Winding your way up the long drive is like driving into a 3-d postcard.
The 18th-century red sandstone mansion is the essence of beauty. Situated amidst 44 acres it’s a park with its gardens, woods, and lakes.
Health farm and spa
Designed as a health farm and spa, Cedar Falls has been offering wellness retreats since 1982. But the “health” tone has changed. Originally, you had to earn your way to the fabulous meals via diet and exercise.
Today’s guests retreat to relax and renew. Most guests are female visiting
alone or with friends. Every year a high percent of them return for an annual retreat.
The atmosphere is that of a manor home, not a hotel. Built in 1830 it has been completely restored to better than original by local craftsmen. The detail of the craftsmanship is a visual delight. Luxury but deliberately unpretentious.
Cedar Farm doesn’t see themselves as a hotel with a spa. Instead, the focus is the health farm. Wellness abounds. Lots of nature to lure you out for a round of golf. They offer a 9 hole 18 tee golf course. The natural features make it fun and challenging for all levels of golfers. The golf course is complete with its own cabin to cater to the needs of the golfers.
A diversity of outdoor opportunities to encourage you to stretch and move:
Pool (summer only)
Country walks alone or organized walk
Photography in the gardens or terraces
Or head to the gym to work out. Need some help? Your personal fitness trainer will guide you into the right moves.
Too cool for outdoors? Relax in the indoor hot tub, pool, and conservatory.
The focus is wellness and relaxing restoration.
Forget business. Lounge in your lovely plush robes and slippers. You are welcome to wander throughout the home and to the pool, spa or conservatory. No need to get dressed until you are ready for dinner.
The spa is first class with a wide diversity of treatments and facilities. Enjoy its friendly caring approach and superb guest services.
Hot stone therapy
Manicures and Pedicures
Natural therapy treatment
Men’s specialty treatments
Natural therapies are a unique twist. Their goal is to help you feel better about yourself inside. Back problems, headaches, depression are all dealt with. Likewise work-life balance, stress reduction, re-energizing and nourishing your spirit.
Guests can come and spend a health spa day, or opt for overnight packages. The Spa Stay package includes your room, meals and their most popular treatments. The Spa Overnight package includes your room and treatments of choice – build it yourself.
For small groups of up to four, they have the option of the South Lodge. It is self-contained and includes full access to all the facilities of the main house.
Groups can also reserve the spa for their private use in the evenings. It is a great option for a special event and to experience a sampling of what Cedar Falls Spa offers.
The Spa features Clarins and Espa products. Treatments are very popular. Advanced booking is strongly recommended.
Take a break and visit the Oasis of Tranquility. This quiet zone is designed in the style of a Turkish Hammams. Enjoy sumptuous decor and lounging beds. Salt lamps, the furnishings, and aroma help you switch off and restore. Beware – this is a technology free zone. No phones or other devices allowed.
Dining is a healthy indulgence.
Lunch is a tempting buffet. Traditional afternoon teas, cakes, and pastries will tempt you. Want something more than coffee or tea? The bar is open with offerings for your pleasure.
After you change from your robe and slippers you can enjoy an amazing dinner. Enjoy the exquisite food while you relax with stunning garden views from its generous windows.
Dinner a three-course foodie’s delight. Savory rich Venison Terrine, Five Spice Sea Bass Fillet, and seasonal specialties. The menu brings you the best of fresh local produce and regional offerings. Be advised… desserts are decadent.
After dinner relax on your own or join other guests for an evening talk in the drawing room at nine pm. Guests enjoy a wide diversity of wellness and local topics. After the evening talk, things go quietly. In its rural setting, it’s a serene tranquil spot for a great night’s sleep. Snuggle into that comfy bed and let your stress dissipate and your body renew.
Fishmore Hall has brought the unique SpaShell concept to the historic
market town of Ludlow. Tucked just a mile down the road from the edge of town, Fishmore Hall is a lovely Georgian manor.
The property owner, Laura Penman, lovingly rescued this elegant home and restored it. The bedrooms are contemporary, the en-suite baths luscious. The result is warm, welcoming and delightful.
Adding a spa
When I visited the property last
August they were excitedly awaiting their new spa. The spa is a real bonus as the nearest existing spa is 26 miles away.
As with any hotel, remodeling or construction can be a challenge. It can interfere with the guest experience. Noise, mess, workers. Ms. Penman wanted to add a spa but didn’t want to impact her guests.
She met Alistar Johnson of Spa Creators UK, Ltd. at a trade show. With over 20 years of designing, developing and managing spas he offered a brand new concept. SPAShell. It solves many problems.
