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I feel terrible about the evacuation of Orr Hot Springs and the threat to Wilbur Hot Springs from the incredible fires we are having in California. Let's hope they survive and thrive once more.
The good news is that Michael Stusser of Osmosis in Freestone is one of the first to receive EcoRing's green certification for all of the transforming things he has done to his day spa sanctuary. Stusser is cofounder of the Green Spa Network.
Meanwhile, gas prices alone should drive you to the sanctuary of a spa for relief.
In Wine Country Spas of California, I encourage stopping at tasting rooms in our North Bay wineries, picnicking, and spending some relaxing time at one of the spas nearby. You can opt for something as simple as a mineral water soak, a vigorous (or soothing) massage, a delicious pedicure with foot and leg rub, or something more elaborate--the spa menu in many facilities can be downright gaudy in its offerings.
You will find 30 pages of what I call "Useful Information" that, in my mind, keeps the book alive and well despite the ownership changes mentioned below. For example, I include glossaries to help you master spa-speak, the "basic bag" to take with you on a spa trip or to keep at the ready in your trunk, lots of good stuff about massage(including David Palmer's "How to Evaluate a Massage Practitioner," Sheila Cluff's "How to Receive a Massage," and Dietrich Miesler's "Massage for Seniors") and my "Traveling with Children." The book also provides listings of wineries and winery events in the different regions covered. (Kenwood Inn specializes in vinotherapie, lest you think for a second that wine and spas are not kissing cousins.) When you are ready to go to a spa (or two) first click into its own Web site to be sure you have the latest information.
As you may know, some more changes have taken place recently: Besides new ownership of the Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has sold again (although management is to stay the same), Kenwood Inn & Spa (home to Caudalie's vinotherapy with the magical ingredient resveratrol) has sold, as has River Village Resort & Spa in Guerneville. Keith Rogal's Carneros Inn is now being managed by the Plump Jack people, well known in the San Francisco Bay Area for its winery, restaurant, wine shop and lodge at Lake Tahoe. Carneros Inn also features a new restaurant in its Napa complex. I already confessed my mistake: The Folie a Deux (imagine an accent "grave" on that "a") winery is on St. Helena Highway, not the Silverado Trail. Finally (for the moment) White Sulphur Springs in St. Helena is no longer a destination spa resort; it is now a dedicated retreat for those enrolled in the worldwide Hoffman Institute program (www.HoffmanInstitute.com).
So go to QUICK LINKS to be transported to iUniverse where you can preview Wine Country Spas and to Booklocker.com to preview Spas of California. You can also click on the book covers in the right-hand column to make that leap.
Let me be more specific about why you want my latest spa guide on your night table and/
1. For a guidebook, it’s fun just to read. True there’s no plot and my characters don’t “develop” as they do in novels, but Martha at Toyon Books in Healdsburg is not the only one to say that she finds my presentation literary.
2. For those who don't plan ahead, many day spas are drop-in-able. You’ve been feeling overworked and your body aches, you’re in the car, and you finally say to yourself: I really need a massage. (Most people place need above want, but work at it as hard as I do and you’ll soon see these two as interchangeable. Taking care of your body is a good thing.)
3.You’re planning a vacation with your significant other. You want to taste fine wines, stop to picnic, ride bikes, tootle around the stunning North Bay countryside; your friend or partner wants to spend time at a spa. You can do both. WCS points you not only to wineries in the area of the spas, but gives you ideas for side trips. (One spa in Sonoma has an arrangement with a bike rental shop to deliver your bike(s) right to the doorstep.)
4. As a family you thought wine country was an unlikely destination. Not so. WCS includes a section “Traveling with Children” and gives you many ideas for keeping the whole family happily occupied. Calistoga is filled with things to do, including hot air ballooning, a visit to the Sharpsteen Museum, and, at Indian Springs Napa Valley Spa, shuffleboard, giant checkers, croquet, and a magnificent pool. Safari West (a WOW experience sleeping amidst wild animals) is nearby. The surrounding wineries offer everything from wine caves to an aerial tramway. And that’s just Calistoga. You can all stay together or take turns doing things with the children and zoning out at a spa.
