I love to gamble. On my 21st birthday I drove down to Foxwoods. The slots are all digital now, but those were the days of using real quarters in the machines, lugging around giant plastic cups to carry them all. It looked like a roomful of people about to do the ice bucket challenge.
So when I get the assignment to spend a weekend at Foxwoods and write about it, I start to wonder which category gambling losses would go in on my expense report.
But then I see the itinerary that the good people at Foxwoods have prepared for my wife and me. I’m not complaining, mind you, but it’s going to be tricky to get to the tables. There’s a lot to do here and not a whole lot of time to do it. I’m starting to stress out. I need a massage.
2-3:15 p.m.: That hits the spa
We make the hour-or-so drive and pull into the Fox Tower garage. Leaving our bags in the car, we head straight to the third floor of the Fox Tower for our 50-minute signature couples massage at G Spa. The 20,000-square-foot complete spa has a fitness center, salon, sauna and, as spa director Charisse Duorore points out, it’s 21 and over so there are no kids in the pool.
The facility is pristine and has a stress-reducing effect even before the massage starts. Dim lighting, soft music, robes, sandals, lemon water, a staff of what seemed like 100 people, all professional and pleasant, making sure you’re as comfortable as possible. (By the way, G Spa isn’t the only pampering provider at Foxwoods. The Norwich Spa is located on the ninth floor of the Grand Pequot Tower.) The full-body Swedish massage is predictably fantastic, the only negative being my inner clock reminding me time’s almost up and I can’t just lay here forever.
We get the “couples retreat” package — an aromatherapy massage capped off by a warm, moisturizing paraffin treatment to our feet followed by champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries in the couples tranquility area. Good timing on the drink, too. After check-in we’re heading to the roof to get strapped to a zip line.
3:15-3:45 p.m.: Room with a view
Check-in is quick and painless, which is all you’re really looking for. We take the elevator to the 24th floor and enter a room with a view of what appears to be every tree in Connecticut. In late May it’s nice to look at. During fall foliage season it must be breathtaking. The room is more than adequate with a bathroom big enough to fit a California King.
3:45-5:15 p.m.: Treetop Flyer
If you like the view from a 24th-floor window, you’ll love the view from the roof. The HighFlyer Zipline, despite my aversion to heights-related activities, is a wonderful experience. Soaring over trees, flying at 60 miles an hour 350 feet above the ground, it’s just incomparable to anything you would do in your everyday life.
What really helps in this situation are the employees working the zip line. They appear to be college-age kids who enjoy the job, have fun, but take it seriously and know some people will need to be put at ease. After all, we are still human beings about to fly three-quarters of a mile through the air. Instructions are clear and they’re patient with questions and concerns. A mural in the stairwell on the way up to the roof explains that the zip line is strong enough to support a vehicle. That also helps. I feel like an idiot for skipping lunch.
My wife and I get launched off the roof at the same time, although my 100-pound weight advantage gets me to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum sooner. The ride lasts about 45 seconds, which is enough time to settle down, realize the harness is working and calmly drink in the scenery. Toward the end it seems as though my feet might clip a couple treetops, but the clearing arrives in time and more helpful employees are waiting for my arrival on the platform. An awaiting shuttle drives us back to the Fox Tower.
5:15-6:30 p.m.: Halftime
Coated in massage oil and fear sweat, showers are in order before dinner.
6:30-8:30 p.m.: High steaks
Like a Thanksgiving turkey, I’m clean and ready to be stuffed. Lucky for us we have reservations for two at Cedars Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. A mojito and Texas mule kick things off right, and a wedge salad, French onion soup, and garlic bread with cheese fondue are all above-average apps. My wife opts for the filet mignon and I go for the filet special with a peppercorn crust.
Certain expectations come with dining at an upscale steakhouse, especially on casino property. The bar is set higher. Cedars hits that bar. The service is excellent, drinks are well made, and the steak is top quality. However, there is no room, or time, for dessert. We have to go play golf. At night. In a bar.
