04.04 Honeymoons good for body, mind & soul.

Honeymoons Good for the Body, Mind and Soul


Maho Bay, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, features four resorts where honeymooners can enjoy tropical beauty without disrupting the environment.

April 2004 – Ok, the special day is planned. Expensive gifts have been registered, the guest list is decided on, and the wedding dress, like a rare blooming flower ready for its one and only blossom, is pressed and waiting for its moment of glory. Now…where to go for the honeymoon?

No longer solely dedicated to wining, dining and lethargic sipping of margaritas in the baking hot sun, travel destinations of the 21st century offer many refreshing new choices. Several locations, designed for an active and spiritual lifestyle, provide unique, memorable, earth-conscious alternatives to the traditional honeymoon. After all, whoever said the first few weeks of marriage, dedicated to rest, relaxation, and the first step in a new, exhilarating life together, were synonymous with sloth and gluttony?

Ecotourism, a concept that picked up speed in the 1990’s earth-day boom, is a principle on which many modern aforementioned travel destinations are based. Defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people,” ecotourism stresses the maxim of minimal impact on the environment, engendering cultural and environmental awareness and respect.

Maho Bay, featuring four resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is perfect for those wishing to experience a tropical paradise, but desire to escape the monotony of traditional getaways involving cruise ships or crowded beaches. The quintessential “green resort,” Maho Bay, built in the 1970s long before ecotourism was coined, was established with an agenda focused on providing a luxurious, tropical utopia for its guests without disrupting the intricate surrounding environment.

All dwellings at the resort were constructed from nearly recycled materials, utilizing the power of the sun and wind. Tent and cottage platforms are also connected to elevated walkways, which helps to avoid soil erosion, an endangerment to the surrounding beach and coral.

The resort offers an interactive and spiritual stay with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including hiking on nearby trails, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, massage and yoga. Guests wishing to try their hand at crafts can visit Maho Bay’s Trash to Treasure art center, “where the resort’s trash is turned into fine art.” Experts offer glass-blowing demonstrations, transforming crushed bottles from guest’s trash into vases, glasses and various other forms of fine art.

At Maho Bay, visitors stay in tents and cottages

The resort offers four lodgings, ranging from basic to luxurious. Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Eco-Tents, high-tech tent-cottages with screened windows and open air terraces, offer an intimacy with the environment and cool Virgin Islands trade winds.

Those couples wishing to altogether avoid a tropical paradise, seeking a more unique, health-oriented and spiritually enlightened honeymoon closer to home, might want to consider Canyon Ranch health resorts. With two locations, in Lenox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona, Canyon Ranch specializes in promoting and teaching the habits of good health and well being, fostering wellness of mind, body and soul.

During their stay, guests to Canyon Ranch are instructed on proper eating, exercise and mental health habits, specially designed for their needs with the help of consultants. They have the ability to participate in a large number of activities dedicated to overall well being, including fitness classes, outdoor sports, medical and behavioral consultations and services, nutrition workshops, as well as facials and body treatments ranging from Reiki to mud therapy.

Guests can design their own personal health package, focused on making important, lasting life changes in a particular area of health or mental wellness. Packages can focus on stress, weight or pain management, smoking cessation, pregnancy health, or Ayurveda, an ancient East Indian health system dedicated to facilitating balance, inner radiance and outward beauty by inspecting all aspects of a person’s life. Specialized visits and instruction from board certified physicians, nurses, nutritionists and behavioral therapists help guests to design and foster desired lifestyle changes.

In addition to health packages, guests can participate in a wide variety of spiritual awareness classes, designed to promote relaxation, health and vitality, including various types of mediation, yoga, tai chi and Chi Gong. Strength training rooms, golf, and competitive sports are also offered. Packages start at $1480 per person, based on the season, and include all accommodations: meals, spa fee, gratuities and sports activities.

