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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

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Travel Essentials

Amtrak Empire Service between Albany, Hudson or Rhinecliff, NY and Penn Station, NYC.

Amtrak 449 Lake Shore Limited between Pittsfield and South Station, Boston.

Bard Bus and Shuttle  On select summer weekends, Bard offers round-trip bus service from Manhattan’s Lincoln Center directly to the Fisher Center, exclusively for performance ticket holders: $30 round-trip. Reservations are required. Box dinners can be ordered in advance for $10. Bard also offers shuttle service from and to the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station for select performances: $10 each way.

Mega-bus between Albany and Ridgewood, N.J. and Penn Station, NYC.

Metro-North Railroad between Wassaic, Dover Plains, or Poughkeepsie, NY and Harlem (125th Street)  or Grand Central Station, NYC.

Peter Pan Bus Lines  Boston/Albany route serving Albany, Great Barrington, *Lee, Lenox, *Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Williamstown, and Boston South Station and Boston Logan Airport  (*greater frequency, better fares). NYC/Williamstown route serving Williamstown, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, MA, or Canaan, CT and Port Authority Bus Terminal, NYC.

Roosevelt Ride Free Shuttle  Free round-trip shuttle service daily (summer through October) from the Poughkeepsie train station to Hyde Park, Val-Kil, the Vanderbilt Mansion, Top Cottage, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum so Metro-North train passengers can tour historic sites without a car. For reservations and tour info, call the Wallace Visitor Center: 845-229-5320.

Weather Underground
The radar is especially useful for tracking snow, sleet and thunderstorms.

Gas Prices
The price of gas at many of the stations in your zip code and those immediately surrounding it.

[See more Excursion articles]

New Year, New You…(And Some Sweetheart Deals)

Kathryn Matthews is a lifestyles writer based in New York City and Red Hook, Dutchess County.  She frequently writes about travel, health, food and leisure for the New York Times, Town & Country and O Magazine.

On New Year’s Eve, you swore that THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.  You’d eat healthier.  Exercise more.  Refresh your look.  Think positively.  Breathe deeply.  Relax.

Unfortunately, one tiny backslide snowballed…….(and we know how THAT story ends!)

Recommit to those resolutions—with your partner—just in time for the upcoming Chinese New Year (The Year of the Tiger), which, in 2010, begins on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  Who says resolve and romance can’t mix?

Especially when our region’s rich network of spas, wellness and fitness facilities means that there’s no shortage of expert guidance to feeling good or looking good—both inside and out.  Many are offering couples-themed packages through Feb 14th or until end-month, making Valentine’s Day weekend the perfect time to take those first baby steps toward The New and Improved You.
 
Canyon Ranch
Rural Intelligence Road TripsWhere else can you get a complete physical evaluation, spend 50 minutes with a physician and enjoy five-star hotel accommodations?  At Canyon Ranch’s renowned Integrative Health Center, a roster of board-certified doctors, health specialists and nutritionists work with you in a 100,000-square-foot Spa complex within a restored 1897 marble and brick Bellafontaine mansion, a replica of Louis XVI’s Petit Trianon.  The 120-acre scenic grounds laced with trails are ideal for snow-shoeing or cross country-skiing.

Wednesday, February 10th to Sunday, February 14th; All Day
Looking to make heartfelt changes that benefit you and a loved one?  This week, Canyon Ranch Lenox teaches practical strategies for heart-healthy living with its “Nourishing Your Heart” event.  Resort guests will be privy to the latest heart research findings presented by a team of wellness experts, who will also address common heart-health concerns, as well as various body, mind and spirit approaches to lifelong cardiovascular health.  In addition to nutrition and cardiovascular fitness, classes include meditation instruction; mastering the art of forgiveness; stress reduction through Traditional Chinese Medicine; and biofeedback. 

When it comes to l’affaire du coeur, activities like Partner Yoga or massages a deux encourage couples to get physical.  Or they can book a “Sexual Health” consultation with a certified sex counselor or licensed therapist to address sexual satisfaction and intimacy issues, ranging from post-operative concerns to menopause and inhibitions.

Through March 17th: a 3-night stay in deluxe accommodations starts at $1,930 (per person) for double occupancy and includes all meals, taxes and gratuities.

Canyon Ranch
Lenox, MA; 800.742.9000 or 413.637.4100
 
Cranwell Resort & Spa
Rural Intelligence Road TripsBuilt on the site of what was originally the Berkshire Hunt Club in 1926, the Cranwell Resort, situated on 380 rambling acres, is known for its 18-hole championship golf course.  But golf isn’t the only attraction at this small luxury resort with 114 guest rooms, charmingly appointed among an eclectic ensemble of buildings on the property that include an 1894 Tudor mansion, a late 19th century cottage and carriage house and three townhouses.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are pleasurable ways to explore a snow-blanketed landscape at Cranwell, and 6.25 miles of groomed trails crisscross the property.  If you’d rather cocoon, the 35,000-square-foot Spa, which offers over 50 spa services, has 16 treatment rooms, a full-service salon and a fitness center with certified trainers on hand.  Some treatments are geared specifically toward men (Man’s Facial and Man-icure) and teens (the Cranberry Yuzu Sugar Scrub). And spa-themed packages abound, from day spa specials that include lunch at the cafe, to overnight “Spa Stays”. 