5. You, or someone close to you, are thinking about a wine country wedding. Almost all of the major spas and wineries are eager to work with the bride and groom to create that once-in-a-lifetime event. You can be as formal ($$$$) or informal ($$) as you like. Check out Ledson Winery’s “fairy tale weddings” and Kenwood Inn & Spa (both in Kenwood on the way to Glen Ellen), The Spa at MacArthur Place (in the heart of Sonoma), White Sulphur Springs (off the beaten path in St. Helena), and Trentadue Winery (Geyserville just north of Healdsburg). For a far-out wedding, talk to Loreon Vigne, owner of Isis Oasis Sanctuary, also in Geyserville. At your request, Loreon, a nondenominational minister and keeper of exotic animals, will preside over the ceremony, crowning the event with the release of a basket of white pigeons.
(Many day spas offer makeup services and hand, foot, skin and hair care for bride, groom, family members and guests.)
6. You like to know what to expect. As in my other guidebooks, I have included in WCS my glossary of spa treatments and massage modalities along with useful information gathered from spa experts like Sheila Cluff and David Palmer, Cluff telling you how to receive a massage and the benefits of massage and Palmer telling you what to look for in a massage practitioner. (NOT a masseuse, please!)
7. Everyone likes surprise bonuses. I included my own Spa Finder that covers the state of California, and “My Spa/
8. This guidebook has photos! They are handsome black-and-whites; if you want dazzling color, go to the URLs listed for each spa and its neighboring wineries.
9. Any good guidebook needs an index. Spas of California and Wine Country Spas of California both have indexes.
"Pairing" spas and wineries turned out to be an exhilarating experience for me. To find out why, go to QUICK LINKS to visit WineCountry.com (a great site for locals and tourists alike).
I first set foot in the world of spas in the late seventies when I was working for an experimental medical education program at UC Berkeley. It was there I met a cell biologist from Texas, Pat Cooper. A woman of far-ranging interests, she surprised me by inviting me to coauthor a guidebook to spas in California. She had been incubating the project for five years, waiting for the world to be ready.
It was an unlikely topic for this former Bostonian who, unlike my adventurous friend, had never set foot in a mineral water pool or had a massage, but I said yes. (If you are as timid as I was, scroll down and you will find the link to my short piece entitled, "Shy About Going to a Health Spa?")
It was not long before we published Hot Springs and Spas of California with lively pen and ink sketches by Fran Attaway. Published by 101 Productions in San Francisco, the book covered day spas, country retreats, posh resorts, and facilities offering varying levels of fitness programs in addition to their spa services. (The book is still available through used-book channels at a higher price than it sold for at the time!)
Hooked, I went on to publish spa guidebooks on my own. In 1992, through Foghorn Press, I published California Spas, in 1993, California Spas & Urban Retreats and, in 2002, through Booklocker.com, an update under the title Spas of California. In these later editions, I added hotel spas. Today, few hotels would think of opening their doors without offering spa services. The industry has changed considerably in the last two decades. Indeed, when Pat Cooper and I first published, the spa business had not yet been designated an "industry."
Watch Your Language! Tips from a Working Editor
is available as an e-book from Booklocker.com. (At 80 pages, the manuscript can easily be printed out on your computer (double-sided) for easy reference. Here is an excerpt:
When I mention this word to people as being one whose spelling changes the meaning, they say: Oh, I know that one. The principal is my "pal." True enough, one meaning for "principal" is that person who heads the school. But there are THREE others. The principal on your mortgage as opposed to the interest, principal as an adjective meaning the main or chief or primary, and the principals (owners, executive officers, etc.) in a company. Here are some examples:
Please apply the extra payment to the PRINCIPAL.
What do you think is the PRINCIPAL reason for speaking and writing well?
The PRINCIPALS to be sued in this case are the CEO and the CFO.
And then there is "principle," which always means a doctrine, or law, or value or stand:
It was on PRINCIPLE that I stood up and protested.
The PRINCIPLES that guided his life came from his third-grade teacher and his baseball coach.
He has no PRINCIPLES or he would never have done that.
Now check out this:
One of the principals in the case, the principal of the local high school, had not recorded payments to the loan's principal. Why? He had no principles.
Says Deanne Stone of Berkeley, "The only way I could be persuaded to give up my dog-eared copy of Laurel Cook's California Spas & Urban Retreats is to replace it with her updated edition. Her ability to capture the essence of each spa has allowed me, and my friends, to find just the right spa for the moment. Ms.Cook is fun to read. This is a writer with a definite point of view and a novelist's flair for expressing it."
Created by The Authors Guild
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