Beautifully Lost…

…and Lovingly Rebalanced

The fragrant scent of bougainvillea and sweetheart roses wafts through my open shutters. Wildflowers, lavender and citrus trees line the winding path as I stroll peacefully toward the family vineyards set in 500 acres of rolling hills.

By Caroline Tapp-McDougall

hf-cali4Atop the hill, amidst curated French rose gardens and stands of old oak and olive trees, a 17th century orangerie is the location of  Chef  Curtis hf-cali2Cooke’s demo kitchen for his twice-weekly mindful eating talks and cooking lessons. Cooke practices what he preaches, with only fresh garden-grown produce, unprocessed whole grains, lean proteins and essential fatty acids on his menu. Next door, a candle-lit chapel, imported from Dijon and reconstructed stone by stone, provides a grounding sense of days gone by, as well as housing meditation and yoga classes for the so inspired.

French antiques set the mood
The endearing spirit of Provence, gracefully recreated by the owners of Cal-A-Vie Health Spa, is but one of the high notes cherished by guests seeking respite here in the hills of San Diego County. 

Crossing the symbolic wooden bridge and moving one’s heart, mind and body into the charming village setting feels like “coming home to rest” coos a regular guest over our tasty calorie-counted lunch on the California sun-drenched patio.

I can’t help but agree, even as a first timer. Cal-a-Vie’s sweet,hf-cali3 meditative calm is contagious.

The site’s 32 Mediterranean-style villas are decorated with dreamy chintzes and floral prints, hand-carved French furnishings and the finest down bedding. Together with private sundecks and natural treatments at the nearby Bath House my stay is as hoped for, “out of this world” revitalizing.

Shake your booty
Cal-a-Vie also offers more than 20 aptly named mind-body-spirit classes including Zumba, tread and shed, booty barre and metabolic balance. As expected, their promise is to help guests restore their inner balance, improve fitness and encourage weight loss. In addition there is a labyrinth for personal reflection.

The evening room is a cozy place to gather for snacks, “mock-tails” and mini-talks on stress management, fitness, nutrition and mind-body connection. Outside, a soothing pond with running water simulates a natural spring and offers a sense of being one with nature.

Surrounded by such a setting, like-minded guests and a no hassle, no rush agenda, it’s not hard to get beautifully lost, lovingly re-balanced and graciously restored by a few days at Cal-a-Vie.

Photos: Cal-a-Vie Health Spa