Spa weekend at Toddy Pond

Spa day at camp

Spa day at camp

Massages, facials, wraps and rubs are a delicious way to feel good with no effort or exertion. I should probably find the time to indulge more frequently, because I do love the lazy, slightly guilty, brain-numbed relaxation they offer.

I have had life-changing reflexology at a spa in Sharon Springs, New York, been dusted with turquoise clay at the Waldorf Astoria spa in Arizona, soaked in warm thermal waters in Iceland, and been slathered with mud on the west coast. I enjoyed every single one of those treatments. Most recently, I was rubbed with a thick terry towel steeped in fresh lake water warmed on a wood stove.

It is winter, and that means weekends at camp. There is no running water there, which means no hot tap water. Going two days without a shower is not a hardship I would waste time complaining about. I have always warmed water for washing up, and called it good.  But this past weekend indulgence called.

I woke in the morning and found the woodstove roaring. My husband had gotten up early and stoked it before heading out to fish. The big pot of water we keep on it was sending up steam. The sun was just beginning to shine along the far side of the lake, the ice was a gleam of silver, and standing in front of that heat was heaven.


I had a vision of copper tubs, long-handled Victorian back brushes, and mounds of bubbles. There was no copper tub at hand, but some quick improvising and my bath was ready.

I spread a couple of towels on the floor. They were thick and the floor in front of the stove was as warm as the heated tiles in the bathroom of the rather swanky hotel we were in just last weekend. No exotic bath salts were in sight, so I squirted some of my sister-in-law’s green apple Sauvé shampoo into a bowl and whipped up some bubbles.

Camp is on the very edge of the pond, and the view certainly beat any of the treatment rooms I’d had massages in. Through the large picture window I watched the pink light spreading across the pond as the sun rose. I pinned up my hair and in the warmth of the flickering fire scrubbed myself top to bottom.

The warm soapy water smelled sweet. The rough nub of the terrycloth was invigorating and brought my happily awake and energized. Standing naked, warm and freshly scrubbed made me feel about eight years old. After a quick dance step, I scooped clear rinse water over myself, and began the process of gearing up for a day on the ice. The next six hours would be spent bundled up, zipped in, and booted. I do not like to be cold, and know how to dress for winter.

Those few minutes unfettered and unclothed in the radiant heat of the fire created a glow that could have kept me warm all day, even without  silk thermals and fleece layers.


Karen O. Zimmermann

About Karen O. Zimmermann

Karen O. Zimmermann savors chance encounters with people throughout the state of Maine, and is endlessly delighted with the tales they have to share.