SWEETHEART DEAL:  Though Sunday, February 28th
During the month of February, Cranwell is offering a “Romance & Relaxation” getaway package.  In addition to full use of the spa facility, couples will receive a 50-minute Swedish massage and a complimentary, 30-minute instructional session, where, under the guidance of a massage therapist, couples learn to massage each other. 

Cranwell Resort & Spa
Lenox, MA; 800.272.6935 or 413.637.4364
 
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Rural Intelligence Road TripsIf you seek spiritual renewal, emotional wellness or creative expression, consider starting your journey at Kripalu, the largest yoga and holistic retreat center in North America.  Founded in 1983 and named after Hindu yoga master Swami Kripalvananda, the original Kripalu Center was a fully functioning ashram (with a spiritual leader and 350 residents) until 1994.  Now an educational and retreat center, perched atop a hill overlooking Lake Mahkeenac and 150 wooded acres, program offerings focus on personal growth—weight loss, fitness, emotional recovery from trauma, thinking “outside the box”, among others—and “Healing Arts”, which emphasize body work and energy work. The good news: you don’t have to be a yogi—or even like yoga—to practice the “yoga of life”, a philosophy and lifestyle that strives for balance and mindfulness in movement and thought—on and off the mat. 

SWEETHEART DEALS:
Friday, February 12th-Monday, February 15 th (3 Nights)
If you’ve been feeling out of sync with your partner or spouse, two Kripalu programs over Valentine’s Day weekend— “Couples Bodywork: Thai for Two” and “Deepening Your Love: A Retreat for Couples”—encourage physical and emotional intimacy.  “Couples Bodywork” is designed to promote relaxation and playfulness through meditation and touch.  “Deepening Your Love” teaches communication skills that help resolve conflict and foster authentic connection.  For details, see Couples Bodywork.

Friday, February 12th-Sunday, February 14th (2 Nights)
Women game to indulge—and celebrate—themselves over Valentine’s Day weekend can follow the lead of henna artist and designer Stephanie Rudloe, who devotes a two-day workshop (exclusively for women) to the ancient art of shringara, an Indian word meaning “the process of adornment”.  Henna and chocolate are her love-inspiring weapons of choice.  (PS: Considered an aphrodisiac, henna, a natural temporary dye, has been used for centuries to decorate the body for beauty, fertility and abundance.)  In “Shringara Sensual Rituals of Beauty” you master henna body art, massage and henna-designed adornments, sampling Vosges chocolates all the while. Total cost:  $429-$960, depending on accommodations.
 
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Stockbridge, MA; 866.200.5203; 413.448.3152
 
SEVEN Salon Spa
On Route 7 (hence, the name “SEVEN”), smack dab in Norman Rockwell country, this cheery yellow Federal-style building with white trim exudes sweet New England charm. Upon entering, however, you are in an airy, loftlike space with nary a Victorian tchotke in sight.  In 2006, co-owners Mark Johnson (creative director) and Maurice Peterson (general manager) converted the 3,000 square foot interior into an open, light-filled day salon with buffed wood floors, recessed lighting, muted colors and minimalist modern décor.  The ground flour divides into hair and nail stations, and the retail shop carries Jane Iredale cosmetics and other select hair and skincare products, including an organic hair care line.  Body treatments and massages take place upstairs, where there are three treatment rooms and two private steam baths.  “Natural” is a recurrent theme here, from incorporating natural building materials, such as local stone and wood, to the “natural and free” styling philosophy of Johnson, whose roster of clients have included supermodels and celebrities.

SWEETHEART DEALS:
Through Sunday, February 14th
Peterson and Johnson suggest the “Duet Massage” ($180, with 15% off through Valentine’s Day), where couples receive two individual 50-minute massages together as well as a complimentary steam bath. 

Through Sunday, February 28th
And, if you discovered SEVEN by reading this article on Rural Intelligence, say so: you’ll receive 15% off when you choose two or more spa services (including facials, massages and / or body treatments).

Seven Salon Spa
Stockbridge, MA; 413.298.0117
 
FACE Stockholm
Rural Intelligence Road TripsIf you’re ready for a new face—and we mean one that doesn’t involve bruising, hideout recovery time or potentially disastrous consequences—a visit to FACE Stockholm is your ticket.  Founded in Sweden in 1981, FACE is the brainchild of Gun Nowak, who owns and runs the cosmetic company with her daughter Martina Arfwidson.  Nowak’s guiding philosophy adheres to a Swedish beauty ideal: keep makeup simple, clean and natural.  Known for its incredibly diverse range of colors, the brand carries over 200 lip colors and 150-plus eye shadows, along with blushes, foundations, powders and a natural skincare line. 

