I think the summer should be, whenever possible, a time for relaxation and appreciating natural beauty. Sure, I think the winter is beautiful too, but despite my Canadian blood I have a harder and harder time every year appreciating the splendor that is winter: ice, snow, slush, biting temperatures. For most of us, it’s just a bit easier to appreciate natural wonders from a gently swinging hammock with an icy drink in one hand, a book in the other, and the smell of barbecue and sunscreen bringing back fond memories and creating new ones.
Of course, we don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely summer. Work must go on, and time runs away from you, and before you know it, it’s fall again. So it is with great appreciation that I found myself at Quebec’s Spa Nordik last weekend, one of the most well-known spas in Canada. What makes this space so unique is the fact that most of its pleasures are outside—built serenely into the forest is a veritable town of saunas, steam rooms, cold pools and waterfalls, hot tubs, hot stone beds, relaxation areas, and dining areas. Hammocks built into the foliage; natural streams; decor made from the very elements in which the spa is built; and that delicious smell of warm cedar are just a few of the elements that make this such a sought-after destination.
The massages are wonderful, as are the aromatherapy saunas and the crisply refreshing plunge pools, but one of the most impressive aspects is the way the space is incorporated into its lush, natural surroundings. Everywhere you look is green; only a few steps in any direction and you could wiggle your toes onto fresh grass or the smooth stones of a burbling brook; natural lines and wood used everywhere kept any space from appearing jarring or unnatural. I think, even more than the relaxation that warm water and massages afford, the chance to spend quiet, uninterrupted time in nature is what draws people to this space and has them leaving with such peace and calm.
If nothing else, my visit to Spa Nordik left me with a sense that we all benefit from connecting with our natural surroundings, and it’s a trip I’m happy to take again. Actually, the spa is extremely popular in the winter months, when the juxtaposition of hot and cold is even more pronounced—maybe I’ll have a chance to re-connect with the snow and ice of my youth! Then again….