8:30-10 p.m.: Swingtown
The Topgolf Swing Suite is an adult playground. It’s a bar, so you have to be 21 to get in, but it’s also an arcade, so there’s no whiny kid hogging NBA Jam. Boomshakalaka!
We had one of the private suites reserved for an hour. The back wall is a giant video screen hooked up to a computer you control. You can play golf, baseball, football and a bunch of other games. For golf, you tee up a real ball, hit it with a real club into the screen (hopefully), and the speed and trajectory of the ball determines where it lands on the virtual course. You can play a whole round while a server brings you food and drinks.
In football, three receivers run patterns and you have to throw it accurately to the open guy. I know you’re not supposed to throw teammates under the bus, but the passes were there. They were dropping balls left and right. I demand a trade. Baseball proves to be my favorite game option in the suite. The batters in this video game are zombies, so now I know what it’s like to pitch against the Mets. The radar gun is a nice touch and I reach 70 mph, but I feel a pull in my hamstring and my fingers are going numb, so I think it’s time to lay down for the night before I really hurt myself.
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Brunch with a VUE
We wake up, steal another glance out the window, shower, pack, and load the car before heading to VUE 24. The sky brunch is phenomenally organized and executed. We start off with bottomless mimosas and bellinis. There’s a cold buffet with shrimp cocktail, smoothies, salads and fruit and a dessert buffet that may make you skip everything else. In addition, there are small plates, which are unlimited, and we order eggs Benedict, stuffed brioche French toast, short rib hash and bacon steak. That’s how you start a day.
1-6 p.m.: Lake of smiles
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but not for me. While my wife is heading home, I am heading to the first tee of the North Course at Lake of Isles. I meet up with three buddies to take aim at a course that will undoubtedly get the best of me today. It’s a beautiful layout with vistas on almost every hole. The 90-acre lake comes into play often but isn’t obtrusive, and long wooden bridges produce a delightful click-clack from the wheels of the golf cart as it rides to the next tee, and the inevitable double-bogey.
All the putts on the 18th green finally in the hole, we head back to the clubhouse, ready to hit the road. I realize I’ve just spent two tremendous days at a casino without placing a single bet. What are the odds of that?
Upcoming Shows at Foxwoods Resort Casino
Information is subject to change. See foxwoods.com for details.
July 4: Alice Cooper
July 7: Kansas
July 12: Anthony Hamilton and Musiq Soulchild
July 12: Rob Schneider
July 13: Vic DiBitetto
July 18: Amos Lee / Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers
July 19: "Weird Al” Yankovic
July 20: Nickelodeon's JoJo Siwa
July 26-27: Reba McEntire
July 27: Tony Danza: Standards and Stories
July 28: Aaron Lewis and the Stateliners
August 2: Steve Miller Band / Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
August 2-3: A Woodstock Experience to Benefit St. Jude’s Hospital
August 3: Jerry Seinfeld
August 8: Tesla
August 9: 85 South Show
August 9: Tom Segura
August 10: MC Hammer, Kid ‘n Play, 2 Live Crew and Naughty By Nature
August 16: Mark Knopfler
August 17: The O’Jays & Kool and the Gang
August 22: An Evening with Jill Scott
August 23: Squeeze
August 24: Ron White
August 25: Lenny Kravitz
August 30: Brooks & Dunn
September 1: Gabriel Iglesias
September 5: Mary J. Blige
September 7: Lil Duval
September 13: Pablo Francisco
September 20: Dave Attell
September 20: The B-52s
September 21: Adam Ant
September 21: The R&B Experience with Jagged Edge, 112 and Mya
September 27: Brian Regan
September 27: Wynonna and The Big Noise
October 1-27: Legends in Concert
October 4: Michael Blackson
October 9: Carrie Underwood
October 11: Incubus
October 12: Freestyle Extravaganza 2019
October 18: Toto
October 25: RuPaul’s Drag Race
November 1: Chris D’Elia
November 1-2: The Office! A Musical Parody
November 16: A Magical Cirque Christmas
November 16: Majah Hype
November 17: Los Temerarios
November 22: Jay Leno
December 13: Nickelodeon’s Double Dare Live!
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