|We’re a great team at Adytum serving you…Here Nature teams up to refresh us…|
This week, Donn and I have enjoyed our time share in Hawaii again. We were here six months ago for Optometry continuing ed and now we returned for our son Phillip Gritton and Amy Nunamaker’s wedding. Rituals of connecting and reconnecting are integral to happiness.
|Son, Phillip Gritton and Amy Nunamaker- now Mr. and Mrs. Gritton|
We thought Adytum would be a Spa and Health Retreat- and so it may be. But first and foremost, it is a place of love, strengthening connections with ourselves, our partner, God, and nature, and Adytum is a place for reconnecting again and again. Since opening officially in August 2010, we’ve had some couples return three times already. Adytum belongs to us all now, woven into the fabric of our memories of our lives. Like summers at the cottage on the lake as children, we’ve grown into the 5-star luxury of the ‘little castle’ overlooking Lake Mayfield as adults…
|Winding Staircase with Gothic Rail to the Third Floor Library & Star of the North|
One thing we’ve noticed is that there are different styles of travel among our guests. Some arrive, camera in hand, and simply absorb every nuance Adytum has to offer from the European architecture, iron and stonework, taking pictures from brunch all the way to the often spectacular sunset. Some arrive with a well-planned agenda; some guests are more spontaneous announcing at the table, “We’re just taking it moment by moment.” Other guests plan to stay put until check-out two or three days later.
It’s this last group of guests that really made us realize we need to have enough food to hold them from the large brunch all the way to dinner, using in-suite snacks tucked into the fridge and the pantry between times because they stay on-site. Lately we’ve planted more herbs for guest use and salad greens to share.
|Wee guest teaching Dash to pick blueberries….|
|Scott oversees the enjoyment of her little harvest|
Seasonally we have nuts, berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries) to share and one day there will be a very abundant harvest of Pinot Noir grapes, which are also good eating out of hand and will appear in guests’ suites as a matter of course along with the complimentary bottle of still or sparkling wine. As the garden expands, guests will be invited in for ‘dirt therapy’ and to enjoy the fruits of their morning’s puttering in the garden. Adytum is a destination resort. Adytum is equally a launching off point to Seattle or Portland for city trips and Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier for sight-seeing day trips. And above all, as the wedding parties continue to discover, it’s an amazing photo op.
|Mt. Rainier is unbeatable in August….|
Two sisters with small children at home with dad, one from Portland and one from Seattle, met at the mid-point— Adytum Sanctuary to reconnect in The Orion Suite. They found Adytum doing a geographical search the same way recent guests from Australia found us with little advertising. The sisters didn’t have time for a long drive. After getting a tour of the Castle Adytum (not my words…but of every European and local) the shared spaces with chess, games, and the library, salt water hot tub and the overview of the grounds with 16acres of hiking trails, one of the sisters turned to the other saying with a sly smile, “And we wondered what we were going to do once we got here…”
|Sisters Creating Space for their Shared Bond….|
When they left at noon the next day, they hadn’t experienced but a small part of all they could have and said they’d return to create an annual ritual of reconnecting with one another here. That was inspiring to me, having so nearly lost my own sister to cancer in December of 2011. I will make a point to create space in our busy lives to reconnect with Jackie and make new memories and enjoy our shared ones. Having common history with another person is a priceless gift. It is worth treating like the Ming Vase treasure that it is, making sure that deep fissures don’t form, and if they do, that they are mended with time, love, thoughtfulness, and energy invested into the relationship.
The sister’s surprise that Adytum had more to offer aside from a place to meet affirmed the fact that we have become a destination location in this resort area. We are still the only 5-star retreat in our locale. I shared with these two lovely ladies that we have others in the Adytum ‘guest’ family that come to reconnect with each other, using the Sanctuary as the mid-point for their rendezvous too. Some don’t leave for the entire weekend…the car stays unmoved and they bring their own dinner, the huge brunch around the Tower dining room table in the morning holding them all day.
