Culture

5 great girlfriend getaways

Author: Elle Canada

Culture

5 great girlfriend getaways

New Age Health Spa, New York

Lay of the land
Cayuga Yoga and Meditation Centre, spa, fitness complex, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, whirlpool tubs, hiking trails, Alpine Tower, tennis courts, a sweat lodge, a labyrinth, and a bird sanctuary.

The food
The menu here is mostly vegetarian with vegan options as well as fish and chicken entrees available at dinner. Their almond-crusted trout, the strawberry and spinach salad, and the homemade Spa Pizza (loaded with veggies) are worth mentioning. The salad bar is a marvel, replete with mounds of salad greens, veggies and sprouts from the property's three greenhouses and garden. The chefs also use this bounty (including the fruit from the orchard) in New Age recipes. Those interested in their cleansing, detoxifying, juice-fasting program take three meals consisting of fresh raw juice, which may be supplemented throughout the day with spring water and lemon, potassium broth, or herbal tea.

Get your heart rate up
If you need motivation and creativity out of a fitness class to take your mind off the pain (and boredom) of working out, there are classes such as toning with the body ball, Pilates, interval training, belly-dancing, step aerobics, and abs workout, and cardio boxing.

Zen out
Those in search of a fit mind should commit to their "spiritual program": a head-to-toe, inside-and-out course of therapy that includes cardio, yoga, meditation, and lectures, much o fit held in the sun-drenched Cayuga Yoga and Mediation Center. (You can just attend the individual classes.) And in the tradition of the Native Americans, the spa has built its own sweat lodge out of willows for guests to use from May through September. When water is thrown on fire-heated stones, the round hut fills with steam, purifying towel-wrapped guests through sweat.

Best spa treatments
In the Healing Stone Massage, smooth hot stones are applied to the back and used to knead away tension, aromatherapy is worked into it and there's a focus on balancing your body's energy centers or chakras, which can get clogged when we are stressed or fearful ($185 for 100 minutes). And the Paradise Mountain Rain treatment is an indulgent recipe for fatigued skin: deep-sea salt scrub, mud wrap, Vichy shower, and Pomegranate and Cranberry Body Butter (110 minutes $190).

Special packages
Every month, a weekend is devoted to a special practice of yoga (Vinyasa, Power, Hatha) with a visiting, well-know yogi. Four seasonal juice fasts are held a year as is a yoga and juice fast weekend once a year. Every November and May, a Birding Weekend is centered on watching the bald eagles with local experts from the Audubon Society. There's also a cooking workshop in early December that prepares you for healthy holiday entertaining. And various spa packages are always offered.

What's included
Accommodations, three meals a day, and unlimited classes and lectures. Weekly rates start at $1,285; mini-weeks (Sunday to Friday) start at $1,020 with two qualifying treatments for free; and nightly packages start at $204. Prices fluctuate by season (peak rates are in effect Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays as well as every day from July through September).

One click and you're off
New Age Health Spa
(800)-682-4348

Feel the heat in Miami on the next page ...


Find out where celebrities go for a spa day!

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Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book
50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America by Marybeth Bond. Copyright ©2007 Marybeth Bond. All rights reserved.


Miami

Neighborhoods for strolling
Get a taste for Cuba in the Little Havana District. You'll encounter the domino players in Domino Park, shops with Cuban souvenirs, and the El Credito Cigar Factory, where you can watch cigars being rolled. Then sip a cafe con leche and feast on arroz con pollo (chicken with yellow rice) and catch an evening flamenco performance. The villiage-like neighborhoods of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables and their galleries, sidewalk cafes, and small boutiques are great places to spend an afternoon.

Best shopping
There's something for everyone in the open-air Lincoln Road Mall of South Beach: boutiques, big-name stores, antique shops, a Sunday morning farmers market, art galleries, and cafes. Further north, on Collins Avenue, the Bal Harbor Shops completely transform the concept of a shopping mall. Every high-end designer imaginable, from Prada to Chanel to Gucci, has a store here.

A day at the beach
White sand, turquoise water, and beautiful people are the ingredients that have made South Beach one of the world's most famous beaches. Lavish art deco and contemporary hotels skirt the beach, but between 5th and 15th Streets there are none: a prime spot for spreading out your towels and spending the day. And if you can't afford to be a guest at the nearby Ritz-Carlton, at least pretend you can with lunch and cocktails at its swank oceanfront DeLido Beach Club. Check out our guide to South Beach here.

For more of a natural beach experience, visit the mile-long beach of Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne and its 19th-century lighthouse. And on Virginia Key, a non-residential island in the bay with a large wildlife conservation area, you'll find beaches with a wilderness feel.

