Tuesday, December 06
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Zen in the Berkshires

I confess. I ate a packet of Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins en route to my weekend getaway at Canyon Ranch. Not exactly a promising portent for visiting this almost three-decade old temple of wellness tucked into the Berkshires. But after a 16-wheeler blew its horn when I started to drift onto the LIE shoulder, I figured that a dose of sugar was in order.

I had risen at dawn in order to arrive in time for lunch followed by a yoga class, an hour of tennis doubles and more. The schedule containing dozens of daily activities had arrived the day before and I was greedy to experience as many as possible in my two-night stay. But after my five-hour trip, the last hundred or so miles winding up the beautiful but serpentine Taconic Parkway, I had barely enough energy to eat lunch (arugula-goat cheese salad and a mini lobster roll), rest in my room and take a deeply unchallenging restorative yoga class. After which I seemed to be able to muster only enough get up and go to fall into a stupor in an infusion room where I was enveloped by eucalyptus-drenched steam.

Dinner was in the Bellefontaine Mansion, formerly a private residence. which now houses dining rooms and medical offices. An imposing replica of the Petit Trianon built in 1897, the edifice’s exterior and the interior library remain true their origins. The dining rooms have been smartly renovated and were bustling with an assortment of couples and groups of women. The spa food is tasty if you can get used to the dearth of fats and salt.

At 8pm the ladies locker room lounge was filled with women awaiting treatments. It seems that the many practitioners offering modalities from Ayurvedic bodywork to anti-aging facials (there are more than 250 services!) are cranking out feel-good vibes well into the night. For my shiatsu massage I lay down on a futon where a lovely Japanese woman crouched — stretching, twisting and pulling me around in between deeply prodding tender pressure points. This was not a massage for wimps.

I awoke early the next day eager to breathe in the deep mountain air on a pole hike around the property’s 120 woodland acres. Alas, the temperature had plummeted overnight. On this morning the region’s first snowfall had turned the surrounding forest into an impenetrable winter wonderland. Perhaps if I’d consulted the program advisors at the ready to guide us on our wellness journey, I might have known about the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Silly me.

Instead I stayed inside and accessed all activities through seemingly miles of glass-enclosed walkways overlooking formal gardens. Alternating between three yoga classes, a spin class, a dip in the pool and sessions lounging by one of two crackling fires, I discovered that you create your own rhythm at Canyon Ranch. The 100,000-square-foot spa complex with its myriad of gyms, salons and inside courts (tennis, racquetball, basketball, squash) allow you to be as tranquil or as active as you wish.

The Wellness Style Year Round
For prospective homeowners looking to live the Canyon Ranch lifestyle from the comfort of their own home, consider the new Canyon Ranch Residences at Bellefontaine. Just announced in October, the 19 eco-friendly condominiums still under construction will allow their owners access to the renowned spa’s facilities and programs. According to a recent study, wellness lifestyle real estate has risen 18.6% in the past two years.

Designed by Architect Robert E. Harrison, with interior design by William Caligari Jr., the residences will boast open floor plans, high ceilings, walnut-paneled entry doors, hardwood floors, custom-designed cabinetry, gas fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom and private balconies and terraces with sweeping views of the forested grounds.

The property is a stone’s throw to Tanglewood and Edith Wharton’s former home, The Mount.
William Pitt of Sotheby’s International Realty is the exclusive sales agency while New York-based broker Nikki Field will serve as a referral agent. $1.35M to $3.5M
www.canyonranch.com/residences