USA TODAY 10Best
// By Linda Laban
By Linda Laban
The wellness vacation is as old as the Roman Empire, when taking in spa waters and rejuvenating a stressed bod was a regular ritual. These wellness-centered resorts set in some of the Northeast’s most beautiful landscapes offer a chance to step onto a path of better health and well-being, all while soaking in the serenity of nature.
Miraval Berkshires Resort and Spa in Lenox, Massachusetts — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
This sprawling, beautiful campus encircled by the entrancing Berkshire Hills keeps a body busy with a gazillion expertly curated and helmed classes, from kickboxing to archery to yoga, and with highly specialized equine meditation, tension release exercise and positional therapy, too. Outdoor activities include zip line courses, hiking, kayaking and a lovely outdoor pool with loungers.
The massive but calming Life in Balance Spa has 28 treatment rooms, a large co-ed relaxation room, a courtyard with a fire pit, an indoor-outdoor lounge pool and locker rooms each with hot tub, sauna and steam rooms. Relax over meals in Harvest Moon, or drinks in The Roost, the day-to-night cafe and bar. And sleep deeply in unbelievably pillowy beds in modern, spacious rooms with French windows leading onto a balcony or patio to soak in the views.
Troutbeck in Amenia, New York — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
Surrounded by nature, this Hudson Valley country retreat is endemically all about soothing away stressed nerves and resting busy bodies. The grounds are just gorgeous and include this 1920s-built estate’s original walled garden, as well as a health-focused complex, The Barns, where studio classes range from yoga to tai chi.
The Barns includes a Technogym with state-of-the-art fitness machines, and its adjacent spa includes detoxing and muscle-soothing traditional and infrared saunas. Treatments include highly specialized therapies like trauma- and stress-combating Somatic Experiencing or an acupuncture facial. Simple pleasures such as lawn games, tennis and hiking trails through the 250 acres may be enjoyed at leisure.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
The largest yoga center in the U.S. goes far beyond a downward dog, deep into the traditional Eastern health practices of yoga and Ayurveda. The tools for wholeness and well-being are all here for guests to choose and use. Rooms have a Bauhaus modernist simplicity and have no TVs. Device use is limited to tech spaces or your room.
The food, taken in the dining hall – sometimes in silence – is wonderfully healthy and mostly vegan with organically grown produce favored. Classes, guided hikes and workshops explore practices to regain or further better health – physical, emotional and spiritual. The Healing Arts Center is where you will experience the best hands-on healing aka massage.
One key element is being suffused in nature and turned off from tech, with no commerce in sight, looking on at Lake Mahkeenac and the Berkshire Hills.
Four Columns Inn in Newfane, Vermont — Photo courtesy of Four Columns Inn
This tiny, picturesque 1700s-founded village in southern Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains pairs farm-to-table food and a back-to-nature spa with a gorgeous inn and lovely gardens that lead to a river and woodlands filled with that elusive peace and quiet. There is nothing to do and plenty of opportunity to be.
Services at the spa, set in the small cottage in the garden, focus on health-restoring massages incorporating locally made aromatherapy potions and mists, as well as a lavender-salt body scrub made with flowers from the garden. Best of all, a massage may be taken outside in warmer weather on a private corner of the grounds, surrounded by freed chickens, delightfully wandering around.
YO1 Health Resort in Monticello, New York — Photo courtesy of YO1 Health Resort
For both wellness veterans and those embarking on a newly found path to feeling better in their bodies, this health resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains tailors individualized programs for its guests. YO1’s introductory package, for instance, matches guests with a lead naturopathy and Ayurveda counselor who is assigned to create a program for the guest to take a path back to health.
Programs include traditional naturopathic therapies, Ayurveda and yoga. Each customized stay is designed to empower guests to create balance between mind, body and soul, as well as general health issues such as weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol management, depression and stress.
Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
There’s something about ionic sea air that is a tonic in itself, but at this luxury seaside resort, the healthy fresh air is just a bonus to fitness programs that include indoor and outdoor activities, treatments and relaxation time at the serene Ocean and Harvest Spa.
This health haven with sumptuous treatment rooms, saunas, a fitness center, saltwater lap pool and a beautiful relaxation terrace offers treatments from muscle knot-untangling deep tissue massage to customized seasonal facials using local botanicals. Pair that with gorgeous rooms with spa-like bathrooms, beautiful food and utterly pampering service for a truly refreshing break.
The Lake House on Canandaigua in Canandaigua, New York — Photo courtesy of Chris Mottalini
Situated in the remote and scenic Finger Lakes region, and located directly on Canandaigua Lake, this luxury hotel is all about outdoor and wellness activities. Its daily schedule includes rise and shine yoga, core classes and nearby outdoor activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking (lessons or rental), hiking and biking tours.
The resort’s Willowbrook Spa is connected to Canandaigua Lake through two water-view barrel saunas for detoxing in between tailored treatments using custom-blended herbal tinctures and herbal-infused massage oils.
The Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Connecticut — Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism
Located midway between New York and Boston in scenic eastern Connecticut, this traditional New England-styled inn includes a health and wellness program centered on its luxurious spa. With over 30 treatment and activity rooms, guests enjoy signatures massages, customized facial treatments and even spiritual and emotional well-being services like tarot reading.
Of special note, programming takes into account guests who require treatments while recovering from an injury or minor illness. The spa’s juice bar and cafe provide nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner breaks, allowing for a day-long wellness activity schedule.
Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Rhinebeck, New York — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
When it comes to just taking some “me time” and a break from the daily grind, it’s difficult to beat the family-owned and -operated Mirbeau properties. These adults-only resorts each offer a myriad of activities, including all sorts of aerobic and strength-building fitness classes in the gym. Detox in the outdoor hot tub, steam or sauna cabins and indulge in treatments, which range from hot stone massages to facials. Basically, slip on a robe and slippers and spa your way to restfulness.
Winvian Farm in Morris, Connecticut — Photo courtesy of Winvian Farm
This luxury Relais & Chateaux retreat is many things to many people: sumptuous lodge, foodie paradise, elegant retreat. But what’s universal is its peaceful setting in western Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, surrounded by farmland. The property itself is superbly relaxing, with beautiful gardens and a secluded spa.
Enjoy the healing benefits of treatments, such as Ashiatsu, a barefoot massage which goes further than normal deep tissue, helping with chronic pain, releasing taut muscles and realigning the body. Or try sound therapy, which uses sound frequencies to re-tune our inner vibrations. Of course, should a simple but stunning Swedish massage or facial be required, those are available too.
About Linda Laban
Linda Laban is a busy freelance writer always eager to carve out some much-needed Me-time.
Read more about Linda Laban here.
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