Honeymoons have come a long way from the traditional fun-in-the-sun getaway. While people themselves have become increasingly more unique, embracing the elements of earth-consciousness, mind, body and soul, so have their honeymoons. As the world offers more choices for everything from career paths to cars, so can the 21st century couple enjoy limitless possibilities in designing their own unique, romantic, personal honeymoon, beyond the barriers of a customary Caribbean paradise.

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04.04 Wedding Do’s and Dont’s

Wedding do’s and dont’s

 Steps from a recent bride to help make your trip down the aisle fun and memorable

Finally, FINALLY, after nearly eight looooong years of dating, he did it. I sat there awestruck looking at my beautiful diamond with twinkling sapphires on either side and couldn’t believe that he finally did it.

Wow. I was ENGAGED.

There would be a wedding — with a BIG party. Huge. And there would be bridesmaids, and flowers. And a dress (oh — a dress!) and cake! I could hardly wait. Especially since I had been dreaming of this day for the last seven or eight years!

April 2004 – There were some things that I just knew naturally, like this just had to be a fall wedding, and that I wanted a dress with a ball-gown skirt, that there would be a bagpiper at the ceremony. And, there were some things I couldn’t wait to start picking out: bridesmaid dresses, flowers, favors, reception site. One thing was for certain — I didn’t want to have to cut, cut, cut my guest list. We both have large families — and before we even started adding our friends to the list it would start out somewhere in the ballpark of 150 people. So, it was going to be a challenge finding the right balance between price and number of people while making sure that we didn’t have to resort to feeding them all Big Macs in the McDonald’s parking lot.

Now, I should probably tell you that I plan a lot of events. Each year, I run a bunch of fundraisers, dinners, receptions and all that jazz as part of my job — which brought an upside and a downside to planning my own wedding. The upside was that I had a good idea of what I liked, what worked, what didn’t work, where to spend my budget, and where the money I spent wouldn’t even be noticed. The downside was that I couldn’t get corporate sponsors (logo on dress, logo on invite, 2 tables to event?), or charge admission (although it wasn’t a bad idea) for my wedding. Regardless, I needed this to be the best event that I had ever planned.

with her new huband Gary

So here’s some insider tips from a recently married obsessive bride — and yes, the day went off perfectly:

USEFUL TIP #1: There only two people whose opinions matter when planning a wedding: the bride (Bridezilla), and her mother (Momthra).

My mom was pretty excited about my wedding too. She had been planning this day for longer than I had, with some definite ideas about what she wanted. She didn’t have a big wedding when she and my dad got married (she wore flowers in her hair and her John Lennon eyeglasses and her hair down to her knees — get the picture?) Anyway — she was ready to have a big wedding, but the problem was that this wedding wasn’t hers, it was mine (well, ours, but Gary didn’t mind what I picked out, just so long as I was happy). In the course of my adult life my mother and I had worked on an event together once. ONCE. And there was a reason for that. Maybe we were too much like each other, maybe our styles were too different. Either way — it was an experience that I wasn’t planning to repeat. Until now.

The Worcester Fife and Drum Corps, left, members of the Worcester Fire Department.

USEFUL TIP #2: Make sure that you have an idea of what YOU want, because pretty soon EVERYONE is going to be telling you what you should do.

Well, we wanted an autumn wedding. I hate hot weather, I love the leaves turning color, AND I have red hair. Besides, a colorist told me years ago that I was an autumn — so an autumn wedding it was going to be. Since Gary popped the question in November 2001, we decided to have the wedding in the fall of 2003.

USEFUL TIP #3: If you would like a particular season, you should consider whether it’s a busy season – by November of 2001, nearly all the reception sites were already booked for Fall 2002.

Mom and I piled into the car with my two best friends (Maid and Matrons of Honor) and we went on the “Wedding Tour” to find our reception site. My mom had this thing about “conversation areas” and I had this thing about “chairs”. One of the things that I always noticed as an event planner was that if you had nicer chairs, the overall look of your event was ten times better than without. We chose Charter Oak Country Club because they had it all — conversations areas, excellent food, dinner seating for up to 225 guests and, of course, beautiful chairs.

