/ Luxury Travel Guide
Luxury — By Andy Hayes on July 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm
Filed under: hiking, outdoors, scenic view, spa, top-feature

Finger Lakes’ Lifepath Spa: A Total Experience

It’s not often when I, as a writer, have nothing to say.  During my visit to Canandaigua and the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, I had the opportunity to visit the Life Path Spa at Bristol Harbor (map).  It was such a moving experience – not just a spa, but an experience – that I have found it difficult to put into words exactly how special this establishment is.   It’s part of the Bristol Harbour resort, which is both a golf course, hotel, and cafe/restaurant

Despite my brevity in thought, I’d like to walk you through my experience to give you a flavour of what Lifepath is doing so you can decide for yourself whether it’s something that might be for you.

Food and View

You really should start any Bristol Harbor and Lifepath Spa experience at the cafe/restaurant.  Lifepath plans out a full program for you, so its good to have some healthy, wholesome food in you at some point.  The cafe has a small but ingenious menu.  During our visit, we dropped in for any early breakfast. (Yes, despite the effects of caffeine, coffee is available!) Just a few of the treats we sampled:

  • brown rice pancakes, which had this incredible texture to them.  They were filling but without that ‘brick in your stomach’ feeling.
  • egg white omlette with spanish,fresh cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese – very tasty
  • a yoghurt parfait stuffed with fruit – i have to say, it was so good we thought it was ice cream

While you’re enjoying your fresh food made with locally-sourced ingredients, you get to enjoy the view. Ohh, the view.  That’s it above – they call it the Million Dollar View – I assume because you need at least a million dollars to buy land around here.  The view is priceless, and the Adirondack chairs are the perfect seat to relax in and soak it up.

Physical Exercise

Lifepath’s experience takes emphasis on physical exercise.  The owner, Maureen, as well as spa manager Melissa studied the experiences and styles of popular spas in the western United States, where fresh air is as much of a healing power as anything else.

Bristol Harbor is perfect as you can choose from easy to moderate to really difficult hikes.  I would have preferred something tough, but since it was so hot during my visit we went for something pretty modest.  It was nice to chat with the staff, where I learned more about some of the treatments at the spa, a little about the local area, and just to relax.  It was great.  You can also take hikes down to the lake, to waterfalls.  There is also a fitness room downstairs where you can take yoga or fitness classes if the weather doesn’t suit or that is more to your liking.

Treatment and Healing

Last but certainly not least is the treatment.  You can choose from massages, pedicures/manicures, or facials.  I opted for a bit of a one-two punch combo.  Firstly, I had a treatment involving some essential oils – one of the products they talked to me about during the hike.  The oils are rubbed into the middle of your back, each oil enhancing one of your body’s natural systems, such as oregano oil for the immune system.  It’s somehow an emotional experience – not like crying-at-the-movie-theatre type of experience, but definitely they have an effect.

After that, I had a hot lake stone massage.  This is one of my old favourites – but I warn you, if you don’t like your skin being quite warm (think steaming hot showers), then don’t take this.  I was lucky to have Jodi, one of the regular masseurs on site.  She has ‘magic hands’ – what I thought was an inside joke with the team, but actually it is true.  During most of the session, I didn’t know whether she had a hot stone in her had or not.  Her massage was not only healing my sore muscles (I’m a travel writer, remember?  Luggage shoulder…) but also gave me a mental boost.  Afterwards I felt as if my sleep debt had been erased, as if every stress and worry had been cleared, and as if any creativity blocks had been removed.  Simply incredible – I don’t know how else to describe it.

After the massage, I sat in the spa lobby.  Spacious picture windows look out over the lake.  It feels, by intention, as if I’m just in someone’s living room.  By now, everyone is a friend.  I’m overcome with sadness – that I have to leave and I don’t know when I’ll be back.  But I’ll be back – Lifepath is something special, and I’m sure you will think so too.

For More Information

The staff at Lifepath Spa are very attentive to the fact that everyone’s needs and requirements are different.  So regardless of your physical/mental condition, the length of your stay, or the number of people travelling, I suggest you contact them to discuss what might be right for you.  They have great ideas on things for you to do that you might not have thought of.

I left Lifepath refreshed, revived, and like I’d just been introduced to a new handful of friends and family.  Go and meet them yourself – I think you’ll be pleased with your experience.  And quite possibly speechless.

Disclosure:  The author was invited to be a guest of the spa; however, the opinions presented here are his own.

Photo Credit: VisitFingerLakes

Related places:
  1. A
    Bristol Harbour Resort
    5410 Seneca Point Road, Canandaigua, NY
    View Details and Book
Tags: hiking, outdoors, scenic view, spa, top-feature


  • Christina says:

    Andy -

    You’re killing me here! You are making me SO HOMESICK! One of my best friends got married at Bristol Harbor and I was sitting just about where those two folks in the Adirondack chairs are sitting!

    Thanks for featuring some of the best NYS has to offer.

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