Spa Eastman just won another award! Read about it on their website. Just ask about the week’s events: 1-800-665-5272. The events change by the week! Reserve a minimum 5-night « Destination Spa » package, starting Sunday*, and we will offer an all-inclusive « Destination Spa » package to the person sharing your room! Visit the website for full details. www.spa-eastman.com
Copyright © May Georgina DeLory
I believe getting there is half the fun. So my road to sanctuary began with a fall scenic drive from Montreal through Quebec’s pastoral Eastern Townships where I sampled fresh apples from nearby orchards and award-winning 100% Vidal ice wine from the picture-postcard lovely l’Orpailleur winery just outside of the village of Dunham. At the winery, I enjoyed a lunch of fresh and delicate mixed greens salad, Duck Cuisseau with Cranberry and Orpailleur red wine sauce. Heart-stopping views of row upon row of ripening grapes reaching into the distance were a bonus.
The area is part of the Eastern Townships Wine Route near the US border. Fall is an ideal time to visit. Produce is at its peak and bursting with flavour. My final destination seemed a mere hop, skip and a jump from the sophisticated metropolis known as Montreal where I rented a car at the VIA railway terminal. The entire process could not have been simpler.
It was my first time driving in Quebec. I speak next to no French. I had absolutely no trouble reading the road signs; except for once when I missed a highway turn off. I simply took the next exit and ended up a short while later at a quaint-looking roadside vegetable stand. “Bonjour!” I called out, receiving a friendly smile in return. After getting directions in very good English I was back on the road to adventure, the weather still delightfully warm with blue skies overhead.
There’s something decadent about country air. It makes me feel free of spirit and knocks off at least two decades. At least this is the way I felt driving the back roads of the Eastern Townships. I wanted to listen to anything by a 70s Canadian rock group out of Winnipeg, Manitoba known as BTO, my hair flowing wildly, car top down and spirits high – except I wasn’t in a convertible. What I did do is carefully watch for the next road sign that would signal my highway exit and lead me to my spa elixir.
Spa Eastman is set apart from most personal escapes due to an awareness of natural nutrition, organic cuisine, natural beauty of landscape, refined accommodation with a rustic ambiance – both at the main lodge and at the seven pavilions – and attention to personalized service by French/English-Language speaking staff. If you ever longed to improve your French language skills or just to get a firsthand feel for the French language, Spa Eastman allows for a superb French Pampering experience on both fronts.
Spa Eastman buildings and landscape are designed in such a way as to offer fairytale-like ambiance: towering trees, formal flower gardens, sweet-smelling bushes and secret places to sit awhile and absorb with all of the body senses the majesty of the place. Gently twisting walking trails connect one pavilion to the next and to the main lodge and indoor heated swimming pool. There is a sense of peace and tranquility and utter safety in Spa Eastman’s world. There are lots of wide-open spaces with lovely green grass, and chaise lounge chairs by the natural spring fed pond and outdoor pool. Lazy country roads surrounding the property allow for vigorous power walks or runs or leisurely strolls to examine nature. The town of Eastman is about a fifteen minute drive from the spa and was once known for copper and lumber production, hence the area’s dense forest.
I spent hours walking the marked trails through Spa Eastman’s forest, listening to babbling brooks, bird watching, and investigating plants. After a late evening walk by flashlight that was supplied by Spa Eastman I enjoyed a feature film in the private screening room in the main lodge. That evening, I fell asleep — the sliding glass doors open to the private terrace — to the sounds of a water fountain that sits at the front of the property adjacent the large pond; but not before the electric fireplace in my room warmed my tootsies. So restful — Spa Eastman ambiance that it would be possible to hide away in one’s room, coming down just for meals and spa treatments, and still have an unforgettable escape into peace and tranquility.
The central lodge is spacious with lots of natural light flowing through huge windows. At every turn indoors and out there are increasingly beautiful views. There are several casual lounge areas offering reading material in the central lodge and one lounge with a huge fireplace that makes for an ideal social gathering spot. For so large a place I was amazed at how intimate Spa Eastman feels. It’s easy to find a cozy spot to relax outside of your room in the main lodge or somewhere on the property.
Meals are taken in a dining room all gleaming wood and white tablecloths and pretty fresh flowers in vases and windows that open to views of low mountains, forest and small lake. Tables for two, four or more are available. Menu selections are hand-written on a board for easy view at the dining room’s entrance and are based on the Spa’s own organic herb and vegetable gardens and berry patches and grape vines and use of local in-season fresh produce. It’s not unusual to see delectable deserts and main courses adorned with edible flowers from the organic gardens. From brioches aux pommes to soupe de canard…eating well here is just part of the entire attention paid to the finer aspects of Spa Eastman’s wellness and pampering experience from the heart.
The place is spotless and offers a wide selection of food buffet style. Gourmet to go! My mouth watered each and every time I entered the dining room. A special water bar adjacent to the dining room offers an international selection of bottled water. There’s an excellent wine selection along with organic varieties. Quebec’s Collège des Ambassadeurs du Vin awarded in 2008 La Carte d’Or to Spa Eastman for the exceptional quality of its wine list.
The menu is extensive, offering sumptuous sauces, stews and dishes such as fennel salad, lamb, and wild rice and pan-roasted duck that announce the fall season. There are fresh fruits—some from Spa Eastman’s own fruit trees and kitchen gardens where no pesticides or herbicides are used, breads made from whole flours and grains, sprouts, fresh juices, coffees, teas, spring water, and decadent desserts prepared by an award-winning pastry chef. Spa Eastman has been composting since 1977, incorporating environmentally sensitive practices both indoors and outdoors, and adheres to a philosophy of creating harmony and balance for their guests.
