4 Ways to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay

From a rentable sauna to the midcoast’s newest indoor climbing gym, here are our top spots for warming up this season.

Image courtesy of Native Sauna

Native Sauna

Saunas, wood-fired hot tubs, and ice baths have been popping up in backyards and weekend lodgings across the country for good reason. The word sauna, according to the Finns who invented it, refers to both a place for contemplation and connection and an activity—a hot-air bath that relaxes body muscles, increases blood circulation, and releases endorphins, among other benefits. Josh and Beth Goodman are the cofounders of Native Sauna, a new luxury sauna builder and rental company offering mobile sauna and wood-fired hot tub rentals by the day, 75-minute sessions at their sauna station in Rockport Harbor, and custom in-home builds. “Saunas nourish your soul by providing a refuge for relaxing in a calm atmosphere perfect for quiet contemplation, meditation, and rejuvenation,” Beth says. “Saunas also provide a perfect environment for gathering with family and friends; a place to talk, to laugh, to connect, and relate to one another.”

Image courtesy of Float Harder

Float Harder Relaxation Center

The spacious, private float pods and float rooms at James and Amy Harder’s Float Harder Relaxation Center in Portland are filled with highly concentrated, body-temperature salt water, resulting in gravity and sensory reduction. Each room comes with its own shower, and the float pods (the size of a small car) and float rooms (larger enclosed tubs) are equipped with colored LED lights, high-fidelity sonar music speakers, and water filtered down to one micron, the same purity required of drinking water. Floating can reduce symptoms of headaches, arthritis, and hypertension while enhancing creativity and overall well-being. The Float Harder website points out that their floatation systems are the same ones that were installed in the New England Patriots’ training facility just before their 2019 Super Bowl Championship season: “Coincidence? You decide.”

Image courtesy of the Form Lab

The Form Lab

At the Form Lab, a unique fitness studio that opened on Fore Street in Portland’s East End earlier this year, fitness is about attention: to specific muscle groups, to form, to a wellness journey that exists both inside and outside the gym. Certified trainers—several of whom moved over from the Body Architect when it closed this past spring—work with both small groups and one-on-one to deliver precise instructions geared toward each client’s body. Feeling at times like a heart-pumping personal training session (complete with top-of-the-line equipment), the Form Lab’s founders say their attention is focused on “teaching you how to move correctly, not just move.” To round out the fitness journey, the Form Lab also offers nutrition coaching, Fascial Stretch Therapy, and individually tailored bodywork.

Image courtesy of Volta


Volta, the new 10,000-square-foot indoor climbing gym in Trenton, near Mount Desert Island, offers rope climbing and bouldering for any age and ability. There are also yoga classes, a training room stocked with strengthening tools like fingerboards, free weights, and kettlebells, cardio equipment such as rowers and treadmills, and a 12- by 12-foot LED-display Kilter Board. Volta, named for the “turn,” or the transitional shift, in poetry, sees itself as the home of an intentional community where people can gather, feel included, have fun, and get in shape. The gym hosts events like Womxn’s Climbing Night as well as programming for local students. Volta also sells protein-packed snacks and specialty drinks like coconut water and Green Bee sodas and will soon be offering local coffee and beer as well as fare from Bub’s Burritos.

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