Where to go for R+R near home this fall

Greetings travel lovers and Hidden Gem Travel community!  As teased in last week’s newsletter, I had a fabulous Labor Day weekend relaxing and recharging safely while being relatively close to home.  If you live in the northeast, which many of you do, this destination is very accessible. Even during corona-times, much was open – note that health and safety measures are in place everywhere.  

Only a three-hour drive from New York City and two hours from Boston, Lenox, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Berkshire Mountain area is serene and historic with something for everyone.  Nature, sport, and outdoor lovers will enjoy the many activities in the scenic mountains and lakes including hiking, biking, ziplining, kayaking, and golfing.  Foodies will relish the many interesting local restaurants and overall culinary scene, and the Berkshires are a major hub for arts and music (Lenox is home to the famous Tanglewood property and music center).  History and culture buffs will love touring the gilded-age manors and gardens like Edith Wharton’s The Mount. 

Although a fantastic destination for everyone, I recommend a couple’s getaway this fall for a well-deserved break from daily life that will allow you to recharge before the holiday crazy. If you have kids at home, get a sitter now because you’re going to excited to reserve your stay by the end of this newsletter! 

Miraval Berkshires

Brand new as of July 15, 2020, Miraval Berkshires is the newest wellness resort to hit the area.  I was honored to be invited as their very first day-pass guest (yes, I do have the BEST job!), because I was staying on-property but not technically a full Miraval guest – read on for the explanation. Honestly, only one day at Miraval Berkshires is wonderful but also torture because you’re not ready to leave.  Note, I’ve been lucky to have experienced Miraval Tucson; I haven’t been to Miraval Austin yet, but it’s on my list so I can complete the trifecta. 

Miraval’s theme is “Life In Balance” – who doesn’t need more balance these days?  Women and men alike were guests last weekend, and there are diverse offerings for every taste from the categories of wellbeing, outdoor adventures, yoga+fitness, culinary+nutrition, equine, sustainable living, and of course the fabulous spa offerings (with some exceptions due to the pandemic).

When I arrived, I sat with an Experience Specialist to plan my day.  I purposely selected a range of activities: a cardio drumming class, lecture on Chakras/energy balancing,  cooking class in their new William Sonoma designed kitchen, “Kombucha” facial in the luxurious but earthy spa, and a hatchet-throwing class (surprisingly, I was rather adept having never thrown a hatchet before). The rest of my day was spent on a comprehensive tour with the sales manager and taking pictures to share with future clients. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for the two-hour mountain hike, restorative yoga, nor the crystal-themed art class. However, I am planning to go back and stay there as a full guest – and my husband is excited to join me! 

Why book through a Virtuoso travel advisor like me who has a direct relationship with the management?  My clients are viewed as VIPs with Virtuoso benefits (including a $100 resort credit per person per stay at Miraval).  There are a variety of packages from which to choose, and I’m here to help you find what’s right for you and/or your travel companions. Couples, mothers-daughters-sisters, girls getaway groups, and solo guests equally enjoy what Miraval has to offer.  Here’s what’s planned for October:  https://www.miravalberkshires.com/event/fall-foliage/

Wyndhurst Manor Golf Resort

Previously called Cranwell and now returned to its original name as a new Hyatt-branded resort, Wyndhurst is on the same 380-acre property as Miraval, and they function as brother-sister properties to some degree.  I stayed in a king suite cottage since my husband and son planned to play golf each day.  The décor of the cottage was in the same style as the rooms I toured at Miraval (understated luxury), and the small kitchen was very handy.  However, this property is going through some merger pains, and I was told by the management that the pandemic was complicating their progress on several levels.  I’m certain this resort will eventually meet the standards of a 4-5-star experience and added to the Hyatt Prive list of properties once they iron things out. Until then, I won’t be recommending it for discriminating travelers. 

Note – this property is not in the Virtuoso network.

Canyon Ranch

I enjoyed a comprehensive tour and breezy terrace lunch at Canyon Ranch, an iconic wellness resort that has been in the Berkshires for over 30 years.  The connected buildings are unique – a combination of a gilded age mansion and contemporary buildings. The approach is very personalized, and they specialize in their medical staff, offerings, and consultations.  The sales manager told me that they have clients who have their annual blood work and analysis done at Canyon Ranch every year to optimize their health and wellbeing. They even have support services that will help you sleep better. That said, guests can find exactly what they’re looking for through their Pathways program for 3-5-7-night escapes focusing on themes like Optimal Health, Outdoor Escape, and Personal Discovery.  Canyon Ranch also specializes in group and corporate retreats.  Important note – Canyon Ranch has a very flexible cancellation policy so there’s nothing to lose by reserving your stay! 

Virtuoso benefits include a $160 service allowance per stay.


Imagine yourself in a private sanctuary with luxurious Italianate flair that feels like a world away from reality.  The entrance to Wheatleigh is off a country road and very understated.  After you wind down the lane, you approach a stately manor house with a circular driveway and a fountain reminiscent of old Europe. The interior is elegant yet welcoming and the grounds reflect the luxury of the interior.  The pool area was nirvana with beautiful plantings. I would have stayed poolside for the entire day had I been able to do so.  The 24-hour concierge service is on-call should you need absolutely anything at all, and gourmet dining is superb. This fall, the leaf-peeping should be gorgeous and a wonderful way to treat yourself.  https://wheatleigh.com/about-the-hotel/#abouthistory

Virtuoso benefits for 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily
  • $125 USD Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi


I was surprised by how much I loved this place!  Foodie alert – Café Boulud is on-site until mid-October and the first time Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud has offered his French classics with a twist cuisine in this region  https://blantyre.com/dining/restaurants/.  The settings for dining are unbelievably beautiful as is the grand entry, patio, bar, and music room.  Built in 1902 on 110 acres and fashioned after a Scottish ancestral home, Blantyre is intimate with 11 guest rooms and 13 suites. Absolutely ideal for a special weekend getaway or an important event like an anniversary, birthday, or even a wedding or vow renewal. 

Virtuoso benefits for 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Chef’s Choice Continental Breakfast for 2 guests per bedroom, delivered to the room
  • $100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Ready to learn more and select which fall getaway experience is right for you?  Reply to this email to arrange a consultation.  I have some gorgeous photos to share and more details about each highlighted property. 

Hidden Gem Tip:  When you’re in downtown Lenox, eat at Frankies!  They have delicious modern Italian fare but be sure to make a reservation.  Try the asparagus rolled in a crust of parmesan cheese – yum!  And two days ago, they opened a gourmet pizza restaurant next door that locals say will be fantastic. 

Wishing you and your family continued good health,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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