Wellness Weekend: We Took Health To The Next Level At Canyon Ranch
As much as most of us try to make wellness a way of life, there are some occasions where we just need something more. We need to be forced to disconnect from work email and social media because we don’t have enough restraint to do it ourselves; we need a quiet environment where we can actually get those doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep; we need to not have to run a gazillion errands after carving out just one hour to get in a bit of exercise and do something for ourselves. In short, we need to get away. And that’s exactly what I had the pleasure of doing this past weekend at Cayon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts.
But before I get into my experience there, let me tell you a little something about trying to get away when you live in a big city and you don’t own a car. It can be a nightmare; so much of a nightmare that sometimes you don’t even feel like traveling is worth it by the time someone begs you for change you don’t have on the Subway, you make the mad dash to try to grab a seat to yourself on Amtrak, or TSA gives you all the ‘tude at the airport. All of that travel stress doesn’t exactly set you up for a time of relaxing, relating, and releasing, which is why driving — in Buick’s new 2018 Enclave Avenir, no less — was a total game-changer.
Now, for a lot of people, a car is a car is a car; if it gets you from A to B, then it’s done its job. As someone who’s not a “car person,” per say, I’m inclined to agree. Except, I’m also the type of person who needs to have control of the radio 75% of the time; needs her phone on 100%, 100% of the time; is paranoid about missing calls and emails; wants to be nice and toasty (without making the driver fall asleep); and loves big spaces with tiny compartments. I know, I’m a lot, which is why when Buick promised an “elevated” experience when trying out their 2018 SUV I figured we’d be talking about a bunch of driving features that don’t excite me. Little did I know, the 2018 Avenir would pretty much cater to my every need.
Let me just start with the two big Ws that kicked off my weekend of wellness– a wireless charging pad in the center console that’s compatible with the iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy 8, and WiFi. I can’t tell you how nice it was to not have to have an iPhone versus Android debate in the car with my friend and her husband because someone didn’t have a cord they needed and your device isn’t compatible (You know that’s how it always starts). And, to quote my girl who cheated and had to do work on the drive back home, “the WiFi was everything.” So was the standard size outlet on the back of the center console that kept her Mac laptop charged the entire time.
With only three of us in a seven-seater that you’d swear only fits five from looking at the SUV’s compact design, we had more than enough space. By the time we arrived at Canyon Ranch after our three-and-a-half hour drive I felt rested rather than restless from being cramped in a car — the heated seats might’ve had something to do with that too. There was also the fact that each of us could connect to the car via Android and Apple Auto Play to listen to our own music of choice via Spotify, iTunes, or Google Play which made for a peaceful, personalized journey.
When I checked into my room at Canyon Ranch I slept the best I had in weeks and I’m pretty sure the drive down had something to do with that, though the mattress and Mascioni luxury Italian linens at the ranch deserve some credit too.
With a good night’s sleep under my belt I was more than ready to take advantage of Canyon Ranch’s numerous experience offerings, from fitness and cooking classes to nutrition and spiritual wellness seminars, creative arts, and, of course, spa services.
We began the morning with a 45-minute muscle conditioning class followed by a cardio class using Kangoo Jump Boots. My friend and I were both pretty intimidated by the idea of running, jumping, and squatting in these boots, but as cliché (and unbelievable) as it sounds, the boots actually made running all those laps fun. And as someone who deals with knee pain, the relief these boots gave my joints confirmed this class was a good choice.
Funny enough, I had no fear going into the Aerial Yoga session, which is something I’ve always wanted to try, but as soon as I sat in the hammock, doubt set in. I’m not a huge yoga person to begin with and stabilizing my body in the fabric proved to be much harder than expected. But doing a handstand and standing in the hammock were truly an out of body experience. I was so proud of challenging myself like I did and actually accomplishing my goal. And it was quite fitting that I was rewarded with a 100-minute hydration ritual and a 50-minute facial in the spa immediately after. Good planning on my part, right? I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but when my friend’s husband hugged me immediately after his spa treatments and thanked me for inviting them along I knew his experience was just as good as mine.
After all of Saturday’s activities, we called it an early night following dinner and started the next morning with a 90-minute class on cooking with healing foods. My friend’s husband is currently on dialysis while awaiting a kidney transplant and diet is everything for them. This class, taught by Chef Maggie O’Mara who’s also a registered dietitian, was absolutely invaluable for all of us as she demonstrated how to make an antioxidant-rich cherry and black smoothie as well as healthy, unprocessed snacks like lentil hummus and mashed green soybeans. And though we were hesitant about the crispy oven-baked cinnamon chicken on the menu, the dish actually turned out to be our favorite. And thanks to the fresh herbs in the recipe, like rosemary and parsely, it’s also good for the body.
After letting my meal digest, I worked out on my own in the ranch’s cardio & strength gym whose equipment rivals many standalone fitness facilities. And, again, I followed by workout with a relaxation ritual via a 50-minute sole rejuvenation foot treatment that did wonders for my plantar fasciitis. Sadly, my experience at Canyon Ranch ended there, but that was certainly a nice way to make my exit.
When the valet returned our Avenir, I knew there was still a bit more luxury left in our weekend as we piled into our seats and got cozy for the quick trip back home. Between the SUV’s ionization system that filters out odors and provides higher air quality and QuietTuning noise cancellation technology, the difference between the remote town of Lenox and New York City wasn’t quite so stark. I can truly say I had a completely rejuvenating wellness experience from ride to ranch.