Growing up in Rhode Island, you come to love water. It doesn’t matter if it is the ocean, a creek, a river, a lake, a pond..or even a puddle. If there is a water view; I’m there. Heck, my house is second tier on a lake and I never get tired of looking out my front windows to see the sun glistening on the water or see the fog rolling atop like a blanket. So when Cara Mor Spa at Homewaters Club recently opened and I heard it overlooked the Little Juniata River, upon their invitation up to their resort, I was so there.
Homewaters Club is literally in the middle of nowhere. It’s about 40 or so minutes from Penn State down Hwy 45 and a beautiful scenic view. But being in the middle of nowhere is the best part. It’s quiet, tranquil, amazingly beautiful, serene and sitting on the deck of the Cara Mor Spa listening to the Little Juniata River waters tumble over rocks will surely put you in a state of relaxation.
My boyfriend and I arrived pulling down Riverside Rd., which is of course adjacent to the river itself, and found a quaint stone house in which was both the reception and fly fishing store. Erik greeted us and offered to show us to where we’d be served lunch and where we’d be staying for the weekend (despite a broken foot and hobbling around on crutches!) As we drove up the dirt road behind the stone house, our breath was taken away by the gorgeous log cabin buildings that were the lodges in which guests stayed. We would be spending the weekend in the River Suites, which was nothing short of amazing and honestly was like staying in a luxury apartment. The best part? No one had reserved the other suites that weekend, so we had the entire lodge to ourselves!
We were served lunch by Judy in the Family Lodge, which had an amazing log ceiling, gorgeous stone fireplace and felt cozy yet posh. We immediately loved Judy who made us feel like a part of her extended family. Chef Rock had prepared us White Chili, which was out of this world, and Judy had made us a delicious salad, prepared fresh strawberries and apples, served freshly baked rolls (that I literally consumed in seconds) and gave us homemade chocolate chip cookies for a snack. After all of that I was ready for a nap!
Judy’s husband, Joe, was going to be Bryan’s guide for fly fishing. Joe taught President Carter how to fly fish, as well as Vice President Cheney. Joe was a wealth of knowledge and just as personable as Judy. Bryan could not wait to fish for trout…but I could not wait to get to the spa.
Cara Mor Spa is housed in “The Bark House.” This comes from the bark siding that is on the house. It is one of the oldest buildings on the property (next to the stone house.) There is a lot of history here…and when in the massage room, there is an old German newspaper from 1940 stuck in the wood floor. Upon renovation to The Bark House to create Cara Mor Spa, the hard wood floor with the embedded newspaper was discovered under carpet. They decided to leave it intact and it certainly gives the room character.
I was greeted by Deb, Polly and Heather upon entry, as well as the amazing fragrance of essential oils. I felt even more relaxed immediately. Everything in Cara Mor Spa is white and shabby chic. It gave it a rustic feel and I told them that I appreciated all of the white since having sons means nothing in my house could ever stay white for very long. This was like walking into a home decor magazine. I would be working with Heather first in the fitness room. Heather had me do a warm up, then tested my core strength (which she told me was stronger than most–thanks to growing up a dancer and soccer player.) Next was myofascial release. Basically this is sustained pressure through “rolling” out pains in your muscles. It felt great on my upper back since I am at my computer working all day and tend to hunch over.
Once I was done with Heather, I was greeted again by Polly and Deb with a “Chunky Monkey” shake, which was the most delicious shake ever. It was banana, chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla protein. OMG so good and I drank every last drop. I then made my way upstairs where Linda greeted me for my spa treatment. The massage table had a heated pad, which made you instantly feel like drifting off to sleep. Between the music, the scents of the essential oils used and Linda’s amazing hour-long massage, I nodded off into dreamland 3 times (I only woke up because of my own snoring!) After my massage, Deb had a second helping of Chunky Monkey for me, which I gleefully drank and proceeded to spill…on my white shirt (thank goodness for the Shout Wipes in my handbag!)
I met Bryan back at The Family Lodge for dinner, where he told me the details of his fly fishing experience over Roasted Chicken legs, homemade potato salad (SO GOOD!), fresh greens, warm rolls and the most delectable dessert I have ever had (strawberries, a walnut/chocolate chip bread and an almond-type custard.) Chef Rock came in to greet us and Jackie was our host for dinner. While we were consuming our dessert and barely speaking…because our mouths were full at all times due to its crazy deliciousness), Jackie had gone over to our suite and started a fire in the fireplace for us. Donny Beaver, owner of Homewaters Club, also stopped in to say hello. He was incredibly nice and just as down to earth as he came across in our email exchanges. He was spending time at the Little J lodge where he was hosting a retreat for those with traumatic brain injury (something he does as part of his giving back throughout the year at Homewaters Club.) I felt honored to be somewhere where the owners take great pride in giving back to the community.
Breakfast the next morning was made by Judy–a bacon and cheese quiche, bran muffins, bagels, assorted jellies, yogurt and granola, fruit and coffee. I seriously never ate so good as I had that weekend. Conversation between Erik, Judy, Joe, Bryan and I flowed like the Little J River. They were great to be around and Judy and Joe have even been married for 50 years.Â Bryan set out for another adventure in fly fishing with Joe, while I retreated back to our suite to simply take in everything and relax before heading home. We finished with lunch of homemade chicken salad, homemade vegetable soup, more warm rolls, a garden salad and homemade cookies.
My takeaway from Homewaters Club and Cara Mor Spa? This resort is very high-touch with personable staff and uncompromised attention to detail. It is set on the hillside looking out to a mountain and the Little J River (I can only imagine how gorgeous the view is during the fall.) Couples get the best of both worlds where guys can spend the day fly fishing with an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly guide while the women can simply unwind in the spa (which is also open to the public.) Be prepared to eat amazing amounts of food that are superb in quality and flavor.Â Did I even mention that the bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in? Some people sneak out mini-shampoos and soaps from their hotels, while I wanted to pack up the bed.
*Disclosure: This getaway was comped, but the opinions and experiences are my own.