Destinations / go
Sometimes the true value of a getaway isn’t revealed until you’ve arrived. this was the case for me on a four-day fall retreat at the destina- tion spa Cal-a-Vie, about an hour’s
drive north of the san Diego airport.
As far as i was concerned, i was heading south for a quick fitness tune-up and a
bit of warmth. having been a spa-magazine
editor for quite a few years, i was familiar
with Cal-a-Vie’s full-immersion wellness program of exercise, treatments and
healthy cuisine. You begin the day with a 6
a.m. hike through chaparral-covered rolling
hills, spend four hours before noon in fitness
classes, use the afternoon to wind down in
mind/body classes or in a spa treatment room
and end the day with a healthy meal — perfect
for my goal of losing a few pounds while get-
ting some restorative nutrition.
After a driver greeted me at the san Diego air-
port with my name on a sign (transportation to
and from the airport is included in the cost of the
stay), we departed on the hour’s drive to the spa.
As we progressed farther inland, my focus was
pulled from checking email on my iPhone to the
beautiful rolling hills we were driving through.
i was aware that the golden Door — one of the
first destination spas in the u.s., built in 1958
— is less than 10 miles away from Cal-a-Vie and
that the inland, warm, dry climate is likely one
of the reasons the spas were located here.
As we pulled onto the Cal-a-Vie property
and drove over what looked to be a very
old bridge (the driver told me it had been
shipped from France), we passed several
mediterranean-style cottages with terra-
cotta roofs, shutters and window boxes
overflowing with flowers. i felt as if i were in
the Provençal countryside.