Rest & Relaxation
This winter, take a cue from the season. Embrace its quiet stillness and take some time to relax and recharge after a busy year. Connecticut offers an array of rest and relaxation experiences to meet all needs. If you prefer retail therapy, stroll down a classic Main Street setting and explore the variety of shops and boutiques. To escape it all for a day or two, head to one of our many stress-reducing spas. And to blow off some steam, live it up at the casinos, where gaming, great food, entertainment and sports converge to create an unforgettable experience. And just to get quiet and cozy, find a fireplace to snuggle up with.
Cozying Up to the Fire
A good fireplace can be a crucial decider when you make your overnight plans in Connecticut. It’s nice to find a bar or taproom that features an open fire (Mayflower Inn in Washington has a very nice one, for example, and it’s got a piano, too!), or a restaurant where you can request a table by the fire – you can try the Altnaveigh Inn in Mansfield, Ondine in Danbury, Captain Daniel Packer Inn in Mystic, White Horse Tavern in Marbledale or The Inn at Woodstock Hill in Woodstock for that. But how about a fireplace in your room? That’s a special winter treat in Connecticut, and you can find it in good hotels and inns all around the state. Some places don’t have fireplaces in every guest room, so be sure to mention it when you make your reservation.
At the Inn at Stonington, the gas fire adds to the pleasure of a comfortable room, maybe with a water view, and proximity to the many pleasures of Stonington Borough, right outside the front door.
The Tolland Inn is a true classic old inn right in the center of a small town. The attention to detail is notable and the breakfasts are generous. A fireplace in the room seems very much in keeping with the vibe here.
Is it a genuine wood-burning fireplace that you’re looking for? Four of the five guest rooms as the extraordinary Rock Hall in Colebrook have them. There are few nicer pleasures than rekindling the fire upon waking on a snowy winter morning.
Ask for the Downeast room when you make your reservation at Abbeys Lantern Hill Inn in Ledyard and you’ll have a room with a wood-burning fireplace and an overall seafaring theme.
If you’re headed to Norfolk (“The Icebox of Connecticut”) for, let’s say, a concert at Infinity Hall, you may be very grateful to have a wood-burning fireplace in your room. You can find them at the Blackberry River Inn, right in town.
Winter is a prime time for nourishing the mind and body at a luxurious spa. Treatments give your skin a holiday glow, relieve seasonal stress and rejuvenate you during the long winter months. Escape to one of the many Connecticut spas that serve as complete relaxation destinations offering invigorating treatments, state-of-the-art health facilities, fitness classes, healthy spa menus and deluxe overnight accommodations.
For the ultimate indulgent pampering experience, head to the five-star Winvian Resort in Morris. The 5,000-square-foot spa offers facials, massage, body wraps, manicures and pedicures in one of six unique treatment rooms, including the Forty Winks Suite, featuring a wood-burning fireplace. Relax in the color therapy sauna, take a private yoga class or work out in the spa’s Playground, which offers cardio, yoga and pilates equipment. Recharge in the Relaxation Lounge, overlooking a reflecting pool and gardens, and sip an energizing drink from the juice bar or dine on light spa cuisine.
In Norwich, the Spa at Norwich Inn, named the “Best Destination Spa in New England” by Yankee Magazine, provides the ultimate R&R escape. Choose from facials, manicures and pedicures, body wraps and polish treatments, hydrotherapy and massage, as well as a long list of fun fitness classes, including belly dancing, cardio water workouts and candlelight yoga. Fitness tips from a personal trainer, a guided 2.5-mile morning walk and meditation classes are complimentary to guests. Day and overnight packages combine spa treatments, fitness classes and healthy gourmet meals in Kensington’s, the on-site restaurant. Unwind after the holidays with the spa’s Nirvana treatment, which combines herbal body exfoliation with the Shirodarah treatment, in which warm herbal-infused oil is gently streamed onto the third eye to calm the mind and soothe the senses.
If you seek the calming effects of the ocean, take a day – or weekend – to rest at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook. The spa uses only marine ingredients in its treatments for relaxation and balance. Enjoy the Spa Relaxation Package which includes a three course dinner for two, overnight accommodations, and two spa treatments.
