Summer usually means it’s time for a family travel adventure and this summer was no different. Last year, I flew to Northern California with my husband and son, then 8, for a twelve-day trip that took us to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. This year, we’re staying closer to home to explore New England on a ten-day road trip: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Things get a little tense when we realize that Hurricane Irene seems to literally be following us: six days before the devastating storm made landfall and disrupted operations at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont, I spent a peaceful night at the inn with my family to rest before continuing on the rest of our New England journey. Was it coincidence that our travels practically took us past the front door? Well, almost. That and a little creative MapQuest planning and I finally got to experience the new Spa at Woodstock, opened in the fall of 2010, for myself.
It was overcast when we arrived and the sky threatened rain, so we made a beeline for the outdoor swimming pool in the center courtyard. Since it was the tail end of summer vacation, families with children made up most of the small crowd around the pool area. We swam for a bit, but I knew the spa was just outside the pool gate and quite frankly, getting a look was all I could think about. But my look would have to wait until morning because the spa was just about to close.
When I arrive for my treatment the next morning, I discover that I have been gifted the use of the spas best treatment room, the Woodstock Suite. Located on the upper level, it’s an intimate venue for small gatherings or couples treatments and is normally available by the hour. The ultra-indulgent room offers dual deluxe treatment tables, wood burning fireplace, a large comfortable seating area, casual dining tables, and en-suite bathroom with a generously sized multi-head shower. The showcase of the suite is a custom-designed 250-gallon Japanese Hinoki soaking tub. Hinoki, a Japanese Cyprus, is widely used in aromatherapy to reduce stress. The highly prized oil of this wood is therapeutic and naturally produces a soothing lemon fragrance that is present during each use of the bath.
Here are just a few of my favorite mention-worthy amenities in the spa:
- The most generous floor-to-ceiling spa locker I’ve had the pleasure of storing my belongings in: plenty wide, with an assortment of shelves and hooks
- The softest, lightweight yet warm, spa robe I have ever had the pleasure of slipping into – just below the knee and ¾ length sleeves that did not overwhelm my petite frame. It fit like it was custom made for me.
- The service was five-star from the greeting at the reception desk, to the spa attendant, to my therapist.
The natural surroundings of the Green Mountains are viewable from the two-story great room/co-ed relaxation room with wood-burning fireplace and stone flooring covered in botanical print rugs in shades of sage and cream. There were oversized couches and chairs with ottomans for relaxing into before or after your treatment. A wall of windows leads to the private outdoor courtyard with whirlpool and a separate building houses a Scandinavian Sauna with a window to the outdoors. Not a noticeable detail strays from the Vermont country theme. Ivy climbs up the high walls of the courtyard. The lines are clean and simple, nature-inspired with a few carefully chosen details.
My treatment, a lemon espresso body polish, is 50-minutes of perfect bliss. I was scrubbed with lemon verbena in a rich jojoba oil base. While wrapped in warm linens, my hair and scalp are massaged with deeply hydrating Moroccan oil and I am offered a foot massage. Afterwards, I step into the shower to rinse off the scrub and this is when I notice the ten showerheads. There were so many simple but elegant details at The Spa at Woodstock. One detail I noticed and appreciated was an artisan bowl filled with stones and glass beneath my face cradle.
The spa water is infused with mint leaves and a touch of natural spearmint extract. Fresh fruit, granola and iced tea are available at the self-serve refreshment area.
It is the picture-perfect summer day in Vermont, so I retreat to the spas outdoor courtyard to enjoy my gluten-free lavender macaroon – a post-treatment gift. Although the resort pool is just on the other side of the high brick wall, the soothing water feature drowns out any sounds that might have otherwise floated in. My skin is deeply hydrated from the ginger lotion application that was more like a full-body massage at the skilled hands of Lisa, my intuitive and highly talented therapist. Deep blue skies and lots of big, puffy clouds coupled with moderate temperatures – I could sit out here all day!
Room 210, a clean and comfortable double queen room in the Tavern Wing, features a wall of shuttered windows that overlooks the courtyard. It’s Vermont country luxury, comfortable and homey in shades of creamy antique ivory and mossy greens. There are little nooks for books and knickknacks, a writing desk and sitting area with couch and modern amenities like a wall-mounted flat panel TV. It’s compact with a functional use of limited space like abundant closet, drawer and shelf storage. The well-lit bathroom offers double sinks, a wash of white marble, and classic chrome fixtures.
The guest demographic at the resort is often made up of couples seeking a romantic retreat. And I can see why! There are comfy seating areas around every corner in the common areas of the inn, making it ideal for spending quality time with someone special. And my trip to the spa was well worth the year-long wait!