Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Madeline?

Madeline Island is the gem of Wisconsin.  It is a best-kept secret that even many Midwesterners are unfamiliar with.  Some
residents would argue that such is rightfully so, the charm of the island certainly has much to do with the uninterrupted landscape and its serene beauty.  But over the years as my husband and I have invited friends and family to our summer island home we have noticed something spectacular happening  to even our most type- A friends, a release and renewal that hits the moment they board the ferry, en route to Madeline.
Over the last several years as my kids have grown, I have dreamt of an opportunity to “share the Madeline love” on a different level.  Teaching yoga one day on the beach of Lake Superior in front of the beautiful Inn on Madeline Island I realized that the peace  and beauty of the island was the perfect backdrop for a yoga retreat.  It was my true a-ha moment and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that as a yoga teacher it didn’t occur to me earlier.
But, I feel compelled to explain Madeline a bit.  I think it is only fair that as I invite women to embark with me on a retreat journey that they understand a bit of what makes this island unique.  In my opinion Madeline is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but for others it may not be their cup of tea, and I don’t want that to be my mea culpa.
So ruefully, I’ll explain what Madeline is not:
The Bell Street Art gallery
Not a mecca of luxury shopping.  Instead, it is a haven for true artists such as Steve McHugh who leads the art portion of our retreats. Madeline Island boasts several galleries to showcase local talent.  It tends to draw in the artistic soul and has a rich art history. Several quaint gift shops draw in the tourists and an occasional visit from me for an island keepsake.  My daughters especially like to visit the shops to buy souvenirs, beads and art supplies, and glass apothecary jars to store their prized sea glass finds.
No fast food. There is not a single franchised restaurant on the island so if you need a fast food fix you are on the wrong island. However I am quite proud of the dining the island offers.  Both casual and fine.  You can get a great salad or pub sandwich sitting on the dock of The Beach club dangling your toes in Lake Superior or eat at several fine dining establishments that serve picture worthy food.  (I write this because I have many friends who so charmed by their plate presentation that they take photos).
No hurry.  Good service yes, fast service no.  Not available.  Sit back, breathe, and enjoy the fabulous landscape that surrounds you. If relaxing makes you uncomfortable, this is not the island for you.
So why Madeline?  The island truly offers every facet of a great retreat destination.  Want to renew the mind, body, and spirit connection? Try to avoid it breathing the fresh air and listening to the lapping sounds of Lake Superior on sandy beaches.  It really cures many of the pressures that weigh heavily on shoulders.  An artistic retreat offers women the opportunity to be in sync with her creative and Zen side.  Adventurers and athletes will appreciate the world class kayaking available on our kayaking retreats.   In all retreats women will experience a release during challenging and restorative yoga sessions that leave the body feeling spacious, strengthened, and open.  And of course by the completion of the retreat (if not immediately), a personal answer to the “Why Madeline” question will be available to all.

A call out to other MI aficionados (you know who you are!): Why is Madeline special to you?

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