Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Helen's Weekend at the Spa

I just got back from five days and four nights at The Homestead, a spa/hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia. It’s a beautiful, very old hotel nestled, quite literally, in the Allegheny Mountains. Built in 1766, it’s an hour and a half drive north of Roanoke through some of the most narrow and winding roads I’ve ever driven here in the U.S. In fact, the roads were so twisty and turny and the landscape so lushly green and rolling with hills, that I was often reminded of England. Oh, and I even got myself carsick.

This is the type of room we stayed in. No big surprise they serve "tea" every day at 4pm in the main lobby, dainty sandwiches, fancy desserts, the whole nine yards . Apparently, several past U.S. presidents, foreign royalty, as well as many other famous folk have availed themselves of these historic landmark facilities through the years. Natural hot springs, golf courses, trout streams. Appropriately enough, it was cold and rainy the entire time we were there, which was the perfect weather to for spa-ing it. That is, if money and time were not issues.

Before you get all sick with envy, let me explain. This was a business trip for my husband, and, generally speaking, I’m not a spa kinda gal. So me, being me, saw this as the perfect opportunity to do research. I would, after all, be in the heart of NASCAR country which is the setting for my next book. What do I do? Spend 2 days in the car on those twisty turny roads. One day driving to Charlotte, Lake Norman and Moorseville (Racecity, USA) and another day heading to Richmond Raceway.

I did take one morning off for a 50 minute deep tissue massage. Hurts so good, you know? Unfortunately, I didn’t read the complete spa menu until the afternoon before we left. I’m thinking I could have used a few more days of rainy cold Virginia weather minus the driving. Here are a few “items” I wish I’d had the funds and the time to check out.

Ayurvedic head massage: Practiced for over 5000 years in India, this head massage will promote total body relaxation by increasing blood circulation to the head and neck. Promises to relieve mental fatigue and stress and improve concentration. (Man, could I use this morning! Scratch that. Every morning.)

Karisoftness Nourisher: Named for the African Karite Tree Nut inits pur form, this body treatment exfoliates, hydrates, and nourishes the skin. The natural butter is melted and applied to your skin to help hydrate its outer layer, leaving it soft and supple. (A cure for winters in Minnesota.)

Buttercup Body Polish: As the fragrance of a fresh mountain meadow fills the air, your body will be exfoliated with a unique polish lightly scented with fresh buttercups that grow indigenously in our Cascades Gorge. After rinsing in a delightful Swiss shower, your skin will be drenched with buttercup cream. (What does buttercup cream smells like?)

They have your standard manicures, pedicures, and facials. Massages, hot stone, Swedish, aromatherapy-take your pic. Wraps? Herbal, mud, and seaweed, to name a few.

But how ‘bout these little dittys:
Highlands Maple Sugar Wrap
Allegheny Raspberry Relaxer
Mountain Laurel Body Polish
Golfer’s Glow

Itchy scalp or dry, damaged hair? How’d you like a Banana & Coconut Treatment, or Vanilla Deep Conditioner?

Forget about the boring old facials of the old days. Try one of these.
MDskincare Alpha Beta Face & Hand Peel
Lift Defense 2
Flash of Beauty (gotta get me one of these before my next signing)
Professional Peeling Treatment
Oxygenating Facial
Eye Contour Treatment

So if you were heading to a spa and money was no object, what would most like to do? What’s your favorite spa treatment? What am I missing?

If you’d like, check it out: The Homestead


Virginia Lady said...

Well, i would have enjoyed the driving research as much as you I think, but if I had the money a day of spa treatments sounds great. A full body massage, manicure, pedicure, and I'd have to try some kind of facial since I've never had one. I've splurged once or twice for a massage in my 40 years, and I've gotten a pro manicure twice. My next jump will be to get a pedicure AND a manicure! Woohoo! Big spender, that's me. :-)

Keri Ford said...

If money and TIME was no option, I'd just start at the top, skip anything that sounds painful and enjoy!

Hot Springs, Arkansas is about 2 hours from me. They have all the natural stuff and spa things going on there, too. Somehow or another, I've lived this distance from Hot Springs for 20 years now and have never enjoyed what they have to offer.

Helen Brenna said...

I've had a facial once, Virginia Lady. Years and years ago, my dh splurged for an anniversary, or something. I was so young, though, the facial didn't seem to make a difference. I'd be curious to see what today's facials could do for my wrinkly mug.

Keri, that sounds nice, starting at the top and working down. An entire day at the spa!

Isn't Mother's Day this coming weekend?

Keri Ford said...

Mother's Day? I forgot! Awesome! I love presents!

