After a full year of working from home while also running a one-student elementary school out of my living room, I needed a break. My doctor had prescribed “self care” rather than the anxiety meds I’d suggested at my last visit, and my futile attempts at meditation and Yin Yoga while my 8-year-old son ignored my “don’t come in the bedroom” pleas weren’t cutting it. I needed Miraval.
The wellness resort opened its third outpost, in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, last July, following the original in Tucson (which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year) and a second one in Austin (which opened in 2019). Less than a three-hour drive from New York City, it’s a godsend for harried, overworked, underappreciated moms who need more than Calgon to take them away from it all. I don’t like to throw around the “d” word—deserve—but every mom (and every dad) deserves some “me time” at Miraval. Here are five reasons why you should book a trip there now.
1. The “mindful” meals are included—and delicious
I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of cooking. Specifically, cooking for picky eaters. Miraval could have fed me cardboard, and I probably would have liked it, simply because I didn’t have to make it myself and there was no one with me to complain about it. But every meal I had at the resort’s main restaurant, Harvest Moon, was wonderful, from a salad topped with Hudson Valley steelhead trout to a perfectly portioned grass-fed “coulotte” steak served with broccoli rabe and parsnip puree. (This is not “spa” food, and yes, there is a wine list.) The all-day cafe, Roost, meanwhile, served up unlimited smoothies, wraps, and treats, including a vegan take on a Snickers bar, which I may have been forced to try a few times…
2. The spa services are heavenly and healing
I think that, along with our stimulus checks, every American—especially health care workers—should have been granted a massage gift certificate. Think how much happier and more relaxed everyone would be! After my Hara Soother treatment—which incorporated a scalp massage, lymphatic dry brushing, breathwork, and a surprisingly relaxing abdominal massage—I felt like a new person. Simply sitting in the spa’s relaxation room, with its windowed ceiling framing the blue sky, made me breathe easier.
3. The Berkshires are simply beautiful
I had never been to the Berkshires before, so I wasn’t prepared for the honest beauty of the land—the rolling hills, gentle ponds, and forests thick with hemlock and white pine. I started off my first full day with a guided hike through Steven’s Glen, along with six other guests. It was early March, and ice still clung to the leaves on the ground, so we all put crampons over our sneakers to avoid slipping. When we passed a small brook, our guide, Zeke, told us to pick up a rock. I figured he just wanted us to have a memento. But then when we reached a waterfall, he asked us to take out our rocks and think of something that was holding us back, that we needed to let go of. We each took turns throwing our rocks into the water below and sharing what we were no longer going to let weigh us down. My family and I were getting ready to move and I was scared of change, so I tossed my fear into that water. As soon as I let go of that rock, I felt lighter. Nature is healing.
4. There are tons of activities
There really is something for everyone at this resort—or something for whoever you want to be that day. Want to take it easy and focus on meditation and yoga? Done. Want to push yourself and try an adventure course that will have you jumping like a squirrel from rope to rope, 40 feet above the ground? Go for it. Interested in gluten-free baking or equine therapy? Those are options too. Many of the courses are included, but the ones that cost extra are worth it. My favorite was a soothing sound bath, during which the practitioner lulled me into a state of pure relaxation with “5,000 years of yak butter and Himalayan dust.” Or, rather, by playing dozens of Himalayan singing bowls. When the sounds finally dissipated, all I could hear was the sound of my breath, in and out, in and out, letting go of all of my stress from the past year.
5. The rooms are little oases of calm
Each night, I picked up a peppermint tea at Roost and took it back to my tastefully appointed room, which featured a color palette of dusty blue, muted blood orange, and dove gray. I would step out onto the balcony to look at the stars and then plop onto my supremely soft bed for a little reading. The rooms all have mini singing bowls, and while I couldn’t play as well as the sound therapist, I did enjoy tracing the rim with the mallet and eventually coaxing out a rich, soothing tone. While I definitely needed a trip to Miraval to help me reset after a year of stress, being there taught me ways I could reset on my own. Which is to say, yes, they do sell singing bowls in the gift shop.