I wasn’t worried about flowers because our florist, SPROUT of Worcester, has worked with me on a number of events, and I’m friends with the owner (we were even roommates until Gary and I bought our house). Cathy helped us to pick arrangements that would complement the ballroom at Charter Oak. By coordinating floral colors with the room and the favor boxes, the overall impact was much greater.

Definitely shop around for your baker — bring pictures and look for good quality and good prices — it’s not unusual for wedding cakes to cost thousands of dollars these days, but there are good, reasonably priced bakers out there just waiting to be found.

USEFUL TIP #4: When you are at a wedding (or any event) and something impresses you or you like the overall look of something — try to pick out what elements make that impact, whether it be chairs, the height of the arrangements on the table, linen colors, or whathaveyou.

No sooner than the ring was on my hand, I had amassed a collection of about 20 bridal magazines (okay, so I had been buying them for years — they have great ideas for any event, and I knew that someday I’d need them). I tore out pages that had dresses, cakes, flowers, favors, color schemes — anything that I liked. I showed my mom the snippets and we put all the images that we both liked into the WEDDING BINDER.

USEFUL TIP #5: Wedding Binders are a great idea — I create a binder for every event that I run, and I put everything that catches my eye in it, plus menus, vendor info — and it’s all BOUND together in one place (stuff can fall out of folders).

At the Wedding Expo (a must for every bride), we looked at photographers and limousine companies, ate lots of cake and registered for every door prize. Towards the end of the day as I walked down one aisle (no pun intended) I felt something calling me. I looked over, and there was a dress. MY dress. Beaded corset top, full ball gown skirt in the richest champagne colored satin you could imagine. I got the name of the bridal salon and made an appointment to go visit my dress the following weekend.

USEFUL TIP #6: Definitely let the bridal salon people help you choose the right dress for your body type. Full-service salons are excellent places to go for this — even if you plan to get your dress at Filene’s Basement. They’ll help you select something that you KNOW will look good on you.

Next we went shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses. I chose to only have 3 of my closest friends in attendance (Gary had four attendants, but that was fine — two ushers walked my last bridesmaid down the aisle). Since they all had very different body types (from BUSTY to TWIGGY) I decided to go with the mix and match dresses from David’s Bridal — each girl in a different style that they could choose. They were affordable and since we were going with black, everyone could choose a look that they would wear again at some point. Since my Mom was concerned about black dresses for a morning wedding, we had chiffon wraps made (with gorgeous beaded edges) in rich fall colors for each maid: crimson, copper and raspberry.

The cake was literally a piece of cake. Here’s the picture from Martha Stewart Weddings — done. Here’s the number of people — done. Here are the flavors we want each tier to be — done. Then we booked the church (thank heavens) for a morning wedding, and signed up for Pre Cana.

USEFUL TIP #7: Definitely shop around for your baker — bring pictures and look for good quality and good prices — it’s not unusual for wedding cakes to cost thousands of dollars these days, but there are good, reasonably priced bakers out there just waiting to be found.

Music and entertainment didn’t turn into a big song and dance either. My favorite local band, PET ROCK, was chosen (two friends are band members — that helped). We contacted the Worcester Fire Department to get names of bagpipe players (from their Fife & Drum Corps), we booked a DJ for the music during dinner, and my favorite jazz harmonicist, Chet Williamson to play during cocktail hour (my mom did need convincing about harmonica and piano music — luckily I had Chet’s CD and that debate was settled). An old friend from my days working at Worcester Magazine was hired as our photographer, and all of our pictures have that photojournalistic feel, and there are dozens of pictures of our guests enjoying themselves.

Since we did have to pare down our guest list, we decided to have an “after party” that evening so that we could invite more people to come and celebrate and have our party last into the wee hours. We booked The Art Bar and hired a Neil Diamond impersonator since my husband and I are big fans. It was a kitschy-cool touch that really made the party unique.

