You would never expect an upscale day spa and fitness studio to be tucked away along this mostly rural stretch of Route 5 near Clinton, NY. But just when I had started to lose confidence that my GPS would deliver me to my pre-programmed location, there it was.
It was a Wednesday morning in early September when I arrive at Studio 8 Fitness, prepared for a serious workout. I am joining a small group of women for a circuit training class as a guest of Kelli Corasanti, the fitness center’s owner. It’s the first time I’m meeting Kelli, but she hugs me like a long lost friend. And before I know it, we’re warming up on the cycles to signal the beginning of our workout.
It doesn’t take long before Kelli asserts herself in a drill sergeant-like manner that you’d never expect to come from the pretty, slim blonde. One minute, she provides nurturing guidance to this group of ladies that follow her in an almost cult-like fashion. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way!) The next minute, she’s a rough and tumble fitness instructor issuing training instructions that you wouldn’t dream of deviating from. But it’s all good: Kelli is the perfect combination of Barbie and G.I. Joe.
When I asked the other members of my small group why they come to Studio 8 Fitness instead of a traditional gym, the response was overwhelming: It’s the personalization and the motivation provided in this somewhat non-traditional environment adjacent to A Time For Me Wellness Center. But most importantly, it’s Kelli herself. “I love what I do and I think it shows”, says Kelli, whose classes are fun, energizing and certainly challenging. It’s no surprise that Kelli has such a following, given her warmth, spirit and positive energy. But she also holds an impressive resume of educational degrees and fitness certifications, so you know you’ll be in extremely good hands:
- ACE Certified Personal Trainer specializing in functional training.
- Certified as a TRX Instructor.
- Certified as a Youth Fitness Specialist through the International Youth Conditioning Association.
- Master’s degree in Counseling Education.
- Previous experience as a Mad Dogg certified SPIN Instructor.
Kelli has published two books: Kelli’s Quips: Happy Thoughts for Busy People (available on Amazon.com) and Finding My Way Back to Me: A Journey of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble). Finding My Way Back to Me is also the title of an online life coaching program that Kelli created at http://findingmywaybacktome.com.
When my workout was over, I dragged myself down the stairs and into the day spa. The tough part of my visit was over. Now I was in for some serious and well deserved relaxation: a massage, facial and lunch!
A Time For Me Wellness Center’s owner, Amy Croft, has created a welcoming sanctuary in this unassuming location. When I first arrive at the spa, Amy is decked out in gardening clothes and is going about the business of planting fall flowers out on the deck. When I emerge from my massage, the first of two treatments in store for me that day, she has transformed herself into a sophisticated spa owner. Along the way, she and her staff have baked oatmeal cookies (they’re still warm!), made the fruit-infused spa water and are mentally and physically preparing for the clients who are scheduled for appointments that day. This is the typical day-in-the-life of a spa business owner who wears many hats. What distinguishes Amy and her family-like team of associates apart is their passion for their clients, the spa and their work.
But don’t take my word for it: just ask the massage therapy client who has just received her 92nd massage at A Time For Me Wellness Center. If that isn’t a testament to why the spa was Voted #1 Day Spa in the Utica Observer-Dispatch Readers Choice 2011 Awards, then I don’t know what is!
The spa itself is a stunning piece of architecture that has surely caused more than one guest to desire, wistfully, to live there. The large deck, a spectacular gathering place for pre or post-treatment relaxation during nice weather, overlooks the thickly wooded surroundings, which were already showing signs of the fall spectacle that Mother Nature puts on annually. I can imagine winters in the great room, in front of the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, sipping a warm beverage as the temperature dips outside. It is the most unpretentious of settings – the kind of place where the clients feel “at home” moments after walking through the door. The décor has a sunny, Tuscan feel – deep green ceramic tiles complement bright yellow walls. Warm wood flooring covered in patterned area rugs and rich woodwork lend a rustic feel to the open, airy design. A cozy upholstered seating area is perfect for sinking into while you await your treatment; it’s the kind of place that makes you want to linger just a bit longer, so plan on making the most of your relaxation time and not rushing away after your service is complete.
With a full kitchen available, it’s a sought after place for holiday and office parties and just about any other event that a guest can dream up. There’s even a designated spa party room in the works that can accommodate private groups. Since it’s opening in November 2006, the 4,000 square-foot three-level wellness center has become a popular place for couple’s massages, thanks to its two couples massage rooms. There are eight treatment rooms in total, with service offerings that include massage, esthetics, manicures and pedicures.
Christine Hansen is one of five Licensed Massage Therapists. What impressed me the most about her massage technique is that there was nothing perfunctory about it. If you’ve ever had a perfunctory massage, you know exactly what I mean. Christine used a variety of techniques and assisted stretching to work all the muscles and areas of the body she knew would be sore the next day, courtesy of my morning workout with Kelli at the in-house Studio 8 Fitness (Coming soon – more about Studio 8 Fitness). The signature massage is a customized 60 or 90-minute treatment that includes hot towels on the feet, hot stones on the back and a touch of aromatherapy. During my visit, the spa was running a promotion that included a complementary add-on, normally a $5 value. There were so many interesting offerings; I opted for the foot scrub as the ideal complement to the hot towels.
Jen Salvo, a cosmetologist who offers esthetic and nail services, gave me a pampering and relaxing facial using products by Plantogen, know for plant derived spa therapy. Afterwards, I followed my own advice and lingered just a bit longer over lunch on the deck before making the surprisingly quick and picturesque drive back to Syracuse. A Time For Me Wellness Center and Studio 8 Fitness is a gem of a spot that simply cannot be kept a secret!
A Time For Me Wellness Center
7201 Route 5 West
Clinton, NY 13323
Studio 8 Fitness
7201 Route 5 West
Clinton, NY 13323