Thrift and vintage clothing
C. Madeleine's in North Miami Beach has outfitted celebrities and Sex and the City actors in their extensive collection of elegant vintage clothing and accessories. And at the Douglas Gardens Thrift Shop, a warehouse full of inexpensive stuff, you'll unearth some treasures if you're patient.

Where to stay
Sonesta Hotel & Suites Coconut Grove offers "Just Us Girls" packages that include tickets to the Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden and a Bloomingdale's discount card (starting at $260 per room; 800-766-3782, www.sonesta.com/coconut_grove).

Affordable, centrally located hotels may be found by visiting the city's official tourism website, which offers a wide selection of hotels, especially for holiday periods. You'll find an up-to-date list of accommodations based on information provided by the hotels that includes room availability. location, toll-free phone numbers, and rates. Then contact the hotels directly for the most updated information, packages, and specials. For Miami Beach and South Beach hotels from $129, go to "Hotel Availability Information."

On a budget
The Spanish Mediterranean-style Clay Hotel & Hostelling International is situated on historic Espanola Way in South Beach (starting at $54; 800-379-2529, www.theclayhotel.com).

One click and you're off
www.miamibeaches.com

Stay closer to home and visit Old Quebec City on the next page ...

Find out why Lima is South America's new hotspot



Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book
50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America by Marybeth Bond. Copyright ©2007 Marybeth Bond. All rights reserved.


Sit front row at all the major Spring fashion shows with our NEW live runway videos. You can check out the latest beauty trends here! Quebec City

Neighborhood for a stroll
In many ways historic Old Quebec reminds me of Venice: You can wander its narrow labyrinthine streets, come across squares with statues and old churches, and never really get lost.

Contained within the walls of the city, it's so cute and unspoiled that you may think you're on a movie set. Two popular thoroughfares, rue Saint-Louis and rue Saint-Jean, bisect the neighborhood with boutiques, cafes, and B&Bs. The rest of the tiny streets, some barely wide enough for a truck to get through, meander up and down the hills, bedecked with immaculate stone buildings, cottage-like houses, and cafes ticked into alleys. The painted shutters, tasteful flower boxes, and new-looking bright red roofs are evidence that Quebecers clearly take pride in the city.

Best shopping
Inside the city's walls, rue Saint-Jean is lined with popular French and Canadian clothing stores – there's no Gap here. Just off this avenue you'll find a true gem, Les Dames de Soie, a porcelain doll museum, workshop, and store in one. The street then continues on the other side of the wall – this is where the locals do much of their shopping. There are specialty food shops like Jean-Alfred Moisan, which occupies an 1871 building and is brimming with chocolate, teas, prepared food, spices, oils, and preserves, mostly from Europe and Quebec. Up the street, the Musée Choco pays homage to the art of chocolate with handmade truffles and gelato that will make you swoon. At the bottom of the funicular, you can witness the traditional art of glassblowing and purchase unique glasswork at Verrerie la Mailloche on Place-Royale, the oldest retail row in North America.

Thrift and vintage clothing
See what a French “friperie” (second-hand clothes shop) has to sell, in a borough called Sillery/Sainte-Foy, near the major shopping malls. It is 20 minutes by city bus from the Old City. Friperie et solderie dégriffé, 1065, route de l'Eglise (418-654-1054).

Best café
LEP PETIT COCHON DINGUE in Lower Town may be crowded, but there's a good reason. The sugar cake, doughnuts, and café au lait are exquisite. Chefs prepare the pastries right in front of you and there are sidewalk tables for people watching. 6, rue Cul-de-Sac (418-694-0303).

Where to stay
High above the Saint Lawrence River, Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac dominates the skyline of Quebec City with its regal architecture. It's been the hotel of choice for presidents and royalty since it opened in 1893. (This is where Roosevelt and Churchill planned D-Day.) Now part of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, it remains the city's premier accommodation. You could stay here 618 times and never have the same room; each comes furnished with heavenly bedding and offers views of either the river or the Old City (starting at $199 Canadian). Located at 1, rue de Carriers, Quebec City (800-441-1414, www.fairmont.com/frontenac.

For something on a smaller scale, down the street from the Chateau you'll find Le Clos Saint-Louis, a B&B in a Victorian-era home with 18 lavish guest rooms starting at $165 Canadian from November 2-April 30; $205 from May 1-November 1. Located at 66, rue Saint-Louis, Quebec (800-461-1311). The moderately priced and charming La Place d'Armes Inn sits in the center of Old Quebec and looks onto the Chateau Frontenac (starting at $85 Canadian; $115 during the busy season). 24, rue Sainte-Anne, Vieux-Quebec (866-333-9485).

