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Since Lou and Pat Champy joined Minerals Sports Club in early 2010, they have spent their retirement working out together – losing a collective 80 pounds through motivating personal training, dedication to their new pastime and a few nutritional modifications.
Click here to read more about their inspiring story.
This year’s NJ Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort was an amazing time, including the Wine Cellar Dinner with Guest of Honor Chef José Andrés, the five-course Top Chefs & Top Wines Dinner, a variety of exciting seminars, the spotlight Grand Tasting and a Roaring 1920s-themed after-party! Browse photo highlights of the event by clicking here, and watch some of our favorite moments in the video recap below!
Only three weeks left… Get your tickets now!
It’s just about that time – the always highly-anticipated NJ Wine & Food Festival is back again March 15-17 at the state’s premier culinary destination, Crystal Springs Resort. This must-see event is the ultimate celebration of the world’s best wines and top chefs from the Northeast, featuring Guest of Honor Chef José Andrés and benefiting the James Beard Foundation and World Central Kitchen. Don’t miss the opportunity to mingle with renowned restaurateurs and winemakers while you taste some of their signature creations.
From informative seminars, to the spectacular Grand Tasting, to a completely over-the-top after-party, experience last year’s festival in the video below.
Crystal Springs Resort is waiting for you
By MARIA MARINO
When a new year begins, most people generally resolve to live healthier or be more productive. This might mean eating better and getting in shape, or gaining career success and achieving more in the workplace. Believe it or not, one way to help with both of these ambitions is to take a vacation.
So go ahead – plan that ski weekend, spa getaway or golf escape in 2013 – and don’t feel guilty. Here’s why:
Some may subconsciously think of a break as slacking off, but studies show vacationing leads to quite the opposite. Time to yourself relieves common health issues associated with burnout, while rejuvenating you to perform better on the job. That will make you (and your boss) much happier.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal tweeted, “In 2010, Americans left 424 million vacation days on the table. To reduce stress, take your vacation.” The publication linked to an article that provided tips for treating medical symptoms of overworked employees, and was part of the At Work blog’s “Ten-Point Plan for 2013,” which identifies strategies for career advancement this year.
Forbes recently cited a survey concluding that 57 percent of salaried workers in the U.S. don’t take all of their allotted time off. If you’re one of them, figure out what’s holding you back. Afraid you’ll miss something important in the office or fall behind on your tasks? Experts urge to let it go, as the negative effects of putting off a vacation are highly counterproductive in the long run.
Now that you know vacations aren’t only a privilege, but actually encouraged by companies who want to see the best results out of their staff, what will you do to unwind? You don’t always have to book a flight or travel far. For instance, Crystal Springs Resort is only about an hour from New York City but boasts top-rated lodging options and an endless supply of activities to choose from.
Keep in mind a break doesn’t always have to be for an extended period of time either. According to Expedia’s 2012 “Vacation Deprivation Survey,” Americans leave an average of two vacation days unused each year. Because many employers don’t allow paid time off to roll over into a new year, this is often a waste, especially when two days is more than enough for a long weekend at nearby destinations like Crystal Springs.
So if you think you don’t have enough time to visit somewhere special, think again! Log on to TheCrystalSpringsResort.com or call 973-827-5996 for more information or to book an overnight stay.
A New Year’s party is never complete without popping a fantastic bottle of bubbly, and the sommeliers at Crystal Springs Resort have just announced which Champagnes will be served at two of their most exciting venues: the tropical Biosphere atrium and four-star Restaurant Latour.
The Biosphere bash will be the hottest New Year’s Eve scene outside Times Square, featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, open bar, specialty liquor tents and DJ entertainment – all within the spectacular setting that is the indoor pool complex. But the Champagne toast at midnight is sure to be the highlight of the event, when guests get to enjoy a glass of Taittinger, Cuvée Prestige.
Taittinger is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France, known for producing wines with elegance and creamy richness. This one, made of 40 percent Chardonnay grapes, is a delicate non-vintage with flavors of fresh fruit and honey.
Meanwhile, guests at Restaurant Latour have their choice of four-course and seven-course prix fixe dinners, each with the option to include wine pairings direct from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning cellar since 2006. Sophisticated palates will appreciate the menus’ decadence, and a special treat awaits with Champagne brought in just for this evening: Jacquesson, Cuvée No. 732.
