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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On the road, Sonoma County!

As I mentioned in my last post, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn welcomes its guests with the beauty of this lovely fountain; I was fortunate enough to spend 3 nights at the Inn, after the incredible Wedding Planner event concluded about 9pm.
My "retreat" began officially when I entered the exquisite suite I would enjoy for my stay.

What a welcoming sight for a tired wedding planner! I was able to enjoy a bubble bath, followed by a cozy time by the fire in my room, before I crawled between the sheets for a 12 hour sleep...ahhhhhh!

The next morning, after the yummy French press coffee provided in my room, and the Blueberry bran muffins I had brought on my trip, I headed over to the Spa, for a few hours of "spaaing". I began with 30 minutes on the treadmill in the state-of-the-art exercise facility...just so I would not feel like I had been a slug ALL day!
Then I changed into my bathing suit in the luxurious "locker room", and began my exploration of the outdoor and indoor pools, which contain the mineral water coming up constantly from the underground thermal springs. With the temperature between 98 and 100, I was a toasty warm under the water, while my breath was showing in the cold air around me!

I spent about 2 hours in the 3 hot pools, the cold showers, the sauna and steam rooms, then sampling the herb tea, fruit, health elixirs (concentrated fruit/herb mixes you can add to tea) and resting in comfy chairs in front of a huge fireplace inside the spa reception area.

I knew that my Kur treatment began at 4pm, so I was well "tenderized" by then. Here is the description of what I enjoyed for the next 90 minutes:

"Harvest Kur
Embrace the healing of the 'Valley of the Moon'. This fabulously regenerative treatment, using local products, begins with exfoliation to naturally stimulate the body's immune system. Relax with a warm, fragrant grape seed oil infused bubble bath followed by a warm, nurturing grape seed mud body wrap concluding in total bliss with a full body massage using grape seed body oil. This treatment uses products that are high in antioxidants, vitamins C and E, which enhance well being throughout your body, mental relaxation and spiritual balance.

After this treatment, I slowly dressed and made my way back to my room for another fire in my fireplace, some time to read a good book, and fairly soon thereafter, a good night's sleep! sigh.....

The next day I awoke totally energized and ready for the full day I had planned for experiencing the beauty of Sonoma County, including the wineries and the hiking trails!

Both Kenwood and Arrowood Wineries, located just off Highway 12, have lovely views from their tasting rooms, where I could take a few photos to remember the colors and textures of Sonoma wine country, after the harvest.

As it happens, I have a wonderful friend who lives in Santa Rosa, just north of Sonoma, who drove down to meet me for lunch and a hike. Renee suggested we begin at Cafe Citti, a local Trattoria she loves to visit whenever she is down this way. The time flew by as we chatted and laughed about all of our mutual memories and adventures, while enjoying homemade ravioli, fresh bread, and healthy salads.

It was a short drive from Cafe Citti to Jack London State Park, just off of Arnold Road, near the Sonoma Mission Inn; we parked and hiked until sunset, enjoying the beauty of the land Jack London loved, the exercise of climbing up and down the hilly terrain, and the absolute quiet all around us.

We were free from cell phones, computers, traffic, lists...all the things that surround us all day and into the night during our normal work week....I realized how much I need these breaks to be away from the noise around me, and inside my head, so I can just be Jean, and enjoy the beauty, solitude, and quiet which so nurture me.

After our hike, I returned to my fireplace, my book, and oh yes, one more bubble bath before bed!
The next morning, after breakfast, I had a brief visit with Kelly McClesky, and headed for San Francisco, where I had an appointment with a couple who live in New York, and are planning an April wedding in San Francisco. I was "back at work", and so ready to be there!

I am grateful that after a very full wedding season, I was able to make time to get away for rest and play. I came home energized, and really excited about the year ahead.
My husband said that I was absolutely "giddy" when I returned, compared to the more serious and somewhat exhausted wife who had left just 3 days before.
Here's to the value of play, rest, and rejuvenation! Let's all have times of being "giddy"!

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