The project includes five years of total management to assure its success. With over 20 years experience, the SPAShell business model has proven successful. It allows properties to add a revenue stream with strong ROI. The facility itself increases the asset value of the property.
The turnkey concept comes complete with the spa and five years of total management. What truly makes it unique is the construction. All off site! Construction includes top end materials expected in any high-end spa. But manufacture is done in a modular format.
The spa location is prepared and groomed simultaneous with construction. Then they load the spa pods onto lorries (trucks) and deliver. Completion of set-up is usually about two days scheduled for minimal impact to hotel guests.
Both one and two story designs are available. This single story spa has four treatment rooms. Each pair of treatment rooms opens to create a double room for couples services.
You will find all the expected amenities. Inside are a steam room, sauna, shower, locker room, reception and the treatment rooms. Outside is an outdoor Cedar wellness pool, lounge area. There is also an oversize hammock for snuggling. For the adventurous, there is a stimulating bucket and monsoon drench.
A wide diversity of massage, facial, manicure and pedicure services. They feature Elemis products and equipment. Packages also include Afternoon Tea or lunch and beverages from the highly rated restaurant.
The Spa nestles in the gardens next to the manor. Here spa-goers enjoy lovely views across Shropshire’s rolling hills. There is a strong sense of serenity, relaxation, and privacy to enjoy the amenities. Built of natural materials, the spa blends beautifully into the countryside surrounding it.
Since opening in late 2016, the spa has become popular with locals as well as guests. It has exceeded Laura’s hopes. Guests are now choosing to stay at Fishmore Hall to enjoy the spa. Lunch and tea guests view the spa just outside the windows and are scheduling their own visits.
Spa Creators UK, Ltd. plans on
offering SPAshell to boutique properties across the UK and Europe. For more information on SpaShell or Spa Creators, visit their website: http://www.spashell.com/.
Experience it yourself
To see and experience the Spa for yourself, visit http://www.fishmorehall.co.uk. Arrange for a great room, fabulous food, and a delightful relaxing spa experience. Booking directly with Fishmore Hall will assure you the best value for your pounds.
Plan to spend several days… there is a lot to see and do in this beautiful area. Watch for my upcoming blog – what to see and do in Shropshire.
Here is a video on SPAshell with views of the spa at Fishmore Hall.
Traveling with physical challenges requires planning. I know, I grew up
around someone with physical challenges. My sister was born with cerebral palsy. She is fortunate and with a lot of help has been able to lead a pretty normal, independent life as an adult.
Sis has some physical issues. Motor skills, balance, hearing and speech issues, and trouble judging changes in elevation. She has the heart of a tiger. And big dreams. It was always her dream to visit Africa. Elephants are her passion.
Finally, she had to accept it would be a physically and emotionally difficult trip for her. Her doctor advised against the arduous journey. That was a bitter pill to swallow.
My son, his wife and I decided to give her the next best thing to visiting Africa… A trip to Disney World with a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The wildlife was right out the window. Giraffes, zebra, flamingos and her favorite… elephants, are in the park. She loved wandering through the African art and shopping for trinkets to take home.
Watching her so excited and blossoming was amazing. But it did take a bit of planning. Here are some thoughts.
Plan for Physical Challenges
Individual limitations – clearly define what their challenges are. Think about how those challenges may be affected by things you will encounter.
Luggage handling What will they need through each phase.
Airport help – will they be able to board safely and get from gate to gate if there are transfers? If it’s a long distance, you might consider a wheelchair assist.
Room needs – sis needed a handicap accessible shower. But she and I were
sharing a room and needed two beds. Couldn’t get both in the same room. With adjoining rooms, my son and his wife took the one with the single bed and the shower. Sis and I took the two-bed room. While my son went for a gym workout she got her shower. This gave her a bit of privacy. It worked great.
Meals – table service is easier than buffets. If your meal plans include buffets, be ready to assist them with food selection and getting it to the table.
Transportation – like lots of places, shuttles were the best way to get around. With the three of us, it was no problem to give sis the extra hand/support to make her feel secure.
Pace your tour – this varies by individual. Physical challenges can makeyou burn more energy just getting through the day. Be sensitive to signs of tiring and suggest a break. At a theme park, there are always places to sit and people watch. That was a real bonus.
Timing can ease the challenges
Theme parks tend to be busy year around. But if you can go at what is
normally a slower time, it can make it easier. We found out that the first half of December is a great time to visit Disney in Florida. It is between the Thanksgiving crowds and the Christmas ones. Lines were shorter, rates a little lower, fewer masses of people to negotiate. Weather can still be warm – or surprise you. It’s smart to either take a warm jacket or plan for a shopping opportunity.
