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Can You Have a Great Time at Foxwoods With No Gambling? Bet on It.

  • 6 min to read
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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.

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G Spa at Foxwoods Resort Casino

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.

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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.

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Virtual baseball

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!


More Summer Travel Ideas:

 

This article appeared in the July 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.