THE BLOG
06/12/2013 08:36 pm ET | Updated Aug 12, 2013

Hidden Gem: Sycamore Mineral Springs in Avila Beach

2013-06-10-AvilaBeach13.jpg There are a handful of places that I have been in my lifetime that offer instant relaxation. Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is one of those magical places. Located in my own backyard, Wine Coast Country, Sycamore Mineral Springs is the ideal getaway for honeymooners or couples needing to leave the hustle and bustle behind. This rare gem, lovingly nestled in the Avila Valley, has a history that is as rich as its healing, mineral spring waters.

In 1886 while drilling for oil, two prospectors discovered something unexpected; white hot sulphur, mineral water. Due to the healing powers of the water, a popular spa and mineral springs resort was established. The beginning of the 20th century brought weary travelers from Los Angeles and San Francisco via the Pacific Coast Railway. By the 1930's, word of the healing waters spread to Hollywood celebrities who would frequent the resort on their way to rub elbows with William Randolph Hearst at his magnificent castle just down the road in San Simeon. Around this time, the increasingly popular retreat was given the name, "Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort."

While honeymoons are generally thought of as the romantic escape that follows a wedding, I am on a mission to alter the way we think of honeymoons. I am on a quest to honeymoon long into my marriage because I don't believe the romance should end after the first year. Call it a honeymoon or a marriagemoon, I couldn't wait to experience the historic and relaxing, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort.

We arrived at the resort and within minutes we were whisked away to the far side of the property which is known as, "The Meadows." The Meadows are nestled in a nature preserve which is just a short jaunt over a bridge and straight into serenity. We entered our room to discover that the 450 square foot suite was sprinkled with a trail of red rose petals which led to an elevated king bed that held a tray of champagne and chocolates. I was delighted to find a very private deck with views of the trees and lush green hills and a mineral spring tub that beckoned us with its healing waters. While I was relaxed within minutes of stepping into the resort, the mineral spring spa led me into a deep state of tranquility.

I awoke on the first morning and had to pinch myself when a delicious breakfast and two mimosas were delivered to our suite. After breakfast, we made our way back to the resort for a 30-minute soak in the mineral spring tub followed by a couples' massage. After the heavenly massages, we decided to embark on a walk down the Bob Jones Trail, which led us straight into the gorgeous beach town of Avila Beach.

I must say that Avila Beach has come a long way since my days as a sunbathing teenager, and I loved the fact that Sycamore Mineral Springs actually connects to the beach by way of the beautifully paved and well maintained trail. Once downtown, we discovered several boutique tasting rooms and my absolute favorite, Cuvee Bistro and Champagne Bar! If the beach is calling your name, they offer a "Take me to the Beach" picnic basket complete with panini or a cheese plate, fruit, sweets and champagne! They had me at "champagne"!

After out day of exploring Avila Beach, we made our way back to Sycamore Mineral Springs for our dinner reservations at The Garden's of Avila Restaurant which is tucked away in a beautiful garden setting on the property. The restaurant features wine-country cuisine and utilizes the vast bounty of produce from local, organic farms that dot the area and we discovered that the seafood is also locally sourced. Many of the seasonally inspired, artful dishes are prepared with items straight from Chef Trester's garden so we were lucky to experience a true farm to table experience. I highly recommend the Chef's "Garden Party" tasting menu which allows patrons to experience five courses which are handpicked by the chef for your tasting pleasure.

For those in search of a hidden vacation gem for a couple's getaway or a honeymoon, Avila Beach and Sycamore Mineral Springs should be at the top of your list. The serenity of Sycamore Mineral Springs will allow you to recharge, reconnect and best of all, relax. What more could one ask for from a couples getaway?

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