Category Archives: Yoga

#PerfectVt

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This weekend Michael and I had the pleasure of going to Pittsfield, VT to experience #PerfectVT.  What is perfect Vermont?  Perfect Vermont is an all-inclusive getaway vacation in the Green Mountains.  They offer spaces where groups can learn, share and come together.  Not only are their facilities the perfect setting for a wedding they are also the perfect spot for elite endurance training, yoga retreats, corporate events and more.  They have two farms, the Amee Farm and the Riverside Farm.  Both are beautiful bed and breakfasts with lots of different spaces to meet the need of any event.

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A Warm Welcome

We started our trip with a stop to the General Store for a sandwich.  This was the original general store in town and still offers many staples in addition to sandwiches, warm meals, coffee and they even sell beer and wine.  Michael and I shared a mozzarella and tomato Panini with kale pesto and olive spread.  It was delicious and perfect for damp, rainy afternoon.

After lunch we headed to Amee Farm to check into our room.  We were greeted with a warm welcome and found our room to be so cozy and comfortable.  We both agreed we couldn’t wait to take a shower in the gorgeous stone shower with rain shower head!  The beds are memory foam, we have this at home and love it so we were quite happy to find the B&B had it as well!

Once we settled in we explored the B&B to check out the other guest rooms.  They were all really nice and many of the showers had body jets or multiple shower heads.  Apparently this was one of the requests of the owner.  After exploring Amee we headed down the road for a tour of the Riverside Farm.  This property is bigger than Amee Farm and has 3 main buildings with two smaller buildings.  The white barn offers a housing in a dorm style with 6 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a common area.  The brown barn has a beautiful space for a dinner, meetings, or even yoga.  The red barn also offers two different large rooms which are equally beautiful.  In addition the property has two smaller cottages that will sleep about 5 people, and offer common areas.

While we were there people were completing the death race.  I wasn’t familiar with this race but here’s the description from the website…

Every Death Race is it’s own uniquely brutal challenge, no two races are alike. The race, created by Ultra athletes Joe Desena and Andy Weinberg, was developed as a way for athletes to test themselves both mentally and physically. The Death Races take place in the unexpectedly challenging terrain of the Green Mountains in and around Pittsfield, Vermont and have lasted over 70 hours. We provide no support. We don’t tell you when it starts. We don’t tell you when it ends. We don’t tell you what it will entail. We want you to fail and encourage you to quit at any time.

Basically these are athletes who find an Ironman boring and need a crazy adrenaline rush!  You won’t find me doing one.  However, our host Tom, won the death race.  From the death race came Peak Races which does ultra trial marathons, snowshoe races and bike races.  Many of us are familiar with Spartan Races.  They were born out of the death race as a race for the masses.  Many of the elite Spartan racers live and train in Pittsfield.  You learn something new everyday!

Also over at Riverside farm are the stone steps.  It was rainy and cold so we opted out of the hike but the stone steps lead to the top of the mountain.  We’re told is offers gorgeous views and there is a stone building that is very “Shrek” like.

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The Stone Steps

We opted for a good book, a cup of tea, a warm fire and this gorgeous view from the living room of Amee Farm.  It was so relaxing and exactly what I needed on a rainy, cold afternoon.

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Tea and a View

Dinner was served downstairs in the Amee Lodge.  There was live music and amazing food.  Lucky for us, the chef who made our sandwich at The General Store also owns Vermont Farms Catering and prepared our dinner.  It was delicious.  We started with an asparagus and arugula salad.  It had asparagus puree, arugula, sliced asparagus, roasted red peppers and lots of shaved parmesan.  So good!  Dinner was a roasted pork loin with polenta, fennel and plum jam.  It was also amazing!  It tasted so good and my glass of red wine went perfectly with it.  Dessert was Pavlova, which is basically meringue.  On top was fresh whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries and fresh basil.  So good!  One of the things about the farm is that they source most of their food locally.  We love farm to table food so this meal was right up our alley.

We had such a great time chatting with some of the locals, learning more about the business and meeting other bloggers and couples looking to host their wedding at Amee Farm.  It was a really beautiful and relaxing evening.  They had a giant fire going in the fireplace and live guitar throughout the dinner.

We retired to our room around 9pm and really enjoyed the peace and quiet.  We were both so relaxed and it was nice to read before bed.  I slept so good and woke up feeling refreshed.  It must be the mountain air!  We started our morning with continental breakfast which was all fresh and local foods.  My favorite was the yogurt with granola and fresh berries.  Although the bagel with local jam on it was delicious too!

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Continental Breakfast

After breakfast we headed down the street to the yoga studio for a morning flow.  The yoga studio is also part of the property.  It too is an open space that can be used for just about anything!  It was so toasty warm and the flow felt great on yet another cool, damp day.

After yoga we headed back to the B&B.  I enjoyed a very relaxing and nice shower!  Rain shower heads are seriously the best.  Michael and I agreed we need one!

