By Laurie Bain Wilson
New England is where autumn is celebrated in nature, and a time of year where wellness is as much about renewing the body as it is about massaging the soul. These spots treat your body with rubs and wraps and fill all your senses with mindfulness.
WOODSTOCK INN & RESORT
This historic, head-turning resort is on the map in Woodstock, Vermont for many reasons: it’s got a plum Main Street location with a mountain backdrop; and there’s the inn’s exclusive Kelly Way Gardens up the road—the seasonal produce shines in the inn’s restaurants, including honey in the cocktails. And then, there’s The Spa at Woodstock Inn & Resort.
The Spa is inspired by nature and as beautiful a space as the treatments will make you feel. It’s spacious (10,000 square-foot LEED-designed), flooded by natural light, with a spa menu that covers head to toe. Treatments use only organic products, including certified vegan products: the couples massage is special, it features a custom-made hinoki wooden Japanese soaking tub, private multi-head shower and wood-burning fireplace.
Spa guests can relax pre-and-post-pampering in the outdoor hot tub, the Scandinavian sauna, or on a lounge with a good book. Info: woodstockinn.com
CHATHAM BARS INN
Early fall is the best time to visit Cape Cod. The crowds have thinned, the traffic jams are gone, the sea is still warm, and the cranberries are floating on the bogs.
Once a 1914 hunting lodge for wealthy Brahmins, the 217-room property features guest rooms in the main inn and roomy cottages, some with water views and fireplaces. The open-air porch veranda is the quintessential spot to sip a Cape Codder, and there’s a private beach for fall strand strolls.
But it’s the Spa at Chatham Bars Inn that shouts wellness. It is the only four-star spa on the Cape. You’ll want to book your stay in one of the 12 adult-only spa suites—located directly above the spa. They feature in-room oversized hydrotherapy tubs, saunas, steam showers, fireplaces, yoga mats and curated wellness books. And you can book private, in-room massages, too. There’s also an outdoor relaxation pool and hot tub right outside the spa.
Treatments incorporate seasonal ingredients from the inn’s on-property eight-acre farm, including a sugar polish made with cranberries (from local bogs), lemon-grass and honey (from the inn’s beehives.) Some products also use salt from the sea. Also, a new fitness center, fitness classes and personal training sessions are available. Info: chathambarsinn.com
WEQUASSETT RESORT AND GOLF CLUB
Cape Cod’s only five-star luxury resort is a stunning 121-room and suite resort including cottage-style rooms with private patios and outdoor fireplaces, and a sought-out restaurant, Twenty Atlantic, housed in an 18th-century sea captain’s house with views of Pleasant Bay, and which also just coveted a five-star rating.
The Harwich resort has partnered with Chatham-based Le Petite Day Spa (thelepetitedayspa.com) for experiences at the spa or, for in-room treatments at the resort (ideal for those not keen on visiting a spa, the spa comes to you). Treatments such as facials and massages use exclusively Eminence organic skin products.
For outdoor salt-air wellness, hop on the 15-minute courtesy shuttle that putters back and forth across Pleasant Bay to the Outer Beach dunes and, because for some, wellness is about being out on a golf course, neighboring Cape Cod National Golf Club, one of the most prestigious courses in the country, is open for play to guests of the resort. Info: wequassett.com
It’s the hand-carved walking stick in your guest room closet that speaks volumes about the wellness getaway at this handsome clapboard inn, tucked in the Green Mountains of Manchester, Vermont. You’ll treat your body and mind to a dose of fresh mountain wellness—this is where tradition meets mountain modern (think: requisite grand front porch and rocking chairs.)
Bring your dog: You can both get into the downward dog position on the yoga mat you’ll find in your room next to that walking stick (the inn is very pet friendly). Request roll-out yoga mat service in your room or take a yoga class at a nearby studio. Also, in-room full-service day spa treatments are offered, and there’s a fitness center on property, but you’ve got a natural fitness center in these mountains—and the hotel can recommend dog-friendly hiking trails.
Wellness by the stream: Take a class at the Orvis Fly Fishing school, a cast away. Info: taconichotel.com
MADISON BEACH HOTEL, CURIO COLLECTION BY HILTON
You won’t travel far to reach this beach beauty in Madison, Connecticut; just under a two-hour drive from Manhattan (and an Amtrak station in town).
There are only 33 rooms and suites—surprising, because the hotel has such a grand presence. Guest rooms open to decks with lounge chairs and views of the Long Island Sound. There’s a lot of spiritual wellness happening here—staring at the sea will do that.
Succumb to a hot stone or sports massage at The Sounds of the Sea Spa. The spa is intimate and sweet—not sexy and glam—and you wouldn’t want it any other way in this quaint New England beach town. Facials, body wraps and mud wraps are also on the menu. Bonus: a yoga studio
Round out your healthy stay with al fresco dining—year-round—on the outdoor porch; the restaurant is designated a Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Restaurant so you can be sure your meal will be sustainable with locally-sourced ingredients. Info: madisonbeachhotel.com