Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Studio and Chautauqua Lodge Team Up for Getaway Bliss in Long Beach

Gina Marie Williams
7 min readMar 19, 2024

By Gina Williams

Icy rain is blowing sideways during a wild and woolly winter storm, and I feel a bit gloomy, but relief is right around the corner.

Just steps from my cozy suite at Chautauqua Resort & Conference Center in the heart of Long Beach, Washington, a healthy and healing experience awaits at Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Studio located on the property.

Founded by local resident Michelle Svendsen in 2022, Inspired Mind Matters offers a variety of yoga classes, sound baths, children’s classes, pain management and mindfulness workshops and other opportunities to “stretch your body and mind, inspiring your imagination, and helping you find ways to bring peace into your thoughts and life.”

Amid a personal journey through extreme grief, I long for peace, wisdom and freedom, even if only briefly, from emotional agony. Throughout the weekend, a series of experiences, including yin mindfulness yoga, aerial & bungee yoga and breathwork with Michelle; and vinyasa flow yoga, along with a sound bath with instructor Jenelle Kremer, prove to be a healing trifecta. Weeks later, I still feel stronger from the inside out and already booked an early spring return.

Michelle Svendsen, founder & owner, Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Studio in Long Beach, Washington

Svendsen began her own healing journey more than a decade ago, intensively studying meditation, mindfulness, breathwork, manifestation, neuroplasticity, yoga and stress management for her own personal growth. She and her husband Erik founded North Jetty Brewing in nearby Seaview and are deeply invested in the community as business owners and residents. As her personal practice evolved, Svendsen says she wanted to use her own journey and hard-earned skills to “give back to the community that helped me” as a coach and instructor. Inspired Mind Matters clients agree she is succeeding mightily in that goal.

Sharon Law of Long Beach began attending classes and workshops at the studio in October 2023. She has lost multiple loved ones in the last year and, like me, found grief solace in the practice.

“Michelle is a life coach and her meditations direct participants to shed the darkness and embrace the light, and be transformed by gratitude and love,” Law says. “I am grateful for Michelle and Inspired Mind Matters.”

Client Carole Bernard of Long Beach had struggled with overall body pain before starting weekly yin yoga classes with Michelle. “After a year, my entire body feels better,” she says. Bernard had tried many different solutions for pain, but nothing worked until a steady diet of gentle mindfulness movement proved the best medicine.

In fact, a recent study by Chinese researchers credits Tai Chi, a martial art form often termed “mindfulness in motion” as more beneficial for lowering high blood pressure than aerobic exercise. Experts credit the meditative aspect of the practice and its ability to calm the body’s parasympathetic nervous system for the results.

Bernard says she is so grateful for the opportunity for such a unique, affordable and effective wellness experience right in her own town. In addition to regular yoga, she has attended several 3-hour mindfulness workshops as well as the sound baths.

Michelle Svendsen and co-instructor Jenelle Kremer

Bernard says she is celebrating being in less pain and is also joyful about another benefit: “Now I can get up and down off the ground much easier,” something she hard really struggled with before. “Michele is an excellent instructor and a good asset for our community. She has such nice, positive energy,”

Chautauqua Revival Continues

As Svendsen grows her studio, partner Chautauqua Resort & Conference Center is enjoying a renaissance moment under the direction of operator Chester Trabucco.

A native of Astoria and longtime Pacific Northwest resident, Trabucco is recognized for his community dedication and work Astoria properties like the Hotel Elliott and Astoria Riverwalk Inn.

A cozy stay at Chautauqua Lodge, located in the heart of Long Beach

After Chautauqua reopened in spring 2021, Trabucco continued making progress on his long-term vision for the property, beloved to generations of families as a laid-back but luxurious and affordable coastal getaway.

Trabucco offered a tour of some newly remodeled suites, each with their own décor style and personality, with attention to quality and traveler friendly details top priority.

Chester Trabucco, Operator, Chautauqua Lodge

His vision, he says, is to continue efforts to “re-imagine the Chautauqua and bring the property back to its rightful status as one of the premier places to stay and play on the Long Beach Peninsula.”

The family and pet-friendly resort is centrally located at the end of 14th Street, a quiet base yet situated at the center of Long Beach.

