As the temperature in Westchester once again climbed above 101 degrees, my daughter Kristin and I headed north to the Berkshires for a mother-daughter getaway at Canyon Ranch. I had a weekend of yoga and spa treatments in mind; she wanted intense workouts. Luckily, with Canyon Ranch’s impressive 24-page roster of offerings that week, we each could get what we wanted.
The approach alone is impressive, up a winding drive bordered with gardens and fountains. The moment the hotel came into view, Kristin got a big grin on her face that lasted throughout the weekend. After being welcomed to “the ranch,” we met with an advisor to create a personal itinerary of classes, lectures, and activities; followed by a tour of the indoor and outdoor pools, gyms, yoga studio, and spa with two whirlpool baths, sauna, steam room, and inhalation room. (I knew where I was going to be while Kristin was off at Shockwave, Metabolic Meltdown, and (shudder) 30 Minute Shred classes.) My schedule was a bit tamer: restorative yoga (basically lying on your back yoga), chair yoga (you guessed it, sitting on a chair yoga), eventually working up to an actual standing up yoga class. But the point of coming to a place like Canyon Ranch is to try new things, and I was game. Sort of. Totally Tubing, working out with resistance bands, wasn’t totally horrible, and I didn’t embarrass myself in front of my daughter, an important consideration. But I only lasted about five minutes on the Kangoo Jumps, snowboard-like boots with a bouncy football-shaped spring on the bottom—you had to keep bouncing to keep your balance. Naturally, Kristin got the hang of it right away and was off and bounding around the room like a natural. We both hit our stride on the underwater treadmill—yes, an underwater treadmill—before heading to the spa.
A number of people warned us that food portions were tiny and they left meals still feeling hungry. So for our first lunch, we piled our plates high from the salad bar, ordered soup (carrot ginger—yum), thinking it would be the size of a thimble, and what we figured would be a tiny entrée. Turns out we were in no danger of going hungry—servings were normal size and they even have desserts! Apparently enough people had voiced their desire for larger portions than in the past. In fact, our charming waiter told us we could get multiple entrées or a taste of two or three. At the café, there were lots of snacks to tide you over in between: big bowls of fruit, cookies, hummus cups with veggies, mixed nuts, and box lunches. Do note that alcohol is not served on premises, but you can bring in your beverage of choice to your rooms.
We found it’s pretty easy to choose healthy when all the work is done for you. The salad bar included chopped Romaine, spinach, and mesclun greens; shredded carrots; artichoke hearts; diced beets; and all manner of grains, seeds, and nuts (thoughtfully labeled with calorie counts). We had delicious fish tacos with jicama slaw and salsa, grilled shrimp, a terrific flatbread topped with goat cheese, carmelized onion, figs, and arugula; gorgeous fresh berries at every meal. I attended a class on how to continue these good habits at home, but alas, could not work hours of chopping veggies into my already overbooked days.
As we were driving back home, Kristin and I were comparing other trips we’ve taken together, including a fun stay at Hersheypark when she was eight. When she had seen all the chocolate on display in the gift shop, she had sighed and said: “Oh Mommy, this must be what heaven is like.” Her assessment of Canyon Ranch: “This is my new idea of heaven.” I had to agree.
Details: A two-night package starts at $1,990 per person; www.canyonranch.com.