Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HSNY Fall Retreat: A Time For Change (City Escape!)

September 22, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Fall is a time of change. Change in weather, changing colors on the trees, a shift to crisp, fresh air. With this change in seasons, we cannot help but reflect upon our own life – the transitions we’re making and the change we want to manifest.  Real change is often a difficult task for many of us, whether in realm of relationships, jobs, or personal action and habits. Now is the perfect time to learn about the power of change, and how we can create the life we’ve always wanted.

Join Founder, Vanessa Alfano, and Positive Psychology Coach, Carin Rockind, for HSNY’s first day retreat, “A Time For Change.” Held in a gorgeous lakeside setting in Garrison, NY, the day will focus on positive change and creating a happier, healthier life. Learn valuable techniques to create the change you want, and enjoy the beauty of the season and the natural change happening all around us.

In this one-day retreat we will:

*Learn about the science of happiness & consider: What fills your life with meaning &  joy?
*Reflect on our lives and what changes we want to make: How can we enhance our lives?
*Discuss changes we want to make in life and envision: What would life look like if everything unfolded exactly as we hope for?

Be pampered with nourishing food, empowered with valuable information, inspired by the natural surroundings, & encouraged by like minded women. This will be a primarily outdoor event, so please dress accordingly.

When: Saturday October 13, 2012
Arrival in the 11 o’clock hour/Departure in 5 o’clock hour

Where: Lake Celeste  Garrison, NY
*Driving Directions available upon registration

*Transportation provided for those arriving on Metro North (Peekskill Station)




About the venue: Located just over one hour from NYC (and accesible by Metro North), the venue is a picturesque lake community in Garrison, NY. The lakefront private home provides the perfect place to reflect, relax, and start on a journey of change. Not only will attendess enjoy stunning views and natural beauty from the deck and catherdral ceilinged porch, but all are  also encouraged to explore the area. Babbling brooks, waterfalls, unpaved roads,  fall foliage, and plenty of stunning scenery await.

About HSNY: is designed to help women live a healthier, happier life. Focused on a holistic approach, the online magazine contains content on everything from nutrition and fitness, to relationships and career advice. HSNY is devoted to helping NYC women access to valuable information and be guided to all the healthy finds NYC has to offer.

About Carin: Carin Rockind is an expert coach, motivational speaker and professor in Positive Psychology, the scientific study of happiness. A “cheerleader” at heart and previously a Fortune 500 marketing exec, Carin left Corporate America to pursue her passion of encouraging women to pursue their dreams. Her philosophy is simple: We each have a unique purpose and we’d be happier if we were living it. She frequently speaks to companies and groups nationally, including Avon, Ernst & Young, Alcoa, SAY Media and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Carin is one of only 250 people in the world with her masters degree in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors from the University of Michigan and has certification in Gestalt therapy.



City Escape: Yoga Supper At Growing Heart Farm

August 16, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

This week we’re sharing a true city escape. Growing Heart Farm in Pauling, NY is only a couple hours from the big city, but a world away in so many ways. This small farm which harvest fruits and veggies for local sale and CSAs is just 75 miles north of NYC, making it an easy, accesible escape. Metro North drops city dwellers a short walk (15m or so) from the farm, making a day-trip a very easy option.

Select Saturdays this summer and fall (including this one!), Growing Heart hosts a farm-to-table yoga supper.  It includes a day on the farm, a relaxing yoga class, and a delicious “ultra-ganic” farm-to-table meal prepared by their holistic chefs. I checked out the yoga dinner recently, and really enjoyed the full experience. Details of my day are below and more details on the Yoga Supper can be found here.  A worthwhile city escape!

Growing Heart, Growing Mind…

When I first arrived at Growing Heart Farm for their Yoga Supper a couple weeks back, I was in my typical ‘Type-A’ city mode. Sure it was Saturday, but I was listing all the stuff in my head that needed to be done, feeling anxious about the last minute guest I had in town (and in tow), and thoroughly annoyed with the pouring rain that had lengthened my trip up to the farm, and left an absolutely messy day. I had been looking forward to a day of scampering through nature with the sun on my face as I did salutations and tree poses, and had heard that the sunset dinner in the field admist the crops was a highlight of the day.

