A wellness vacation is a great alternative to packing on the pudge during traditional travel excursions.

I’d love to book a cruise, but buffets scare the heck out of me. And how can you enjoy the beach when you’re stewing over how you look in your swimsuit?

Want to return home with a little less baggage? A fitness vacation may be just the ticket.

Interested in a Wellness Vacation?

I spent the bulk of my summer working my full-time job, while creating and launching my new online weight loss program for women with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. A leisurely summer, no. But I did spend a week hiking in the mountains of Vermont with New Life Hiking Spa.

There’s a little town called Killington (though technically New Life is in Mendon, Vermont) that hosts skiers in the winter and is a bit of a ghost town in the summer. New Life takes over the Cortina Inn, where you enjoy modest, no-frills ski lodge-type accommodations yet some of the most wonderful hiking trails and breathtaking views. (Breaking news on 9/11/17:  Apparently the digs get an upgrade next year. They’re moving to the newly-renovated Killington Mountain Lodge.) 

This is not an advertisement for New Life Hiking Spa, though last year Travel & Leisure awarded it the #1 Destination Spa in the U.S.

Most vacationers gain a couple of pounds during vacation, but during a wellness retreat, you return more fit than you started. I lost a couple of pounds even though I wasn’t really trying.

You’ll find lots of glowing reviews on New Life, but you’ll also find a few haters.

When you think of a ‘spa,’ you envision luxury accommodations and pampering. Don’t expect to check in at New Life and be wowed by the hotel. Really all you need is a good bed and a clean room. And that’s what you get.

What a Day at the Hiking Spa Looks Like

Days start with a morning hike and choice of nature walk, intermediate or advanced options. You get a personable staff, three healthy meals a day plus snacks, and fabulous massages (Denise, you rock!). You can pick from an afternoon of classes including water aerobics, yoga, strength training, Qi Gong, and more.

Or, you can just relax.

There’s always an evening activity. Or, if you need a really great Guinness (per my husband) — shamrock and all — go to McGrath’s Irish Pub just a few minutes away. (I prefer red wine so I can rationalize the health benefits of resveratrol.)

A side note:  Connor, one of the hiking guides is the owner’s son and the only guy I’ve ever seen who can pull off a man bun.

Part of the allure of New Life is that it’s so affordable. Yeah, it’s no Canyon Ranch, but this place has it’s perks. One of my faves — no cooking and cleaning — yay!

The People Make it So Special

Everyone at New Life is so down to earth — the staff and the guests. (OK, except maybe for the ladies who checked in from Manhattan and disappeared shortly thereafter.)

While communal dining might not appeal to everyone, it’s a great way to meet friends. We left, saying, “same time next year” to the ‘regulars.’

A wellness vacation is perfect if you want or need a reset or a reboot. A fresh start.

Don’t get me wrong — I love a good luxury resort. But this is my 3rd trip to New Life and I’ll be coming back for more.


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