|Brunch is substantial, healthy and will hold you all day long|
Some read, curled by the fire in chilly weather, or in the chairs on the private deck each suite comes with. We see blankets on the lawn, picnic style, overlooking the Lake with barefoot guests getting some sun in the process and grounding or ‘earthing’ as they did as children. Earthing helps us sleep better and even thins the blood. It lowers cortisol. It makes us happy…any barefoot child will tell you without words…Try it and see if you don’t sleep better tonight. Kick off your shoes as you walk the trails. Stretch out on the lawn…Be the child again…
|“I spent the first half of life learning to be a man, I will spend the second half learning to be a child.” Picasso|
Other guests play games; we have many tucked all over the house including a new scrabble game yet uninitiated, and even a nice poker set, bocce ball, Frisbee golf, a football and croquet…cards and chess. Always, there are indoor and outdoor options. Adytum attracts readers, writers, computer software programmers, photographers, musicians, and birders for sure. And more….
Many guests surrender to the spa aspects of the Sanctuary. They wake and enjoy hot tea or coffee in the salt water hot tub surrounded by birdsong. Then to the Turkish Steam Sauna for some aromatherapy with the Eucalyptus oil and perhaps a little hot yoga in the large, tiled space. If there’s still time to explore Adytum lands before brunch they’re off with dogs and Gizmo the new cat leading the way, their camera and binoculars slung over their shoulder.
|Gizmo…definitely sleeps around (: Do you want to book with an in-suite cat?|
We have some of the highest recorded numbers of Evening Grosbeaks at Adytum. This parrot-like, large beaked, colorful flock is followed by the Black Headed Grosbeaks that look a bit like Orioles. We have a nesting pair of Osprey on the back acreage that hunt over the hot tub area, and four bald eagles that maintain their territory over the front of the land, endless hawks, ravens, and other large birds. We are on the migration path for the eagles as well and since we fill feeders daily we encourage maintenance of nesting sites for many varieties of song birds, robins, hummingbirds, and others. The varied plumage of many varieties of birds mixing happily side by side at the feeders is a lesson for us all. Old nests carried back from walks on the land serve as reminders of love and nurturing in The Star of the North.
|Evening Grosbeaks, Finches and Sparrows, Side by Side|
Exercise enthusiasts take advantage of the free weights and yoga mats in each suite. Arriving with kayaks or bikes on their car they discover nearby Ike Kinswa State Park by bike or kayak. Many who come are interested in hikes and there are so many within 30 minutes- stunning ones too.
Those in The Orion Suite enjoy the Far Infrared Sauna for detoxing;
|We wouldn’t be without this: Far Infrared Sauna|
The Star of the North guests experience the healing and energizing effect of the magnetic sleep pad developed by Dr. Bonlie. I listened to his lecture on these amazing pads recently in Chicago at the Health Freedom Expo and am so grateful we have them here. There are so many profound benefits. In fact, Adytum is the only B&B/Retreat that offers these magnetic sleep pads. We are distinct in providing a proven enhancement to sleep and healing in the form of magnetic supplementation, and that’s in combination with a Tempurpedic bed as well.
|Lovely Early November- Lake Mayfield off the Back Decks|
The advice that seasoned, repeat guests at Adytum will tell you- and they have in their many Yelp, Trip Advisor and Bed and Breakfast.com reviews, is not to do too much when you come to Adytum Sanctuary. There is enough here to keep you stimulated and happy while allowing you to reconnect with yourself, with your lover, with Nature and God and get relaxed and rejuvenated in the process. There is a special energy here. When we began construction each time we entered the land, coming up the long driveway, we felt we were entering a party in progress.
There is so much life here. We are but a small part of the community of plants, trees, forest creatures, and birds on Birley Mountain that Adytum rests upon. Since we don’t use chemicals, the land is living too – verified by the huge flocks of Robins pulling worm after worm from the lovely Cinebar Soil. If we couldn’t see sparkling Lake Mayfield and the emerald Rivers Cowlitz and Tilton that flow into it, the land would still replenish our spirit and reignite our creativity. The water just adds to the ambiance but it isn’t the view or the surroundings that bring so many such transformational adventures when they come to Adytum. It is Adytum Sanctuary herself. Some castles are haunted…ours is blessed (and yes- blessed to have the woman’s ghost I’ve written about as well…)
|The Mystery, Peace, and Enchantment of Nature at Adytum|
When we were clearing the land, setting the foundation and framing three stories up, my prayers breathed with every step was that this place would be full of restorative peace, a place where deep conversations occurred, where people could reconnect with all that really matters in life, where nature would speak and we would live in harmony on this mountain. And so it came to pass. The beauty simply flowed out of those well-intentioned purposes.