Overheard on a recent visit to FACE in Rhinebeck:

“Grow out your eyebrows; they’ll better frame and balance your face.”
 
“Crème blush is a must to coax out your cheekbones.”

“Use your fourth finger—it has the most padding—to apply makeup with short, quick strokes.”

That was makeup artist and educator Helen Andersson in action during a private consultation.  After 20 years as a professional makeup artist to famous faces, such as Isabella Rossellini, Heidi Klum and Halle Berry, this native Swede is well-versed in the art of illusion.  And it behooves you to take her advice.  In a short time, Helen’s experienced eye and finesse with a makeup brush transformed less-than-perfect women—from an acne-plagued teenager, to a weathered 50-something—into confident swans, who sailed out the door that day, smiles on their faces.

On offer: a menu of makeup application services (that can also be custom-tailored), including makeup lessons and bridal services.  While both Hudson and Rhinebeck stores carry the full range of FACE Stockholm makeup, skincare and bodycare, the Make Up School is exclusive to the Rhinebeck location.

Through Sunday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day), FACE is donating 5% of all sales to Doctors Without Borders to assist earthquake victims in Haiti.

Face Stockholm
Hudson, NY 518.822.9474
Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.2200
 
Bodhi Holistic Spa
Helping people heal in a holistic, natural way inspired Melinda Macchiaroli, a massage therapist and yoga teacher, to open Bodhi Studio on Warren Street in 2004.  Bodhi, a Sanskrit word that means “awakening” or “self realization”, embodies what Macchiaroli hopes are clients’ takeaway spa experiences.  “Our treatments emphasize ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, and we are also committed to using chemical-free products,” Macchiaroli says.  You can consult with a naturopathic doctor, deep cleanse with colon hydrotherapy, detoxify in an infrared sauna, or opt for “face lift acupuncture” (facial rejuvenation without drugs or surgery).  The boutique, located on the ground floor, carries natural products and organic clothing. 

SWEETHEART DEALS: Through Sunday, February 14th
A special treatment available this week is the “Heart Opener”, a 30-minute Citron Sea Salt Scrub followed by a 60-minute therapeutic massage; $110.

The “Wellness Retreat Gift Certificate Special” includes 3 hours of head-to-toe treatments; $175.

Bodhi Holistic Spa
Hudson, NY; 518.828.2233
 
Rhinebeck Pilates
If you’ve been avoiding exercise because pumping iron (and fear of bulking up) isn’t your thing; you’re sporting a post-pregnancy potbelly; you’re recovering from an injury; or, you struggle with a bad back, Rhinebeck Pilates, run by owner and certified Pilates instructor Elaine Ewing, may be the solution easing you back into movement. 

And, for the last time, Pilates isn’t just for women.  Or for dancers.  Or for elite athletes.  It was, in fact, developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, a once-sickly child who trained as a wrestler, body builder, gymnast, boxer, diver and in the marital arts.  In the early 1920s, he devised an eponymous series of exercises that came to be known as “Pilates” to strengthen, lengthen and tone the body with an emphasis on using core muscles and light resistance.

At the 1,000-square-foot studio, Ewing teaches all sessions on Gratz equipment, true to the original Joseph Pilates design, including the “reformer”, on which various exercises are done on cushioned board that glides back and forth on what resembles a metal bed frame, and the “Tower”, an elevated mat with attached springs and bars.  In 2009, Ewings also became certified to teach Walk-ilates, ideal for improving walking and running biomechanics.

SWEETHEART DEAL: Friday, February 12th-Sunday, February 14th
It’s two-for-one: Recruit a partner to take a mat or tower Pilates class this Valentine’s Day weekend—and he or she can join you for free.  Valentine’s Day gift certificates, from $100 (10 mat classes) to $240 (four duets together) are also available.

Rhinebeck Pilates
Rhinebeck, NY 845.876.5686
 
Haven Spa
Beautiful skin is the focus of this day spa, ensconced in a handsome Victorian in the heart of Rhinebeck village.  For those looking to put their best face forward, Haven offers the latest in skincare technology, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and the Environ DF machine, which uses ultrasound and electrical current to promote the penetration of vitamins and antioxidants into skin.  Facials are designed to address specific goals or issues, from rejuvenation and anti-aging, to acne and rosacea.  The menu of spa services also includes massages and body treatments, such as an exfoliating lemon chiffon body polish and cellulite therapy.

SWEETHEART DEAL:  Through Sunday, February 14th
With the purchase of two gift certificates, Haven offers 50% off the third.

Haven Spa
Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.7369                   —Kathryn Matthews

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