Sis discovered she could go and conquer. She mastered escalators – which had terrified her. Staff also spotted her and helped us so she was able to get on and off rides. She had the adventure of her life and we all came home with some great memories.
I’d love to hear your stories/comments/questions about traveling with disabilities.
I love memory making trips. On a whim of inspiration, I decided to take
my 80-year-old Mom to New England to explore some family history. It was the first time I’d ever traveled alone with Mom. We made a lot of memories, and I learned some tips for senior travelers.
Take charge of the travel reservations choosing flights with the fewest transfers. Non-stop are great. Avoid early morning or late night travel. Seniors have more challenges with these. Mid-morning or afternoon travel is much easier for them.
When I didn’t have that choice, we stayed at a hotel near the airport and let them transport us and our luggage. One less hassle for me.
Plan to do less
Plan to do less than you want. That senior traveler doesn’t have your energy levels. They will need breaks and or naps. Plan those breaks into your schedule. While they rest, head to the lobby to get online, or head to the gym or for a walk.
What are their favorite things? Is there something they would really like to do or see. If they haven’t traveled much, they may have no clue. Even though we had talked about the plan, Mom was repeatedly surprised and delighted. She knew it, but all of a sudden it was REAL.
Pick a good location with a helpful hotel
Once you know have chosen places to see, locate them on a map.
Foursquare (www.foursquare.com) is great to help you find what you are looking for and map it.
Now you can locate lodging close by. Do a search for “lodging near” and insert where you want to visit. Depending on their abilities, you may want to go for a room with disabled access. Onsite food services is a bonus if you arrive back to the hotel with a tired traveler.
Even if your companion loves food, older people tend to have a few more issues. They will appreciate casual dining choices.
Mom is diabetic so I had to make sure we stayed to meals at regular intervals. While I’m not into fast food, McDonald’s salads did come to our rescue a couple of times when traveling from one destination to another.
When making your plans, it may be helpful to see what type of restaurants are en route. Smartphones make this much easier today.
Plan for Assistance
They may not be able to handle their luggage. Especially true if they walk
with a cane. If there aren’t bell persons to assist, be prepared to tote those bags. Allow extra time as you will be moving bags for two.
Take advantage of airport services. Check your bags. You won’t be able to handle both of your luggage and be able to help them.
Make sure any medications they may need are with them in their carry-on.
I didn’t want to risk Mom having to rush to catch a plane so made arrangements for wheelchairs to whisk her along. They worked great! From check-in to the gate and making transfers. I made sure she had a few dollars in her hand or pocket so she could thank them.
Be aware of what the facilities are in the places you want to visit. A couple
of historical sites had gravel paths. I’m a pretty small person. Pushing Mom in a wheelchair became a real problem. Thank goodness for a couple of nice big young men who helped me get her back to the entry. But meeting new people and finding them generally helpful and friendly is a great part of travel.
If visiting a location where there is significant walking and it is ADA compliant, consider renting them a scooter to whisk them around.
Save the memories
Take lots of pictures. They will save the memories. There are some great online services like www.shutterfly.com. You upload your photos and convert them into a memory photo book complete with comments. Makes a great present to help them remember your trip together.
The lovely Old Vicarage house has a unique story of a vicar with an untimely end. But it’s also a wonderful Bed and
Breakfast. It’s small – only 5 guest rooms, located in the quaint town of West Witton, Leyburn, UK. We met family there and stayed three delightful nights in August 2016.
They made us feel welcomed and comfortable. We had tea in the afternoon while we gathered up and visited in the guest parlor.
The main floor houses their kitchen, parlor and the breakfast room along with a private area. Upstairs you can gaze across the countryside. Some rooms view the gardens others the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.
From the front porch, you can see Castle Bolton across the valley. In the back, the gardens welcome you to sit with a cup of tea or coffee. Cozy, homey, friendly – just like your hosts.
Morning brings a custom cooked English breakfast
In the morning Kirsteen will be your chef. Husband Roddy your server. Breakfast is a full, or part, custom cooked English breakfast. Relax, visit while they tease you with fabulous aromas floating in from the kitchen.
While you wait, enjoy the cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt… or save room for what is a generous spread. Want something different? They have other English favorites like smoked salmon or kippers and eggs to go with lots of great coffee or tea.
They don’t serve evening meals. But you’ll find an excellent pub and restaurant less than two blocks down the street.
Need wi-fi? Head to the parlor, I found the signal to be strongest there. While visiting, ask them to tell you the story of the Vicar who used to own the house and his untimely end.
Whether you want to hike, shop, or just wander the villages, the Old Vicarage is a great place to stay. We look forward to our next visit there.
For the best pricing, be sure to contact the owners directly. www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/