To wrap up the weekend we took a tour of Sweet Georgia P’s farm.  The farm is located right across the street from Amee Lodge so we just walked across the street.  They farm 10 out of 12 months of the year and operate CSA’s in the Boston area as well.  They grow everything from herbs to wildflowers to tomatoes to beets.  In addition they have about 200 chickens.  They also have a herd of goats!  Many of the goats were pregnant and expected to give birth any day now.  They are expanding their herd so they can sell goats milk and make their own goat cheese.  It was really interesting to tour the farm and it definitely was a good reminder about all the work that goes into the veggies and cheese I love so much!

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Sweet Georgia P’s Farm

I could see this being the perfect location for a variety of retreat types.  In addition to all the services we experienced there is an extensive trail system you can hike or run.  They also have a company called Great Bike Tours that rents bikes and leads bike tours.  If you had an endurance group training you could certainly get in a variety of cross training.  For wellness retreats you could combine farm tours and the experience of their farmers to incorporate healthy eating into it all of the fitness activities.  They’ll even teach you how to make goat cheese!  A yoga retreat would be amazing as well.  There are so many facilities to use for classes and with the farm to table food you’d be eating well too.  It’s even a great place to escape for a corporate retreat and really focus on the task at hand.

Beyond all of the beautiful facilities and good food, the people at Perfect Vermont are some of the kindess and friendliest people we’ve met in quite some time.  Tom and Erlin were our hosts and they couldn’t have been more accomidating.  They answered all of our questions, chatted with us and Erlin even taught our morning yoga class.  We also had the pleasure of meeting Peter.  Peter oversees all 9 businesses that are part of Perfect Vermont, including Peak Races.  We sat with him and his wife at dinner and had such a good time chatting with them!  They we’re really lovely!  Jessica the inn-keeper was so friendly and accomidating and made sure our stay was comfortable from start to finish.  Michael and I love beatiful places but we love them even more when they are run by good people.  I trust that whatever event you host at Perfect Vermont, you’ll be fully taken care of and feel so comfortable with the staff.  We certainly did.

The weekend was so relaxing and a nice break from the go-go-go of our lives.  Perfect Vermont definitely has a slower, more relaxed vibe to it.  We loved all of the food, the lodging and certainly felt that they had a lot to offer!  I’m already thinking about how I can make a yoga retreat happen there!  Thanks so much to Perfect Vermont for inviting us to attend the weekend and let us see why they named their company Perfect Vermont!

Have you been to Pittsfield, VT?  Would you attend a retreat at Perfect Vermont?

**Disclosure: I was offered an overnight, inclusive trip in exchange for a full review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Getting Fit with Gaiam

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Hi Friends!  So last time I was here I talked about the workouts that are helping me lose weight.  Today I wanted to share a little bit more about the tools that are helping me to lose weight.  Back in January Gaiam offered to send me a few different workout products to test and use as part of their Get fit with Gaiam campaign.  As a yogi, I’ve always been a big fan of Gaiam and all they have to offer.  I’ve bought yoga videos, blocks, straps, mats and props from them and have been following them on social media for years.  I love their philosophy, and I love their products.

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Get Fit with Gaiam

I opted for the Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Block and the Banyan & Bo by Gaiam Premium Yoga Strap.  I was pretty excited for the cork block as I have a foam block at home at it’s just not quite wide enough or sturdy enough for poses like supported bridge.  This cork block is really wide and thick so I feel very safe and secure when using it for supported bridge or standing splits.  I was actually thinking I need to order a second one so I can use them as props to help deepen my backbends or when working on splits.  I also really liked the yoga strap, it’s nice and thick and doesn’t have any stretch to it.  I’ve found that some yoga straps will stretch when I use them to lengthen my hamstrings or open my shoulders.  This one did not do that at all and again felt really sturdy and supportive when using it.  I’d definitely recommend both!

Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Yoga Block and Banyan and Bo Premium Yoga Strap

Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Yoga Block and Banyan and Bo Premium Yoga Strap

The other item I received was the Step360.  I was hesitant about reviewing this as I was really worried it would be another workout item I’d never use.   I have to tell you, I’m so happy I decided to test this out!  With this winter being so cold and snowy it’s really given be another outlet to sweat it out.  So what is a Step360?  The step has 2 air inflated chambers with a solid surface on the top making it a combination between a step, a trampoline and a balance board.  It was super easy to set up, I pretty much inflated the air chambers and was good to go.  It came with 2 DVDs with a variety of workouts on it and a sculpting cord.  I absolutely love the workouts.  They are interval based and really easy to follow.  The best part is they are 10 or 20 minutes long.  The cardio based workouts do a great job of increasing your heart rate and working your agility.  The strength workouts with the use of the sculpting cord really work your whole body.  I’ve been sore after every workout! The Step360 has been really fun to use and has added a whole new dimension to my workouts.

Step360 by Gaiam
Step360 by Gaiam

A big thanks to Gaiam for letting me test out the Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Block and the Banyan & Bo by Gaiam Premium Yoga Strap and the Step360.  They’ve definitely made my workouts more fun and helped me to continue to live a healthy life!

Have you tried the Gaiam products?  Would you try the Step360?