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Labyrinths offer solace to B&B visitors during trying times

"To walk the Labyrinth is to take a Pilgrim's Path. Shed the cares and worries of everyday life, reflect on the meaning of life, and to discover new truths. Opportunities for reflection are so rare in our society that they take on extraordinary value when encountered."
- From The Buckhorn Inn, Gatlinburg, TN

According to traditional wisdom, we are all on the path... the path that defines our life. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol of wholeness, combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful model of the path of life. America has an estimated 900 labyrinths. Today, as Americans seek refuge from the fear and stress created by political and economic conditions, travelers can take solace in labyrinths offered by BedandBreakfast.com member inns.

Labyrinths are moving meditations whether they are walked or traced with the hand. These ancient tools for self discovery and learning, inner peace and meditation, are often considered to be portals to the earth's energy.

Labyrinths and mazes are not the same thing. A labyrinth has only one path; it leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again with no dead ends or wrong turns. At its most basic level, the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

Traditionally accepted as bastions for both romance and relaxation, labyrinths are a natural complement toAmerica's bed and breakfasts. Visit www.bedandbreakfast.com/specials for an exclusive source of B&Bs featuring labyrinths. Listed alphabetically by state, each of these B&Bs offer a tale in themselves, ranging from simple to elaborate labyrinths and gardens.

Lookout Point, A Fine Lakeside Inn, Hot Springs, AR: This newly opened inn has spared no detail in creating a respite offering peace and joy to each guest. A lakeside labyrinth, based upon the one in France's famous Chartres Cathedral, was an integral part of the original design plans for this ten-guest room inn. Set in the grass and outlined in stone, this labyrinth creates a vehicle for a walking prayer, intended to calm the soul and offer refuge from a frayed life. Info: 501-525-6155 or www.lookoutpointinn.com

Lodge at Sedona, Sedona, AZ: This luxury inn's spectacular red rock views and the 60-foot-diameter labyrinth attract many guests. Featuring a seven-circle classical design, this labyrinth was recently featured in Real Simple magazine. The Lodge's labyrinth is open to the public for spiritual exploration and enjoyment, and is considered a magical attraction for both the inn and the area. Info: 928-204-1942 or www.LodgeatSedona.com.

Angels Watch Inn, Westbrook, CT: Those who are married on the grounds of this lovely inn offer vows to one another in the inn's marriage labyrinth. The innkeepers believe that ceremonies performed on a marriage labyrinth are designed with the conscious intent of bringing joy, balance, patience, love, understanding, respect, and everything good to the marriage. Three-day workshops on understanding, experiencing, designing and building labyrinths are among the series of wellness programs offered by Angels Watch Inn. Info: 860-399-8846 or www.angelswatchinn.com.

House on Cherry Street, Jacksonville, FL: Look for the triple spiral labyrinth located at this B&B's annex. Modeled after the ancient representation of Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman, the labyrinth intersects the rosary walk also found here. The labyrinth and rosary walk are open to guests and the public, and all are welcome to pick organic herbs, or walk the triple spiral. In addition to the spirals and the rosary walk, a Buddhist meditation wall and a mystical Kabala walk are also offered. Info: 904-384-1999 or www.bedandbreakfast.com/property/ppf/id/207136/index.aspx.

Bona Vista Farm B&B, Winchendon, MA: Guests are invited to stroll through this B&B's labyrinth while overlooking the bucolic pasture and hayfield. To add to the rural peace here, guests are encouraged to sit in the wooden swing overlooking the large organic vegetable garden or stroll down behind the barn to take a dip in the deep, spring-fed pond on hot summer days. Winters, innkeepers create long, winding trails through the farm's sixty acres of mixed hard and softwood forest for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Info: 978-297-0460 or www.bedandbreakfast.com/property/ppf/id/616248/index.aspx.

Cutters Loft Bed and Breakfast, Goshen, NH: Home to an existing butterfly and meditation garden, this B&B is in the process of constructing a seven-circuit labyrinth for guests to explore meditation or celebrate joy. Weddings, commitment ceremonies and vow renewals will also be performed here. This labyrinth is expected to be completed by June, 2003. Info: 603-863-1019 or www.cuttersloft.com.

Pheasant Field Bed & Breakfast, Carlisle, PA: Owner Dee Fegan built the labyrinth on land located just across the country road from her 200-year-old brick farmhouse. The path is defined using bricks on a sand surface. "The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can allow both sides of the brain to work in balance, thus providing an ancient and effective method of prayer and meditation," says Fegan. "We want the total B&B experience at Pheasant Field to be one of peace and rest," explained Ms. Fegan, "The labyrinth gives our guests another opportunity for quiet meditation and prayer." Info: 717-258-0717 or www.pheasantfield.com.

The Buckhorn Inn, Gatlinburg, TN: The Buckhorn's guests are invited to walk Rachael's Labyrinth, a circular pathway sixty feet in diameter laid out in local fieldstone in one of the inn's meadows. The labyrinth is named in honor of former innkeeper, Dr. Rachael Young, who inspired it. She is a founder of Knoxville's Wellness Center which assists cancer patients and their families. She has a special interest in the effect of meditation on physical and spiritual well-being, and it was this interest which led to the creation of the Buckhorn's labyrinth. Walkers start at the outside and meditate or pray while walking in circles until reaching the center. Rachel's Labyrinth at Buckhorn Inn is open to people of all faiths and creeds from sunrise to sunset. Info: 865-436-4668 or www.buckhorninn.com.

BedandBreakfast.com� is the leading online bed & breakfast reservation network, listing over 27,000 bed & breakfasts and inns throughout the United States and internationally. A wide variety of search functions and extensive maps enable inngoers to find the perfect B&B. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase gift certificates accepted at over 2,600 U.S. bed & breakfast inns, subscribe to a free newsletter, and post questions on expert hosted message boards. Founded in 1995, by Eric Goldreyer, BedandBreakfast.com's goal is to provide the best possible experience for innkeepers and inngoers alike.

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