Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Brockville's Hidden Gems

It has been a fabulous few months blogging about our family's adventures in and around Brockville. I recently read an article in The Recorder and Times discussing social media and its relevance in today's society. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have allowed me to reach a broader audience and share the experiences I've had in this beautiful community. I'm grateful for the people I have met through this experience and am looking forward to meeting many more who share a passion for Brockville and all its hidden gems!

One of my Twitter followers, St.Lawrence College, reached out and let me know about their on-site art gallery. Like many in the area, I had no idea they even had one! As an art lover, I had to take my family and check this out. I am a fan of many art forms, from painting to sculpting, mixed media and any other form where one expresses artistic creativity. We set out Saturday afternoon to the College to have a look at the exhibit. Upon entering the College I was in awe. They had opened up a beautiful space in the entryway and on display was some of the most breathtaking paintings, sculptures, wood carvings and jewlerry I have seen. The current exhibit is called "Walk with Me" and showcases Jean Kallmeyer's poetry and Sheila Davis' art. There are also many other pieces incorporated in the exhibit from other artists in and around the area. The exhibit is on until February 18th and the admission is FREE! Yes, you read that correctly- FREE! It truly is worth going to see. I was uncertain how it would go over with my three year old, but she walked throughout the gallery with my spouse and I, admiring the colours and even picked a favorite painting. I felt it was great to expose her to beautiful art, as far too often we think children can only appreciate toys and parks. To my many friends who homeschool or anyone who is looking for a family activity, I highly recommend checking out the gallery at St.Lawrence College, as it is a tremendous experience! If you are interested in learning more about the current exhibit or upcoming exhibits, check out the website http://www.stlawrencecollege.ca under the campus life tab.

Later in the afternoon, it was "me time". My loving companion is a wonderful man, who works hard and is a great hands-on dad. He also hates feet. This poses a problem for me, as I am seven months pregnant, can no longer see my toes and am dying for a foot rub. I decided this would be an excellent opportunity to check out one of Brockville's most talked-about spa- The Aquala Day Spa located on King Street in the stunning Wedgewood Retirement Residence.

As I entered through the spa doors, everything screamed luxury to me. From the stunning waterfall behind the reception area to the product displays and luscious waiting area chairs, I was already in heaven. It was then that I was a tad intimidated. Aren't spas notorious for stunning women who can not smile and judge you the minute you walk in? In my LuLu's, runners and ponytail, I all of a sudden wanted to dart out of there! Then, from behind the desk came a lovely smile and a genuinely warm greeting. There were other clients in the waiting area, who looked up and gave smiles as well, all but saying "relax, enjoy, you are among friends". I stated my name, appointment time and took a seat, as I was a tad early. I felt myself already starting to unwind as it became clear, there would be no judgement here. I had a great conversation with an elderly lady who sat across from me. She told me she came here often and enjoyed everything the spa had to offer. When it was my turn for my pedicure, my esthetician came to greet me in the waiting area. Another wonderful smile. I followed her back to the pedicure area, where there were other clients laughing, talking and enjoying themselves. As it turned out, my estitician was the spa manager, her name is Denise and she is fabulous! She immediately made me comfortable, taking the extra time to assist me in getting into the chair, showing me how the massage buttons work and offering me an array of beverages. We chatted as though we have known each other for years and she gave some great advice when it came to picking a polish colour. The entire time I was treated like a queen, as were all the other clients. Not once was my comfort compromised or did I feel in need of anything. It was very clear that this was a place that valued their clients and ensured a wonderful experience.

 Just when I thought it could not get any better, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the Wedgewood and spa. She was very friendly and approachable, coming right up to my chair to say hello. She was well dressed and manicured but the most pleasant surprise she had, was two of her happy children with her. They had been in the spa the entire time. Happy, respectful children. Not once was my "zen experience" disturbed or derailed. They were kids being kids and I realized this really is a welcoming, family environment. In our conversation, she had explained to me that it was important for her to have the clients feel welcome and not have the negative experience some can get when at a spa. The message that stuck with me is when she said " I want people to come in and not feel that we are telling them what beauty is. It's important to me, for my children as well, to show that true beauty comes from within". I was blown away at her sincerity and thoughtful words. Having two daughters and one more on the way, I immediately connected to this.

I quickly snagged another appointment with Denise, in the recommended six weeks time and left The Aquala Day Spa feeling relaxed, happy and privileged to have met some fantastic women. I have been staring at my pretty toes for days now, when I have them up and can see them, and am excited to go back. I am also trying, without much luck,  to encourage my love to dislike back massages too, just one more reason to head back to the spa!


  1. Great read. I am so excited about St. Lawrence College Art Gallery. I had no idea and I too am a lover of the arts! Thanks for the info :)

  2. Great Job Linds!!!
    I look forward to reading your blog and finding out the different aspects of brockville :) I have been to the St.Lawrence College art gallery as well and I loved it. I think it's such a great experience for people. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  3. I love that you're supporting the local talent - they really are the 'uncelebrated'! Kudos.

  4. Thanks for blogging this! I had no idea st. Lawrence had an art gallery! I can't wait to go! Also, I got a gift certificate to aquala spa from my mom for Christmas. I got a massage from a guy (unfortunately I can't think of his name right now) it was incredible! I felt the same way walking in, like I was out of my element completely but they were so easy going and accommodating. I was really nervous to have a man do it but he was absolutely fantastic. I can't wait to go back!

  5. I too have had a fantastic pedicure from Denise at the Aquala, it truly is one of Brockville's Hidden Gems. I love to get her for pedicures as often as I can, she seems to know just when I am in the mood to talk, and when I just want some quiet "me" time, to relax and absorb the great treatment and tranquil atmosphere.