USEFUL TIP #8: Don’t be afraid to keep the actual ceremony and reception as intimate as you want, and to host a more informal gathering as a celebration at a later time (afterwards, or on a different date).All in all, we had a wonderful day. Most importantly, we took a step back a number of times during the day — to take it all in and imprint a picture in our minds. Our ceremony was traditional (we’re both Catholic), solemn and beautiful – to me it was the most important part of the day. The reception was formal, but fun and the music, food, flowers — everything was great. My mom even had fun too. It was the most memorable day of my life, it was everything I hoped it would be. It was my wedding.

USEFUL TIP #9: Don’t forget what this day is all about. When you get frazzled (and believe me you will) — remember why you’re planning all this craziness in the first place. Then relax. And enjoy!

Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk, a former sales executive for Worcester Magazine, is Director of Community Relations and Development for Fallon Community Health Plan.


03.04 HOT & NOW

Hot & Now: 3/2004

East side, west side… get ready for corned beef and cabbage!

St Patrick’s Day around the corner: Worcester’s annual St Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off Sunday, March 14 for a two mile march down Park Avenue. All the clubs and bars on Park Ave will be hosting parties that day, so join the fun!

And with St Patty’s day just a few weeks away, it might be time to make your plans for a night on the town. Tweed’s with locations on Grove Street in Worcester and on Route 9 in Northboro, will be serving up the traditional Irish-American meal of corned beef and cabbage The restaurants are under the leadership of head Leprechaun Jim Donahue.

And one of the winners of the Pulse’s Best Bartender contest is long-time Tweed’s bartender Cathy Ruberti whose smilin’ eyes can be seen in this issue’s cover story.

Speaking of fine Irish cooking, stop in at O’Connor’s Restaurant on West Boylston Street. Brendan and Claire O’Connor, himself and herself, will be serving about 1000 customers on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Emerald Isle on Millbury Street will also be hosting a St Patrick’s Day party. If you want to stay in downtown Worcester, head to The Irish Times for a night of music and more. For an old fashioned, traditional St Patrick’s Day, head to that most Irish of towns, Clinton and Old Timers restaurant, which will dish up plenty of tasty corned beef and cabbage.

Ground Round to close?: Lately the newspapers have been full of stories about the closing of restaurants in the Ground Round chain. It appears that our local restaurant on Route 9 in Shrewsbury will not be cut. However, even though the location was spared the company axe, our spies tell us that it will soon close anyway — and be torn down to make way for a Walgreen’s Drugstore.

Elsa’s Bushel & Peck expands: The site of the former FireWok Chinese restaurant on Route 9 across from White City, will soon become the new home of another Elsa’s, one of Worcester’s premier sandwich shops. The chain of delis, owned by the Oliveri family, is located in Tatnuck Square and at the Summit. The Oliveris also own Peppercorn’s Restaurant on Park Ave.

Taste of the Nation: This annual benefit for the Worcester County Food Bank and Rachel’s Table will take place on Monday, April 19 at Worcester’s Crowne Plaza. Cost of the tickets is $60. If you are a serious food lover, don’t miss this event.. Over 25 of the area’s finest restaurants will be represented. A special feature will be the availability of vintages from some from of America’s best wineries. For ticket information contact the Worcester County Food Bank at 508-842-FOOD.

Closing the Lito? The Lito on Green Street, a funky eatery that served Italian food and that was the brainchild of Camaro Jones, appears to be closed. A large space for rent sign is hung in the restaurant’s front window.

Giuseppi’s opens: The former Grille on Solomon Pond has been transformed into an Italian bistro. Under the leadership of partners Mary Ann Rushford and Francis Capuano and Amy Kaieler, the place has been completely redone, with a totally new menu. Now called Guiseppi’s Grille, it features upscale Italian food with entrees between $10 and $18. The restaurant, which also includes a function room, opened in January. For information on hours, call 508-353-4405.