This complex and full-bodied wine is a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. An assemblage based on the 2004 vintage, the final product is blended with reserves from multiple previous harvests, giving it remarkable character.
Click here for the full line-up of Crystal Springs Resort New Year’s Eve celebrations, including details on overnight packages. Cheers to a safe and happy 2013!
*Photos courtesy of Google Images.
Minerals Sports Club offers 80+ weekly fitness classes
By MARIA MARINO
Studies have found that advantages to exercising with a group often make it more effective than working out alone. As outlined by the American College of Sports Medicine, benefits of group fitness include a social environment, safe and productive design, consistent schedule, accountability for participation, and beginner-friendly experience. All of these factors contribute to increased regimen adherence and retention, according to the Medical Fitness Association.
Group fitness helps eliminate the most common excuses for not maintaining an exercise routine. For instance, Minerals Sports Club in Vernon holds classes seven days a week and includes early-morning and evening options ranging from 45 to 90 minutes in length. Therefore members with time constraints are bound to find something that fits into their schedules. Class time consistency also helps participants stick to their program.
Additionally at a facility like Minerals, members can’t claim boredom or insufficient workout knowledge as reasons for refraining from exercise. A huge variety of classes will meet any preference, from yoga to spinning to aqua aerobics. Some of the world’s most popular fitness phenomenons are also available, such as Zumba, Les Mills Body Pump, Pilates and Turbo Kick to name a few. Plus expert instructors constantly provide direction, making group fitness appealing even for those with little experience.
“Having someone encourage you to work harder produces quicker results than working out individually,” stated Minerals Sports Club Fitness Director Betty Tobin. “A professional instructor will guide you, while classmates offer a higher level of motivation through camaraderie and mild competition.”
Lack of motivation can be a major deterrent from regular exercise, but a support system like that of a group class means something to look forward to. As a bonus, participants are less likely to forgo sessions when they know others are expecting them to show up.
“Group fitness lets you meet like-minded people who share similar goals and interests, making it a fun activity,” Tobin added. “In turn, bonding with others also creates accountability for coming back every week.”
Members at Minerals Sports Club receive unlimited access to all group classes as well as the state-of-the-art fitness equipment, indoor and outdoor pools, and basketball, tennis and racquetball courts. Just in time for the holidays, December specials are available for new members and $99 six-week trial memberships make excellent gifts. More information can be found at MineralsSportsClub.com.
Sunday, Dec. 2 was another educational and fun wine seminar presented by Restaurant Latour Sommelier Susanne Lerescu and Assistant Samantha Shaw in the world-class wine cellar at Crystal Springs Resort. With the holiday season in full swing, what better way to explore wine than with tastings and pairings involving the classic celebratory beverage, Champagne? Shaw recaps the occasion, below.
Everyone was in a festive, holiday mood Sunday afternoon for our Champagne seminar. Susanne led a great discussion with our guests, starting off with a taste of Prosecco from Italy and then delving right into the quality bubbles of Champagne.
We had an all-star lineup including two Champagnes from Gourtorbe and a California sparkling wine, Domaine Carneros, to really see the difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagnes. We also broke out some small boutique producers, such as Cedric Bouchard’s Blanc de Noir (white Champagne made only from the black grapes of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).
We couldn’t wait to spoil our guests with a special treat: Krug, Grand Cuvee. It was no wonder their eyes lit up with excitement! Was it the Krug, or the fact that we just tasted through eight different Champagnes? Either way, everyone was in high spirits at this point.
Did you know Champagne is good for you, too? It’s packed with polyphenols, which are antioxidants from the grapes. They help protect your brain and heart, keep your blood pressure low, and increase the “feel-good” chemicals in your body. So now you really have no reason at all not to drink Champagne!
Please come try out the Champagne Bar at Crystal Springs, where we focus solely on unique Champagne houses, although we throw in some truly exceptional sparkling wines as well. These wines are hard to find, but we offer these gems from our wine cellar for you! There couldn’t be a better time to drink Champagne.
*Upcoming dates for wine education seminars and cellar tours are as follows: Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and March 3. Call 973-827-5996, ext. 3 to register!
By MARIA MARINO
It seems nothing scares Joe Bellantoni. When asked if he felt afraid to race in the recent New York City Ironman Competition, one of only five blind out of 2500 total triathletes, the chief financial officer of Crystal Springs Resort simply answered, “No. I was prepared.”