So when I arrived to the farm which had been drenched by rain, my spirits were dampened and I was wondering if taking the journey was in fact a mistake. I was wet and cold, still connected to my iPhone and in no mood to connect with a wet mother nature or any one else.

At first sight, I wasn’t sure I was at the right place. From the road I had missed any signs or indicators of the farm or supper, and when I did arrive, I wondered if I had stumbled upon some retro-commune instead of a yoga supper catering to city folk. I found my way to the front door and realized I had found the farm, and was greeted by a nice girl holding a clipboard. People were hanging out in the house, chit chatting and milling about the kitchen.

I quickly came to meet Abby (one of the key players in the event) who gave me and my guest a quick tour of the fields and chatted about the crops, as well as the philosophy and background of the people who started it. She was sweet and had a bit of a hippie air about her, pointing out the different varietals of kale and even getting me to try a sour tingly little plant that serves as a natural teeth and mouth cleaner. While we walked through the crops, umbrellas in hand, I caught site of a few others who were barefooted and enjoying the mud between their toes. I suddenly felt like I indeed had been transported back 30 years to a time of bellbottoms and bare feet.  I carefully navigated, avoiding puddles, happy to have worn my thicker fit flops to keep the dirt from underneath my freshly pedicured toes.

My city funk was still on full force when I found out the yoga was to be held in the small loft upstairs.  I thought “oh great, lots of people, small space” (certainly not my usual Equinox experience surrounded by Lululemon.)  But, I had made the trip and the soundscapes class had me intrigued, so I strolled up the stairs and set my mat up amidst the others.

Inside the small skylighted yoga room somewhere between a downward dogs and sun salutation, I began to feel a shift. Sure, my muscles started to loosen and  limbs lengthen, but the greatest shift came in my attitude. Aarona, the instructor, talked us through poses, but, as with all great yoga instructors, she also directed us towards centering. With centering often comes clarity and clearer perspective, and by midway through the class, I realized I was creating my own miserable experience. I was too caught up in all the nonsense in my head that prevented me from experiencing all of the positive of the day. When I realized that, I suddenly could see clearer. I  began to experience the fullness and the beauty of not only the yoga experience, but the totality of my surroundings. Suddenly everything seemed… different. Even the rain, which I had cursed for the last few hours, now played a gentle melody on the roof that was the perfect accompaniment to the live musicians the played. It’s funny what a shift in perspective can do.

I left the small yoga loft feeling re-energized and grateful for the clarity. Suddenly I appreciated the beauty of the farm, the differences in the people, and the connection to the earth and myself. Sometimes what we really need is to get grounded and tune out the noise in our own heads. Sometimes we need to be forced to disconnect, to reconnect. These are the most valuable journeys– those that turn us inward, and have us looking more positively outward.

With new found perspective, I was really able to enjoy the remainder of the day. The vegetarian supper which was moved to inside was one of the most delicious I have had. New flavors and textures filled my mouth and conversations flowed with new friends. I finished the day feeling grateful for the experience and, more so, for the journey. As I walked out to the car, I almost took off my shoes to feel the earth between my toes. Then, on a second thought,  I decided to save that for next time. After all, a good pedicure is still a good pedicure.


Farm-to-table Supper

Dinner in the fields (weather permitting!).
Photos courtesy of Growing Heart Farm


City Escape: Torrey Pines, California

May 17, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Some days I swear I was meant to be a California girl. Nothing beats surf, sand and a good dose of California sunshine. My most recent adventure took me to Southern California to the beautiful city of Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines is a gorgeous spot in the San Diego area, just north of La Jolla. While it may be most recognized by golfers as the home of Torrey Pines Golf Course (which hosted the US Open in 2008), this area is home to far more than championship golf.

Where to Stay: The Lodge At Torrey Pines is a top choice for anyone looking for first class accommodations full of charm and without pretense. This rustic yet refined hotel offers top notch amenities while still feeling completely comfortable. Splurge for a room with a view and enjoy breathtaking balcony views of lush fairways and the glistening Pacific beyond. The whole property exudes relaxation– whether walking the natural terrain, lounging in a poolside cabana, or nestling in next to the roaring fireplace in the grand lobby.