On a budget
Auberge Internationale de Québec is a superlative hostel in the Old City that includes breakfast in its room rates that can run as low as $26 Canadian for bed in a dorm-style room (private rooms are available as well). Located at 19, rue Sainte-Ursule (418-694-0755, www.cisq.org.

One click and you're off
Quebec City Tourism (418-641-6654, www.quebecregion.com .

A Mexican getaway on the next page ...



Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book
50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America
by Marybeth Bond. Copyright ©2007 Marybeth Bond. All rights reserved.
Rancho La Puerta, Mexico

Lay of the land
Three pools, three health center buildings (one male, two female), five hot tubs, three saunas, four lighted tennis courts, eleven gyms, a track, two volleyball courts (one sand), a basketball court, and a labyrinth.

The food
The heart of the ranch, the two-level dinning room welcomes guests to eat in the glory of high ceilings with exposed wooden beams, spiral staircases, colorful Mexican rugs, and chandeliers, plus there's a veranda for outside dining. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, while dinner is served. The ranch's low-fat diet is mostly vegetarian and the Mexican influence really livens up the menu. Favorites include their signature guacamole and chile rellenos, plus there's typically the choice of fish. (The seafood comes from a nearby open-air market where local fishermen sell their catch of the day.)

Zen out
Finding your way through the labyrinth, a meditative path modeled after the one at Chartes Cathedral in France, is like a walking meditation. At night, it's lit by luminaries for strolls under the moon. The morning Woodlands Meditation Hike is a silent guided walk in the foothills of sacred Mount Kuchmaa. Seated meditation classes are also held daily. And sometimes Meditative Dinners are arranged: meals without conversation often accompanied by inspirational music.

Best spa treatments
The first treatment to be offered at the ranch was an herbal wrap meant to ease the muscles of guests worn out from exercise. Today the Aromatherapy Wrap, one of four wraps offered, rolls you up in a snug fragrant bundle of hot lines with special oils and herbs (30 minutes for $40). The Hot Riverstone Massage is a top pick for those looking for heat and massage to dissolve knots ($65 for 50 minutes).

Special packages
Dozens of Special Weeks are offered throughout the year. In August, the resort sets aside its facilities, staff, and rooms exclusively for the use of ladies over two Women's Weeks. There are also weeks in which experts are invited to teach various disciplines of yoga, dance, or Pilates, as well as writing and art. Check the ranch's calendar for these themed weeks. (Prices are the same as weekly rates.)

What's included
Accommodations, three meals a day, unlimited classes and lectures, and transfers to and from San Diego on Saturdays. Weekly rates start at $2,690 per person. Prices drop slightly in the off-season (June through December 30).

One click and you're off
Rancho La Puerta (800-443-7565, www.rancholapuerta.com .

Take a trip to the Berkshires on the next page ...



Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book
50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America by Marybeth Bond. Copyright ©2007 Marybeth Bond. All rights reserved.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Best main street
Stockbridge is right out of Norman Rockwell painting. Actually, it was his inspiration: He called the town home for the last 25 years of his life. Bakeries, galleries, and retail shops in late-19th-century buildings and the Red Lion Inn, which began as a stagecoach tavern in 1773, constitute Main Street, with the southern Berkshires mountains in the background.

Best outlet shopping
Nearly 70 discount clothing and housewares stores in Lee sell stylish labels for less. There's no sales tax on clothing, remember, so you may as well outfit the whole family in Polo, J. Crew, Coach, Izod, and Calvin Klein (413-243-8186, www.primeoutlets.com .

Best vintage shopping
You'll find a wide selection of vintage clothing (in excellent condition), jewelry, and linens, as well as antiques at Nora Martin Antiques in Pittsfield. 446 Tyler Street (413-499-0927, www.norasantiques.com .

Need a good read?
The Bookstore in Lenox, Massachusetts, is a favorite among locals as well as visitors. You will find the best sellers, regional interest titles, and books by regional authors. The knowledgeable and well-read staff will offer personal recommendations of authors and favorite books. Call for a schedule of author appearances, book-signing parties, and poetry readings. 11 Housantonic Street. (413-637-3390).

One click and you're off
Berkshire Visitors Bureau (800-237-5747, Berkshires.org.

Read more
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The ultimate girlfriend getaway in St. Kitts



R
eprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book
50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America
by Marybeth Bond. Copyright ©2007 Marybeth Bond. All rights reserved.

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5 great girlfriend getaways