Popular with families, wedding parties and conference groups, the resort is just steps from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, an 8.5-mile boardwalk and trail that parallels the beach. It’s about a 5-mile trek from the resort to Cape Disappointment State Park and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

The resort’s spaces include a pool and spa, welcoming seating areas on the spacious dune-facing lawn, a fire pit, a barbecue station, horseshoe pits and more. Complimentary breakfast and fresh-baked “check-in cookies” are served, along with Columbia Coffee Roasters “Thundermuck” coffee.

Among recent renovations are newly tiled baths, modern plank flooring, linen upgrades, custom artwork, technology updates, a freshly painted exterior and an expanded fish cleaning station, to name a few. My suite included a cozy electric fireplace, large view balcony, entertaining space and full-sized kitchen appliances.

As we toured the property, Trabucco shared his vision to bring the Lodge into a new, more modern era without losing the nostalgic vibe that keeps generations coming back.

“We are working hard on the right mix of luxury, comfort and fun,” Trabucco says. “I am committed to continuing to update the property with luxurious creature comforts while ensuring Chautauqua’s old-school fun and friendly atmosphere.”

Showing off the new firepit with a wrap-around wind screen and other outdoor gathering spaces, Trabucco looks out toward the ocean and smiles.

“Can you believe this location? It’s perfect,” Trabucco says, opening his arms to the expanse. “You know, this place is like the resort in the movie Dirty Dancing. Families come here year after year. People get married here, celebrate special occasions here and we can host conferences as well. Our vision is to bring this property into a new era and offer premium services and amenities without losing the nostalgic vibe and accessibility that keeps generations coming back.”

Mindful Matters

With a few hours to spare before checkout after Jenelle’s Sunday sound bath put me into a state of bliss, I check out a beach bike (complimentary for Chautauqua guests) and head out on a cruise along the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, an 8.5-mile boardwalk and trail that parallels the beach along the resort and winds through the dunes towards town.

Aerial Yoga is one of many options available for fun and fitness at Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Center

I can still hear the healing waves of sound from the sound bath’s crystal bowls, gongs and bells, mingled with the sounds of the sea. I think about the mindfulness mantras and self-affirmations from Michelle and Janelle as I pedal along, grateful for a break in the rain and a reprieve from pain.

There is no magic cure for grief of course. But the magic elixir of a weekend escape, caring practitioners, outstanding lodging and mindfulness practice is undoubtedly healing and fun.

Emotion wells up like ocean swells upon departure and I silently express gratitude for a new kind of experience that helped carry me forward, one breath at a time. One that I can tap into again and again — as a student at the Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Studio, a guest at Chautauqua Lodge and as a human being human at the seashore — for years to come.

Inspired Experiences Defined

Yin Yoga: A peaceful and beautiful practice for igniting the parasympathetic nervous system response, releasing past trauma from the physical body, lubricating the joints, increasing flexibility, and allowing for a balanced breath-body connection.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga: Emphasizes the sequential movement between postures, coordinated with and guided by deliberate breath. The Vinyasa practice becomes a moving meditation that creates strength, freedom and fluidity in the body and mind.

Aerial Yoga: A beginner-friendly class that will teach the basics and fundamentals of using an aerial silk. Aerial Yoga combines traditional yoga poses and yogic philosophies with dance-like movement to promote a mind-body connection. You will learn breathing mechanics as well as using the silk with a focus on releasing stress on the body and the mind.

Sound Bath: The session begins with gentle movement followed by calming breathwork. Participants then get comfortable with blankets and props. The remainder of class is spent in a healing sound journey with senses stimulated by waves of sound vibrations. The sound encourages the body to go into deep rest and rejuvenation. The class is suitable for anyone, and all movement and breathwork are optional.

The author gives aerial yoga a try — photo by Michelle Svendsen

More Information:

Chautauqua Resort and Conference Center: https://chautauquaresort.com/

Inspired Mind Matters Wellness Studio: https://inspiredmindmatters.com/

Pacific County Tourism Bureau: https://www.visitlongbeachpeninsula.com/

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Gina Marie Williams
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Gina Williams is a writer and visual artist based in the great Pacific Northwest, USA. Learn more about her and her work via CarpeVerbum.net and CarpeLumen.net