"Kelly, how are you going to do it?" my friend Nicole prods over dinner at the Bridge in downtown Sidney. "Your only saving grace is that you might fall asleep."
I giggle, but I am actually anxious about my first spa visit: a two-and-a-half hour appointment at GreatStone Castle, the 1895 Victorian bed-and-breakfast in which we're staying. You see, being idle sends my nerves into a frenzy — so I flee the thought of relaxing and slurp up delectable strands of Cajun blue cheese Alfredo pasta instead.
Back at GreatStone, a 17,000-square-foot mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we sway on the porch swing and discuss another first: a BandB stay, marveling at how this one feels a lot like home.
Awaking from a night's rest in the fluffy, four-poster Windsor Suite bed, we amble down the wide staircase, past rows of antique dolls and snow globes, to the hardwood-floored breakfast room. We savor home-cooked pancakes with maple syrup, bacon and cream-cheese muffins as the innkeeper, Christa, tells us the mahogany buffet table was used to hide Jews during World War II.
We head to the stone-walled spa, where I slide into a toasty mineral bath. Attempting to quell my butterflies, I crank up tranquil music and add hot water. But I become lightheaded and worry spas aren't for me.
When my massage therapist, Christine, comes in, I ask for more water and a fan. Still on edge, I recline for a European facial and pass time by chatting. Our easy conversation and the steam machine, which covers me in a blanket of soothing mist, begin to melt away my stress, releasing the tension in my muscles and letting my head finally clear.
I flinch as Christine places scalding discs on my back for a European hot stone massage, but soon find comfort in the warmth. As the clock runs out, I find myself wanting to stay in this dreamlike escape.
I pack my bags feeling refreshed and realize that relaxation is actually gratifying. Who knew?