This is the time of year when the grip of winter begins to lose its hold. The days become lighter and warmer, and the earth begins to smell sweet and fertile as nature begins to renew herself.
Not surprisingly, spring tends to make us want to recharge ourselves as well. To help you do that, we have put together a list of wellness escapes where you can revitalize the body, spirit, and soul and return home feeling better than when you left.
Woodstock Inn & Resort
The concept of wellness permeates this picturesque New England–style inn. It begins with opportunities to connect with the animal kingdom, which studies have shown can have multiple health benefits, including lowering stress. The inn has partnered with New England Falconry to let you experience these breathtaking birds of prey. After a detailed explanation about what to expect, a master falconer will instruct a trained Harris’s hawk to swoop down from the sky and land on your leather-gloved arm (thanks to a nugget of raw meat). At nearby Billings Farm & Museum, which is owned by the same charitable nonprofit as the inn, you can commune with cows, sheep, pigs, draft horses, steer, oxen, and chickens.
Back at the resort, which completed a $16.5 million facelift last summer, you can stay in one of eight new sky-blue spa rooms outfitted with eco-friendly linens, luxurious bathrooms, a spa bar of soothing bath amenities, and a yoga mat. The inn’s expansive fitness center offers yoga and other classes, while its spa has an abundance of body treatments ranging from the citrus espresso body scrub and massage combo to Reiki. In late spring, Kelly Way Gardens, with its new culinary center, offers cooking classes and demonstrations, and the garden supplies fresh organic produce and herbs for the inn’s various restaurants and herbal tea served in the garden.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Since 1983, the nonprofit educational institution Kripalu has taught multilevel classes featuring yoga, which has been proven to increase strength, flexibility, and balance and reduce stress through mental focus and deep breathing. The school also offers hundreds of other programs to stimulate the mind, body, and spirit, including Ayurveda programs, such as Introduction to Ayurveda, and Creative Expression programs, like chanting and singing, drawing and painting, and Anxiety Management Through Yoga, Writing, and Learning to Embrace Your Weird. For Health, Fitness, and Wellness options, you’ll find Fit Soul, Fit Body, while among the Self-Discovery and Psychology programs you’ll find Uncovering Blind Spots with Presence and Love. Spiritual Practice and Meditation offerings include Living a Mindful Life. Should you decide to stay at Kripalu, the center has classic and premier rooms, both of which have queen or twin beds, private bathrooms, and a simple, Swedish-inspired décor. Alternatively, the dormitory option has bunk beds and hall bathrooms. Buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are served daily; they focus on veggies, legumes, whole grains, fish, poultry, and dairy products and can be enjoyed with others or in silence.
Research has found that tuning in to nature can calm and promote a positive mood, which is why the elegant 31-room Weekapaug Inn is an ideal place to unwind. Located steps from Weekapaug Beach and Quonochontaug Pond, the inn also has its own in-house naturalist, Mark Bullinger.
Depending upon the day you visit, Bullinger will offer some sort of nature program, such as an hour-long beach walk, where you might see harbor seals via Bullinger’s spotting scope. The ocean-view guided walk takes you to Weekapaug Point, where you can view Block Island, Montauk Point, Watch Hill, and Fishers Island. Bullinger leads birding tours using the inn’s van, which also can transport you to Watch Hill to view the sun sinking into the horizon; he hosts outings to the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, where you’ll see lifelike dioramas displaying the different plants and wildlife found throughout area refuges; and he also leads a solar viewing activity on Sunday mornings and stargazing after dark. On March 20, he’ll be hosting a Supermoon Viewing Party, complete with sparkling wine.
Of course, the inn has other wellness options, including yoga classes, a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor lap pool to enjoy during warm weather, and all sorts of watercraft—motorized boats, sailboats, pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Then there is the OH! Spa at nearby sister property Ocean House on Watch Hill, where you can indulge in treatments like a Detox Marine Mud Wrap and Beach Stone Massage. Finally, the Weekapaug Inn’s restaurant offers local, farm-driven coastal cuisine, while the brasserie has more casual fare.
Canyon Ranch Lenox
Beyond its many fitness classes, Canyon Ranch Lenox offers a multitude of programs to prevent illness and treat various health conditions. Through the Canyon Ranch personalized program, you can meet with a board-certified physician for a thorough physical evaluation and receive services that help with cognitive wellness, gut health, diet, fitness, hormonal health, optimal performance, and longevity and lifestyle. On-premise labs provide swift test results of your biomarkers and their impact on your health, such as your ability to metabolize environmental toxins, your adrenal and hormonal function, the vitamin and mineral levels in your body, and your tendency toward inflammation. The medical staff can work with your physician back home to address specific health problems, practice preventative care, and promote wellness. Other health experts on premises offer energy therapies, plus ways to improve musculoskeletal health and sleep disorders. You also have access to hearing tests, Chinese herb consultations, and craniosacral therapy.
