Saturday, December 28, 2013

A New Year's Greeting from Margaret Dodd

Photography © 2013 Margaret Kay Dodd

Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands
or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over an entire nation?

A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.

Many thanks to my friend, Margaret Dodd, for sending the above new year's greeting--a pairing of her photograph with a poem by Rumi. Like last year, she has graciously given me permission to post the image along with the poem.

Margaret is a photographer, publisher, and graphic designer who divides her time between Santa Barbara and the Netherlands. A book of her photographs is in the works.

May we all find peace within. Happy New Year to all! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa

I had wanted to visit Two Bunch Palms forever, ever since seeing the movie The Player decades ago. I even signed up to receive emails of special offers, hoping one day I could afford it. Lo and behold, that day arrived a couple of weeks ago: half off on a midweek overnight stay, with free breakfast, free activity program, and 20 percent off spa treatments! It was an offer my girlfriend and I couldn't refuse! Above: The Grotto, a meandering hot mineral water pool.

Here is the office, where you check in and get your spa robe. I was expecting something more pretentious, but everything was quite low key, even with undertones of desert funk. People walk around in their bathing suits and spa robes. The atmosphere is casual, laid back, and friendly.

The on-site restaurant, Essence, has been completely remodeled and has a brand-new chef to boot. We ate dinner and breakfast there, and the food by Chef Tom was both healthy and delectable. Plus, there is a stunning view of Mt. San Jacinto out those big windows. BTW: you don't have to be a spa guest to eat here.

Here is the entrance to the spa, where the relaxation magic happens. I had an excellent reiki treatment, my friend had Swedish massage. She is a veteran of Two Bunch Palms and says she always gets a good massage here.

The pond supports a large population of ducks, koi, and turtles. You can buy fish food and watch the turtles fight the fish for it. Or, you can save your bread from dinner and feed the ducks--just make sure they don't bite your finger! (which happened to a woman just before I took this picture)

This giant building with a palapa-style roof is the new yoga dome. We took a class in here. The class was fine, but the dome was freezing cold (it has a concrete floor)!

Our rooms were recently redone, and mine was decorated with historical photos--a big plus in my book. Bottom line: would we go back? Yes, we certainly would--especially when the next half-price offer comes around!