Canyon Ranch – Tucson, Arizona

Check those collards, grits and bourbon at the front gate

Check those collards, grits and bourbon at the front gate

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. ~ George Moore

This is the first in a series of articles about our trip to Arizona in mid-September.  It was one of the most inspiring adventures we have taken so far and we look forward to sharing these travel pieces with you in the coming months.

It all started with the back fat.  No, I don’t mean fatback, the “Cut of meat from a domestic pig, consisting of the layer of adipose tissue (subcutaneous fat) under the skin of the back, with or without the skin (pork rind).”  Description courtesy of Wikipedia.  No, I’m talking about the fat on my own back.  The fat just above my waistline that I never had until recently (often referred to fondly as “love handles”) and the fat that has forced me to make some changes in my life for both myself and Mr. B.  In other words, food and travel writing, while fun, can be hazardous to your health and waistline.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, when you find yourself at a crossroad in life, take it.  So, accepting the need for change, we decided to jump on a plane to Arizona and check in at the Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson.

On the road to Canyon Ranch

On the road to Canyon Ranch

Located on over 150 acres of what was once a working cattle ranch, in the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Southern Arizona, this award-winning property is a year-round destination spa and resort.  With views of the Santa Catalina Mountains in the distance, the scenery of the desert is spectacular and strangely beautiful.  I was enamored by the contrast to the lush green and the changing hues of foliage back home in Georgia.  Arriving in Tucson, I was reminded of the older couples I knew when I was young who had retired to this part of Arizona for the arid climate and the healing properties of this environment.  It was now our time to search for healing.  I knew we were in the right place.

The views of the desert with the mountains in the distance is spectacular

The views of the desert with the mountains in the distance is spectacular

There was a photo op at every turn

There was a photo opportunity at every turn

Founded by Mel and Enid Zuckerman, Canyon Ranch Tucson opened in 1979.  A bit of a radical idea at the time, “It was a comprehensive, healthy living vacation resort with no smoking and no alcohol.”  “What kind of vacation is that?” you might ask.  Canyon Ranch was one of the first spa resort concepts ever developed and after a few years, became a major influence for the evolution of spas around the world.

Outside of the clubhouse at Canyon Ranch

Outside the Clubhouse at Canyon Ranch

Mel Zuckerman, at age 50, found himself overweight by 40 pounds, out of shape, dealing with numerous health issues and feeling like, well, like us.  The desire to create a nurturing and supportive healthy living environment was the idea behind Canyon Ranch.  Their tagline, The Power of Possibility, captures the essence of this getaway.  You feel that you can accomplish your goals with the supportive staff, doctors, medical team, health experts, facilities, and information available to you at the resort.

Local plant life and permanent guests at the ranch

Local plant life and permanent guests at the ranch

For us pork belly eatin’ and bourbon swillin’ adopted Southerners, this was quite the change in lifestyle for the scheduled three long evenings and four long days.  There ain’t much fat on their spa menus and there sure ain’t no bourbon or bars (except the smoothie bar) to belly up to at Canyon Ranch, so we checked our fatback-filled collard greens and bottle of Pappy bourbon at the front gate and buckled up for the dry ride. 😉

Check your fatback, collards, grits, and bourbon at the gate

Check your pork-laden collards, grits, and bourbon at the gate

Walking through Canyon Ranch

Walking through Canyon Ranch

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