5 Reasons To Get Out of Dodge


The dog days of summer are approaching — so why not hit the road? Read on for five of wOw’s favorite escapes

So: it’s 800 degrees throughout the country (feels like 802!); the national debt is not going away any time soon; the Space Shuttle has stopped going to, well, space; another Congressman has resigned in yet another sex scandal; and to top it all off, Marc Antony and J. Lo. have split up. Talk about a mensis horriblis.

If those aren’t good enough reasons to get out of dodge — or start planning to leave dodge in the (very) near future — we’ve got five more. A few involve major pampering; another is about getting out of your comfort zone; another is about shedding a few pounds. No matter what, we promise you’ll feel a thousand times changed. Even if the world hasn’t.

 1. Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, TX

Many a northerner overlooks this magnificent haven in Texas. This is a shame, because a) the food is out of this world — not usually the case at a spa and b) the treatments are some of the best in the business. Right now, they’ve got two new all-natural offerings:

Bamboo Bliss Massage: For centuries, bamboo has signified good luck, long life, peace and harmony. At Lake Austin, specially crafted bamboo tools are warmed and infused with lemongrass oil and slide, roll, and knead along your body. Because the tools can cover a large area, they’re great for trouble spots like your neck, shoulder, back or legs. (80 minutes $210)

Serum of Youth Plant Stem Cell Facial: Swiss scientists have discovered that plant stem cells, drawn from the wound tissue of plants, can replace damaged cells in human skin. In this treatment, an herbal enzyme peel is followed with a plant stem cell serum to stimulate new skin growth and slow cellular aging. It’s a natural face-lift treatment, finished with a firming and lifting cream to reduce fine lines. (50 minutes $170)

2. Canyon Ranch, Lenox, MA

If you want to drop a few pounds and actually keep them off once you leave the hallowed spa walls, Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires is the place to go. Unlike other fitness resorts or boot camps, Canyon Ranch is about sustainability. Rather than restricting your diet, the program helps you personalize a weight-loss program to your own lifestyle and teaches you tools for lasting weight loss. Plus, you can arrive on any date, any time of the year.

3. Trump Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

We know, we know. It’s Vegas. It’s cheesy. It’s the antithesis of relaxing. Except that this hotel — which is off the Strip and does not boast a casino—is about as laid back as you can get in Sin City. Not to mention reasonably priced. The spa recently began offering Quick Fixes—a 40-minute facial; 40-minute massage; 40-minute scrub — for $79. Then, they took it a step further and started offering treatments by the pool (which, by the way, has a very mild “scene.”) A few highlights: Ten to 60 minute massages ($20-$125 ); ten-minute scalp massages ($20); ten-minute neck and shoulder massage with chilled stones and cooling gel ($20); 10 min foot massage ($20); hand or foot paraffin (10 minutes for $20).

4. Adventures on the Gorge, Lansing, WV

If you’re the sort of person who really can’t sit still on vacation – the one who only wants to try out the New and the Different — then head to Adventures on the Gorge, an adventure resort located in the mountains of West Virginia. Here, you can whitewater raft on Class V rapids, horseback ride, rock climb, or attack each other with paintballs. But we suggest you check out the program’s world famous zip lines, which vary in length from just over 100 feet to as long as 730 feet, with zip speeds of up to 30 miles an hour. (Yes, you read that right). The mile-long tour zigzags across the ridgeline of a mountain bowl. Lodging options at the resort run the gamut from rustic tents to luxurious cabins; there are also three on-site restaurants. Prices start at $149 per person, per day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, lodging, and a full day of activities (Alcohol, taxes, fees, and gratuity are not included.)