04.04 The Rolling Stones’ Big “Jump Back.”

The Rolling Stones’ Big “Jump Back”

By Eric WischApril 2004 – Since winning a Grammy Award in 1994 for “Best Rock Album”, the Rolling Stones have produced several new albums with both classic and new hits. Young artists such as the Neptunes and Fatboy Slim have sampled the Rolling Stones music and created new mixes, fashioning new-sprung rhythms with Stones lyrics making the group increasingly popular with today’s young listeners.

The Stones have just released a long anticipated album, “The Best of the Rolling Stones: Jump Back.” Combining all aspects of the Stones artistic and stylistic talents, this album, like all their compilation albums, demonstrates the band’s multifaceted talents, which are rooted in country, R&B, Gospel, and Blues genre music.

For over 40 years, the Stones have stayed on top of the charts. Younger listeners may ask, where did today’s hardcore Stones fans come from and how did they come to like the group’s music so much? “Jump Back” helps younger generations appreciate this quintessential rock and roll group.

This album is packed with classics like “Start Me Up,” the rhythmically bluesy “Brown Sugar,” “Harlem Shuffle,” “Rock and a Hard Place,” the acoustic driven single, “Hot Stuff,” “Bitch,” and the groovy “Undercover of the Night.” The excellent variety of songs make this album a must-buy for the passionate Rolling Stones fan.


04.04 New DVD releases.

See Jim Carrey’s “In Living Color” and other new DVD releases

April 6


One of Fox’s early successes, aside from “The Simpsons” and “Married…With Children” was this hit sketch show, which launched the careers of The Wayans Brothers and some guy named Jim Carrey.


Whoa. Keanu Reeves stars in this Passion of the Cyber-Christ, the overblown final act in The Wachowski Brothers’ trilogy. Fans of the series will find more richly-realized mythos in the nifty collection of animated shorts, The Animatrix, which is also on DVD. Whoa.


In this romantic comedy set in Noo Beffa (New Bedford), shifty guy Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, tries to go straight to win the love of longtime grieving widow and chanteuse Sofia Milos.


Jacques Demy’s beautiful 1964 musical drama launched the career of the still-lovely Catherine Deneuve, and is finally back in print since disappearing shortly after its original 1997 issue.

April 13


While not as solid and memorable as some of writer-director John Sayles’ previous films like Sunshine State, Limbo or Lone Star, this one, about six women who meet in an exotic South American resort while waiting for Mexican babies to adopt, still plays well, even we do feel like we are watching a stage play from time to time. With Mary Steenburgen, Marcia Gay Harden, Daryl Hannah, Lili Taylor, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rita Moreno.


Deliberate and moody, this indie dramedy is about a computer programmer (John Livingston) whose cuddly but flawed AI creation, “KoyKoy”, serves as a model for what ails his life.


Quentin Tarantino’s first film since 1997’s Jackie Brown is a bloody Samurai western that stars Uma Thurman, and its DVD release paves the way for the sequel, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 – Electric Boogaloo, which opens in theatres on April 16th.


Three homeless people find an abandoned baby that changes their lives in Satoshi Kon’s wonderful anime feature.

April 20


Nautical gladiator Russell Crowe is an early 19th-century British captain who, with a ship crippled in battle, must prevent the war with France from spilling over into the Pacific. Peter Weir’s riveting film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which, inexplicably, went to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (which is out on DVD next month.)


A regular gal, played by the super-cute Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush), wins a date with a Hollywood star whose image is in desperate need of rehab in this sweet comedy, which also stars Topher Grace from “That 70’s Show”.

April 27


Rebounding from the disappointing Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton adapts Daniel Wallace’s novel about a writer (Billy Crudup) who returns home from his life abroad to find his father (Albert Finney) dying. The elder’s affinity for telling stories endears him to most, but endlessly frustrates his son, who feels that because of this, he has never really known his father. With Ewan McGregor, Alison Lohman, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham Carter.