What to do: Torrey Pines is made for those who love the outdoors. The gorgeous natural surroundings are a huge draw for hikers, beach lovers, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of life. The Torrey Pines Nature Reserve is one of the largest stretches of wild natural terrain on the Southern California coast, and also one of the most beautiful. Over 2000 acres of unspoiled land are home to the unique Torrey Pine and plenty of other plant and animal life. The Reserve is adjacent to the Torrey Pines Golf course and within walking distance from the Lodge. Spend the day exploring miles and miles of peaceful trails, taking in natural wonders, and marveling at stunning overlooks. Wander down the cliffs and enjoy miles of unspoiled beaches and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Where To Eat: You don’t have to travel far to get a great meal in Torrey Pines. The Lodge’s top rated signature restaurant  A.R Valentien delivers delicious, inventive cuisine and top notch service. Request a table on the veranda for an extra special experience. There also are many highly rated restaurants just minutes away in neighboring towns. Head to Cody’s in La Jolla for a great breakfast or enjoy lunch afurea (and an amazing view) at George’s at the Cove. Wander up to Del Mar to Jake’s beachside restaurant and enjoy dinner overlooking the Pacific (just make sure to request a table in the front in time for sunset)!

City Escape: Captiva Island & South Seas Resort

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

A true escape, Captiva Island is a secluded little gem off the west coast of Florida. I have never seen a place more pristine, with long stretches of sugar white beaches and a natural island ecosystem evident and alive around every turn.

Our Captiva adventure brought us to South Seas, a resort village and 330 acre wildlife sanctuary that takes over the north end of Captiva Island. With 2 1/2 miles of unspoiled beaches, multiple pool areas, golf, tennis, and so much more, South Seas Resort is a very special place the whole family will love.

Once on the expansive property, you can leave your car keys behind. Trolleys, bicycles, and golf carts are the vehicles of choice for resort guests. This lends to the tranquility and natural beauty found throughout the property. Share the beach with gulls, herons, and pelicans, or watch the manatee feed while enjoying breakfast on the patio at Harborside Grille. We even caught a glimpse “Chip” the resident dolphin running along the sea wall and what seemed to be lazily sunbathing in the channel.

Relaxation comes easy at South Seas. An all in one resort, you can find a quiet escape or adventure on the grounds. Cool off in one of the gorgeous pools or take a dip in the clear aqua waters of the gulf. Walk along miles of unspoiled beaches or relax under a palm tree and take in the natural beauty. If you are looking for a little extra adventure Sunny Island Watersports provides paddle boards, jet skis, kayaks, and even sea-plane adventures, and the gulf-side executive golf course is a challenging course providing plenty of scenic relief along the way. After a day of activity pamper yourself at The Kay Casperson Spa or head off on a sunset wildlife cruise with Captiva Cruises. No matter where you head, a connection to nature and laid back attitude are in store.

Your little ones will also have the adventure of a lifetime at South Seas. Kids experience a vacation like no other with opportunities to explore at every turn. The Scout About scavenger hunt is a great way for the whole family to explore the resort and discover the wildlife that exists. Sanibel Sea School offers hands-on educational experiences under the sun and in the water, and guided kayak tours can take you to places you never thought possible. For an extra dose of fun check out Skullys Family Interactive Center, H2Whoa water park, and the 50′s inspired soda shop, Scoop and Slices.

A special place in a beautiful setting…that’s what South Seas is all about. This is one city escape that is truly a refuge, and will definitely make you feel like you are a world away. For more information about South Seas Resort go to

South Seas Resort : Captiva, Florida
Family. Comfort. Nature.

City Escape: Palm Coast’s Hammock Beach

January 28, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

If warm sunshine and sand between your toes sounds like the perfect remedy for the winter blues, then have we the place for you.  Florida makes for an easy escape, and while many may be unfamiliar with Palm Coast, we found it to be a perfect destination.