Then there is the resort’s Life Management team, who can aid with stress management, sleep enhancement, and sexuality and intimacy challenges. There is even a metaphysical department, which offers consultations in astrology, numerology, and tarot card reading. The premise behind this plethora of options is that everyone approaches life’s problems differently and Canyon Ranch wants to offer as many solutions as possible to help you handle them.
Along with the room, nightly rates include over 35 available daily activities and lectures, such as Chair Yoga or Secrets to Sleeping Soundly, unlimited access to the spa and fitness facilities, a $160 service-of-your-choice credit, and gourmet spa meals in the gorgeous dining room housed in the property’s original 1897 Bellefontaine Mansion.
Mayflower Inn & Spa
Surrounded by 58 acres of landscaped gardens in the heart of Connecticut, Mayflower Inn & Spa has one of the most sumptuous spas in New England, a 20,000-square-foot sugar-white oasis with a personal wellness advisor, who after learning your health goals and intentions can create a bespoke blend of activities and treatments. In addition to the resort’s gym, in warmer weather you can use the tennis courts, five-hole putting green, outdoor pool, meditation garden, and labyrinth. The spa has a heated indoor pool and jacuzzi, along with an extensive menu of rituals and bodywork. In addition to couples treatments, such as private yoga and a couples insight session, you’ll find facials, massages, and wellness therapies, such as Rites of Purification—a body buff and soak, followed by skin hydration and a scalp massage with guided relaxation. There are Mind & Spirit offerings, such as Return to Breath, and Soul Reviving Rituals, such as the Hamman detox, where you’re scrubbed with coffee, olive stones, and lemon and then cocooned in clay before being purified and massaged with spices and rubbed with tangerine and fig butter. Through the inn’s Experiences offerings, you can even book a Meditative Journey, a private meditation session that includes a pool or fencing moment, followed by a private yoga or archery session to hone concentration. For nourishment beyond the spa menu, you can enjoy seasonal specialties in the dining room or light bites like oysters and salads in the Tap Room before retiring to your haven, one of 30 uniquely decorated rooms.
An effective way to rejuvenate oneself is to “step out of the box” and try something unique. If it’s scary without negative consequences, even better, since powering through your tunnel of fear will fill you with less anxiety and more confidence. At Winvian Farm in the Litchfield Hills, you’ll find ample opportunity to leave your default zone, beginning with a night in the Helicopter cottage, a swanky, fully restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F helicopter grounded inside a barn-like hangar with a king-size bed. Climb aboard your craft, complete with all the switches and gauges, and let your spirit soar.
A flat-screen TV offers in-flight entertainment, while a bar prompts nightcaps in the cockpit.
Alternatively, slumber 35 feet in the air in Treehouse, a two-floor “nest” in the trees complete with a king-size bed, two gas fireplaces, a full bar, a jacuzzi, and bird’s-eye views. There are 18 different cottages in all, designed by over a dozen architects.
For added white-knuckle excitement, swerve and skid around a classic 1.53-mile, seven-turn course at the nearby Skip Barber Racing School. Or lift off in a hot-air balloon and float over the Litchfield Hills.
Back on terra firma, soothe your soul and muscles in the window-filled spa, where a multitude of massages await, including one to balance your chakras with the addition of Reiki, oils, and crystals. There are also body scrubs, facials, and reflexology treatments. Then, instead of your typical dinner in the dining room, shake things up with a candle-lit dinner for two in the inn’s wine cellar.
If You Want to Rejuvenate Closer to Home…
Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center
660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, rollingridge.org
Once the home of a wealthy wool magnate, this nonprofit wellness center overlooking Lake Cochichewick has been offering retreats and spiritual programs since 1948. You can schedule a personal retreat to rest and reflect for a day or stay longer and take advantage of the center’s overnight accommodations, massage services, prepared meals, and spiritual director consultations. The center also offers group retreats and day programs on different topics, such as the workshop Enneagram and Personality Types (March 5, 9:30 a.m.-12 noon).
Briar Barn Inn
101 Main Street, Rowley, briarbarninn.com
Escape to this 30-room Yankee-chic inn, which opened this past January and has a dreamy in-house spa. Relax further at the outdoor lagoon pool, set to open once the weather warms, and savor a taste of the North Shore at the inn’s locavore restaurant.