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Spa Spotlight: Destination Health - Bar Harbor, ME




Hello, friends! Happy February to you. How are you doing? (How are you really doing?)

I hope you're making some time for yourself in this renewing season of 2021.


If you remember, through the new year I was quarantining with immediate family in Maine (Spa Spotlight: Float 207). The day before I headed out of town, I went to Bar Harbor to spend some time in nature and take photos.


Let me just say....Bar Harbor, y'all. It's a briny hamlet where poetry and hospitality intermingle.

Have you been to this stunning, harbor-side gem of a town? Tourists flock here during the warmer summer months, but in the heart of winter, its just as lovely as ever. The charm is in walking around, so if you plan to venture out in January like I did, bundle up! Everything in town is walkable.


Took a million shots of this view.


Bar Harbor would have a lot to boast about (if it weren't so humble)! The shops and restaurants each have their own charming character, owing to the fact that the establishments are locally owned and operated. There seems to be little, if any, 'Big Corporate' presence in the town.

Here are some Bar Harbor Fun Facts I discovered (They're actually fun. I checked.):


1. In geological prehistory, Bar Harbor and the surrounding area were created by a string of volcanic eruptions. The land was further refined much later by the impact of glaciation...where sheets of ice plowed over the land. This glaciation carved huge scours down the coastline, and gives Maine the distinct and very unique coastline we observe today. (See my notes at the bottom for more info.)

2. Some of the original known inhabitants of the island were the Wabanaki, also called The People

of the Dawnland. The descendants of these native inhabitants are still represented in five distinct

tribes in Maine today. The Abbe Museum, a historical society and Smithsonian Affiliate, honors

the legacy and culture of these Indigenous peoples through educational programming, preservation efforts, and beautiful, artistic exhibits.


3. Maine has the largest range in tidal elevation on the planet. Tidal shifts from 8-11 feet of water rise and fall on the shoreline twice a day. This broad variation is due to Maine's underwater topography, or bathymetry, that evolved as the land was forming (Shout-out to Fun Fact #1!). There are certain sea floor and costal features that can exaggerate tides. As the waters rise or retreat through the ruddy waterways, the masses of land act like a natural funnel that sucks and retains water and, acting on lunar pull, expels the water back out toward the sea forcefully.


4. Located on Mount Desert Island, the town of Bar Harbor was formerly known as Eden (Very aptly named! -- Circa 1796-1918). Mount Desert Street Cemetery is dedicated to the memory of the earliest European settlers of the township. You can tour the grounds, which feature many nameless headstones from the late 1700's on.


5. Bar Harbor is home to 30,000 acres of Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic Seaboard. Part of the year, it is the first spot in the country to see the sunrise every morning (also makes for some great photos!).





6. If you're extra (I see you), you can charter a private jet into the small Bar Harbor Airport (BHB), or take a cruise that stops here! At low tide, the sandbar that is the town's namesake is exposed, and visitors can carefully admire the sometime-underwater ecosystem. Tourists can also go kayaking, take whale-watching & seal spotting tours, or learn about the local star - the lobster.


7. Acadia National Parks hosts some really interesting events! Try out a nighttime bioluminescent paddle boarding tour, or marvel at heavens during the Acadia Night Sky Festival.

Truly, this place is a magnet for stargazers, adventurers, & dreamers.

As I pulled into a parking spot to begin my walk-about, the warm, bright sign for Destination Health was smiling down on me like a pleasant little dusting of serendipity. I couldn't resist popping in to take a look around. Here's how it went!



As I passed through the colorful doorway, I had a brief moment of hesitation. COVID-era "drop-ins" are not always entirely welcomed, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't monopolizing anyone's time by popping in unannounced.


My concerns were INSTANTLY eased upon entering. I cannot say enough good things about the beautiful soul that greeted me. Jazmin was more than happy to show me around. She had such a calm and friendly demeanor. It was evident right away how proud she is of this place and the community the team has created.


Jazmin gave me so much individualized attention, even as she was bustling back and forth attending to guests transitioning through a wealth of services. I was treated to a full, extensive tour of their new (2019), bright, state-of-the-art facility. The owners, Sheridy and Maija, put a great deal of care into making the space a premiere wellness facility.


After removing my shoes in the warm, welcoming entry-way, I was walked through their pristine common area, featuring a kitchenette with fresh fruits, an oxygen bar (featuring a lively, friendly conversation between two well-acquainted guests), and a beautiful two-person infrared sauna.


You must know what I was excited to see - their float room! I was not disappointed. The Ocean Float Room can be illuminated to any color preference, or opt for light-free. You can activate the starry sky feature, or lie in completely dark solitude. It looked positively heavenly.


