Published: February 22nd 2007February 22nd 2007
I am feeling incredily spoiled and luxurious after yesterday's day at the spa - seriously, this is a delicious experience. We woke up relatively leisurely and headed over to the spa and fitness center for our ten am aqua aerobics class. We were by far the youngest people in there, so young, in fact, that the other ladies in the class were sure that we weren't participating. But we kept our resolve and joined the class, which was taught by an instructor who looked remarkably like my sister, only taller. She taught from dry land, which meant that we had ten times the resistance for each move, and let me tell you, that does tire you out sooner. It was really a full body workout, but it was fun, and I think I'm going to search for an aqua gym class when I get home, instead of taking up running which was my original plan (I hate running, so what was I thinking?!?). After the class, we walked upstairs to the "Women's Spa," where they had the locker rooms, showers, sauna, steam room, whirlpool tub, and lounge to the treatment rooms. Although we're on vacation, we were feeling intrepid, so we
thought we would try the sauna - it was less humid in there than the one in India had been, but still like wearing and breathing through a wet blanket. So our time in there didn't last too long.
Next, it was on to the whirlpool. Jess set the timer for ten minutes and we climbed in. The water was delightfully warm (especially because I'd caught a chill coming out of the sauna), so we relaxed in front of the jets, which I imagined to be beating the stress right out of my muscles. We were quite comfortable in there, looking up at the skylight that showed only blue sky and clouds, when another woman from our gym class stumbled out of the sauna with the same intent of coming into the whirlpool. Except she took all of her clothes off! During the day, there would be several women doing this, all much older, so I continuously had an overwhelming desire to avert my eyes. But it was successful in making me feel pretty good about my own body by the end of the day, so that was an added bonus!!
Following our stint in the whirlpool, we
thought it was time to clean out the chlorine, so we used their shower facilities. I was excited to find that they pretty much had anything you would want - shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, hair products, combs and brushes, and even spray deoderant. So I felt much better and cleaner. Then it was on to lunch in the Spa Cafe. To eat in the Spa Cafe, you have to order your meal before ten am that morning, and you can eat anytime between twelve and one. I had ordered a lovely butternut squash soup and a curried chicken salad with whole wheat pitas. Along with this, we received a fruit salad dessert. It was quite good and definitely filling. A number of other guests were also taking advantage of the spa lunch, and the tiny little cafe area was quite pleasant. I was feeling so relaxed and energized that I suggested that we try to get to the evening's yoga class after our treatments. But my plans were thwarted...
After changing back into our bathrobes for our treatmets, we enjoyed the quiet comfort of the lounge area, sitting in front of the fire and reading magazines in the
soft light. Finally, my name was called for my facial. Lying under a blanket on an arched bed with a warm heater, I was incredibly comfortable. My technician, Mary, started with a cleansing and then steamed my face to open the pores. While the steam was working, she massaged both of my hands and arms, and encased them in plastic, before putting on what seemed to be heated oven mitts. She checked my face over, and declared that I needed a healing treatment, and we had agreed on the essential oils line for use during the facial. She cleansed, she poked and prodded, she massaged, and finally, she laid what felt like a cheesecloth over my face. To this, she added a thick layer of something that smelled vaguely like oatmeal and felt just as thick to the top half of my face. She then folded up the cheesecloth, and squished it down. She repeated the process for the bottom half of my face, which allowed me to breathe. While this was setting, she gave me a great foot massage. But as the mask was setting, I started to feel a little bit...itchy. I figured it wouldn't be a big
deal, but after she had rinsed off the mask and put on some moisturizer, leaving the room to allow me to put my robe back on to go to my next treatment, I had to rub my eyes fiercely to get them to stop being so itchy. She left me momentarily in the lounge while she set up the aromatherapy bath, and I headed to the ladies room to check out the damage. Yikes - my eyes were bright red, so red that I looked like a Halloween monster, and my skin was blotchy with hives from my face to my neck. And it was super itchy, so I was miserable. I rushed to wash off whatever I was allergic too, and added the body lotion to my face to calm it down, since I knew already I wasn't allergic to that.
I think Mary could tell that something was wrong, even in the soft lighting of the lounge, and she felt terrible. We tried to think of what I could have been allergic too, but couldn't identify it. So we agreed that she'd recommend the other line instead of that one for me. The aromatherapy bath was a chance to relax again though, and I didn't have any reaction to that. I again laid on a table under a towel, and had a dry brush (which is exactly as it sounds - they take a brush to your skin, and it's dry). This is to get your circulation going to reap all the benefits of the bath. Then, I climbed into a bath that smelled simply divine (no rose petals!) and relaxed in the deep water. It was slightly too hot, and my eyes were still sore, so I ran some cold water to splash on my face, and drank the glass of water she'd left with me. Once out of the bath, it was back under the towel so that Mary could apply a body lotion to set in the effects of the bath. What luxury! It occurred to me that we should jet away on a spa vacation once a year, because I am enjoying this immensely!
After my bath, we relaxed for a while in the lounge, sipping water with lemon and taking advantage of the time off. I was so incredibly relaxed, but still a little itchy and swollen, so we decided to skip the 5 o'clock yoga class and head back to the room for a quick shower before dinner.
For dinner, we ventured into the town of Lenox, which is very close by. It reminded me a little of Old Town, Alexandria, VA, with its cute restaurants and little art shops and galleries. We didn't walk around too much though, since it's bitterly cold here - although it was a beautiful night, with millions of stars set against a black sky, including my favorite constellation, Orion's Belt. We checked out two restaurants before we found our final destination (for those of you who are wondering, yes, that was because I'm such a picky eater), Cafe Lucia. It's a little Italian restaurant, with a winding path to the side door. We went through two doors to get inside and our waitress brought us through another large wooden sliding door into the main dining room. It was tiny, with only maybe fifteen tables and two other tables of people when we arrived. We were seated next to a photo of a group of women holding hands, taken perhaps in the thirties or forties. If I leaned back in my chair, I could look out the window onto the street, and see the restaurant across the street, situated in a beautiful green and red house, set with twinkling white lights. Next to our table was a curved wrought-iron staircase to the loft area, where I could see stacks of wooden wine crates left out for ambience. The music was soft and pretty, and it was quite a nice atmosphere. I ordered the house salad and the pasta alla bolognese (yes, that's pasta with meat sauce for you non-Italians), and both were delicious, though my decision to wear jeans instead of stretchy pants prevented me from finishing as much of the pasta as I would have liked. Our waitress was entirely too disappointed that I wasn't going to take the pasta home, and even suggested I just leave it in my car to keep cold, until I reminded her that I also didn't have any way to heat it up here. We did manage to fit in a dessert of chocolate souffle and vanilla ice cream before we paid the check and headed back to Cranwell. I was so spent that I was asleep by nine fifteen - guess I'm still getting over that jet lag!
Today is another spa day - we start with a hatha yoga class at ten, and then relax, maybe take a swim, before our lunch at the Spa Cafe, and then hang around some more before our massages at three. One of the muscles in my back was acting very sensitive yesterday, causing me to jump even when she would just touch my neck, so I'm hoping it calms down enough today so that I can actually enjoy my massage! I think we're also planning to get takeout from Sloane's Tavern, and relax in the room tonight. I could get used to this!!!