Jocelyna Dubuc, Spa Eastman founder, president, and general director, took a big gamble in 1977 opening Canada’s first destination spa on 325 acres (15 kilometres of groomed ski/hiking trails). Over the course of thirty years Spa Eastman has won numerous awards for its wine list, cuisine, facilities, programmes, treatments and sustainable tourism mind set. Most recently Spa Eastman was included in a Health Magazine article on healthy spas and honoured in 2008 with the prestigious Phenix award for sustainable development.
Dubuc along with Spa Eastman chef, Pierre Cornelis, and Spa Eastman pastry chef, Stephane Triballi, wrote Le Spa Eastman A Votre Table cookery book that won Gold in 2006 at Cuisine Canada’s Canadian Culinary Book Awards in Winnipeg held annually in the fall and sponsored by the University of Guelph. Spa Eastman cuisine is based upon a healthy and good-for-you ideology. Expect a gastronomic experience of the first order with menus devoted to weight control if desired.
I adored hearing my massage therapist speaking in French inviting me to my treatment room. The spa treatment rooms are on the lower level of the main lodge with a health and wellness centre. Guests are a cross-section of age groups with an outlook to relaxation and fun times. Some say we are what we eat and what we think. You won’t have any difficulty enjoying healthy cuisine and thinking happy thoughts at Spa Eastman named in 2007 among the top-10 best spas in the world and awarded “Best Affordable Spa” by Spa Finder Readers’ Choice Awards.
Spa treatments such as Pressotherapy to take inches off legs and body is internationally recognized and sought after by guests. Couleur Caramel makeup offers ECOCERT certified products derived from organic agriculture that meet Spa Eastman’s sustainable development programme initiatives. Kinesiologists and fitness experts design a programme to benefit the entire body. I saw naturopath Ilona Dowgiallo for a complete health assessment and to discuss the benefits of eating according to my blood type. Ilona was kind, thoughtful and had me telling her some of my secrets…all to my benefit. But it was the Duet Maple Sugar body polish and massage that set me free after a day’s hiking across a small section of the 315-acres. Quebec is known the world over for its maple syrup products. I liked, too, the idea of deciding whether to take part in one of the daily activities such as snowshoeing, Swiss Ball Training, tai chi, aqua aerobics, yoga, Pilates, swimming (heated outdoor/indoor pools), fitness class, have my hair or face makeup done in the spa’s salon, or have a Miracle Mineral potion applied that is excellent for arthritis and muscular pain. Or to do nothing at all. There is such an extensive list of spa treatments, activities, lectures and guest programmers at Spa Eastman that return visits offer the ability to totally indulge in a new experience.
I could not have been more at peace with my surroundings than I was here at Spa Eastman. I may be partial to my experience because I adore the special warmth of the fall months…but I think not. Year-round will be special and from the heart at Spa Eastman. You won’t go hungry while you’re renewing mind, body and soul. I ate heartily and never gained an ounce, and long to return to my Eastern Townships hideaway. White fluffy snow and skiing sound like the perfect elixir.
Reserve a minimum 3-night stay and we will offer you the 4th night for free! If you are planning a stay at Spa Eastman including December 24th and/or 25th, 2011 or on the 30th or 31st, 2011, for three or more consecutive nights, you will receive the 4th night free. This extra night, with the Relaxation à La Carte package, will be added to your stay and allow you to start the New Year right with extra time to relax and recharge!
CTC – what kind of traveller are you? Take the quiz. http://bit.ly/cfe9s1
From January 7th to 14th, 2012 at Spa Eastman. A week package dedicated to loss weight while discovering the pleasure of movement. Enjoy 2.5 hours each day of fitness training and education with Miranda Esmonde-White. Everything but a boot-camp!
Spa-Eastman, Discover: Andropause & Sexuality; Aging: Vitality or Disease? Dr. George Yu, George Washington Medical Centre. October 1st., 2010.
http://www.spa-eastman.com/ Telephone Toll Free 1-800-424-0777 Also city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada location. Watch Spa-Eastman TV segment for tips on which treatment to indulge yourself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4TGtbJZytM Spa Eastman Experience. Be warned…you’ll want to indulge!
www.easterntownships.org (Info on the Wine Route & Summit Drive Route for outdoor activities)
Quebec Eastern Townships wine route http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ielYqRb7fQ
www.flyporter.com Direct flights Toronto, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec and Toronto,Ontario to Quebec city, Quebec (about 1.5 hr) as well as ski destinations in Quebec http://www.tremblant.ca/index-e.htm . Flight Reservations: Toll Free 1-888-619-8622
www.aircanadavacations.com Toll Free 1-866-529-2079
www.transatholidays.com Toll Free 1-866-322-6649
Liverpool House. Part of the trendy Joe Beef restaurants in Montreal serving steak, seafood, oysters & excellent wine. 2501 Notre-Dame West (near Atwater Market — fresh flowers, vegetables & fruits). Telephone 514-313-6049 http://www.joebeef.ca/
www.viarail.ca Twitter account: @VIA_Rail
Photo copyright May Georgina DeLory; Spa Eastman; Eastern Townships
Copyright © May DeLory. All rights reserved. For use of images or content on this blog please contact May DeLory.