DH Mission Statement:

Destination Health is committed to helping people achieve their optimal health and wellness. We take a comprehensive approach to health, focusing not only on physical health, but emotional, spiritual, intellectual and community health and wellness.

Our goal is to create a healthy environment that engages the entire community in a friendly, supportive and accessible way.


The tour continued upstairs, with a huge multi-purpose studio for group exercise, TRX, yoga, and open fitness sessions. The next room had new stationary bikes and some really funky recessed blue lighting. Guest coaches visit regularly to host spin and various fitness classes. At the end of the hall was a cozy massage therapy studio. Kim Valarik, one of the resident massage therapists, was just straightening up between guests. We had a moment where we could share with me her passion for the practice and how much she appreciated being able to interact with the community in such a positive way. DH offers many customizable massage packages (Focus, Prenatal, Cranio-Sacral, Deep Tissues, Sports Recovery, or the deliciously luxurious Signature Massage). Jazmin even gave me a little peek at their rooftop space, which is in the middle of a transformation to become a lively outdoor yoga / sunrise exercise / and social space with views atop the city (Whoa! Next level!).



Sheridy Olson, one of the owners and original co-founders, graciously took time to have a chat with me about the evolution of this space, and the vision for the future. What really struck me was her wholehearted dedication to their mission. Destination Health is not simply a place to visit -- she really strives for them to be a center of holistic health that caters to the whole person - mind, body, and spirit. While their offerings are robust, to say the least, it is so important to her that each client is able to build a customized package that serves what each guest needs most. Are you an overworked, stressed out student looking for a moment of peace during finals? Maybe a massage + sauna session + float are exactly what you need to get back into study-mode. Looking for a fun, healthy way to celebrate your birthday this year? Perhaps a session of sunrise yoga followed up by a high-energy TRX class. Destination Health is solely interested in finding combinations that accommodate you best. When I asked what she is most excited about in the year ahead, Sheridy let me know that DH has just wrapped up construction on these beautiful retreat apartments where guests can come for a full weekend or week stay. Guests will have access to the full suite of services such as the private weight room, private yoga (ashtanga, vinyasa) and fitness classes (barre, spin, TRX), nutrition courses and tailored meal plans- even an IN-HOUSE PRIVATE CHEF (now you're speaking my love language). If you're not sure where to start, the knowledgeable staff is happy to have a consultation to craft a thoughtful and effective wellness map.



I had such a nice time during my visit, it made me wish I could stay for the day! I purchased a gift card on the way out, as a sign that I would surely return on my next visit to Maine. In the meantime though, I decided to gift that to someone special in my life - my mom. She is a Maine resident, and as a full time dog-mom and yarn shop owner, she could definitely benefit from a day in this beautiful space. I'll be back in the spring for sure!


A glimpse at the new retreat apartments! Photos courtesy of DH's Instagram: @destinationhealthMDI

Follow them for health and exercise how-to's, virtual tours of the facilitity, specials, and coach bios!


Spa At A Glance

Owners:

Sheridy Olson & Maija Leyendecker

Location:

124 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Contact:

destinationhealthmdi.com/ // 207-288-3121

admin@destinationhealthmdi.com // @destinationhealthMDI

Current Offerings:

• One 1-person Ocean Float Room with optional color / starlight ceiling

• One 1-2-person Infrared Sauna

• Oxygen bar

• Massage Services (i.e. full body, deep tissue, prenatal, cranio-sacral, athletic muscle recovery) with or without aromatherapy

• Sound healing sessions

• Group & Private classes, in-person & virtual ( i.e. Yoga, Spin, TRX, Tabata, Strength Training)

• Health coaches & wellness consultations

• Tailored meal plans and food-prep info

• A range of merchandise including essential oils, positivity-focused apparel, and locally made goods like Elderberry Syrup and Fire Cider.

• Customized wellness retreats!

• & so, so much more. Check out the website for their full menu of services.


Bar Harbor is known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, and deserves to be noticed. It has all a wild heart could need: Breathtaking water views, challenging hikes, and places like Destination Health that honor your spirit and bring pampering and self-care to a weary wanderer's soul.


Someone posed a question to me recently, and so I'll pass it along to you:

If money was no object, what would you do all day??

I'd love to hear your responses. Leave a comment below.


Enjoy those lengthening hours of sunlight!

A


Notes & Resources




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Jake Voorhees
Jake Voorhees
Feb 02, 2021

I love these Bar Harbor facts !!! <3 Eden. The sandbar. The tides. Everything. Also, this was sooo true, "I cannot say enough good things about the beautiful soul that greeted me." Jazmin was fantastic and I'm still blown away she showed us the roof and gave us such a wonderful tour. Can't wait for the next blog poooost :)

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