But I won't hold my breath for a day at the spa. My hubby would have a heartattack if he had the baby all day long for one day by himself. He'll work with the baby about 15 minutes, if he can't figure out what's wrong, he brings me the baby and tells me to fix him.

Helen Brenna said...

Sounds like you need a day off, Keri!!! Is this your first Mother's Day? Congrats, honey!

Michele Hauf said...

I'm not a massage kind of girl. Don't like people...touching me. :-) But, after seeing Dr. Oz demonstrate rolfing on Oprah, I say, sign me up. A deep-tissue massage that looks very aggressive and designed to open up the lymphs. It looked great.
If time was no limit, instead of getting the treatments, I'd like them to show me how to do it to others. I like to rub the hubby's feet, and would love to learn some real techniques.

flip said...

I am green with envy. I love spas. My favorite treatments are massages. If I had the funds I would get a long, long massage and then an even longer foot massage. Fora facial, I would go for a peel to rejuvenate this aging skin. To finish off, I would get a pedicure and manicure.

Helen Brenna said...

My husband had the rolfing thing done, Michele. Ten treatments over almost a year. He said it was very painful, but felt great afterward. I'm not sure if it's done what he'd hoped and effected sustaining change to his posture, etc...

Flip, I think you've got something with that long foot massage. Don't our feet have a gazillion nerve endings that some believe can affect our moods and health? Or is it our ears? Ha!

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, lol that you'd like to try rolfing! That can be heavy duty stuff. When I worked in mental health that was one of the therapeutic techniques we wouldn't touch. Too much liability. But I guess it's all in the hands of the practitioner. Maybe some are gentler than others.

And as for spa goodies. . . I used to be a total body massage person. LOVED massages. Still do, but am much more fond of spa pedicures, because I get to stare at the results for weeks later! And facials. Ahhh, those gentle massages, that lovely warmth, and the glow afterward. It's so relaxing and so rejuvenating.

My son got me a gift certificate to a local spa for Christmas. I used it twice for spa pedicures and manicures. Feels decadent and I don't even have to get naked and oily for it!

Helen Brenna said...

Betina, you're so right - pedicures are so nice to look at for weeks. If I ever do my nails, they chip etc... within a few days, but my toenails stay looking pretty for weeks, even doing them myself.

Now there's a concept, doing this stuff myself. There are all kinds of facials and masks and I don't even do those. Hmm.

lois greiman said...

Michele???? You like to rub your husband's feet? Really? You just nevvvver cease to surprise me.

I love all that stuff, massages, facials, anyyyything. But I'm too cheap. Sigh

Keri, I just went through Hot Springs. Now I'm in love with Arkansas.

Christie Ridgway said...

I've had a few massages, but it takes me about half the time to get comfortable with the stranger touching me. My husband and I went together for massages recently and he surprised the heck out of me by refusing to have the guy give him a massage! So the guy gave me mine, the woman his. Men are funny.

I've had one facial, but I was kinda bummed because the woman warned me that I would probably break out afterward and have lots of other red spots. I thought I was supposed to look better after a facial!

Helen Brenna said...

Okay, this will probably go into the too much information category, but I love massages from guys. They put more muscle into it.

Yeah, Christie, I've heard that about facials some times, especially if someone has sensitive skin. And your husband's reaction is probably not all that uncommon!

Michele Hauf said...

Why does that surprise you so, Lois? He has very soft feet. I don't particularly care to look at them. But touching them? :-)


Kathleen Eagle said...

I used to shy away from massages and still don't treat myself often, but I tried it when I was having back problems and it helped. So I tried it again when I wasn't having back problems and it helped. I've had a few all-over spa treatments, but I do the foot spa-pedicure thing at the nail place every so often. Lois is right about the feet. The key to relaxation is a good foot massage.

Helen, you lucky girl--sounds like you spent a week in heaven!

Helen Brenna said...

Yeah, Kathy, heaven it was. Though even in heaven I have a tough time relaxing. Could have used another day.

Cindy Gerard said...

So sorry I'm late chiming in on this. The hotel looks amazing, Helen. And sign me up for any massage by anyone any time.!! I recently flew to the Caymans and my first stop was Chicago for an hour and a half layover. I plopped down in the first neck/shoulder massage chair I found and got me a 15 minute neck and upper back rub. It was heaven. I schedule a monthly massage and never miss my appointment. Okay - before you go thinking I'm just a spoiled brat (which I am) it's doctor's orders. I have a bed disk in my neck and the massages keep me out of the doctor's office and off pain meds. Really. Best therapy in the world.

Helen Brenna said...

What an awesome idea for an airport layover, Cindy. You're a goddess!