goldThe Essex Resort & Spa is proud to announce that we have just been named the recipients of Vermont Fresh Network’s inaugural Gold Barn Honors.

VFN recognized The Essex, under the direction of Executive Chef Shawn Calley, for its outstanding support of local farms and farmers.

Each Gold Barn chef meets both of the following requirements:
1. Sourcing ingredients from 15 or more Vermont Fresh Network farmers.
2. 30% of your annual food expenditures are purchased from VT farmers and producers

Congratulations to Chef Shawn and the entire culinary team on this great honor!

(rerpinted from July 1, 2013, issue of Skin Inc. magazine)

Addition By Subtraction
By: Allie Hembree

Discounting is a widely debated topic in the professional skin care industry and holds various meanings to different people. To effectively discount, you first must have a plan. Consider the following tips when preparing your retail discounting strategy.

Do it sparingly

Karen Watson, spa director at The Essex Resort and Spa in Essex, Vermont, says, “Discounting can be used in a productive and positive manner as long as it is not done on a regular basis, and is done to fill appointment times that would not normally book. It is important to do it periodically so that clients do not sit and wait for the next deal to come around.”1

Spa Week, which offers a semi-annual and week-long discounting promotion, is one example of the value of periodic discounting. It gives consumers the opportunity to receive a $50 treatment from hundreds of day, medical and resort spas, as well as yoga and Pilates studios, fitness and nutrition centers and other health and wellness practices nationwide. Much of its success can be contributed to the infrequent occurrence of this special promotion.

Encourage loyalty

Consumers respond well to skin care facilities that show a strong dedication to customer service and reward clients for their business. Data from the International SPA Association’s (ISPA) May 2012 Spa Consumer Snapshot Initiative showed that 94.8% of surveyed spa-goers indicated they belonged to at least one type of loyalty reward program, with grocery stores being the most common type of membership. Some of the most preferred benefits of this type of program include cash discounts, coupons and free samples.

Be strategic

Twenty-seven percent of spas in the United States are using daily deal websites, such as Groupon or Living Social, as an online service to increase revenue.2 When employing this online discounting strategy, be sure to have some form of measurement of the offer’s success to help determine whether it should be invested in again.

“My No. 1 concern with using deal-a-day websites is that spa owners and managers are not managing them properly. In order to effectively manage such a deal, a strategy should be implemented,” says Scott Vazinski, executive director of The Spa at Yellow Creek in Akron, Ohio.1 Make sure your team is prepared to handle the increased demand; if not, the discount could backfire.

Customization is key

Thoughtful gestures, such as birthday coupons and offering clients a drink upon arrival, may mean more than you think. Feeling like she is special is essential to a client’s loyalty. Fifty-six percent of spa-goers said they remained loyal to a brand because team members greeted them by name and remembered their preferences.2

Switch it up

It is highly unlikely that the marketing and discounting tactics you are using today will be the same ones you use five years from now. Peter Shehan, founder and CEO of ChangeLabs, said during the general session of the 2012 ISPA Conference & Expo, “When you think of the spa industry, it has had lots of success. That success is the single biggest barrier when trying to go to the next level, because what you have done in the past has worked. What got us here today is not what is going to get us to where we need to get to tomorrow. Do you have the courage to change and not go back to the same old strategies?”

Discounting is a unique method to get new clients in your door, but it is just as important that you are taking care of your returning clients to make it a successful strategy.


D Federspiel, What is Your View on Discounting, Flash Sales or Deal-a-Day Websites?, Pulse 22 32–33 (2012) (Accessed Apr 25, 2013)

Allie Hembree is the public relations manager at ISPA, working with global media outlets as she promotes the visions and messages of the spa industry. She is a frequent contributor to Pulse magazine, the official trade publication of ISPA, and can be reached at

Check out this amazing photo from Deb in Essex Junction!


It’s inspired us to start a new competition (because who doesn’t love winning stuff?):

Post your best photo of what you love about The Essex Resort & Spa (It could be a food shot, a photo of you relaxing on one of our hammocks, a great balloon pic like this one, etc…) We’ll pick our favorite each month, and the winner gets dinner for two in The Tavern!

So– post your best photo (one per person, please) on our Facebook Wall, and good luck!

A big “thank you” to everyone who came out for the The Essex Resort & Spa 2013 Bridal Soiree with Vermont Enchanted Events, June 9. As you can see, a great time was had by all!

(video by Vermont Event Video)

SpaFireplaceRoom72dpiGet your body in gear with a Spa at The Essex Membership!

Along with UNLIMITED ACCESS to our:
∙ Full fitness center
∙ 6 Har-Tru tennis courts
∙ Indoor and outdoor pools
∙ Saunas and steam rooms
∙ Relaxation lounges

…members also enjoy discounts on:
∙ Overnight accommodations
∙ Dining in The Tavern and Amuse
∙ Classes in Cook Academy
∙ …and more!

Through July, sign up for a one-year Gourmet or AquaFit membership, and receive an additional THREE MONTHS FREE! That’s 15 months for the price of 12!

Call 802.764.1452 or visit the Spa Front Desk today.

