Dear Boston Mamas: Spa Getaways

stonehedge-inn.jpgToday's Dear Boston Mamas question comes from Kimberly via Twitter:

Dear Christine, my hubby and I are celebrating 10 years in September. Any suggestions for a nice getaway? I am in Malden (so, about 5 miles from Boston). We are willing to travel a little!

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Dear Kimberly,

Great question and congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! Jon and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary soon as well, so I've been researching this very topic. Below are a range of options that I investigated, ordered by proximity to Boston.

Note: given that Jon and I only have the time to do a one night getaway, proximity to Boston was important so we could avoid spending a lot of time in transit. I also wanted to find an inn that offered spa services, and was set against a green and peaceful backdrop.

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Country Garden Inn & Spa
Rowley, MA (~40 minutes from Boston)

The Country Garden Inn & Spa is a short range getaway, but admittedly, based on the online photos, the look of the accommodations just wasn't as lush as I was hoping for. I recall seeing descriptions such as "clean and comfortable" in online reviews -- definitely good features for a hotel, but I wanted something more like "serene and beautiful."

Blue, The Inn on the Beach
Newbury, MA (~45 minutes from Boston)

Blue, The Inn on the Beach indeed conjures a serene and beautiful beach cottage vibe via the website. I was very interesting in booking there (I liked the close proximity to Newburyport for browsing around), but all of their getaway packages are for two days. When I emailed the inn about a one night package, they responded with separate accommodation (starting at $345) and couples massage ($275, including gratuity) rates. Though beautiful, I passed on this option because I really wanted to find a one-day package that included meals.

John Carver Inn & Spa
Plymouth, MA (~45 minutes from Boston)

The John Carver Inn & Spa offers one night getaway packages but I ruled this location out quickly because: a) they were booked the night I was looking for; and b) the vibe wasn't quite what I was looking for (based on the photos from the website).

Stonehedge Inn & Spa
Tyngsboro, MA (~45 from Boston)

Admittedly the first thing I thought of when I discovered Stonehedge Inn & Spa was Stonehenge. However, this is where I ended up booking. Stonehedge fit the bill all the way around. It's less than an hour from the city, looks lovely and green, and they offer a one-night spa package that is well spelled out and available for booking online. Extra bonus? You can enjoy the spa facility any time the day of arrival so I booked our spa treatments for earlier in the day (before 3pm check in) so we could get our day rolling earlier. I hope Stonehedge brings the awesome!

Daniel Webster Inn & Spa
Sandwich Village, MA (~65 minutes from Boston)

The Daniel Webster Inn & Spa looks like a sister inn to the John Carver (based on web format and availability). I passed on this option for the same reasons as the John Carver.

Portsmouth Harbor Inn & Spa
Kittery, ME (~65 minutes from Boston)

When I queried about awesome spa getaways on Facebook, my friend Patti responded: "If by awesome you mean ritzy then this isn't the place, but for a cozy B&B spa close to Boston, Portsmouth Harbor Inn & Spa can't be beat. BEST couples massage we have ever had and it's a quick walk over the bridge into Portsmouth for fabulous dinner options."

The Cliff House Resort & Spa
Ogunquit, ME (~1 hour, 20 minutes from Boston)

My friend Christina recommended I check out The Cliff House Resort & Spa and it looks gorgeous (I suppose it's hard to go wrong when situated along a beautiful rocky cliff on the Maine coast!). I definitely would love to try them in the future, but it was a little further than I wanted to travel for this visit. They also did not offer one-night getaway packages.

The Spa at Norwich Inn
Norwich, CT (~1 hour, 50 minutes from Boston)

I have heard repeated raves about The Spa at Norwich Inn. This is another option I would love to try in the future.

Canyon Ranch
Lenox, MA (~2.5 hours from Boston)

I visited Canyon Ranch about 8 years ago with a girlfriend and it lives up to the hype; it's truly lovely. However, it was too far for this visit and also seems to me like less of a drop in for one night type of location.

Cranwell Resort, Spa, & Golf Club
Lenox, MA (~2.5 hours from Boston)

I visited the Cranwell Resort, Spa, & Golf Club for the first time this past weekend, for a work retreat. It was gorgeous and green and the spa was wonderful (I got to swim laps, sit in the hot tub, and also get a massage and pedicure...all awesome). The service was really great all around.

My room (king bed) was nice and spacious and had a pretty little patio. They also offer free wireless (which is great for a business trip, but perhaps not for a 10 year anniversary celebration!). It occurred to me that I might not have initially been drawn to Cranwell since "golf club" is part of their brand and I have no interest in golf, but I would definitely visit again. (I barely noticed the golfers while I was there, by the way.) Also, I hope someone I know gets married there someday; there were a couple of weddings this past weekend and I loved the idea that everyone could enjoy the wedding on the property, lodge there, and get some spa treatments and do fitness classes if they wished.

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Finally, if you're willing to travel further out of the city, my resourceful friend Christina offered yet another lead on the topic: Michael Blanding recently wrote an article for Boston Magazine about the best spas in New England. Aside from Boston's Mandarin Oriental (which I didn't consider due to said desire for a nature-y location), the destinations were a bit too far for the purposes of my getaway, but I would definitely explore them as options in the future when we have more flexibility with time.

I'd love to hear where you end up booking Kimberly! Happy anniversary!

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Image credit: Stonehedge Inn & Spa

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Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.