Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Week at New Life Hiking Spa

My sister and I spent a week together doing something positive for ourselves.  We had an entire week to exercise, eat healthy, and enjoy each other. All of this went down at a place I read about several years ago in a magazine, New Life Hiking Spa.  Now it's all over the news lately as it's received awards for the best spa experience, most recently from Travel & Leisure.  We loved it because it allowed us to be in nature every day at an affordable price.

On one of our hikes- what a view!
You can read more about their programs on the website link. You choose the number of days you want to spend, and they offer a program which includes three meals a day, snacks, guided hiking at three different levels, exercise classes, massage, educational talks, and lodging. In northern Vermont, there are all kinds of fun things to do when you take an afternoon off too.  Can you believe we even took a few naps?  When did you last have that opportunity?

The hikes ranged from beautiful to historic. Though there was rain in the forecast every day, we really never got wet. We usually did 3-5 miles every day, trying only the beginner and intermediate hikes.  The advanced hikes were longer with a lot more uneven terrain. You have to have hiking boots for the program, no matter which hikes you choose  We found those really useful, especially on the slippery rocks.  The spa provides backpacks, water bottles, and hiking poles if you want to borrow them while you're there.

On a typical day, we'd go to stretching about 7 am, eat breakfast, then head out for a hike. The hike lasted until lunch time. Then there were classes offered in the afternoons so you could try things you might never have heard of. The pool at the hotel is currently being reconstructed, so there was a shuttle to a pool for swimming exercises. Once it's done at the hotel, it will be great. Dinner was served at 6:30. Then you could participate in an evening program, normally taught by a staff member.  The staff are involved in many aspects- they might teach yoga and also lead hikes, then serve lunch afterwards. Jimmy, the founder, seems to know the special gifts they have and encourages them to share them. During the week I learned about Vermont's wildlife, history, and had a nice chat with one of the chefs.
A pretty lake we walked around

Stretching exercises before and after the hikes

You can google the hikes so you have a better idea about where you are

One of the stone bridges we passed

There are mountains so the hiking can include some heavy duty climbs




Horse hitching post
Wildflowers on a hike



One day we drove through Rutland to Proctor to visit the Vermont Marble Museum. It was fascinating, if you like beautiful things. In the area, are several buildings and a lovely bridge built with the local marble. We also sought out The Coffee Exchange to get some fancy coffee, and it was so worth the trip.
Rutland also has an outdoor Farmer's Market on the weekends, right across from the Coffee Exchange. It's one of the largest in the state.
Another day we drove to the King Arthur Flour Campus. It has a short hiking trail through pine forest and of course, a cafe where all the food is healthy.
Now an art museum, but it had been a bank.  Look at the marble facade on the lower level

At Rutland's Coffee Exchange- in an old bank building

Proctor's Marble Bridge
You can get directions to the spa on the website or call them for advice on flights and transportation.  We flew to Boston and rented a car, then drove. It was nice having a car so we could explore the area, but you could find plenty to do even without a car. There is a bar in the hotel on the weekends, but generally you'd need a car to get to anything fancy. The meals, because they are healthy, only include tea, coffee, water, and juice. If you want soda or beer, you have to go to the bar or a vending machine.

So how did we feel after a week of exercise and healthy meals?  Well, in a word, sore.  It was good to  try some new things, but we were both not in great shape to begin with.  We dealt with bug bites, blisters, and muscle aches. The spa had a first aid kit down in the dining area, for all those problems. I absolutely loved the area and would like to go back in the Fall.  People book those dates months  in advance, and many of the people we met come back EVERY year to jumpstart their summer fitness.

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