Palm Coast is located on the east coast of Florida, half way between Daytona and St. Augustine. It offers a great mix of golf resorts and natural preserves, and miles of unspoiled beaches. Tucked away on the coastline is Hammock Beach, a resort that brings forth all the best the Palm Coast has to offer. It is an expansive property that offers guests an amazing array of amenities and lends to a fun filled or completely relaxing vacation.

Managed by Salamander Hotel Group, Hammock Beach Resort is one of the Grand Golf Resorts of Florida. Like it’s siblings Innisbrook Resort near Tampa and Reunion Resort in Orlando, Hammock features luxurious village accommodations and some of the state’s premier golf. Golf is what it was all about for my better half, and the two championship courses at Hammock Beach provided plenty of challenging play. The Conservatory Course offers links style play and the beautiful Ocean Course gives plenty of scenic relief.

Scenery and coastal beauty are what it was all about for me, and the beaches along the Palm Coast are beautiful and unadulterated. Miles and miles of natural coastline provide the perfect place to take a long walk (or even bike—the sand is hard enough!), bask in the sun, or just gaze out over the Atlantic all day.

If poolside is more your style, Hammock beach definitely has you covered. With what seems like endless pools, water adventures or poolside peace and quiet can easily be found. The center pool complex is a kid’s dream, complete with lazy river and twisting slide. Throw in fire pits, beach volleyball courts, and even mini golf and it’s the perfect playground for kids of all ages.

Relaxation is easy at Hammock Beach’s first class spa. Their signature massage combines hot stones, long strokes, and plenty of pampering touches. They also offer a massage especially tailored to those who spend a tough day on the course, and a variety of other spa services. Saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and a fitness center are all available to guests.

Hammock Beach is truly an all in one resort, and guests don’t ever need to leave once they’ve arrived. A variety of dining options can be found throughout the resort. A favorite, The Atlantic Grill, sits beach side and offers indoor and outdoor seating, and outstanding views of big blue. Two other restaurants plus a sushi bar, lobby coffee café, and even a sophisticated cigar bar will have everybody’s cravings taken care of.  Service is top notch no matter where you go.

The accommodations also offer plenty of variety. The main building is enormous and offers villa style rooms boasting southern style decor and views of the Atlantic. Families are easily accommodated as suites of up to 3 bedrooms with full living and kitchen spaces are available. For those seeking a bit more solitude, The Lodge, is a short walk away from the main grounds. This more secluded boutique style hotel offers open, airy, rooms that sit ocean front. Walk out on your balcony and you can practically taste the salt air and smell the freshly cut grass of the 18th hole.

So no matter what kind vacation you have in mind, Hammock Beach has you covered. A few days away from the big city always does a body good, and plenty of play and rest are waiting for you in Palm Coast. For more information on Hammock Beach head to

City Escape: Sail Newport to Manhattan on the Grand Sail

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Do you love the water and are ready for a fun and exciting trip that you will remember for a lifetime? Ready to sail on a former America’s Cup Sailboat and learn from top notch instructors? How does sailing to some of the northeast’s most desirable ports sound? Take a look at our latest find from Manhattan Sailing School and get ready for a Grand Sail!

America’s Cup 12 Meter “America II” will depart Newport, RI on Thursday, August 11 and sail back to New York City over 4 days. This is the “Grand Sail” and you can participate.

The voyage will take you to some famous sailing destinations. Overnight stops are scheduled for Block Island, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay.  Four days are planned for you to learn, practice and gain an incredible of sailing experience.

The “Grand Sail” is an educational training cruise.  Six spots are available to sailors who wish to gain more experience with big boat sailing and especially with 12 Meter sailing.

The make the Grand Sail super special, there will be two educators with a vast amount of experience.

About the sailboat: 12 Meter America II
12 Meter America II (US 46) competed for the America’s Cup in 1987 in Freemantle, Australia. In 2007, she was acquired by members of the Manhattan Sailing Club to help celebrate the club’s 20th Anniversary.  Now she operates under the auspices of the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation and serves as the harbor’s great sailing ambassador.

