The other week I was able to virtually join a great team of people from Virginia on a tour through some of the best wellness vacation spots across the state. Considering the year that we have lived, and are still living through, the focus on wellness is continually growing but there is only so much we can do at home, alone. Needless to say, virtual wellness is not the same as IRL but this certainly opened up my mind to a different side of the state of Virginia and one I would very much like to explore in person when we are free to fearlessly travel across the border. 

The recommended route takes you from Virginia Beach to Middleburg and has 5 stops, let’s look at them a little bit closer.

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1. Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E Health Center & Spa*, Virginia Beach

Edgar Cayce was an American 20th century psychic and medical clairvoyant who has been often referred to as the “sleeping prophet” and the “father of holistic medicine”. A.R.E. here stands for Association for Research and Enlightenment that also houses a multi-experience health centre, spa, library, and visitor centre all of which offer a range of “opportunities for profound personal change in body, mind, and spirit, from extensive spa services, yoga and meditation sessions, to lectures and workshops”. The centre was founded over 90 years ago by Edgar Cayce himself with the goal to equip people to experience a profound personal change in body, mind, and spirit – something I think we can all use on the other side of this globally shared experience. 

While you cannot stay at the center overnight there is a promisingly lovely Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club* located nearby offering luxury accommodation and an on-site spa. This is a well-rated resort, built in 1927, located right at the waterfront.  

2. Sandy River Outdoor Adventures, Rice*

The next stop is a 24-acre farm in Prince Edward Country in Rice (aka the US PEC, not the one I frequent for wine). Sandy River is a family-owned small business focusing on the outdoors and sharing the fruits of their farm and garden with the guests. Here guests are invited to take advantage of a variety of outdoor activities (boats, zippiness, high ropes, bicycles, etc) while staying either in a log cabin or one of the 6 luxury glamping tipis. The lux tipis have their own bathroom, AC, outdoor fire pits, and even a kitchenette. One of the tipis has a claw-foot bathtub! This is the kind of “roughing it” I can get on a level with ☺️. 

The big news for this fall is the opening of the Sandy River Distillery right on the same property. Bonus check for me.  

3. Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville, Buckingham*

Moving on to a spiritual retreat. Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville* was founded in the 1980s by an Indian Yoga master Sri Swami Satchidananda – the same one who opened the Woodstock music festival! This is 750 acres of land spread along the James River in Buckingham Country. It’s a vegetarian/vegan community offering teacher training, retreats, and guest stays. Here you can contemplate, enjoy nature, and expand on your yoga practice.  

4. Eupepsia Wellness Resort, Bland*

Further along the route, located in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is Eupepsia Wellness Resort* which was founded on the science and philosophy of Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. This is a full-service resort offering integrated programs around sound sleep, farm-to-table dining, health, fitness, and yoga therapies. Each guest receives an individually tailored program based on their goals and health condition.

Eupepsia has recently launched an immunity-boosting outdoor wellness staycation program focusing on eco-therapy promoting physical, mental, and emotional health. The programming variety includes yoga, treatments, hydrotherapies, fitness actives, guided hikes, and even gardening if you wish, all in a safe and socially distant manner. 

5.  Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg*

The last stop before returning to the everyday is a five-star destination resort. Salamander Resort & Spa is a place where, in a luxury environment, you can either explore the quiet solemness by the poolside or learn a bunch of new stuff like falconry, fishing, take an art class, ride a horse, or explore nearby wineries. Each suite has a private balcony or a terrace, marble shower with body jets, and many of them even have a fireplace. This also sounds like a fantastic place to eat: there is an on-site grill restaurant, wine bar (with billiards), cooking studio, vegetable garden, and an outdoor dining terrace. And yes, there is also a spa 🧖‍♀️.

Getting here: The state of Virginia is actually accessible from Toronto by car, but given how 10+ hours on the road may not be for everyone you can fly there with a connecting flight if coming from Toronto, perhaps this would change post-pandemic. 

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