Tag Archives: Hot Springs

Hippie Weekend Getaway: I Think I Tried Too Hard…

Before I left this weekend, I did my best to put myself in a hippie mindset. I dug out my most hippie apparel (think yoga meets the outdoors), downloaded Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success for my drive, gathered healthy snacks (dried organic mango, anyone?), and made a vow to go make-up free (thanks for the inspiration Twenty-Something Travel).

Turns out I may have been overdoing it a bit. As soon as I was out of my car and had a good look around, I realized the clientele of this little hot springs retreat outside wine country was more diverse than I expected. In fact, pretty sure you could picture anyone in your mind and someone similar was there. Young, old, plump, thin, rich, struggling, tattooed, clean-cut, foreign, hippie, otherwise.

I guess when I heard naked, I thought it would be a specific kind of person. But really, people from all walks of life seemed to be alright with it, minus, of course, me. I was one of maybe four people who opted to remain covered. The others were all women, (interesting, right?), of various ages and backgrounds.

I did feel a little bit like the weirdo for keeping on my suit, but there are some things I’d rather keep a mystery. Likewise, I could have done without seeing everyone else’s mysteries, although I totally got that I was on their territory, so if I didn’t like it, I could leave. Regardless, the whole time I found myself wondering where should I be looking… Do I look people in the eyes and nod hello? Do I avert my gaze whenever I cross someone’s path? Is that old woman really talking to me with her legs wide open like that?

Fortunately, the vibe was definitely not sexual. It was more like visiting a different country with alternative norms than my vision of some hedonistic hippie hang out. Signs even reminded people to honor each other’s personal space. I never once felt intruded upon.

Cameras are not allowed... Probably because of the nudity around the pools. I still snuck this one from my favorite reading spot. Those figures in the distance aren't naked people, they're Buddha statues.

Cameras were not allowed… Probably because of the nudity around the pools. I still snuck this picture from my favorite reading spot. Those figures in the distance aren’t naked people, they’re Buddha statues.

Out of my element or not, it was a good adventure. It kind of reminded me of that family resort on Dirty Dancing, complete with activities, a movie theater, a restaurant, and charming, if not slightly rustic accommodations. There was even a community of people who live and work there full-time, not unlike the movie.

While I did get a little restless without my phone, or laptop, I enjoyed the beautiful grounds, mellow vibe, sound of running water, hiking trails, labyrinth, free yoga three times daily, massage, and sunshine warm enough for sunbathing in January. I even allowed my mom to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning to hit the hot springs in the dark, when the pools are practically empty. As I floated on my back and stared up at the stars through a canopy of evergreen trees, I understood the allure of the place. Pure magic, clothing or not.

Even though I had a relaxing time, I would only return again with someone who really wanted to be there. It was not entirely my thing. I don’t love soaking in water shared with naked strangers, no matter how progressive I like to think I am or how wonderful the yoga offerings were. I prefer the ocean and a little technology, I suppose.

The room decorations were cute, although everything felt a little dark/rustic. You definitely wanted to be outside...

The room decorations were cute, although everything felt a little dark/rustic. You definitely wanted to be outside… As for me, I tried a little too hard to fit in… Next time maybe a pair of jeans and a little make-up won’t ruin anything.

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Weekend Escape: An Adventure in the Making

It’s funny. I wanted to force myself to stay off the computer this week as a break from my book, but I can’t help it. I want to write, so here I am, blogging.

This weekend, however, I’m headed to a place without technology, a hot springs retreat with my mom about twenty miles outside of Wine Country. While I welcome the break, I am also a little nervous. This trip is undoubtedly outside my comfort zone. See, I have a lot of hippie qualities, but I have a lot of mainstream ones too. Growing up with a hippie mom, I was a late adapter. I resisted up until a year or two ago and it has definitely not been a full transition.

What will be outside my comfort zone, you ask? Public nudity, mainly. I’m sure I’ll deal with it, but I have to admit some of the Yelp reviews made me cringe. The hot springs are the only part of the resort where clothing is optional, but somehow poolside naked yoga and couples enjoying each other is not really my spectator sport of choice. Not to mention the weird grunting men. Thanks Yelp for giving me so much to look forward to…

My mom has assured me these scenarios are not common. Admittedly, I was swayed by a free massage, my own room, multiple yoga options per day, and quiet time hiking. The dorm room scenario was almost a deal breaker. More than anything else though, I am looking forward to a nice long weekend in the company of my mom without the distractions of normal life. No tv, no cell phone, no computer…

I am also looking forward to the drive. I will pass through Wine Country and Calistoga, (where I got married), on my own. I have never done this drive alone. The year we got married we drove to Calistoga almost monthly. It is one of my favorite drives in California. Returning on my own feels somehow introspective and meaningful. Maybe I will even stop for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. I have never eaten at a restaurant alone. I do not even know what it would feel like.

Needless to say, this weekend will be an adventure. Despite my apprehension, I’m excited. Yoga, wine country, hot springs, my mom. Worst case scenario I add another hilarious review to Yelp. Best case, I’m one of the staunch defenders of how wonderful it is to get away from it all. Either way, I will see a different slice of life than usual.

Are you good at pushing yourself outside your comfort zone? I’m working on it.

We began our little trip by driving through wine country to Calistoga, one of my favorite drives in all of California.

Excited for one of my favorite drives, even if I’ll be on my own. January is oddly a gorgeous time to visit, little yellow flowers everywhere.

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