The Ironman is a grueling test of physical and mental strength, requiring participants to swim in open water for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles, and run a marathon of 26.2 miles. For most people in the world, this feat would be considered impossible. For Bellantoni, who was blinded in a disastrous 2007 car accident and almost didn’t live to tell the tale, anything is possible.
Participants in the Ironman had to face a variety of obstacles on a particularly difficult course, such as the treacherous Hudson River and long stairwells leading on and off the George Washington Bridge. Bellantoni did it all – and in complete darkness – with guide Mike Erstad right next to him.
Failure to finish before midnight on Aug. 12 would have resulted in disqualification. That wasn’t an option for Bellantoni, not when he and his wife Denise had trained for months leading up to the 7 a.m. start on Aug. 11.
“I was nervous,” Denise said. “It was a nail-biter to the end. I was crying because I didn’t know if he was going to make it. But he did!” Bellantoni crossed the Riverside Park finish line at 11:22 p.m.
“I definitely felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment,” he explained. “The energy at the finish line was just amazing. I rolled through a crowd of hundreds of people cheering and screaming. Those last ten feet or so, it really sunk in.”
After running the 2012 Boston Marathon in April, Bellantoni began his training for the Ironman. “To get ready for a race like this, you really have to put the time in. It’s hard to fit it all into your schedule, but it worked out very well because I was able to do everything right at Minerals.”
Minerals Sports Club is just down the road from Bellantoni’s office in Hardyston. Utilizing the Minerals facilities, he was able to run, bike, lift and swim in one central location. Weekday workouts averaged three hours per day while weekend workouts lasted about five to eight hours.
Describing himself as an amateur swimmer, getting in the pool was Bellantoni’s first order of business. Denise was by his side, giving him pointers she found on YouTube and directing drills. Then the couple attended spinning classes two to three times a week, in addition to their running and weight-lifting routines.
“The instructors at Minerals are very motivating and personable. They make it fun there,” Denise said.
As strenuous as the Ironman competition was, Bellantoni says he would do it again. Since recovering from the nearly fatal accident that blinded him, he has lived by one recurring theme: moving forward. Returning to New York for his sixth marathon race this November, he won’t let fear (or anything else) stand in his way.
Just as the loud speaker announced when crossing the finish line: “Joe Bellantoni, you are an Ironman. Congratulations.”
*Photos courtesy of Denise Bellantoni.
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A spectacular dinner took place in the award-winning Wine Cellar of Restaurant Latour on July 19th, featuring some of the world’s most sought-after labels. The value of the bottles of wine together totaled over $50,000 and paired perfectly with a custom menu (pictured below) prepared by Chef de Latour John Benjamin. Owner Gene Mulvihill was in attendance and this special meal did not disappoint.
Crystal Springs’ Executive Chef Michael Weisshaupt called the gathering “amazing.” He said, “There is no dinner I have ever seen with better wines than this one tonight.”
Sommelier Susanne Lerescu shared her thoughts on the event: “To me this was a serious dinner. In fact, I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime dinner. To taste all these wines in one night is a sommelier’s dream and as good as it gets. These are some of the very best wines ever produced (pictured below) and most people don’t even get to try one bottle in their lifetime.”
“The 1929 Latour was opened, tasted and poured immediately. An 83-year-old wine doesn’t need to be decanted, since it is now delicate and fragile,” explained Lerescu. “Many times I compare wine to us humans – after living a full lifetime, you don’t want to play rough anymore. So we just caressed the glass the wine was in and slowly took in the light aromas it offered, subtle notes of dried fruit and a little cedar; but when sipping the wine I was surprised about the dried cherry flavor it offered, the little hint of tobacco leaves and the balance it showed. The finish was so smooth and surprisingly long. I like to be surprised by a wine and this 1929 Chateau Latour did just that!”
Rooms in the wine cellar can be rented out for private parties for all occasions. Call 973-827-5996 ext. 3 to reserve.
Crystal Springs Resort is the coolest place for a summer vacation with endless activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in relaxing by the pool, exploring the outdoors, or playing a new sport, you can find what you’re looking for right here in the mountains of Northern New Jersey (only 47 miles from Manhattan)! Choose accommodations at the sophisticated Grand Cascades Lodge, recreation-rich Minerals Resort & Spa, or the action-packed Mountain Creek. For more information, please visit TheCrystalSpringsResort.com.