This past spring, cracks were discovered in the mast of America II which necessitated a replacement.  The Foundation conducted a fundraising drive with more than 190 people supporting the Flagship in her hour of need.  The replacement mast project has been underway in Newport for 2 months under the direction of Jim.  Now America II will be launched and conduct her triumphant sail back to New York Harbor.

Wed, Aug 10 – All sailors rendezvous in Newport, RI for a taste of summer fun at the East Coast’s sailing capital.
Thur,  Aug 11 – depart Newport and sail to Block Island.
Fri, Aug 12 – sail to Port Jefferson and overnight.
Sat, Aug 13 – sail to Oyster Bay and overnight
Sun, Aug 14 – sail to New York City

Added bonus – Monday evening, Aug 15 – The America II Welcoming Celebration will be held on the Honorable William Wall.  This event is open exclusively to all Syndicate Members and “Friends of America II” who contributed to the replacement mast.  Sailors who participate in the Grand Sail will also be invited to help sail America II in her review past the floating clubhouse and then join the celebration for the unveiling of the new clubhouse centerpiece.

The tuition is $1,350 per person.  This covers the delivery from Newport to NYC on the 12 Meter plus all sailing and mooring fees.  Students are responsible for their own transportation, overnight accommodations and food.  These details will be discussed with Captain Marcus Cholerton-Brown upon registration.

This trip, like all sailing, is weather dependent.  The delivery will go forward as scheduled unless weather conditions require a postponement which would usually only be 1 day.  It is expected that you will do lots of sailing but there is no guarantee of sailing time because it depends on weather conditions.

This trip is limited to 6 students so please sign up soon before it sells out.  In addition to the 6 students and 2 educators, there will be a few experienced 12 meter crew to assist with things like hoisting the sails and running the boat (12 Meters normally race with a crew of 14 to 16 people!).

Ready to sail? Click HERE for more information!

City Escape: Toronto, Ontario. Head to Canada!

June 3, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Summer is just about here and with that comes the planning of long weekends away, day trips, and hopefully full blown vacations. One great vacation option is visiting our friendly Canadian neighbors up north in Toronto. It’s a super short flight, and if you’re not one for flying, driving or taking the train is something to consider. It’s a doable drive/train trip ( about 10-12 hours away) with plenty of pretty countryside to see along the way.


While you’re there, you must indulge in a few activities that are totally charming and exclusive to this bustling metropolis. One of these would be taking in (and going way up!) the CN Tower. Classified as one of the modern wonders of the world, in less than sixty seconds, you can take an elevator ride up and be looking out across the entire city. For the more adventurous types, this summer launches one of their most exciting attractions to date. A first in North America, Edge Walk is the highest hands-free walk (yes, walk!) on top of the CN Tower’s main pod – 356 m above the ground! Toronto’s newest attraction is perfect for thrill seekers and adventurers alike, but if that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also plenty of shopping, restaurants and other attractions to make your experience at the CN Tower completely unforgettable.

A fan of baseball? If so, you are going to want to hit up Rogers Centre, for sure! Home to the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome), is one of the most unique stadiums you’ll ever step foot in. The stadium itself is over 12 acres and features a retractable roof which can open or close in minutes depending on the weather – so you can stay nice and dry while watching the game. And for all you die hard Yankees fans out there, there are a few dates in July when they take on the Jays, so it is definitely something you won’t want to miss!

For those of you who love to be near the water, Toronto’s harbor front is right on Lake Ontario. Taking in the water and array of boats, or walking along the boardwalk might be your thing, but there’s also Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre which features family friendly fun all summer long. Everything from family canoe rides to storytelling, art shows, food and music – all can be found down by the water in Toronto’s own charming waterfront. If actually getting out into the water is your thing, there are ferries that can take you out to Toronto Island. Perfect for a relaxing day at one of its many beaches, parks or gardens, it also has an amusement park (Centreville), shopping, cafes and cottages for rent if you feel like spending a few days. Toronto definitely does not fall short on all the fun exclusive to the summer months: water, beaches and boats!