In nearby Old Saybrook, the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also offers a full menu of spa treatments using marine elements from the Brittany Coast of France, including organic sustainably cultivated seaweed that revives the skin with essential minerals. Detoxify and tone your skin after the holidays with the spa’s customized facial, which features organic ingredients from an array of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices that address a variety of skin concerns such as sensitive, sun exposure, lost tone and radiance. In the health club, relax in the sauna, steam room or whirlpool, get an aquatic workout in the heated pool or try one of the many fitness classes, such as yoga, Tai Chi, pilates and Aqua Works. Nourish your body in the Fresh Salt, which serves up creative American cuisine, fresh local seafood and locally sourced ingredients for spa visitors. A Connecticut certified “green” lodging property.
The Red Door Spa in Groton at the Mystic Marriott offers a full menu of salon and spa services from signature skincare, massage and body treatments to nail care, hair design, makeup artistry and more. Enjoy the indulgent experience for which Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas are known. The hotel makes a great base for other activities to enjoy along the shore, and it’s a short drive up to the casinos, too.
Visit the Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington and discover the shimmering pool, mosaic domed whirlpool and the subtly scented Thermal Sanctuary. The Spa House offers fully equipped exercise studios including a private pilates studio and outdoor yoga and meditation garden. The salon caters to your beauty needs with manicures, pedicures and hair treatments.
There is no need to be Lady Luck or a high roller to enjoy Connecticut’s casinos. With live entertainment, fine dining, bars and nightclubs, sports, spas and shopping – all in an environment that feels like another world – they provide the ultimate escape for rest, relaxation and fun.
Steal away to Foxwoods Resort Casino, the world’s largest casino, in Mashantucket. For gamers, there are more than 360 table games, 6,500 slots and a 3,600-seat bingo hall. Four on-site hotels offer luxury accommodations, a relaxing escape or a New England-esque inn setting. Dine at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Paragon, indulge in seafood and steak at Craftsteak, or enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at Al Dente. For a quick bite, casual and express restaurants and buffets serve up a variety of cuisine. Live it up in the casino’s champagne bar, nightclub or lounge, and catch a live show, concert, theater performance or championship fight in one of the various entertainment venues. Bring out your inner child in the Tree House Arcade, packed with more than 100 video and redemptive games, or wind down in the Norwich Spa at Foxwoods, which offers hair, skin and nail treatments, massage, a swimming pool and fitness facility. Learn about the native peoples of Connecticut, the rest of the United States and Canada at the nearby Mashantucket Museum and Research Center, the world’s largest Native American museum. Experience 18,000 years of history in life-size walk-through dioramas, at interactive exhibits and through live performances of contemporary arts and cultures.
In Uncasville, Mohegan Sun also delivers a multitude of opportunities for fun and rejuvenation. Try your luck in the casino’s 300,000 square feet of games, and luxuriate in overnight accommodations in the hotel tower, which stands 34 stories tall and offers bird’s-eye views of the surrounding area. Foodies will love the selection of dining options, ranging from upscale establishments like celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain and Todd English’s Tuscany to great casual options like Jasper White’s Summer Shack, where diners can find the “best lobster and corn dogs in the land,” according to Gourmet magazine. The more than 30 on-site jewelry, electronics, apparel and sporting good shops include fine retailers like Coach, Cache, Swarovski and Lux, Bond & Green. Entertainment options abound at Mohegan Sun. The three venues, which seat 300 to 10,000, feature live concerts by music legends and today’s top acts, comedians and sporting events, including Connecticut Sun Women’s National Basketball Association League games. Don’t miss the Albano Ballet Company’s “Nutcracker” a Mohegan Sun holiday favorite on December 13 and 14 in the Mohegan Sun Arena. The 350-seat Wolf Den offers intimate, free performances by top entertainers of the past and present on weeknights. Additional nightlife includes a variety of pubs, martini bar, sports bar and nightclub. In the Elemis Spa, treat yourself to a facial, manicure or pedicure, massage, skin or anti-aging treatment or wellness treatment, like a detoxifying body wrap. The spa’s fitness center, includes classes and personal training, as well as a pool.
