is a Toronto travel writer. She recently learned the pleasures
of a Moor mud bath.
If you've ever thought of going to a spa and surrendering
your body and imagination to the magical touch of trained professionals,
wonder no more. Ste. Anne's Country Inn & Spa in Grafton, an hour
from Toronto, beckons weary bodies and minds.
My recent overnight visit to Ste. Anne's was where
I sought to be pampered, and pampered I was! Rather than drive
I took VIA Rail's short scenic route to Cobourg. Met at the station
and driven through picture postcard country, my stress reduction
had begun even before I reached my destination.
Ste. Anne's turrets and
archways loom like a castle...
Beyond the walled courtyard, Ste. Anne's turrets and archways
loom like a castle. Innkeeper Jim Corcoran has restored the buildings
to their signature elegance, a nostalgic reminder of the first
owner, Samuel Massey, of farm equipment fame. Spring water still
flows from the original well and there is a deer and elk farm
on the property.
Guests at the spa can luxuriate both indoors and
out. The Inn has 12 rooms with antique furnishings, each offering
a lovely panoramic view of the 560-acre grounds. There are three
tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool and peaceful walking
trails. Full spa services range from massage to aromatheraphy,
reflexology, aesthetics, hydrotherapy and body wraps. A fan of
yoga, will definitely benefit from the spa's fitness and wellness
My room was originally
a wedding chapel (circa 1941)...
The huge 700 sq. ft. East Suite was assigned as my bedroom. What
fun! This room was originally designed as a wedding chapel in
1941. I chuckled at the sight of the four-poster wooden bed, perched
so high I needed to climb up two steps to get under the covers.
And who says everything has to be old? A jacuzzi tub sat next
to the antique washstand--teasing my knotted muscles. I only had
to get in and turn on its soothing jets.
The Ste. Anne's staff is so efficient! Within an
hour of my arrival, I joined the robed and slippered set to await
the treatments I hoped would de-stress me, strengthen my spirit
and cleanse my body.
From Moor mud baths to
sea salt glow...
I approached the Moor mud bath with slight trepidation. After
a hot tub and shower I gingerly stepped into the mystifying bath.
Surprise! Surprise! My senses were lulled silly. I was submerged
in a sea of velvety, chocolate-like mixture and my body was buoyed
by the mud that grew warmer as I moved my arms and legs. Cold
towels relieved my sweating forehead as I succumbed to total relaxation.
Too soon, it was over and I was pointed in the direction of my
To begin the sea salt glow, high pressure jet streams
massaged my legs and spine; then I climbed onto a table to be
rubbed with sea salt, loofahed and rinsed to perfection. But wait,
there was more. I was treated to a soothing waterfall shower pulsating
onto my neck and down my spine. Finally, a rubdown with essential
oils and hydrating lotion took me straight to SPAAH heaven. I
definitely want to do that again!
Dinner was baked salmon
with brie wrapped in phyllo pastry...
Gourmet meals at the spa are prepared by chef Aram Saillian. I
thoroughly enjoyed his rendition of baked salmon with spinach
and brie wrapped in phyllo pastry. My side salad was topped with
such a refreshingly tart cranberry vinaigrette dressing, I just
had to have the recipe.
At dinner I had the opportunity to meet guests
who came from as far away as Vancouver, some as close as Kingston,
but all there to unwind and enjoy the splendor of the spa. Roz
and Rob spent their honeymoon at Ste. Anne's last year and had
returned for this, their first anniversary. They said they enjoyed
it so much it would likely become their annual getaway.
The next morning I was up at 7:30 am for a session
at the fitness center--guided imagery and meditation, followed
by light body awareness. I can still hear myself repeating the
words, "I am up before the sun...my day is full of moments and
I make them all count..."
Breakfast was fruit with freshly squeezed orange
juice and a cranberry muffin, then I left for my farewell treatments.
Reflexology doesn't tickle...
I indulged in a fantastic pedicure, always a personal favorite,
and happily it lasted longer than any I've ever had. Next was
reflexology, and since it was new to me I wondered about feeling
ticklish (it wasn't). My technician explained that every point
in my foot corresponded with another part of my body. By applying
pressure the energy flows through the body improving circulation.
I relaxed so completely I fell asleep while the other foot was
stretched, pressured and prodded!
Ste. Anne's is indeed a treasure of pleasures.
It's a jewel that I was delighted to discover. To enjoy it first-hand,
visit their website at http://www.steannes.com.
Call 1-888-3-INN-SPA or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
| DO-IT-YOURSELF CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE
- 1/2 cup frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Cook frozen cranberries, sugar and water for ten
minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Place sauce in a medium
size bowl and whisk in vinegar and oil. Serves 8-10