after a visit to The Spa has been surreal. The song refrain "Take Me Away" has been playing in my head all day. It was so nice to get away for a few days; the benefits are immeasurable.
Obligations and responsibilities weigh heavily on my shoulders everyday. There are so many things to do. There are goals to meet, tasks to complete, and there's the circus of thoughts spiraling through my head. It's easier to return to all of that after a revitalizing trip.
The therapeutic trip began with a seven hour car ride to The Grove Park Inn Resort in Asheville, North Carolina. The drive included a four-hundred mile corridor of breathtaking views, and good conversation with my travel mate (my mother).
The Inn is an architectural wonder. The massive structure is made mostly of stone, inside and out. There is a European feel of old, and a graciousness that is difficult to explain. The Inn is nestled into the side of a hill as if it always belonged there. There are 512 rooms, four restaurants, a golf course, shops, museums, lounges, a sports complex, and a spa; or should I say, "The Spa". The Great Hall contains two fireplaces that are so large, guests stand inside them and take pictures of each other. It is such an interesting place; you could spend an entire day just walking around discovering parts of the complex. We spent our first evening doing just that.
After an enormous buffet breakfast (the next morning), my travel mate and I took the elevator to the underground tunnel of serenity that leads to the underground spa. We were welcomed, assigned a locker, dressing room, robe and slippers, and whisked away on a tour of the facilities.
All of the walls, ceilings, and floors are made of stone. Calming music plays on speakers throughout the lower level, along with low lighting that sets the mood.
Inside The Spa there is a gym, boutique, cafe, aroma steam room, dry sauna, aromatherapy sauna, hot mineral and cool mineral dip pools, hot tub waterfall pools, a lap pool with underwater music and twinkling star ceiling, an indoor floating or wading pool (also with underwater music, an outdoor pool, a large patio with fireplace and beautiful mountain views, a smaller patio with waterfalls, two fireside rooms with large leather chairs-snacks and beverages are free. There is a large fountain, lounging chairs by the pools, and virtual silence.
My mother and I spent the entire day at The Spa. I spent about three minutes in the steam room where it was overwhelmingly hot and moist. Ditto for the dry sauna, less the moisture. The hot mineral pool felt good to sit and rest in for a moment, followed by an ice cold momentary dip into the cold mineral pool--brrr. It all felt wonderful, relaxing, and rejuvenating.
The lap pool (88 degrees) is where I got in my exercise for the day as I huffed and puffed through twenty laps (not bad for fifty, huh?). I indulged in every other option three times. The waterfall and hot mineral pools contain water kept at 103 degrees, just hot enough to relax tired muscles. I let the waterfalls pelt my shoulders and back, taking away any soreness and stress lodged deep in my muscles. From there I went to the floating pool.
The floating pool is set at a comfortable 88 degrees. I thought I could not be more relaxed as I floated on my back, listening to the underwater music and letting myself drift wherever the flow took me. The water does not contain chlorine; instead, saline is used, and eucalyptus and lavender scents subtly hang in the air forming an aromatherapy oasis.
Treatment options are plentiful. My mother and I chose massage--the perfect choice. We were led, separately, to the inner, lower sanctum of rooms for our own personal massage. The rooms are simple, quiet, and comfortable. There we could choose the oil fragrance, music, pressure, and technique. The therapist leaves while you slip under the covers, and returns to begin the massage. A warm cover is placed over the eyes and forehead, and hot towels on the feet. The therapist begins by massaging my head, neck, arms, legs, and feet. I turn over for the back, shoulders, and feet. Talk about relaxed--I was melting into myself. When finished, the therapist places a warm, scented pack around your neck and leads you to a fireside chair to relax and chill out. You are served a choice of beverage known as an elixir. My choice was Liquid Yoga, a soothing tonic with subtle flavor.
Mother and I met up in that spot, silent in our relaxation for awhile, taking it all in. When we were ready to rise again we went up a set of stairs, retrieved our belongings, and took a luxurious shower. The shower stalls contained all natural Spa products, generous size towels, and plenty of hot water for everyone. An area separate from the showers contains sinks, combs, hair dryers, lotions, gels, curling irons, hair ties, and bathing suit wringers. If there is anything else you need, it is just a request away.
Once Mom and I got ourselves back together, we dropped out belongings back in the room, visited a couple of shops, and stopped at the lounge to enjoy a drink and live music before dinner.
Dinner was superb. We ate in the Blue Ridge Dining Room where the special included a four-course meal for twenty dollars. We indulged in crusty bread with olive spread, salad, Chicken Parmesan,hot apple a la mode, and excellent coffee.
After dinner we sat in the great hall, took a short walk outdoors, and went to Elaine's lounge to have a night cap and listen to the dueling piano players.
Before we drove back, we visited the (on-site) Grovewood Gallery and garden. It is an artist's delight. Everything is one-of-a-kind, artistically hand-made and unusual, and priced accordingly (expensive). It's definitely worth the visit to see and experience what artful living is all about. We picked up a few little trinkets, retrieved the car from the parking garage and reluctantly drove the 400+ mile trek home, where the refrain, "Take Me Away", keeps playing in my head.
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lyme disease research