Nestled on 380 acres amidst tall pines and splendid mountain views, Cranwell’s centerpiece structure is The Mansion, a Tudor-style building built by Sloane furniture family magnate John Sloane in 1894, which serves as the resort’s central gathering point for meals: breakfast in the Music Room, small plates in the lounge, and full-service dinner at Wyndhurst, the formal New American restaurant offering dishes such as venison osso buco in a port reduction and roasted grouper with red-pepper remoulade.
There are 13 rooms and suites in The Mansion, but most of the 114 guestrooms are located in various outbuildings, some historic, like the 1882 Queen Anne-style Beecher’s Cottage, some contemporary, like the Carriage House or Founders Cottage, both of which connect to the 35,000-square-foot spa via glass-enclosed heated walkways lined with original art. With more than 50 treatment options, the spa is a glorious sanctuary of detoxifying wraps, recuperative body treatments, and invigorating massages, many using the BABOR line of natural products. There are 16 treatment rooms, separate men’s and women’s lounges, saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools as well as fitness classes ($15) and a hair salon.
For an ultimate splurge designed to bring you back to your carefree days in the womb, try the three-stage Cranwell Grand Mosaïk ($275). This otherworldly, two-hour treatment involves a body scrub; the warm comfort of near weightlessness in a flotation tank; and a full body massage using warmed body balms.
Other facilities on the grounds include an outdoor skating rink, tennis courts, and an 18-hole, par-69 course designed in 1926 by Golden Age golf-course architects Stiles and Van Kleek.
Dine: Enjoy serious eats (no reservations and no substitutions) at Nudel in Lenox (nudelrestaurant.com), an inspired American pasta bar with a daily changing menu. Baba Louie’s in Great Barrington (babalouiespizza.com, also in Pittsfield and Hudson) serves wood-fired, all-natural pizzas on sourdough crusts. A 10-minute drive up Route 7 from Cranwell to gourmet chocolatier Chocolate Springs Café in Lenox (chocolatesprings.com) for house-made peanut-butter cups will ruin the pre-packaged grocery store variety for you, forever.
Explore: The Cranwell is a perfect base camp for antiquing, leaf-peeping, skiing (Catamount and Jiminy Peak are each a 20 minute drive), the performing arts, historic sites, or shopping. Outdoorsy types will enjoy cycling on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, an 11.2-mile paved former railroad track running through Cheshire, Lanesborough, and Adams. For crowd-free kayaking and canoeing, check out Richmond Pond, a 2.25-mile-long raised natural pond near Richmond, Massachusetts. Museums your thing? The Berkshire Museum (berkshiremuseum.org) in Pittsfield contains a fun miscellany of antiquity including an Egyptian mummy and a live fish/reptile exhibit that will interest adults and children alike. Strolling the sidewalks of any of the pedestrian-friendly Berkshire towns (quaint Lenox, historic Stockbridge, fun and funky Great Barrington) is yet another splendid way to spend your time.
The highest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts is at Bash Bish Falls in Mount Washington, MA. Although not in the Berkshire Mountains (it’s part of the Taconic Mountain Range), access points to the Bash Bish are in the Berkshire town of Egremont.
Insider tips: Rumpy’s Tavern (villageinn-lenox.com/tavern.htm), on the basement level of the Village Inn in Lenox, is a retro (read: dark) bar with a diverse crowd, live music on weekends, and friendly owners. On third Thursdays in May through October, 5 to 8 pm, Pittsfield holds a street festival with musicians, artists, sidewalk dining, and after-hours shopping (discoverpittsfield.com/directory/third-Thursday).
Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club
55 Lee Rd, Lenox, MA
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Details: Room-only prices start at $235 (Sunday – Thursday) and $405 (Friday and Saturday) plus tax, August 25 to October 26. The hotel offers a number of packages, including Culture in the Country: one night Classic Resort accommodations, two tickets per person to a cultural event, a $20 dining credit, and full use of the Spa at Cranwell ($137-$225)
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