A visit to the New Age Health Spa can help you face your life with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Walking across the lawn towards the open-air canopy, you begin to notice things: how beautiful the early-morning light is as it illuminates the forest and rolling hills surrounding you, throwing the trees into high-relief and causing the dew-drops to sparkle like diamonds on the fresh green grass; how joyfully the birds sing, seeming to greet the new day with cheerful optimism; how blissful is the feeling of dawn sunlight warming your cheek; and how good it feels to be awake and alive in a world that offers such intense beauty.
That was how my first full day at the New Age Health Spa in Neversink, NY began. During the summer months, the canopy is the meeting-place for guests wishing to enjoy an hour of gentle yoga before breakfast. Although I'm by no means a morning person, I didn't miss a single class for the entire week; I found that peaceful hour calmed my mind while relaxing and invigorating my body, stretching and releasing any tension or soreness I was holding in my muscles.
New Age is nestled in 155 scenic acres in the Catskill Mountains. When you arrive there, you'll be guided to your room in one of the pretty white cabins dotted around the resort. Each cabin is different -- large and small, one and two storeys -- and has its own particular style. The difference between the "Basic" and "Deluxe" accommodations is really a matter of size only: some of the Basic rooms are extremely small, lacking the space for the rocking chairs, large dressers, and other furniture found in the Deluxe rooms. All are kept immaculately tidy and in good repair, though, so if you don't plan on spending a lot of time in your room -- and with so many enticing activities to choose from, I don't know why you'd be in your room if you weren't sleeping -- you can save some money by choosing Basic accommodations.
If you're interested in self-improvement inside and out, New Age offers everything you need to feel and look your best. There's something for everyone: gourmet healthy cuisine, fitness classes, hikes and walks, lectures, yoga and meditation, the challenging Alpine Tower, or relaxing in a lounge chair with a good book. Programs run from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you can choose to do as much -- or as little -- as your heart desires. This is truly a place to renew your mind, body, and soul.
The facilities include an indoor pool and whirlpool; a steam room and a sauna; an air-conditioned exercise room and gym; a large outdoor pool and two tennis courts; a TV/video room, a lounge (guests gather here to watch popular movies in the evenings), and a library.
Food for thought
New Age offers delicious meals prepared from wholesome natural ingredients; in fact, much of the fresh salad greens and herbs are grown on-site in the Spa's greenhouses and gardens. Designed by the Spa nutritionist, the menu options reflect the guests' different goals and needs: some come to the Spa to gain or lose weight, some to recuperate from illness or injury (physical or emotional), and some to decompress from their high-stress lives.
The morning buffet includes hot or cold cereal, toast, and variety of fresh, ripe fruit. Lunch and dinner offer salads, soups, and a choice of entree: vegetarian, poultry, or fish. Dinner also includes dessert -- some of which are so good it's hard to believe they could be good for you. If you wish, you can elect to go on a juice fast (usually for about three days) to cleanse and rest your system. In the main dining room, you're seated with other guests to encourage mingling and friendly conversation.
"I was a little nervous about coming here," confessed Joan, a recently-divorced secretary from Danbury, CT. "I thought the guests would all be couples, and I'd end up eating alone. But most are single, or they're here without their partners -- and they're all really friendly."
Exercise your options
The exercise schedule starts at 7 a.m. and concludes just before dinner. Although classes and activities run all day long, participation is entirely voluntary. If you want to lie in a shady hammock or relax by the pool all day, nobody will take you to task.
However, for those really committed to going home with a leaner, toned body, the day starts with a 50-minute aerobic walk and a yoga class before breakfast. Mornings and afternoons, you can choose from a variety of activities, including: step or "NIA technique" (barefoot aerobics combining modern dance and martial arts) classes; aqua conditioning and aerobics in the indoor pool; stretch classes; working out using state-of-the-art gym equipment; and Tai Chi, meditation, and yoga classes. Most days offer an additional special activity, such as a three-hour hike (cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing in the winter), African or Brazilian dance class, or the unique Alpine Tower experience (offered from May to September only).
The Alpine Tower is a free-standing, 50-foot-high climbing structure made out of logs, ropes, and handholds. With the help of instructors, you learn one of the 26 ways to get to the top: combinations of climbing the support poles, rope ladders, and swinging logs, and balancing on a see-saw suspended from the platform. You scale the tower alone, secured by a climbing harness tethered to a rope held by two team-mates on the ground. A cross between a jungle gym and a skyscraper, the Tower looks downright daunting.
In fact, it looks impossible. "I looked at it, and thought 'Yeah, right!'" said Mary, a 40-year-old accountant from Manhattan. "I'm not in the best shape, and that thing looks scary! It took me forever to get up, but I did it: climbed all the way to the top. Now I feel that if I could do that, I can do anything!" The Tower tends to have that effect on people. Most people have to overcome their fear and lack of faith in themselves to climb -- even halfway up feels like a major accomplishment. Climbers come back from their morning at the Tower excited and proud of their achievement, and with a real boost in self-confidence.
New Age offers services and consultations to help you look and feel your absolute best. Chosen for their relaxing, therapeutic, and beauty-enhancing benefits, treatments come from around the world. In addition to three different kinds of facials, therapeutic massage, and Shiatsu, the salon offers a variety of special treatments. You can enjoy reflexology, Ayurvedic Botanical therapy (a 5,000-year-old system for healing and re-establishing the body's balance using herbs and essential oils from India), body wraps, aromatherapy, astrological charting, and hydro colon therapy. My personal favorite was the "Moor Mud Body Treatment" -- after a brief exfoliation, I was painted with warm Austrian mud from head to toe and wrapped in warm, fluffy towels. A massage with lavender oil completed the treatment. Utter bliss!
The bottom line
The New Age Health Spa has a beautiful location, great facilities, delicious meals, and a great health program. Rated "Best Value in North America" in the 1993-1994 Zagat Spa Survey, the spa definitely offers good value for your money. Located a scenic two-and-a-half hour drive from NYC, this is truly heaven in your own backyard.