WESTPORT — A new business venture here combines a uniquely healing Adirondack heritage with new science and research from top medical facilities in the eastern U.S.
Normandie Beach Club holds its historic mark with lodging and dining on the wave-washed beaches of Lake Champlain. Evening campfires, sunrise gulls and a quiet pace are already selling cabins and rooms into August.
But owners Waldemar and wife Dr. Molly Wynne Kasriels are adding the Adirondack Wellness Institute, a clinical development and treatment facility with a slate of four program sessions to start this summer.
Health programs in five-day to week-long segments look to focus the “institutes” for Lyme Disease and tick-borne illness; smoking cessation; pain management for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia; and mind-body medicine for health professionals.
The resort’s move to wellness integration is infused with restorative qualities found here, Kasriels said.
Co-founders of the institute are medical doctors and colleagues of Kasriels, all currently working in well-respected programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Columbia University, Yale University School of Medicine and Dartmouth College.
“The faculty we are starting with is amazing,” Kasriels said in an interview at the property last week. “We are creating a partnership with some of the nation’s greatest medical schools, an opportunity that will bring research and specialized resources to our area.
“Most of the team has migrated up from the cities, and fallen in love with the area,” Kasriels said.
“We have put our heads together and developed a business plan for seminars and retreats whose methodology will be shared with health professionals and offered to clients as well.”
Models for the Adirondack Wellness Institute include Kripalu, in Massachusetts, and the New England Educational Institute.
Concept development for the institute has been in progress for several years and began with discussions between Kasriels and co-founder Dr. Dan Seidman, who is director of smoking cessation services at Columbia University.
Program developers include Dr. Brian A. Fallon, director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Research Center at Columbia University; Dr. Jenifer A Nields, a psychiatry professor at Yale University and Dr. Alla Landa, a clinical psychology professor at Columbia.
Time spent at the Adirondack Wellness Institute is intended to blend both in-depth education and training with restorative elements of the lake and surrounding Adirondack forests, trails and rivers.
Inspiration, rest and natural beauty all factor deeply into the unique wellness education model, Kasirels said.
“The concept of the Adirondack Wellness Institute is nothing we can take credit for,” she said in the business plan.
“It is an age-old story dating back a full century when in reaction to a deadly surge of tuberculosis, physicians eventually noticed that those TB patients who spent time in fresh, mountain air while hiking or camping could stop its progression or even ‘cure’ affected lungs. The Adirondack region is credited with providing such treatment for many, many people.”
While the concept is rooted in history, Kasriels suggests what is new is the organization.
“The plan is to organize and package our programs so that our clients and medical professionals can take some piece of it home with them back to their busy lives, busy offices and clients in need. Whether they take it in the form of shiny, blue stones from Lake Champlain’s waterfront, clearer thinking, fresher breathing, personal strength or a new way of seeing themselves.”
As the institute expands, so would the reach of training programs.
In coming years, the institute is looking add sessions focused on physical activity as therapy, leadership training and specific instruction on outdoor recreation as treatment for attention deficit disorders in youth.
Kasriels said they plan to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the institute at Normandie in June.
The historic beach resort and lodging amenities will continue to operate into their 47th year this season.