|Scott, Kitty, Gabe and Dash….Gizmo’s there somewhere!|
Recently my guest told me as she was preparing to leave, “Kat you ARE Adytum…this, she says waving her hand to take in the surroundings, is all YOU!” Love and devotion has a way of making Oneness…Adytum has a way of getting into everyone’s soul and spirit too just as the animals Gabe, Dash, Gizmo, and Kitty Boy do…In fact, we’ve been told more than once that the love from the animals ‘made it’ for them…
|The Pack and Me|
One rainy day, I sat down and wrote these plans for a perfect day at Adytum Sanctuary as a destination resort…for a day where the weather wouldn’t set the tone…a day that would leave us feeling pampered, well-rested and thoroughly satisfied without ever leaving:
Just Another Perfect Day at Adytum Sanctuary~
6:00 a.m. Coffee or tea ensuite from the bar taken out to watch the sun climb in the sky in the salt-water hot tub
7:00 a.m. Meditation walk with Dash, Gabriel, cat Gizmo and your lover on Adytum trails, barefoot for earthing in season
8:00 a.m. Yoga DVD and/or free weights, ensuite
9:00 a.m. Community bike and/or Turkish Steam Sauna with Eucalyptus oil and Sircuit Skin peel or mask, ending with a Hydrotherapy 7-Cycle shower
10:00 a.m. Healthy, beautiful gourmet breakfast with guests in the Tower Dining room or in the privacy of your own suite, on the patio, or breakfast in bed….
11:00 a.m. Feed your creative spirit: paint, write,, draw, read…Watch a DVD on art, health or travel…Play guitar, cello, Indian flute or piano in the Tower Room where the acoustics are unbeatable, according to 2nd Chair Violinist from the Seattle Symphony
12:00 p.m. Snack ensuite or discover authentic Mexican food at El Amigo inside the Mexican Market in Mossyrock
1:00 p.m. Dirt therapy, puttering in one of the many gardens or play chess at the pub table in the 3rd floor library, bocce ball, a game of tag football for two, Frisbee golf or croquet…
3:00 p.m. Snuggle with your lover or enjoy a relaxing nap listening to the water music that surrounds Adytum
4:00 p.m. Far Infrared Sauna in the Orion Suite with music from your iPhone ending in the double-tiled shower or a Jacuzzi bath with Essential Oil Scented Bath Salts in The Star of the North while watching the birds soar in the tops of the Fir…
5:00 p.m. Short walk before dinner at Ike Kinswa or biking along the Cowlitz River or kayaking the Tilton River across the rocky bar and into the mouth of the river with the rapids…2’ long rainbow trout invite you to catch dinner for the BBQ outside your suite
6:00 p.m. Dinner- in or out.
7:00 p.m. Couples massage ensuite and champagne by the fire…
8:00 p.m. The night is young…moonlight walk or salt water hot tub under the stars, unfettered by light pollution, watching a DVD, talking over a glass of wine and fondue til the wee hours…reconnecting with each other
This is just one of many scenarios I’ve either seen guests, single or couples, create for their pleasure- or I’ve done this myself or with Donn.
Recent guest from Memphis, TN did a different day trip every day of their 5 day stay. Mt. St. Helens, touring the visitor’s center one day and the crater via helicopter the next. They drove to Paradise at Mt. Rainier and had dinner at one of our favorite places, Alexander’s Country Inn. They discovered Olympia, Washington’s state capitol and enjoyed the coastal influence in the inlets and dock areas. The last day, they headed to Seattle. Portland had been on their list but it will have to wait for next time. There are different kinds of vacation/holiday experiences for everyone. Some need to see, go, do and make memories. Some need to return to the Paradise within, to create, rejuvenate and refill- to be still…
Adytum offers whatever you need. But one thing to consider is the unexpected ‘vortex’ (guests’ words) effect that she will have on you. Once you drive through the gates, it will not only be hard to escape, even for fun- but as so many guests say, “I don’t want to leave…”