Many a time I have found it hard to stay healthy while traveling due to the variables that are beyond my control such as eating out, hotel dining and fitness options or just finding a good gym or studio to take a class. Recently, during a series of Pilates training workshops, I had the opportunity to visit 2 of the Top 10 Healthiest states in the USA, according to US News and World Report. For me, the fun part about travelling is finding health and fitness spots in addition to learning about new treatments to update my wellness regimen. While I am sure there were many fitness and wellness spots I have yet to discover in both California and Seattle, these kept me busy during my trip!
Here’s a snapshot of my recent findings:
According to the study released earlier this month, California ranks #1 as the healthiest state in the US. San Francisco is ranked #1 of the healthiest cities and that’s not surprising to me during my recent trip there. There are many offerings for both Pilates and Yoga in the city so you will be apt to find the workout that is suitable for you. While I was there, I had the opportunity to check out Pilates ProWorks, which is a franchise establishment using their own FitFormer™, which is their version of a Pilates reformer. Classes ranged from small to large, depending on time of day. The rooms are big and can have up to, if not more, than 15 people in a class. The workouts are challenging and intense – working resistance, lengthening, and a little bit of cardio. What I especially enjoyed was the energy in the classrooms – positive and upbeat.
For cardiovascular options, Soul Cycle is plenty in San Francisco. SoulCycle is a 45-minute indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, and rhythm-based choreography. According to their website, the experience is more than just a workout — it’s also meant
If classes aren’t your thing, look to your hotels for options to stay fit. We stayed downtown at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, which is a century-old timeless gem, combining contemporary architecture and glamour with old-world elegance. The hotel amenities are tailored to health and fitness which included complimentary bicycles, a 24-hour fitness center and three unique food and beverage experiences focused on farm to table cuisine.
Driving up the coast through Sonoma, one can certainly get enticed with the offerings of Wine Country, but don’t be fooled because Sonoma has a lot to offer fitness enthusiasts. We rented bikes with a map in hand (pre-printed from Sonoma County’s website www.sonomacounty.com) and headed out for an easy route. Many prominent cycle races, including the well-known Amgen Tour of California, take place in Sonoma County. Riding in Sonoma is not a typical bike ride. The scenery is idyllic and picturesque-cyclists can ride through vineyard-laden valleys and even meander along the coastline.
Small boutique inns such as Kenwood Inn & Spa, Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza, and Vintner’s Inn offer guests an array of options for health and wellness. Kenwood Inn & Spa, a Four Sisters Inn collection which includes 15 properties in the most desirable regions of California, is located in Wine Country’s fabled Valley of the Moon. The Inn sits on more than two-and-a-half peaceful acres, surrounded by vineyards, orchards, and ancient oaks. Decorated tastefully in Mediterranean-style, Kenwood offers a breakfast buffet in the mornings, which is not what you typically would categorize as healthy. However, the inn offers their version of healthy quiches, fresh fruit and clean eating at its best.
Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza, another Four Sisters Inn, is a classic, 12-room wine country inn has the best location in town, right on the historic Healdsburg Plaza. The best thing about this location was the central location – right in the heart of downtown. While walking might not seem like exercise, the hidden gem known as Foss Creek, tucked in the heart of town, is the best running path for fitness enthusiasts wanting to get a jog in. The Inn also offers bicycles for guests to borrow to pedal around town and the surrounding vineyards.
Vintners Inn is situated on 92 acres of vineyards and has a path for walking and running. This was the highlight of the stay for me as it was so beautiful to run through the vineyards in the early morning hours. Owners Don and Rhonda Carano, second-generation Italian-Americans, pride themselves on being able to offer a central location to relax, rejuvenate and explore while visiting the area. Also located on the four-diamond property are John Ash & Co. Restaurant, the Front Room Bar & Lounge and Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. The property has plans to debut a luxurious spa in October 2018 as well as new deluxe fireplace rooms in early fall 2018.
Eating in Sonoma county is an experience in of itself. While wine is the central focus, dining is elevated in both quality and healthful options. Salt and Stone prides itself as not only a restaurant, but as a gathering place offering local and farm to table dishes. Many seafood options are fresh off the boat on the same day. Dungeness crab cakes and Cioppino are heavenly. Another winner is The Spinster Sisters. The restaurant uses the bounty of expertly grown and crafted ingredients found in Sonoma County to create an evolving menu of original dishes inspired by flavors and traditions from around the world.
If you are looking for a memorable experience, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone can’t be missed. Upon walking up to the spa, guests can feel as though they are being transported into a Zen space. The highlight of the sanctuary is the Cedar Enzyme Bath, a therapeutic body treatment from Japan found nowhere else on this continent. The bathing ritual involves immersing your entire body in a mixture of soft and fragrant ground cedar and rice bran with living enzymes that stimulate metabolic activity inside and out. Upon completion, you are taken to a garden of hanging hammocks where you can listen to calming music to continue the relaxation.
Driving from Sonoma County to Mendocino county, we stopped for a wine tasting at Lula Cellars, a small production, ultra-premium label located in Anderson Valley’s Deep End.
Along the north coast of California are some more options: Mendocino Pilates is nestled in the heart of the quaint downtown of Mendocino. A small one-room Pilates studio that houses Reformers, it is the only Pilates I could find while in town. The Little River Inn, where we stayed, is a family-owned and operated boutique resort on the Mendocino coast of California with an Audubon-certified golf course, professional tennis courts and day spa. Options for fitness were plenty – there was a running path from the hotel to Van Damme State Park, which was convenient for runners like me. The Inn also has a Day Spa with three treatment rooms and offers in-room services, which was perfect after a day-long hike along the coast. The inn’s restaurant presents guests with California coastal cuisine led by CIA-trained Executive Chef Marc Dym. Healthy breakfast options include Veggie omelets and Vegan rancheros. The kitchen is always quick to oblige with menu modifications. Dinner is an extraordinary experience alone as one sits in the dining room of the historic inn. Local Petrale Sole is an instant favorite.
My trip to Seattle was a shorter, 2-day stay, but I found an array of activities for the health-minded. A visit to Seattle is not complete without bicycling in the city as there are many protected bike lanes. If you happen to be a runner like me, there are the hilly sidewalk streets or many park options such as the Myrtle Edwards Park, located on the Waterfront area or Seward Park, which has many forest trails. If you aim to run early, most hotels such as Loews Hotel 1000 and Fairmont Olympic offer 24hour fitness centers, equipped with cardio machines in addition to strength training apparatus and props. In fact, Loews offers guests Seattle's only indoor virtual golf simulator with over 50 golf courses to play.
Loews Seattle, where we stayed, also offers a full-service spa, which is an oasis of indulgence with rejuvenating treatments. After a day full of Pilates workshops, a Classic Sports massage was the perfect treat. The Spa’s full amenities include a relaxation lounge, and sauna.
The recently renovated Fairmont Olympic focuses on the environment and sustainability - the hotel houses nine honey beehives in its rooftop garden which are home to about 250,000 bees. The hotel’s culinary team creates original honey-centric cocktails and dishes and partners with local companies to make honey-rich offerings, including beer, cider and vodka.
Seattle also offers a diverse platform of options for staying fit. Whether it is rock climbing at the Seattle Bouldering Project, which is a climbing gym, or spinning at Flywheel, taking Pilates or Yoga at Levitas, there is a sport or activity for all.