By Karen Ruet
(published in "The New Brunswick Reader" May 6 2000. Used by permission)
With a gorgeous location on the Mactaquac Headpond, On the Pond Lodge and Spa is the perfect place to spend a luxurious week.
A blue heron graces the sign that directs visitors down the tree-lined winding drive into On the Pond, an ode to the heron that lives along the shore of the strikingly beautiful Mactaquac Headpond where the lodge, spa and outdoor adventure site lie. This is waterfront property, the pond close enough to be seen through the large mahogany doorframe on the far side of the lodge where visitors enter.
Everything about On the Pond is big, from this oversized doorway to the wide graceful hallway (inlaid with terrace stones rescued from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery expansion), and 10-foot ceilings with exposed beams seemingly placed by the hands of giants. There is a solidness about this structure that couples with the oversized overstuffed sofas and an abundance of wingback chairs to make one feel immediately at home.
The mood is accentuated by the easy strains of Celtic inspired music and the usual spa sounds of rushing water and singing birds. Large windows allow for an abundance of natural light inside the lodge; outside, you can really hear the birds singing. As we sit tucked into a wingbacked chair overlooking the shoreline, the heron rises up and majestically flaps its wings until it's lost from sight.
The spa itself offers everything from the basic hot wax manicure (which apparently leaves hands as soft as silk), to reflexology, "non-surgical face-lifts" and sea-salt body scrubs. A "wet room" is currently being constructed to provide clients with more exotic spa treats, like the seaweed wrap. And soon, a completed sauna will aid in the relaxation process. Prices range from the basic three-and-a-half-hour, $145 "Healthy Refresher" package to a week-long stay including spa services, accommodation, outdoor adventure and heart smart meals for $975. The lodge is licensed and can also accommodate business meetings for 20 people.
The headpond seemed like a natural choice of location because of the stillness of the water here and the proximity of the Mactaquac Provincial Park which considerably expands the six acres owned by proprietor, Donna Evans. Evans, a Fredericton native, interior designer and outdoor adventure enthusiast wanted her guests to enjoy the tranquility of a body of water, with an opportunity to canoe and kayak, without the threat of danger in more powerful bodies of water like the ocean and the mighty Miramichi.
Besides the immediate access to the shore from the lodge, the adjacent park offers, among other things, a beach, golf course and hiking trails within walking distance and aids in lending this space its resort-like air.
It's attracting guests globally. Evans is making good use of the Internet to promote the spa and is currently advertising in Europe, Australia and throughout the States, and has already welcomed inquiries from as far away as Los Angeles. Now that life is busier and more stressful than ever before, Evans feels that the market for a spa like this is wide open here.
Karen Ruet is a freelance writer and photographer living in Fredericton. Contact her at karenruet (/at/) hotmail.com