Summer Escapes: Drift Away
Summertime in the Berkshires shouldn’t mean standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Yankees fans. Instead, escape to Mepal Manor and Spa in tiny New Marlborough. The dirt driveway to this remote European-style estate is a direct path to peace and quiet.
Adding to the aura of calm, the hotel’s 12 guest rooms are appointed with antique and vintage pieces, and all have air conditioning and WiFi (but no televisions). Cell service, by the way, is spotty, so prepare yourself for more than a few dropped calls.
Mornings begin with a generous continental breakfast buffet. Then get ready for deer and fox sightings on the four-mile guided hike up to the marble-white cliffs overlooking the Berkshires. Next, return to Mepal’s spa, a state-of-the-art sanctuary adjacent to the manor, for a deep-tissue massage and a soak in the outdoor hot tub, which features views of the expansive lawn and distant mountains. For a culture kick, check out a Norfolk Chamber Music Festival concert in nearby Norfolk, Connecticut — it’s a mini, rustic Tanglewood, minus the crowds.
What would a vacation be without plenty of great dining options? On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, you can take in the sunset from the manor’s restaurant, Al Fresco on the Terrace. In New Marlborough, the Old Inn on the Green offers creative American cuisine in a candlelit dining room, or take a 15-minute drive to Great Barrington for contemporary fare at Allium or Japanese at Bizen. >> Mepal Manor and Spa (starts at $295 per night), 100 Stone Manor Dr., New Marlborough, 800-286-3139, mepalspa.com. — Naomi Kooker
Check In Those who arrive by 4 p.m. receive complimentary tea on the terrace.
Adventurous Eats Be sure to request a picnic lunch for your guided hike.
Spa Time Book the Sacred Nature organic body treatment at Mepal’s spa in the afternoon (so you can bask in the hot tub before dinner).