Fools be them. For just 90 minutes North of the ATL, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lies the historic gold-rush town of Dahlonega, outside of which you'll find the exceptionally picturesque and extremely laid back Dahlonega Spa Resort, which boasts some of the prettiest scenery—and best yoga classes—around. Part of R&R Pure Vida Resorts, which also has properties in…wait for it…Costa Rica and Maya Tulum, Dahlonega is a whole lot less intimidating for moderate-level yoga lovers such as myself—and it's a whole lot easier to get to from New York City.
A recent five-day trip went something like this: Wake up in one of the resort's upscale-rustic cabins and toddle up to the main house for a delicious breakfast (omelets, French toast, yogurt/granola/fruit parfaits), served on the wraparound porch overlooking the 72-acre property's expansive front lawn. Follow with a meditative stroll in the Walking Labyrinth and a yoga class led by one of several top-notch instructors (with a special shout out to Sandy Osieja and Chris Sartain), some late morning lounging (outdoor Jacuzzi, anyone?), another delicious meal at lunch and an afternoon of hiking or kayaking on the nearby Chestatee River—or just lying around doing nothing at all. Then it was on to the spa for a daily massage (or wrap or scrub or facial), another yoga class if the mood struck, and a yummy dinner (including some of the tastiest free range chicken I've ever eaten) finished off with homemade ice cream for dessert. It was, in other words, healthy and active without beating the deprivation-is-good-for-you drum (and while I was chuffed to see wine on the menu, it all came from local vintners, whose offerings aren't quite in line with the rest of the spa's high-quality fixins).
But that was a minor quibble in an otherwise spectacular getaway—and one look at the rolling meadows and Blue Ridge Mountains rising mistily in the distance, and you'll agree that "spectacular" is not hyperbole but a plain statement of fact. Oh, and the local chocolate was pretty spectacular, too (I'm looking at you, Fudge Factory). Because woman cannot live on asanas alone.
Dahlonega Spa Resort offers a variety of yoga retreats and special packages year-round. Visit their website or call 866-345-4900 for details.