*For art aficionados, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition takes place July 8 – 10th in Nathan Phillips Square in heart of downtown.
*For all you jazz fans, the Beaches International Jazz Festival takes place July 15 – 24th and draws in talented jazz musicians from all around the world.
*An event that attracts over a million tourists to Toronto is Caribana Festival from July 14th – August 1. Currently one of North America’s largest cultural festivals, this larger than life celebration plays hosts to hundreds of Caribbean inspired concerts, an array of delicious food vendors, art and theatrical performances for the latter part of July.
*For all you tourists looking to be schooled culturally, Toronto plays hosts to literally dozens of other festivals and celebrations during the summer months. For more info, visit:

Photo Credit: Top PhotoCN Tower, Rogers Center, Harbor,

Weekend Escape: Health & Wellness Retreats (In & Out of NYC!)

May 13, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured

Tough week at work? Looking for a little relaxation and restoration? We found great events, happening both in and out of the city, that will have you feeling restored and back in balance before you know it.

May 12-16

First up is the  Yoga Journal Conference. This multi-day event is offering over 100 classes instructed by 40 master teachers and is happening right here in the big city. You can experience the power of yoga first hand, or sit in on one of the special events or guest speakers covering everything from meditation and buddhism to how changing your diet can change the world! Passes can be purchased for full days or for just a single event or class. For more info click here.

Don’t feel like spending a dime? The Yoga Journal Marketplace is an aspect of the conference that is absolutely free! Pop in and peruse the wellness brands, and even experience free samples and services. Our friends at Tata Harper will be on hand giving guests free mini-facials and sharing the goodness of their natural line of beauty products. For more info click here.

May 20-22

Feel like you need a full escape from the big city? Mark your calendar because next weekend the Lodge At Woodloch is doing a Rosemary Awakening Weekend.  Located just a couple hours from NYC, the Lodge at Woodloch is nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lake region and brings together nature and luxury. On May 20- 22 they are offering very special weekend designed to re-awaken the senses to the rewarding rituals of natural healing. Explore the joys of cooking, gardening, and create your own aromatherapy essential oil blend to take home. They’ll also be kicking-off our new partnership with Naturopathica, and launching a new Rosemary Awakening signature treatment. For more details click here.

City Escape: Vail, Colorado – Spring Skiing At Its Best

April 8, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Ok, it’s finally spring, but don’t count out skiing the rocky mountains just because the weather is warming up. Yes, I too am MORE than happy to leave winter behind, but that doesn’t mean I won’t squeeze the ski season out to the very last drop. In fact, spring is my favorite time to hit the slopes. The weather is warming, skies clearing, and, as I found out last week, there is still PLENTY of great snow.

Vail in fact has had incredible snow this season. 460+ inches to be exact! I had the most incredible powder day just a week ago. I am talking about being 2+ feet deep in the fresh stuff in the back bowls. If powder isn’t your thing, there is also plenty of groomed goodness. Vail mountain still has 193 trails open on the mountain (yes, that’s 100%)  and over 5000 acres of terrain to choose from. All their lifts are running and lift lines are practically nonexistent!

In addition to the incredible mountain, there are a few other great reasons to choose Vail. First of all, with several carriers offering nonstop service directly into Vail Eagle airport, it’s a cinch to get to. Also, it’s definitely a top resort town with plenty to do.

Vail is comprised of several small villages that can easily be traveled between by walking or jumping on the convenient free bus service. Each town has a wealth of activity including sweet little shops, high end boutiques, endless dining options, and great slope-side apres ski. Fun times are easy to access with several ice skating rinks and even an upscale bowling alley on hand. Stroll  through Vail Village for a taste of Germany, with it’s Bavarian style buildings and charm. You might even catch a special event, as Vail hosts quite a few throughout the year.  I got a glimpse of the Vail Film Festival and free music series while there.

So, are you ready to break out the skis or board one last time? Vail’s season ends April 24th this year, so you’ve still got a couple weeks left to get in on the good stuff. Get out there and get moving!

For more information on Vail including snow reports, tickets, and events head to

Photo Credit:

City Escape: Canyon Ranch Tucson

March 11, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Spring is right around the corner and a perfect time for renewal and awakening. We often too need to bring change and balance into our lives, and that’s not always such an easy task in a crazy city like NY.  This week’s City Escape takes us west to one of nation’s top destination spa resorts, Canyon Ranch.

