STRASBURG — The founder of a health and wellness nature resort scheduled to open in 2022 and referred to as Simply Shenandoah has unveiled more of his plans.
The nature and wellness resort, which will not be an addiction or mental health treatment center, is being built in the center of 550 wooded acres on Turkey Run Road south of Star Tannery. Administrators said 90 percent of the land will remain open for recreation with plans to build on about 10 percent of the land.
“We want to practice and promote wellness on a broad scale for our guests, our environment, and our region,” said Mike Marburg, founder of Wellmore Partners LLC, the company spearheading the project.
“We want to help people get their lives back onto a balance, a work-life balance and a mind-body balance,” he said.
People and families have real-life challenges unexpectedly thrown at them, such as death, divorce, or simply an overscheduled, stressful life, Marburg said. The resort, he said, will help them recharge using nature as a core aspect.
“Mother nature solves problems,” Marburg said.
Marburg said he and his family had experienced their own curveballs.
In the past decade, Marburg traveled the mountains and forests in Mexico and Costa Rica during his vacation time.
During the time of his travels, he experienced life-changing mind and body techniques. He is using that as an example of what he wants to do at the resort.
The resort will operate year-round and will be for adults only, said Heather Mack, the company’s vice president of partnerships and community relations. Guests would be served healthy eating options, with ingredients being locally sourced as much as possible. Guests would stay for a minimum of three nights to allow for clients to unplug, recharge and refocus, Mack said.
The resort is expected to be able to serve on average 135 guests, Mack said, adding that there is a potential of the facility creating more than 200 full and part-time jobs.
Marburg and Mack said they believe in being in a partnership with other businesses in the area. With that in mind, the resort plans to promote the area to its visitors. A wellness tourist spends 1.6 times more than the average tourist, Mack said.
Marburg has a goal of being able to build and operate the resort while being as environmentally friendly as possible, which he said requires looking at everything as a system. They want to not only preserve but promote the rural character and the nature of the Shenandoah Valley and are guided by an environmental philosophy called regenerative development, which Mack describes as sustainability on steroids.
The land in the area was once filled with chestnut, oak and hickory trees. Marburg plans on planting chestnut trees on the land as an example of restoring the land.
The resort, to properly manage the land, will use a variety of methods and work with experts at the Virginia Forestry Department and the local Virginia Tech extension office. One option is selective logging with horse-drawn logging and a portable sawmill on site for guests to experience.
Lots of glass will be used in the buildings to make guests feel like they are in nature. Buildings will be strategically located to take full advantage of the sun, including using solar panels.
They plan to have small cabins along a ridge line in the woods, and there will be common areas such as a yoga studio and a meditation area. There also will be an area to do woodworking and an area to make pottery while learning about the history of pottery in the region. There will be bike paths and hiking and rope courses – all to get guests outdoors.
The resort has obtained its local permits, such as a special use permit, to move forward. A tentative schedule for the resort, financing and permitting is that 2020 will be all about design, plan creation and strategy, and initial site work. The years 2021 and 2022 will be about construction. They hope to open in the spring of 2022
For more information, visit www.thenatureretreat.com.