Eileen and Teresa Majors
Eileen and Teresa majors
 I started out looking for a great spa; I stumbled onto a great realization. As any writer in search of a story, I got on the phone and made a few calls. (There had to be an amazing spa getaway somewhere in our gorgeous corner of Northeastern CA.) Within minutes I was told about Chico Canyon Retreat. A quick peek online (chicocanyon.com) and I was intrigued. I quickly made the call and reached a soft and friendly voice. Two weeks later, buried in the usual workload, I arrived.

   We met Dulcy Shroeder, proprietor and gracious hostess for the retreat located at Forest Ranch, about 15 minutes from Chico and a little over an hour from Lake Almanor. She drove us in to the lush wilderness. The ride in provided an amazing preview of what was to come, as it delivered a strong sense that the workload could wait a day.

I remember the words of my sister and mentor, “Sometimes you have to walk away from working IN your business, long enough to work ON your business”, words that had stuck with me long after her passing. I would enjoy the property and my mind was already working ON my business.

Freshly baked cookies greeted us before the planned hike I would enjoy with Dulcy, Eddy and Hanna, the heart and soul of Chico Canyon Retreat. Eddy enjoys clearing the trails and keeping the home fires burning. Hanna is an artist in the field of massage therapy, and Dulcy’s jobs range from chef (and an amazing one at that!) to assistant trail clearer. All are eager for Dulcy’s new venture to become a success.

We hiked up the driveway and over a bridge where Big Chico Creek winds its way through the property. Mounds of berry bushes adorn the 240+ acre retreat, which was already calling me back for an August frenzy of mountain blackberry picking. Sulfur pools invade spaces in the creek and Dulcy pointed out one bubbling sulfur spring outside the creek. We hiked around a newly cut trail near the creek. Gentle waterfalls along with about a thousand birds and critters made for some inspiring background music.

We soon headed back for some iced tea and a time to refresh before my scheduled massage. I sat at a small patio table and took it all in. Aroma of rosemary drifts past bright yellow daffodils as two majestic mountain tops stand in the distance.’Relax’, I remind myself, ‘you have arrived.’

Soon I was met by Hanna and taken to a private room with amazing views of the canyon. Hanna has a soft and welcoming spirit and amazing hands. She offers many treatments including crystal healing, therapeutic massage, deep tissue, reflexology, Ayurvedic massage, energy work and her favorite, the sacred Lomi Lomi which she brought with her from Hawaii. I opted for her signature massage, which incorporates a bit of it all. It took me away from it all, indeed. My treatment ended with an aromatherapy-infused steam bath. A tent came down from the ceiling and the fragrant steam enveloped me.

After a quick shower and another walk on this amazing property, it was time for dinner, another sweet surprise at Chico Canyon Retreat. Dulcy had prepared a beautiful and delicious chicken dinner with fresh baked biscuits and manzanita jelly, something I had never tried before. It was sweet and very good.

After dinner, and inspired by the serenity of the day’s events, I began to plan strategies for a new division of our company. My mind was refreshed, my outlook was new. I had already decided I will be back.

We stayed in the Rosemary Room. Rosemary is one of those scents that keeps calling me back for more, so when I arrived and the window was open in our room, I was pleasantly surprised. A wide-opening window gave view to a sort of secluded patio which was a small space surrounded by a hillside of blooming rosemary. Ahhh… heavenly. I slept like a baby.

Eddy and Hanna joined us for a splendid breakfast of  quiche, with fresh fruit baked in. It had a sweet touch, was delicious, and provided a nice start for a new day. Fresh coffee, juice and nice morning conversation wrapped up our stay at Chico Canyon Retreat.

This place is a great choice for hosting a workshop, retreat or a small wedding. Dulcy is one of the neatest gals you will ever meet. Eddy and Hanna are some of the best people ever, according to Dulcy. I enjoyed them all. Feeling at ease and at home is easy here. Leave your worries (or work) behind for a day or a weekend. You can book a massage with the herbal steam bath (for a full hour and twenty minutes of letting go) for $120. There are a variety of services on the spa menu which you will find online at chicocanyon.com. You can also call to book a day or a stay at 530-982-8796.