by Monica Kaufman Pearson
Exhausted, whipped, dead tired, hung out to dry, knotted: just a few of the words to described the condition I was in after a rough week of work, appearances, home, LIFE.
I needed a break and husband, John, surprised me with a place to stick, “A Toe in the Water” to regenerate. And it was an unlikely spot, Brasstown Valley Resort.
He drove me two hours North of Atlanta, through Cherokee County, Gilmer County, Ellijay, home of apples, through Blue Ridge, Blairsville. This scenic ride through the mountains of North Georgia, in itself, calmed me down.
Then we passed through Young Harris, Georgia. Most people do just that, pass through, on their way to North Carolina. But there is history here, Young Harris is the home of former Georgia Governor Zell Miller and the Young Harris College President is Cathy Cox, the first women Secretary of State of Georgia.
And then you come to Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. From the moment we pulled up to the lodge, John heard the huge sigh, an audible exhale of all that had weighed be down all week.
The lobby provides a panoramic view with smells of fresh pine and logs, burning in a 72 foot high stone fire place.
A bear made of grapevines greets you. A hint of the real thing you could run into on the 9.2 miles of marked wilderness trails. There are rocking chairs everywhere to rock away your worries. The staircase leading to the art gallery and pool area and pro shop downstairs is rustic, yet beautiful. It is made of Laurel and Hickory wood.
You are in nature, inside the building that houses 102 lodge rooms. And then there are eight cottages that have 32 guest rooms. What a way to catch up on your sleep, but who wants too, when you look at the other amenities on the 503 acre site.
There is an 18 hole championship golf course. You can head to the stables and saddle up for a trail ride. Drown your problems in the heated indoor/outdoor pool. Name the tennis balls as you serve up the faults in your life and whack them away. Go drop a line at the pond an stream..fish for new ideas. You don’t to bring your own pole. You can use theirs for free. And if you need to shoot someone, make it shoot something with guided quail and sporting clay trips.
John and I decided to literally take a mile and a quarter walk before dinner. The map the front desk gave us helped a lot, but so do the markings along the trail. And when a steep incline wears you down, instead of appearing to wimp out, you can stop to read the nature signs along the way, while you catch your breath.
There are longer walks, two and a half miles, six and a half miles and if you are directionally challenged, you can get a guided walk.
You will have left your baggage on the trails. And when you get back to the lodge, the swings overlooking the golf course, are a welcome spot to recuperate and drink water. John hates to walk and did it only for what he calls “marriage maintenance”. You must see the video shot on the swing.
To say I slept well after a walk and delicious dinner would be an understatement. And the next morning, John had planned the ultimate day of relaxation….a spa day.
This is my only complaint about the facility. The spa is down the hill and across the street. You don’t have to drive there, because there is a bus to take you there and pick you up. However, it would have been nice to roll from the spa back into the room, after the excellent treatments and a world class group of spa employees.
The Equani Spa at Brasstown Valley Resort was the biggest surprise of my travels. I am a spa specialist..love them, go to them often but this one, took my breath away. Yes, there are the usual things, mani, pedis, , but how about a simply sugar manicure and pedicure? And if after golfing or horsebacking riding you need a little more,,a hot and cold hand and feet treatment with a sports massage…can you say…AHHHHHHH.
All kinds of facials and baths, hydrotherapy, makeovers, and massages but what literally brought me to tears and cleanse my mind, soul and body was the Seven Clan Ritual…OMG!!!! Never had anything like this before in my life. It incorporates some rituals of the Cherokee Indians, who first populated this area of North Georgia. It is designed to “ purify and cleanse the mind and soul, and to counteract depression, anger and bitterness”
How I wish I could make you feel what I felt as my body was dry brushed, then a smudging process..where I stood before an open window, a bark was burned and as the smoke wafted toward me, I moved my hands to push it out the window, along with my cares and concerns. That was followed by a mud masque and a massage. This two hour treatment left my skin soft and my mind ever softer. YES!!!!!!! Cares Gone!!!!
You can make a day of it since the spa cuisine is served in the indoor rest area or outdoor deck, with a great view of the mountains.
John thought he was helping me but had to admit, the outing was just what he needed after a week of hard work.
We stuck “A Toe in the Water “ at Brasstown Valley Resort and Equani Spa, and recommend diving in.