Fulfilling your holiday list…an escape from the cold…indoor exercise…whichever your reason, it is always a good time for shopping! Connecticut makes it easy and enjoyable with picture-perfect Main Streets, town centers and city greens offering an abundance of nationally-recognized stores, as well as local specialty shops and boutiques selling one-of-a-kind wares.
There are shopping destinations and then there is the experience that downtown Westport. Stroll along the quaint riverside Main Street that offers charming local boutiques and favorite luxury retailers. Visit the art galleries that show Westport’s longstanding heritage as a vibrant cultural center. Take a break and enjoy one of the many dining establishments.
From world art to contemporary furniture and funky clothing, New Haven is crawling with boutiques, specialty shops and favorites like J. Crew and Ann Taylor. Around the green, you will find small shops and galleries selling jewelry, clothing, pottery, art and unique gifts. Bookworms will love Atticus Bookstore Café, which serves up books, coffee and sandwiches and live entertainment. Just outside the downtown area is the Scandinavian home furnishings store IKEA, which features a large showroom displaying modern furniture and home accessories at affordable prices. Walk the maze of “rooms” for innovative (and free!) decorating ideas.
Further north along the shoreline is the scenic town of Mystic. Take an afternoon to stroll the historic Main Street, framed by one-of-a-kind antiques, arts and gift shops. Find unique albums and radios at Radio Waves, which offers music related gifts from the 1930s through the 1950s; Trade Winds Gallery, which specializes in antique maps and prints, as well as traditional artwork; or Pepper Grass & Tulip, a unique gift shop that offers antiques, clothing, hats, scarves, hand-painted glassware, dolls, linens, teapots and more – all with a Victorian twist.
Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton and Tanger Outlets in Westbrook offer any array of designer clothing, home furnishings and décor and gourmet food at discounted prices. At Clinton Crossing, you will find significant savings at 5th Avenue favorites like Barneys New York Outlet, Calvin Klein, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, BCBG Max Azria, Cole Haan and Michael Kors, among many others; while Tanger offers savings on mall favorites, like Nine West, Wilson’s Leather, J. Crew and Lane Bryant.
If you have a long list of names, but you’re short on time, the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk offer the ultimate one-stop shopping experience, with popular furniture, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, beauty, gift and specialty food stores all in one plaza designed to look like a Main Street. Anthropologie, Brooks Brothers, L’ Occitane and Williams-Sonoma are only a few of the choices – along with the L.L. Bean store and Parmida Home Furnishings.
In nearby West Hartford Center, you will find more than 140 distinctive shops and restaurants. Among the boutiques and specialty stores, are the Toy Chest, offering quality baby furniture and toys in an old neighborhood toy store setting; Ten Thousand Villages, which sells unique, handcrafted gifts; and Kimberly Boutique, which features the latest trends in clothing. At Blue Back Square, adjacent to the center, you will find a range of restaurants and stores, including Crate & Barrel, White House – Black Market, Lucy Activewear and outdoor outfitter REI.
In Ridgefield’s picturesque downtown area, shoppers will find a variety of unique specialty shops, from Turkey Ridge Antiques and upscale women’s clothier SHESHE, to Books on the Common, an independent bookstore, and Hazel & Sid, which sells an eclectic mix of vintage, new, designer clothing and salvaged pieces for the home.
Located in the northwest corner of the state, the historic town of Kent provides a myriad of shops to visit, including 34 shops and boutiques, five art galleries and six antique dealers. Practically anything you are looking for can be found here—from Foreign Cargo & The Gallery Upstairs, featuring a top floor gallery of antique African, Asian and Pacific Island art, Chinese antique furniture and American antiques and a first floor clothing store carrying comfortable and unique clothes, jewelry and accessories; to Morrison Gallery that the interior is large enough to easily exhibit monumental works while conveying a sense of intimacy. The building reflects the historical context of the town of Kent.
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