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The Lodge at Woodloch Brought Me Back to Life

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It didn't really matter that in the past few months I've taken over a company, finished a book, and said the long, big good-bye to my mother. It didn't really matter that it was my birthday and I was giving myself a present. I still felt sharp pangs of guilt as I said good-bye to my little darlings and headed for a spa in the Poconos.

These days any sign of excess is uncool, and it's hard to feel good about getting pampered when 40 percent or more of Americans need food stamps to feed their families. But at some point we all need to take care of ourselves. Or rather I needed to take care of myself, so that I could continue to take care of others.

I confess, it felt great to have all my dead winter skin scrubbed off, and to have a masseuse attempt to unlock my muscles, tangled from too much working, driving, and just plain living.

But at dinner my first night at the Lodge at Woodloch, a destination spa in Hawley, PA, I shared battle stories from the past year with the owners, John and Ginny Lopis, who stopped by my table to say hello. They, along with all of us, have struggled to stay afloat during these hardest of times. I was grateful they had made it this far. As I looked around the dining room, I recognized many of the same faces that had been working here a year and a half ago, when my husband and I came to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary (we kayaked in the little lake behind the Lodge and ate wild cranberries right from the bush). I realized that my decision to reward myself was helping to keep others employed--in a town where there aren't many employment options, to be frank.

Suddenly, I didn't feel so guilty. After all, my decision to reward and heal myself is exactly the kind of stimulus this economy needs. Spas are places where people can really focus on health, and where I go to reconnect with my purpose and mission in life. It won't make me lose any weight, or get me totally fit in just two days, but it will help me gain strength to keep on doing everything I need to do everyday to keep my own local economy chugging along.

So, the Lodge at Woodloch...I highly recommend it. For more incentive, check out my next blog entry for five things you find out at a spa.

For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.