In Wayne Kramer’s darkly comic slow burn, William H. Macy plays the chronically unlucky Bernie, whose legendary misfortune is exploited by old-school casino operator Shelly (Oscar-nominated Alec Baldwin in his meatiest role in some time) to keep his patrons from winning too much.


Brimming with the kind of genuine and thoughtful sentiment that makes us care about every character that espouses its many forms is this thoroughly charming romp from the makers of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary. With Laura Linney, Bill Nighy and Colin Firth. See also the romantic comedy, Hope Springs, starring Colin Firth, Heather Graham and Minnie Driver, also released this month.


An Afghani girl and her mother lose their jobs at a local hospital when the Taliban closes it in this drama, the first film shot in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.


This “Special Addiction” of the schlocky 1936 film warning against the evils of marijuana features black-and-white and color versions, as well as a commentary by “Mystery Science Theater 3000” host Mike Nelson.


Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton’s latest, about a group of archaeology students who are “faxed” back to 1357 France, has a great opportunity to become the definitive time travel adventure, but Lethal Weapon franchise director Richard Donner misses out at every turn.


04.04 HOT & NOW

Hot & Now: 4/2004

Give a warm welcome to 86 Winter: A classy new bistro will be opening soon at 86 Winter Street in Worcester. The restaurant will feature upscale food with moderate prices. Predominant on the menu will be steaks, fish and pasta dishes as well as old-fashioned comfort food with a twist. Bill Mignone and Linn Kenneally are owners of the bistro. Located behind Union Station, the restaurant is part of the Canal District revitalization, which has seen a number of clubs and restaurants set to open in the area around Water, Winter and Green Streets. Look for a late spring opening for 86 Winter!

Cue up for Tapas: Boston Billiards, located at 454 Grove Street in Worcester has come up with something new. Recently renovated, the club is now sporting a new tapas menu at its bar. Prices for the “small bites” are just $3. The menu features such pub items as potato skins, veggie plates and southwest crispers.

Lucky’s unlucky: Lucky’s Café, also on Grove Street, recently shut its doors. Lucky’s served great food at very reasonable prices, but the owners couldn’t seem to figure out who or what they wanted Lucky’s to be. They opened sporadically at night a couple of years ago and drew decent crowds, then they reverted to just being a lunch spot. Though the sandwiches and soups were often excellent, Lucky’s never seemed to have enough staff, even for simple lunch crowds. We will miss their soups especially.

Joseph’s Steak & Ale to open: In Dudley, Joseph’s Steak & Ale near Nichols College will be under new ownership shortly. James Pollier and Joe Ricci recently purchased the restaurant. They will continue to operate the restaurant with the concept of a moderately-priced steak house with a pub feel to it.

Sweet sap’s running…in April: The Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield will host a series of dinners in April, which will feature maple syrup as a primary ingredient. Dishes such as maple butternut bisque, or a maple pumpkin cheesecake will be center stage. Prices for the dinners are $40. Call the Salem Cross Inn for details, 508-867-8337.

It’s Smokin’ on Shrewsbury Street: The Victory Cigar Bar & Lounge will open up soon at 56 Shrewsbury Street, in Worcester. The bar and cigar shop will be owned by Mark Piscillo who also owns Victory Cigar in Sudbury. Victory Cigar will offer a premier selection of fine cigars. With a full liquor license, it will be one of the few places in the area where smoking will be permitted, especially after a July statewide smoking ban goes into effect.

More than just popcorn: The Bijou, Worcester’s cinema-pub located at the Common Outlets mall, recently started serving full dinners. The restaurant, which serves food on the nights that the theater is open, serves dishes with a Mexican theme. The kitchen is under the direction of Chef Veronica Crespo, formerly of The Living Earth, Worcester’s well-known health food market. The Bijou has a steam table allowing tasty burritos, tacos and quesadillas (priced at $5-$7) to be served up quickly. There are also more elaborate entrees featuring chicken, beef and fish, which are priced around $12.