Umstead

We might have started our weekend a teensy bit early this week.  The occasion: four of us crashed the Umstead Spa for a few hours. I say “crashed,” because at the Umstead, I always feel like I am getting away with something- it is not the kind of place where interns hang out, usually.  It is swank.  It is posh.  It is rareified air, in there.  Which makes it all that much more fun.  And for a variety of reasons this week, we all totally deserved it.

There are too many fabulous things about the Umstead to list, but here are my three favorites:

1) the architecture is gorgeous.  Modern and sleek, without being cold, and they absolutely nailed the whole Frank Lloyd Wright thing about  blurring the lines between outdoors and indoors.  It’s beautifully done.

3) the showers at the Umstead are my favorite anywhere in the whole world, other than the gorgous high-walled outdoor bathroom from my Bali beach cottage.  You walk in, and there’s a floor-to-ceiling window.  Don’t panic, it’s frosted, except at the top where you can look out and see lush green treetops.  Skip this next part if you’re a blusher, like I am: but lordy, you may never look better than you do when you catch your reflection in the glass entry door while you wash your hair.  You’ll be backlit with sunlight from the giant window, and the etched glass will make your naked self look airbrushed and photoshopped like a supermodel.  In that reflection, you will look approximately like this:

but thinner.  (For those readers who don’t know me personally, this is of course exactly what I look like.  Every single day.)

3)  As long as you’ve booked a spa appointment, you can spend the whole day lounging around in the spa.  They give you a cushy white robe and take your cell phone away, and send you off with piles of magazines, and trays of nuts and fruit, and decanters of lemon and cucumber water, and quiet music.  There are upstairs lounges and downstairs lounges and meditation courtyards and saunas and whirlpools and patios.  So, best of all, the four of us got to curl up in chairs and talk, for hours. The four of us spend so much time being pulled in a million directions, and we hardly ever end up in one place at the same time, and all have trouble finding the time to sit still.

And sit still we did.  Together.

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