Travel Writer & Author

Month: November 2017

Northern New England Journey

Woodstock, Vermont

With its bucolic centerpiece, The Green; the wooden Middle Covered Bridge that spans the Ottauquechee River; and streets lined with 19th-century buildings, Woodstock, Vermont, epitomizes the quintessential Green Mountains village. It celebrates winter with skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sleigh riding, and sledding (an indoors with swimming and spas).

1. DO

Ski and snowboard (or hike when there’s no snow) at the pristine family-friendly Suicide Six Ski Area. 247 Stage Road, South Pomfret. (802) 457-6661; At Billings Farm and Museum 1 , the circa 1890 barns and farmhouse are open weekends (November through February) and daily (December 26 to January 1) with lms, sleigh rides, and hot spiced cider. 69 Old River Road. (802) 457-2355; Indulge with a Vermont-inspired seasonal treatment at the 10,000-square-foot, LEED-certi ed spa at the AAA Four Diamond Woodstock Inn and Resort.
14 The Green. (888) 338-2745;

The F.H. Gillingham and Sons general store dates from 1886 and stocks local artisanal cheese, maple syrup, jams, mustard, honey, roasted coffee, and Vermont wine. 16 Elm Street. (802) 457-2100; Browse the local cooperative, Collective-The Art of Craft, where members sell hand-forged hardware; hand-tied, woven, and knitted wear; and handmade jewelry, pottery, wood, and glass items. 47 Central Street. (802) 457-1298; collective Elevation Clothing offers sportswear by Ibex, Patagonia, Dubarry, Barbour, Toms, and Darn Tough Socks. Check the bargain outlet on the lower level. 15 Central Street. (802) 332-6380;

3. EAT

Lincoln Inn and Restaurant at the Covered Bridge Europe-trained chef Jevgenija Saromova’s cuisine is artfully presented and locally sourced.
2709 W. Woodstock Road. (802) 457-7052;
Jesse McNally’s lunch and dinner menu at Bentleys Restaurant ranges from burgers, pulled pork, and steak to duck-con t atbread and seasonal wild- caught cod. 3 Elm Street. (802) 457-3232;
Breakfast or lunch at Mon Vert Cafe 3 , where blueberry muf ns reign among the house-made baked goods. Cabot cheese and local organic produce enhance the French-inspired dishes. 28 Central Street. (802) 457-7143;


Article appeared in
AAA / Northern New England Journal

Remède Spa, The St. Regis Aspen Resort

The “Aspen Idea,” launched in the mid-20th century by Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke, founders of the Aspen Institute, is dedicated to the mind, body, and spirit credo that spa-goers consider intrinsic to the spa experience. Today, it still flourishes as a core community value. While Aspen may be best known as a swank ski resort, the environmentally caring destination offers an extraordinary Colorado Rocky Mountain experience with a plethora of fitness activities.

In winter, you can ski from atop an 11,775 summit on the black diamond ski run or go snowshoeing. On warmer days, you can hike, bike, go water rafting, do sun-salutations atop the peak, or participate in Full Moon Yoga. The former mining town (1879 to 1893) at the foot of “Ajax,” which is what the locals call Aspen Mountain, is now a sophisticated, mini-metropolis with luxury hotels, fine restaurants, chic shops, international art galleries, and a vibrant cultural ambiance. It’s also home to a superlative subterranean spa.

The Remède Spa

Inside the red-brick walls, steeply pointed peaks and castle-like porte-cochere entry to The St. Regis Aspen Resort, there’s a classic, timeless feel and posh public spaces studded with bronze statues and paintings. Down the extravagant staircase to a lower level, Remède Spa, with its circular reception area, offers a hi-tech fitness center, pebbled flooring leading to steam caves, cold plunges, hot tubs, and a river-like, stone-walled Confluence waterfall. The newly refreshed oxygen lounge, adjacent to the main spa lounge offers individual chaises and chairs—each with an oxygen tank. I spent about 15 minutes breathing the oxygen through a cannula in my nose and truly believe it enhanced my breathing at the near 8,000-foot altitude!

I spent about 15 minutes breathing the oxygen through a cannula in my nose and truly believe it enhanced my breathing at the near 8,000-foot altitude!

One of the treatment specialties is the Rocky Mountain Ritual, a full-body treatment that starts with an exfoliation and an aromatherapy bath. A warm hydrating cream is applied and is absorbed into the skin during a foot and scalp treatment. The treatment continues with a 30-minute massage using a warm moisturizer.

The massage that I experienced was a first for me because it incorporated a That’s Natural Premium CBD Hemp Oil product. CBD—an abbreviation for the cannabis compound Cannabidiol—is legal in all 50 states and doesn’t contain any THC—the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that’s responsible for getting one “high.” Considered a supplement, the product is grown by hemp farmers in Colorado, and is said to restore the natural balance within the human body. Some folks claim it reduces anxiety, stress, inflammation, and muscle spasms, but I didn’t notice a significant difference between how I felt after this massage and my usual massage after-glow.

A Taste of St. Regis Cuisine

The St. Regis Aspen Resort offers a full food menu via room service, with ample opportunities to order healthfully and according to your individual dietary needs and wants. Many items are sourced fresh and locally. There are a variety of juices, including a Green Goddess with celery, cucumber, green apple, and pear; an Antioxidant Juice with blueberry, honey, strawberry, mint, and orange juice; or a Tropi-Kale juice with pineapple, kale, and banana. Among the array of egg white dishes, there’s the Egg White Frittata with Roasted Tomato & Arugula (with or without smoked bacon). For lighter fare, there are fruit-based platters, berries, or Fruit-Infused Yogurt. I always favor a smoked salmon plate, because there’s lots of protein and the carbohydrates can be limited. Here, it’s Smoked Salmon Pastrami served with toasted Pretzel Chips, Dill Cream Cheese & Caper Berries.

There are fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza choices, including two that appeal to vegetarians: Wild Mushroom Pizza with Mushrooms, Pine-Nuts & Truffle Oil and a Margherita Pizza with House-made Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella & Basil. Healthful entrée choices include Local Striped Bass with Olives & Tomato Vierge Sauce or Organic Chicken Rotisserie served with Spring Vegetables and mashed potatoes. (Indulge, or ask for a substitution!)

Access to the spa is available to non-hotel guests who have a treatment, or for a $75 fee.

Read More at Insiders Guide to Spas

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