Absolute Wholeness Massage and Wellness owes its extensive repertoire of therapeutic techniques to the diverse backgrounds of its massage therapists. While the therapists might differ in their specializations, which include everything from sports massage to immune-boosting lymphatic-drainage techniques, the entire staff shares a common philosophy: to treat every client as a whole person with his or her own unique needs. To that end, the therapists forgo the one-massage-fits-all template and strive to customize every treatment, from relaxing Swedish massage to focused deep-tissue work to soothing hot-stone massage, to the client?s needs. Sometimes that means helping a client find solace from stress caused by a high-powered work schedule, or physical pain from the marble embedded in the seat of their office chair. This dedication has earned Absolute Wholeness Massage and Wellness reader's choice awards for their services from Style-El Dorado County Foothills magazine three-years running.
At Mother Lode River Center’s 19-acre riverside camp, wooden bridges and river-stone paths crisscross beneath the shade of heritage oaks. For 40 years, the staff has upheld a mission of conserving this verdant expanse along the American River through recreational and educational programs. Leading half- and multiday whitewater-rafting trips on the South, Middle, and North Forks, guides ride with paddlers into Class III and IV+ rapids. Back on land, Mother Lode's team helps guests overcome real and perceived barriers through obstacles on the ropes course. Practicing what it preaches, the center adheres to sustainability practices such as heating water using solar energy, operating vehicles that run on 100% waste vegetable oil, and letting wild tents forage freely on the campgrounds.
Aesthetician Marina Ramos was voted Best Facialist in the El Dorado County Readers' Choice awards in Style magazine for 2009 and 2010, and in 2011 was voted Favorite Makeup Artist and earned second place for Favorite Facialist. Her deft touch was first developed at Federico Beauty College, where she persevered to earn her aesthetician's license, in spite of Frankie Avalon's continued insistence that she drop out. Certification in six skincare lines means that she has a battery of techniques from Aveda, Jan Marini, and Bioelements at her disposal, helping her create custom regimens that help skin stay healthy and youthful. Continually educating herself on methods for preserving beauty, she became a certified dermatician for permanent cosmetics to artfully highlight facial features with organic pigment.
The Sierra Nevada foothills have been tilled since the time of the gold rush, but its thin soil allows only the heartiest grapevines to thrive. But when they grow, the grapes there produce powerful wines full of intense flavors. The staff at Auriga Wine Cellars specialize in reds, which range from the peppery, black cherry notes of their Barbera to a double-gold-award-winning shiraz-and-syrah blend aged for one year in French and American oak. They complement these robust offerings with their small-batch sparkling wine and their sangiovese, which tastes of slightly spicy raspberries and strawberries with a hint of basil, thyme, and sage. They sell their vintages by the bottle, but the shop’s wine club delivers bottles to aficionados three times a year, letting them try out new vintages or spend more frustrating evenings trying to squeeze a model ship inside them.
The founders of Adventure Connection believe in magic. Not the trickery of the stage or spells cast by mysterious neighbors, but of the spiritual, environmental, and economic boons of the rivers they have spent their lives traversing. More than 25 years ago, a group of believers came together to share their love and passion for the rivers of California, building a company that combines whitewater rafting, wine tasting, and camping along the waterways they love.
Over the course of the last two decades, the staff has guided boats of up to 18 people through the rapids of the American, Kaweah, and Tuolumne Rivers, coasting through mild ripples or white-knuckling class V rapids. Groups often leave the rafts behind to explore the scenic countryside and renowned wineries of the surrounding El Dorado region or to pitch tents and sleep under the stars.
To Action Whitewater Adventures' guides, setting is everything. During their full-day excursions, guides and groups mounted in rafts battle Class III and IV rapids just to make their way to a gourmet deli lunch set against the backdrop of the lush Lotus River Valley. Of course, they might argue the fun part is getting there.
They lead excursions down both the South and Middle Forks of the American River, some of the most popular rafting waters in the nation. On the South Fork, they conduct the "Chili Bar" run, a trip that covers up to 21 miles favored for its rough-and-tumble class III rapids and stellar countryside. The Middle Fork provides even rougher-and-tumbler Class IV rapids, the 18-mile journey punctuated by clear-flowing stretches populated by trout and adorable baby Poseidons.