Mother’s Day 2021. Mom needs a vacation (bad!), a getaway that will remove her from the quotidian grind, a little light at the end of the tunnel, after this past long, anxious year.
But let’s not add more stress to the situation, especially when restrictions (and travel anxieties) are still in play. Whether she goes now, or you book her a getaway for some time in the future (gift cards welcome!), here are three ideas for lovely, closer-to-home, in-state destinations. Enjoy, Mom; you deserve it!
A pampering pause
Even one night at Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth will transport your mother far away from her daily hassles. This French-inspired property, with Old World décor (think: jewel hues and rich upholstery), is surrounded by Monet-style gardens and infused with an indulging vibe. It’s like visiting an opulent country estate, with the added luxury of a top-notch culinary team and a world-class spa.
Here’s a good plan. Arrive in the morning and head to the spa. The modern, 16,500-square-foot retreat includes a spacious resting area with a large saltwater foot bath, 20 treatment rooms with gas fireplaces, an outdoor terrace and bar, and a lovely, light-filled solarium. You could spend all day here!
You may want to join a fitness or yoga class, before enjoying one of the spa’s coddling but science-based treatments, including massages, facials, body wraps and exfoliations, and Mirbeau’s signature Kur therapies. The traditional Kur therapies include a soak in a mineral bath, followed by a body scrub, wrap, or massage. Other popular treatments include the Intraceutical Oxygen Facial and the French Clay Detox Body Wrap.
After, head outdoors for a late lunch on the terrace, or in the all-glass solarium. You can hang out here for a while to enjoy the whirlpool and relax next to the waterfall or gas fireplace.
In the evening, dine at the lovely Bistro & Wine Bar, an elegant space with an upfront bar, gas fireplace and outdoor porch overlooking ponds and gardens. The menu features updated French classics and modern New England fare. Start with a rich bowl of French onion soup, the escargot and mussel tartine or the roasted oysters with pancetta, panko, fennel pollen and chive fondue. Entrees include dishes like seared sea scallops with truffled hazelnut butter, poulet cassoulet, and steak frites.
And now your room awaits. There are 50 rooms at the resort, 16 in the Manor House and another 34 in the adjacent Guest House connected by an indoor bridge. All rooms offer a plush, nightly oasis, with a gas fireplace, an oversized soaking tub, and lush linens. Perhaps, Bonsoir Madame La Lune will be playing on the room radio while you’re enjoying a lavender-scented bath. C’est tellement enchanteur, this little bit of Paris in Plymouth. 877-647-228, www.plymouth.mirbeau.com; rooms start at $250.
An artsy escape
Do you have a mother who loves the arts? Bring her to North Adams, a small town in the Berkshires with a big, vibrant art scene.
“There’s a deep vein of appreciation for art and creativity, here,” says Benjamin Lamb, director of economic development for 1Berkshire, the regional economic development, marketing and tourism organization of the Berkshires. “Whether you’re looking for it or not, you’re bound to stumble upon the arts community in some way when you visit here.”
The tiny town is filled with studios, galleries, street art, and performances, and is home to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world (413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org; advance reservations required).
The massive museum, housed in complex of renovated factory buildings connected by bridges and corridors, is a pilgrimage destination for contemporary art lovers. The space is enormous, covering 250,000 square feet, and containing some larger-than-life installations. You could spend hours — days — and not see it all. Some of our favorite exhibits include Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective covering nearly an acre with 105 large-scale drawings, and Allovers, a unique installation by musician and sound artist Ryan Olson and sound artist Seth Rosetter who have turned the stairs and basement of Building 10 into a musical instrument. James Turrell: Into the Light is not to be missed, featuring nine installations of the renowned artist’s works. (Advance reservations are required for entrance into the Turrell exhibit.)
There’s public art — sculptures and murals — everywhere. Northern Berkshires Art Outside offers a DIY walking and biking tour showcasing some 30 works of outdoor art in North Adams and nearby Williamstown (www.massmoca.org/northern-berkshire-art-outside).
While in Williamstown, visit the Clark Art Institute (413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu) offering a totally different kind of art experience, with intimate galleries showcasing the works of Old Masters, along with an impressive array of Monets and Renoirs. The surrounding campus is a great place to walk too, with some 140 acres crisscrossed with trails.
The Porches Inn at Mass MoCA, a lovely, whimsical boutique hotel carved out of a string of 19th-century Victorian row houses, is the place to stay during this artsy retreat (413-664-0400, www.porches.com; rooms start at $169 including continental breakfast). It’s located right across the street from Mass MoCA and could be considered a piece of art itself. Rooms are painted in bright hues and filled with vintage furniture and fun accessories (framed paint-by-number pictures!) No two rooms are the same, some have kitchens, some have porches, some have two bedrooms, but all have private baths. For more information on North Adams and the Berkshires, visit www.berkshires.org.
A nature lover’s retreat
The scene: It’s early morning and you’re sitting on the spacious porch at the Inn at Castle Hill, hot mug of coffee in hand, taking in views of the rolling green lawn and salt marsh fields stretching out to the open ocean. There’s birdsong in the air, the salty scent of the sea, and an occasional whiff of the surrounding musky, nutrient-rich wetlands. Deep breath … ahhh.
The past year has reminded us of the healing, restorative powers of being outside and in nature. And there’s plenty of abundant outdoor space and scenic beauty at the expansive 2,100-acre Crane Estate in Ipswich. Once owned by Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, it’s now a Trustees property and includes the Great House and Inn at Castle Hill, Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge.
Start by checking into the inn, the estate’s former summer guesthouse featuring 10 simple, modern rooms, with private baths and soothing pastel hues. Guests have nice perks, too: like access to Crane Beach and the grounds of the Crane Estate, beach chairs, umbrellas, iPads and bikes to use. (Room are $195 Nov.-Apr, $235 May-Oct; guests must be 12 years or older, 978-412-2555, www.theinnatcastlehill.com).
Take a self-guided tour of the ground floor of the 59-room Stuart-style mansion inspired by 17th-century English country houses (tours start in June). It’s set at the top of the hill, surrounded by expansive gardens and landscaped grounds. Guided garden tours are also offered, along with a DIY tour.
There are more than four miles of easy walking trails, including one that meanders down to quiet Steep Hill Beach along the Ipswich River, flanked by salt marshes and sand dunes. Save one morning or late afternoon, when the crowds have dissipated, to visit spectacular Crane Beach, a 5.5-mile stretch of soft, white sand, considered one of the finest beaches in New England. There’s also a variety of guided programs, including nature walks, birding excursions, and kayak trips through the Crane Beach Wildlife Refuge. 978-356-4351, www.thetrustees.org/place/castle-hill-on-the-crane-estate.
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at email@example.com