Valid only on new memberships or renewals. Not valid on existing memberships. Expires July 31, 2013.

On a recent beautiful night in the Champlain Valley, we officially introduced Vermont to our brand new 350,000 cu ft hot air balloon– the largest (and coolest looking) in all of New England.

Enjoy the show!

ChiveSalmonreprinted from 6/14/13 issue of Burlington Free Press

Pesto salmon and quinoa – an anytime, anywhere dish
Jun. 13, 2013

Written by Shawn Calley, Free Press Columnist

After all the recent grill-worthy recipes here in Local Flavor, I thought it might be nice to take a break and offer up a recipe that’s fairly simple for anytime/anywhere preparation.

The secret to this comes in making your own pesto from scratch, and instead of the traditional basil and pine nut recipe, I prefer a mixture of chives, almonds and shallots. And it really goes well with the salmon.

One note — don’t feel like you have to cook the salmon all the way through. Just as with steak, I prefer it done medium, so it’s more tender with better flavor.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cucumber, small-diced
1 bunch of watercress, chopped
½ red onion, diced
Fresh mint leaves, chopped

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, broth, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Simmer until water is absorbed, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool, and then add lime juice, more olive oil, cucumber, watercress, red onion and chopped mint. Combine, and set aside in fridge for one hour.

Chive-Pesto Salmon
4 six-ounce pieces of salmon
2 cups chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1⁄3 cup toasted almonds
¼ cup olive oil
1⁄3 cup Parmesan cheese
Zest of one orange
¼ cup of panko bread crumbs
¼ cup diced Roma tomatoes for garnish

Blend chives, shallots, almonds in a food processor for 10-15 seconds, and then slowly drizzle the oil in. After adding the Parmesan, transfer mixture to bowl, and add the orange zest. Coat the top of the salmon with the mixture, and bake in 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon. Place quinoa on a plate and rest the salmon on top.

Serves four

Shawn Calley is the executive chef at Amuse at the Essex Resort and Spa. His column, Local Flavor, appears weekly.

(reprinted from 6/12/13 issue of Seven Days)

Bluebird Chef Moves to Amuse
Side Dishes
BY ALICE LEVITT [06.11.13]

Executive chef Michael Clauss has left the Bluebird Restaurant Group for the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa. The Daniel Boulud protégé will work the same culinary muscles he used as a contestant in the 2010 Bocuse d’Or USA at the Chef’s Table at Amuse.

Clauss says that he’s excited to return to his high-end roots in his new role. “It’s really going to allow me to get back into the fine dining, Michelin-style food that I like to cook,” he explains of the eight- to 10-course meals he’ll be preparing Wednesday through Saturday. “[Executive chef] Shawn [Calley] and [food and beverage director] Arnd [Sievers] and all the guys over there have been very nice and very open about saying, ‘We want you to do your food at the Chef’s Table. We want people to have an amazing culinary experience’ — they’re really letting me run with it.” He’ll begin curing and making terrines early next week for a June 17 debut.

wineJoin the acclaimed chefs of Amuse at The Essex Resort & Spa for a four-course showcase of food and drink, featuring ice ciders from throughout the region.

1st Course
Salad of Fiddleheads and Baby Greens
Hall Home Place

2nd Course
Cider and Basil-Poached Scallop
Eden Heirloom Blend

3rd Course
Duck and Foie Gras Terrine with Green Lentils
Newhall Farm

4th Course
Warm Valrhona Caraïbe Grand Cru Tart with Northern Spy Cider Sorbet
Eden Northern Spy

Thursday, May 23rd
6:00 p.m.
$65.00 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
(802) 764-1489 for reservations.


Join the esteemed chefs of The Essex Resort & Spa for our amazing Mother’s Day brunch!

Beef Steamship Round – slow-roasted for 12 hours, served with caramelized onion jus lié
Roasted Vegetable Strudel – wrapped in crispy phyllo dough
Omelet Station – eggs any style with Vermont ham, Cabot cheddar, Vermont chevre, vegetables
Waffle Station – Belgian-style with blueberry compote, whipped cream, and all the fixings

Fennel sausage-stuffed Misty Knoll chicken
Crab Benedict with spinach and hollandaise sauce
Pistachio-crusted salmon with spicy raspberry drizzle
California frittatas
Green beans almondine
Roasted red potatoes and caramelized shallots
Vermont maple bacon

Broccoli and blue cheese salad
Tuna-stuffed deviled eggs
Carrot & golden raisin salad
Caesar salad
Fingerling potatoes with Vermont Butter and Cheese chevre and black sea salt
Mushroom & leek tarts
Local & domestic cheeses
Fruit platter
House-made charcuterie platter

House-made gravlax
Shrimp cocktail
Chardonnay-steamed mussels
Scallop-stuffed mushrooms
Citrus-marinated calamari
Seafood chowder

A delicious assortment direct from our own Bakeshop, plus a caramel apple dipping station!

Atrium: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Amuse: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Adults: $35. Ages 6-12: $19. Ages 5 & under: Free
Call (802) 764-1489 for reservations.

Plus– this year, for the first time, we’re offering special Mom photo sessions with Lindsay Raymondjack Photography: