Hot Springs Spas in America

Yes, I’m still a little spa crazy, but this time it’s with a new twist. I went on an impromptu weekend getaway with another recently divorced girlfriend (though I guess for me it’s been over a year already – wow.) to the Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort & Spa in New Mexico. I really feel like my first massage was some sort of gateway drug. Now I just can’t get enough and I’m trying more expensive and more intense varieties. So now, not only do I love spas, but I love spas with hot springs on their premises or nearby. What better way to relax both before and after a spa treatment then by soaking in hot mineral waters, sweating out toxins, feeling the cool air whisk around you, and to just feel cuddled up in healthy warmth? Especially as it gets colder out, these hot springs make for fantastic warming up – though when it’s cold outside, it does make it nearly impossible to get out of the pools! So apparently this one in New Mexico is not so unique (though it was spectacular and I highly recommend it). There are hot springs spas all over the country. It is a genre of relaxation that you must try! Here are the ones I could find:

Enjoy!
Martha
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More meditation retreats

This is a follow-up to my last post (Yoga and Meditation Resorts in the US). I was reading the news and one link brought me to another link which brought me to another, and then I found myself looking at a slideshow of MSNBC’s top meditation retreats in the US, so now I’ve got a few more to add to my list.

  • The Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY
  • Kripalu Center, Stockbridge, MA
  • Menla Mountain Retreat, Phoenicia, NY
  • Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, OR
  • Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO
  • Mount Madonna, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
  • Ala Kukui, Hana, Maui, Hawaii
  • The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, NY
  • Esalen, Big Sur, Calif.

One day I’ll visit them all


Other Spas and Retreats in the US:

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Yoga and Meditation Resorts in the US

I just spent the most wonderful, centering, relaxing, balancing week at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodburne, NY (yes I’m back on the east coast). I’ve decided that my next big journey will be to Thailand to study Thai yoga massage, but until then, I’ve decided to do some exploration here on the home front. There’s actually quite an industry (in a good way) of yoga retreats in the U.S. For the most part, they’re non-commercial institutions that take the art of yoga seriously. That has definitely been my experience so far and from speaking to other people, it seems to be the consensus. Here are a list of some of the yoga and meditation resorts in the U.S. If you know of any more, please please add them to my list…who knows…maybe one day I’ll reach them all!

Peace and Namaste, Olivia
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Back in North Carolina… with a car!

Back to school this year is definitely at its most exciting. First of all, it’s my senior year, which is pretty cool in itself, but more importantly…I have a car! My mom got a company car, so my dad took her car and I got to take his! I drove back down to school with another friend from Richmond and now I’m parked outside my dorm, ready to make a list of all the things in North Carolina that I want to do in the next few months. I plan on driving all over the state and seeing and doing everything! Senior year is supposed to be fun, right? This area I’m starting with is kinda near Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville. Sort of near the North Carolina-Virginia Border in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region.

It’s gonna be a great year!
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Top Luxury Resort Spas in the U.S.

I was afraid this might happen. Ever since my first massage at the Mirage Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, and then my subsequent spa treatments at the Avalon Hotel & Spa in Portland, I’ve been ACHING for more! I want another hot stone massage and I think I’d benefit from a facial a week. And my hands would look so much nicer if I just took care of them. I don’t want to indulge too much, but I think at my age, after spending and saving so conservatively for 60 years, I should not feel guilty at the occasional indulgence. Now I just need to figure out what “occasional” really means. Once a week? Month? Year? I’m thinking month.

Fodors lists these ten spas as the 10 Top Luxury Resort Spas:

Well, I think it would be unreasonable to visit all of these spots, but at the very least…I’m calling the Arizona Biltmore right now to make this month’s appointment! Does anyone have any other recommendations in the greater Phoenix area?
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Home Sweet Home – back in Phoenix, Arizona, and happy!

I had such an amazing trip, but it is good to be home. I was away for a month—do you believe it?! It flew by so quickly.

Last I left you, I was in Portland, Oregon, museum and park hopping, meeting interesting people, and relaxing. You know, when I used to travel, I’d always come back home a few pounds heavier; but this time, I’m proud to say, that I’ve actually lost a few pounds. For once food wasn’t my focus, but movement and activity. I must’ve walked from one end of Portland to the other, several times! I even went ice skating (at the Lloyd Center Mall) – something I hadn’t done in years! The Oregon Zoo was another blast from my past—when’s the last time I was at a zoo? I can’t even remember!

But it wasn’t all bustle and activity—staying at the Avalon Hotel & Spa, I ended up getting my second, third, and fourth massages of my life. Oh, dear—I really indulged, didn’t I?

But the highlight of it all was Smith Rock State Park, as I knew it would be. Robert was an amazing guide and showed me all there is to see. He’s a rock climber, as are many of the Smith Rock locals, and while he knew there was no way anyone was going to tie me to the side of a mountain, he showed me where some climbers were rappelling and it was quite a sight! The things people can do with (or TO!) their bodies is sometimes breathtaking.

And now I’m back home, and it’s like I’m seeing Phoenix for the first time. It’s not like I went off to see these beautiful things, great cities and the great outdoors, from a place where that doesn’t exist. On the contrary—I’ve got those things so close to my very own home, and rarely even notice them. Well not anymore…Phoenix, Arizona, here I come!
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Portland: maybe I’ll relocate?

Would you believe it? I’m already in Portland…and loving it! So much time as past and all of it has been spectacular.

It’s hard to explain what I experienced at Red Rock Canyon. It was…mystical. There’s just something about the way the sun feels as it burns through my clothing. And I simply cannot explain the effect of the strong sun’s rays inexplicably tearing the clouds apart. But mostly, it’s the colors: the reds and browns against the blue of the sky is breathtaking and magical. I will definitely return to Red Rock Canyon. (And all this is coming from someone who lives just a few hours from Red Rock State Park in Sedona.)

My drive up to Oregon was beautiful and uneventful (just the way I like it). A few days ago I went museum hopping, to the Portland Museum of Art to the Portland Art Museum (both great) and then to the Portland Japanese Garden. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting Robert at his house for coffee and breakfast before his grand tour of Smith Rock State Park, where he promises I’ll be impressed.

Today I’m just hanging around my hotel and the neighborhood. I’ve treated myself to a stay in Avalon Hotel & Spa which is lovely. And I spent all afternoon in Washington Park, where I will certainly return between now and the end of the week.

I love it here. I feel relaxed and independent and happy. Check, check, check—goals reached!
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Maybe Vegas isn’t for everyone…

Well, I’m not so sure Las Vegas is for me. I played some slot machines and even tried my luck at Texas Holdem. And you know what? I came out ahead! I wasn’t interested in spending too much money gambling, so I set aside $200, and walked out with $230! While that was fun, and while it does seem like I’ve got a knack for getting down and dirty in the game rooms…I just felt a little out of place. First of all, I don’t drink (at least not more than the occasional glass of wine), and there were so many young people there drinking and drinking and just throwing away their money—I got a little uncomfortable. My mother instinct came through full blown and I had to hold myself back from taking drinks out of hands and putting money back into pockets. The other thing that saddened me was the fact that you can tell who has the serious gambling problems. There are some older folks (my age and older) who look like they haven’t showered in weeks and you just have to wonder how much in their lives they’ve thrown away that got them to this point, where they spend night and day and night and day in a casino. And then I was standing at a Roulette table and some guy got a lucky spin and turned around and kissed me flat on the mouth before I had a chance to protest! Is that what people do in real life? I found it offensive and strange.

I’ve spent most of my time walking up and down The Strip, and that really has been the highlight of Las Vegas. I enjoy peace and quiet and national parks, but I’m a city girl at heart; I always have been. And the lights and the bustle and the diversity of people thrill me to no end. Vegas is so different from anywhere I’ve ever been, and that was exciting. But I kept thinking of the streaked limestone at Valley of Fire State Park, and now I’m aching for more of a natural setting. Maybe even though I love cities, I feel as though this trip is intended to relax me and center me after my divorce. Perhaps deep down I believe that the natural balance around me will kick in and force-balance me, though I suppose that’s probably not the right attitude.

And do I’m ready for the next phase of my trip, for the quiet and the solitude. I’m looking forward to Red Rock Canyon and then the long drive through Nevada and then California and then Oregon, up to Portland. I don’t have specific plans at this point. Will take my time driving up there, will stay at some cheap motels along the way.

Oh, by the way, is it possible to become addicted to massages?? I’m already ready for my next one!

Martha


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Old Lady to visit Vegas…

I leave tomorrow for my solo-woman-on-the-road-roadtrip. I’m all packed, I’ve said my goodbyes at work, I’ve stocked up on maps that cover any route I may decide to take between here and Portland, Oregon. Slightly nervous about the long drives by myself, but I’ve got healthy snacks to munch on, lots of Beatles CDs to listen to, and eight audiobooks that’ll keep me entertained when I need some new voices around me. I’ve got an extra battery for my cell phone, a first aid kit, and a list of emergency contacts and doctors’ numbers.

I just have to take some deep breaths—I don’t believe that I’m going to do this! One month of driving, hiking, and seeing states I’ve never been to. Mostly I’ll be visiting national parks, gardens, and museums, but first…

First stop: Las Vegas! Do you believe that I’m going to do that? Is that not a place for a 60 year old newly divorced woman?—that’s my question. But I guess I’ll find out. It’s about a five hour drive from Phoenix and I’ve already booked a spot at the Venetian Resort, located on The Strip, and I’ve already got tickets to Cirque de Soliel and a spa treatment at The Spa at the Mirage Las Vegas which I think is where Siegfried and Roy have their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Do you know that I haven’t ever had a professional massage in my whole life? I think I deserve one by now, don’t you?

Basically, I plan on giving myself the real “Vegas Experience” as I’ve always imagined it (plus or minus a few things that I’m just too….too old for, really). I’m going to indulge and relax and spend money, go to shows, and see the lights. For me, indulgences like that are as sinful as I get, so that’ll be my version of Sin City.

A young man at work even taught me how to play Texas Holdem!

There are some beautiful scenic drives in the area through the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon, so after a few days in Vegas, I’ll head that way for a drive and then continue going north.

Wish me luck! We’ll definitely be in touch!
Martha


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