Northeast Travel: Autumn Agenda
Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass.
There’s lots to do in the northeast this season—interesting places to stay, exhibits to view, meals to enjoy and classes take. here’s a fall sampler.
Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Mass.
Overweight and beset by health problems, Mel Zuckerman, 50, had an “aha” moment in 1978: He could “live younger longer” by making major lifestyle changes. Once he did, he went on, with wife Enid, to found Canyon Ranch in Tucson to help others do the same. In 1989, they opened Canyon Ranch in Lenox, a spa complex centered in a grand Italianate manse that’s become the destination for East Coasters seeking to enhance or make major changes in their health. Through state-of-the-art spa treatments (anti-aging facials, foot rescue), classes (matching diet and body type, brain fitness, stress busting), exercise and sports, you not only get reinvigorated, you get the tools—and motivation—to live younger longer yourself. Need proof? Zuckerman is a hale-and-hearty 84. Through Dec. 23, mother-daughter, girlfriends’ getaway, fifth-night-free and other specials are offered.
And So to Bed
The Benjamin, New York City
“Work hard. Play hard. Sleep well.” Such could be the mantra at The Benjamin, a handsomely appointed, well-located midtown hotel where “spending your stay in bed” takes on new meaning. The Benjamin prides itself on z’s. Each guest room features double-pane windows that keep out street sounds, and serious, light-killing blinds. Each bed comes equipped with 500-thread-count cotton sheets and a down duvet. And then there’s the pillow menu, offering 12 different fits, including “Cloud,” “Lullaby,” “Swedish memory,” “Snore-No-More” and a 5-foot body cushion. Still having trouble? Consult the hotel’s “sleep concierge,” who will fit you for eyeshades or fix you up with a soothing bedtime snack. Finally, there’s The Benjamin’s promise: “We guarantee you’ll sleep just as well at The Benjamin as you do at home, or we will give you a free night’s stay.” All this, and Manhattan, too!
Dining Like a Millionaire
Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, Vanderbilt Grace Hotel, Newport, R.I.
For a taste of what it was like to live—and dine—like a Vanderbilt, set your GPS for the Vanderbilt Grace, a Gilded Age mansion-turned-hotel overlooking Newport harbor. A year ago the hotel enlisted the services of Jonathan Cartwright, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux at its sister property, Maine’s White Barn Inn, and he’s since put Vanderbilt Grace’s Muse restaurant on the fine-dining map. Imagine elaborate tasting menus, monthly wine dinners and “Vintage Vanderbilt” dinners—oysters mignonette, roast partridge (delectable, even without a pear tree), meringues with clotted cream—inspired by a 1912 Vanderbilt family menu. For the full experience, stay in one of the 33 luxe rooms or suites, linger over champagne breakfast in the sunny conservatory, take advantage of the indoor pool and spa, and tour the (other) mansions.
The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.
For years Philadelphians talked about relocating The Barnes Foundation, a treasure house of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art—181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 46 Picassos, 59 Matisses and more—from suburban Merion to the city. But there was a major stumbling block: Benefactor Albert C. Barnes had stipulated that his collection not be altered or moved. Finally a deal was struck, and you can now visit The Barnes in its stunning new home on the city’s Museum Mile (walking distance from the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Franklin Institute); Barnes must be smiling from on high, seeing each work positioned just as he left it in 1951. The new Barnes is getting lots of buzz, so advance reservations are strongly recommended, particularly on Fridays, when it’s open till 10 and there’s live jazz and refreshments. Go for the day or look into Marriott, Sofitel, Palomar, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Rittenhouse hotel-museum packages.
Taste of the Valley
Hudson River Valley, N.Y.
If you wander the Hudson Valley, you won’t be the first from Connecticut to do so. After all, Ichabod Crane, protagonist in Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” was a schoolmaster from Connecticut. Today, you can visit Irving’s home in Tarrytown, along with the Rockefeller home in Pocantico Hills and the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park, all set in the lush landscape captured on canvas by Hartford native Frederic Church—whose home, upriver in Hudson, you can also visit. New, or renewed, lodging options include the Plumbush Inn, a romantic B&B in Cold Spring; Glenmere Mansion, a posh boutique hotel in Chester; Bear Mountain Inn, a rustic lodge in its namesake state park; and Diamond Mills, a mill-turned-upscale-hotel aside a waterfall in Saugerties. With lots of CIA grads and a strong farm-to-table movement hereabouts, consider timing your visit with Hudson Valley Restaurant Week(s), Nov. 5-18—150 restaurants will participate.