'Spiritual Destinations' Are The New Spas

07/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

PORT MATILDA, Pa. -- The walk down a hill at the St. Joseph Institute ends at the Forest Chapel, nestled in the woods between two streams. Only the sounds of chirping birds and a breeze blowing through leaves pierce the silence.

It's a serene setting where co-owner Michael Campbell hopes visitors experience a spiritual reawakening -- regardless of whether one is seeking a religious retreat or a personal wellness break.

Frazzled Americans look to such destinations increasingly to decompress from their mile-a-minute lifestyles, redefining the concept of "spiritual travel." State tourism gurus in Pennsylvania in recent years have produced literature promoting what they called "growing interest in spiritually based retreat destinations."

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