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Finding Stillness on Lake Austin

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/10/2015 Jaimee Ratliff



It's a Friday evening and almost dinnertime at Lake Austin Spa Resort--a luxurious waterfront oasis just a 35-minute drive from downtown Austin, tucked away in the Texas Hill Country: three hours away for Houstonians. Emerging from the car, I spot the cool waves from the Colorado River sliding into view in front of the resort and instantly feel a sense of relief. Soaking in the calm, I mentally run through my goals for the weekend: unwind completely, release the grip on my never-ending to-do list, and if they happen to serve up shots of rejuvenation and blissful delight, kindly oblige and down both, with no chaser.
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Check-in complete, we head straight to our room, one of 40 charming lakeside hideaways that further alludes to the peaceful secluded atmosphere. Initial impressions of the room are what I like to call "classy cozy": elegant d├ęcor and furnishings, deep soaking tubs and intimate patios both in the rear if you want some privacy, and out front if you prefer scenery and people watching. First order of business is to drop my phone (after a few instagram snaps of course) and slide into a snug white robe accompanied with powdery blue flip-flops: my outfit for the weekend that I was encouraged to wear at my leisure, even to dinner on my first night.
Wear my bathrobe anywhere at anytime? You don't have to ask me to do anything like that twice: done.
Clad in comfort, I stroll to the dining room with my guest where I immediately feel both spoiled and delightfully overwhelmed to discover the healthy array of gourmet fare infused with spices and herbs found right outside in the resort's organic healing gardens. I unashamedly indulge in all of the lobster cakes, jicama and watercress salad and lamb racks that I could get my hands (and taste buds) on. And right when I thought my appetite was satisfied, I was told that ordering more food to take back to my room was an option, just in case late night cravings emerged. Um, yes please. Make that two more lamb racks...to go.
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I spent the next 48 hours doing what anyone given a variety of activities and amenities to partake in would do: I dabbled in as much as I possibly could. In the mornings, I went from flowing through poses in a yoga class to lazing around poolside with a book in hand, to hydro biking and kayaking my way across the Colorado River, waving as other boats passed by. After that, I took a nap, strolled along the gravel paths under the vine-covered trellises, tested out the hammocks strewn throughout the resort and enjoyed doing absolutely nothing--something I rarely make enough time for.

I enjoyed the stillness that the resort encouraged me to not only experience but indulge in guilt free. Because at Lake Austin, there's no rush: once you set foot inside those gates, there are no priorities and nothing needs to happen immediately. It almost feels like the world slows down just long enough for you to intentionally soak in the moments, count your steps, taste the flavors of the food and watch the ripples forming and disappearing in the water.

The afternoon found me sipping my way through wine tastings and learning how to whip up the best pistachio crusted salmon in a healthy cooking demo led by chef Stephane Beauchamp. And in the evening, after eating my way through another endless dinner, I stargazed in an astronomy class: spotting the big and little dippers right before retreating back to my room for the night.
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My last afternoon ended with the resort's signature spa treatment, The Tour of Texas, taking me on a trip deep into the heart of Texas-style rejuvenation instead of up the traffic stricken, I-45. During the two hours of complete bliss, I was exfoliated with a prickly pear scrub (a plant native to the state), wrapped in sweet agave nectar and anointed in soothing warm essential oils as my masseuse worked to bring me to a complete state of rejuvenation.

By the end of it all, I had finally found stillness, bliss and a brand new me.
This article originally appeared on Jaimee's travel and inspirational blog, This Way North

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