Located in the Sonoron Desert and surrounded by the Santa Catalina Mountains, Canyon Ranch is the perfect place to reset, relax, and revitalize. For decades this all inclusive resort has taken a holistic approach to good health, providing guests with all the tools they need bring their lives back into balance. For those seeking big change, Canyon Ranch has a variety of powerful programs– everything from weight loss to spiritual awakening. However, if a relaxing and fun vacation is more of what you have in mind, Canyon also has you covered. The expansive resort features indoor and outdoor pools, hiking and biking trails, golf programs, and an award winning spa.

For me, I wanted it all. I really needed to step out of the hectic NYC pace and just relax, but also sought to continue my fitness routine (summer is coming!) and looked forward to participating in some of Canyon’s workshops. I took along a good girlfriend, and, in the end, feel like we both left Canyon Ranch with exactly what we needed.

A typical day for me started with a morning hike on the 2 mile trail that surrounds the ranch’s property. This was a time to take in the beauty and mystery of the desert, enjoy the cool morning air and warm sunshine, get the blood pumping, and set good intentions for the day (not hard to do in such a great place!)

Breakfast, as with all meals at Canyon, gave us a great variety of healthy options. By week’s end favorites included the blueberry wheat pancakes and fresh fruit and yogurt bar. Even my morning cup of Joe tasted better in the desert! Canyon does a great job with all of its meals– but be careful, while very nutritious (they even list items nutritional info on the menus), if you go overboard you can easily gain weight indulging in the good stuff.

Our days at Canyon brought a variety of fun, relaxing and worthwhile activities. At least once a day we participated in a workshop. My favorite was the very first talk that we attended which was entitled Celebrating WomenLisa Redstone, a Shaman (all of Canyon’s teachers are top-notch), talked about the importance of celebrating women at every stage of life, and how, in our society, we often overlook this. As with so many of the workshops, I found that this one shifted my perspective a bit and had me ref0cusing on the important stuff that we so often lose sight of in the shuffle of life. I highly recommend that you don’t pass up the opportunity to take a workshop or two while visiting. Definitely worth the while.

We also got a good dose of exercise on this trip. In addition to our daily hikes, we took advantage of the many fitness classes that Canyon Ranch offers. We took fun classes like belly-dancing, got our down-ward dog on, watched others do pool aerobics ;) , and often wrapped up our day with a relaxing meditation or ‘stretch and relax’ class. A great vacation for me is one where I actually leave feeling revitalized and good about my body and health, so being able to keep active was great.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am all about lounging on a chair poolside, getting lost in in a good book, and completely relaxing as well. Canyon makes this easy. At some point during each day, Elisa and I found ourselves at one of the three outdoor pools, enjoying the warm sun and amazing views. Throughout the property, Canyon offers relaxing refuges, from quiet gazebos to benches overlooking still ponds. Oh– and Canyon Ranch is a cell-free zone. That means no chit- chatting on the cell except in designated areas. Get ready to disconnect and see how wonderful it is!

Finally, a resort-spa vacation would not be complete without a trip to the SPA! I made sure to get a good dose of spa time (c’mon I had to for research purposes right?). While I am a sucker for a straightforward massage (loved my first Canyon Ranch signature massage), they also offer a wide variety of specialty massages– everything from a thai to pre-natal–  as well as a huge variety of other spa services. For those looking for something not so “hands on,” the spa also has quiet sitting areas, whirlpools, steam room, and sauna guaranteed to bring relaxation.

Canyon Ranch does a great job of having guests experience for themselves just how good healthy living can feel. They bring together all the elements of a healthy lifestyle to fortify mind, body and spirit. So are you ready for rest and revitalization? If so, Canyon Ranch is the perfect place to visit, and now may very well be the perfect time. The weather in Tucson is beautiful this time of year, and Canyon is even offering several seasonal specials.  For more information on all of Canyon Ranch’s programs and offerings visit

Can’t get away to Canyon Ranch? Bring the desert oasis right to your fingertips! Find out more HERE.

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