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Relax!... at a New Brunswick Spa

by Ana Watts
Excerpted from "We're Home" magazine Fall/Winter 1999
(reprinted with permission of The Dearborn Group)

Massages, seaweed wraps, hydrotherapy, waterfall treatments, pressotherapy... contemporary spas, with treatments that sound as glamorous as Hollywood and as clinical as a hospital, are springing up in New Brunswick.

Classical spas grew up around natural hot and mineral springs. Wealthy devotees traveled to these resorts to bathe or 'take the waters', which they believed to have great curative and restorative powers. Advancing therapy and technology eliminated the need for the natural springs and many modern spas are grand, fashionable resorts with facilities for exercising and bathing.

For New Brunswickers spas have long been foreign affairs, one of the many aspects of the lifestyles of the rich and famous not available in our idyllic, yet relatively poor province. Not anymore.

On the Pond, a new lodge on the Mactaquac Headpond above Fredericton, was designed and built as a spa...

For a rejuvenating, relaxing and restoring retreat, with lots of pampering thrown in for good measure, [spas] are the places to go because they all offer residential options. You can stay and be pampered for days and weeks, if you like...

Donna Evans, proprietor of On the Pond, used to be an interior designer with a passion for fitness and the outdoors. Many of her design clients were professional women with lots of responsibilities, lots of stress, and no time or place to relax.

"I arranged some long stress-free weekends for some on them, took them to quiet places where they could completely relax. Then I decided I really wanted to do that sort of thing all the time, so here I am."

Donna designed the European-style lodge on the Mactaquac Head Pond of the St. John River. On the top floor she put in eight large guest rooms with all the amenities. On the ground floor there's a 'great room' with a wall of windows overlooking the water, comfortable furniture and a massive stone fireplace. The wall of windows continues into the dining room. Everything is decorated in a style she calls 'casually elegant'.

"I think of this as a hearty kind of place, beautiful yet substantial, so men and women can feel at home."

"I've even got hooks here for ski clothes in the winter – we're adjacent to Mactaquac Park with its cross-country trails, and not far at all from down-hill skiing at Crabbe Mountain.

"In the summer there are hiking trails, golf, canoes, bikes. I'm looking into river adventures, up to King's Landing, and perhaps down the river with native guides who bring a unique perspective to the river and the land."

The combination of spa and adventure is working well for couples. "They can come here and one can play golf while the other has a massage with aromatherapy, or even a non-surgical face-lift. Then they can meet on the terrace for drinks and a dinner that can be as decadent or as healthy as they like."

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