5. The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY

Sure, you can head up to the country and immediately feel the stress ooze out of your pores. But why not get a little help from your friends? The spa at Mohonk’s “Solutions for Healthy Living” program offers new treatments designed specifically to relieve tension and renew your psyche. Our favorites:

Texting Tension Tamer: This “massage for multi-taskers” takes special care of shoulders and neck, addressed by an upper body massage certain to relieve sore muscles. Hands and forearms receive special attention complemented by an organic vanilla crème. (50 minutes, $120)

The High Heeler: Running around town? Chasing after kids? That’s why you need an invigorating foot scrub and peppermint-infused massage to sooth your sole (and soul).  Real results are achieved through massage and stretch techniques specific to the calves and feet. (50 minutes, $120)


3 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Most of us have dreams; some of us have had dreams from an early age and found they had the will to make them come true.  At one time not long ago I believe I was listed as one of the most travelled women on earth – or perhaps, it was “the most travelled to the farthest most places on earth”.  Places – well, at least one where I was the first person on earth to set foot on it – a place in Queen Maud Land part of Antarctica that has never been attempted again.  It was heaven on earth. . . and I don’t say that lightly.  Some of my greatest experiences cost me nothing.  .  . for I have long found that if you reach for the moon, you can capture a star.  But you have to believe.  

    To make life the best it can be, I learned early about “getaways”.  As I am so happily married, I think of them as “never-ending honeymoons”, but whether travelling alone or “escaping” with my girlfriends to places not that far – make it  just far enough away that no one can find us.  For that is what an escape is.  Time alone, time to think. talk, walk, hike. and regroup.  I call these small escapes better than any medicine on earth.  . at least the way I do it. 

    Remember the last time you laughed until the tears rolled down your checks?  Remember when you saw a sunset that was so touchingly beautiful that you found it touched your heart and was never forgotten?  I may have runners-up that I would love to talk about, but my favorite escape in our country is – for me, for us – Carmel and Big Sur.  I told Clint Eastwood about it, Doris Day, Merv Griffin in the early days . . . and they never left.  I may leave in spirit but pieces of my heart remain.

    Just an hour’s drive from San Jose and tucked neatly along the southern shore of the Monterey Peninsula is the one-square-mile village called Carmel-by-the Sea – a name that seems fitting for a place known for its fairy tale Hansel and Gretel enchanting architecture of its shops and homes and its mecca for artists.  It slides down toward the gorgeous white sand beach and the miles of walks along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.  

    The hotels and motels – each so different than the last and in every price range – would enlist a whole range of beautiful adjectives to describe.  You can hardly go wrong.  If you want some of the most romantic hotels ever, well — some make you feel like a kid again.  I will say no more.

    Promise, even if this is a short getaway, that you won’t leave without seeing some of America’s most incredible scenery on our country’s most incredible highway, snaking along the coastline, twisting and turning south to Big Sur.  Vast stretches of mountains falling sharply into the Pacific, the raw beauty of the waves crashing on the beaches and the tide pools below, and the bombardment of hillsides are covered with flowers of every color.  Your destination is Nepenthe – the most beautiful location for a restaurant in the country, high on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  Sipping a drink may take an hour as you can walk outside all the while, and we often spend half a day here, eating at will and lounging in what was supposed to be Orson Welles/Rita Hayworth honeymoon cottage that became a hidden gem of a restaurant.

    If summer is just too hot to travel, you will find me there in the best month of Carmel’s year – October.  If you want to retain that youthful glow in your eyes, the bit of blush from the sun, and memories that will always loom large in your scrapbook of life, you might want to start planning now.  At the very least, put it on your wish list, as I say it is not to be missed.   

  2. avatar Rho says:

    I wish the Borscht Belt was still like it was years ago.  That’s where I’d be.  I really do not like summer, I am a winter person.  Hate hot weather, was up in those mountains more in the winter than in the summer.

    Been to Vegas, it’s not the same as it used to be.  Much too many hotels, no Rat Pack, etc.

  3. avatar D C says:

    Ahh Summer in Houston.  Nothing like it.  Except maybe in Washington DC.  And Kansas.   And … everywhere this year. 

    One thing I will give Houston — the humidity keeps your skin looking good, if not your clothes.  I had an added bonus yesterday — HOT FLASHES!  Hot flashes in Houston in July.  You just haven’t lived till you’ve had that!  Younger?  Have a BABY in Houston in August!  Now that’s a hot time. 

    I honestly just want want to go sit in a pool that has an ice machine dumping ice every few minutes into it, under a shade cover, with somebody bringing me frozen margarita’s every hour on the hour. 

    But that cooling massage things sounds very nice.