For the country-cottage peace
If your wrists are aching from typing-induced carpal tunnel and your thumbs are sore from rapid-fire texting, we suggest you put down your technology and make the four-hour drive to scenic Washington immediately. Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, just barely on the Connecticut side of the New York border, the well-preserved town is an idyllic escape from … well, pretty much everything. It’s a cozy sort of Yankee life that you’ll find here, where people still hike and bird-watch and pedal around. You can almost see Washington’s 4,000 residents tramping through the snow to attend a town meeting, and you actually do see some of them engaging in that other old-fashioned
pastime: relaxing. —Erica Palan
BEDDING DOWN: Leave your smartphone at home when you bunk at the sprawling Mayflower Inn and Spa (118 Woodbury Road, Route 47, 860-868-9466; from $545 a night)—there’s no reception here. Anyway, the last thing you need is your phone vibrating during your luxe facial or soothing massage (though that also means you won’t be able to snap iPhone pics of Hugh Jackman or Robert De Niro should they pop up as spa guests, as they’ve been known to do). It’s fine, though: One night in your four-poster, Frette-linened canopy bed (complete with feather-topped mattress) and you won’t care.
DINING: There’s no real need to leave the confines of the inn at all, between the dark-wood-paneled taproom, with its light pub-style meals, and the main restaurant, with upscale dishes ranging from lobster salad to housemade tagliatelle to a decadent chocolate sorbet worth saving room for. Should you be out and about for breakfast or lunch, though, locals like coffee, pastries and casual sandwiches at Marty’s (6 Green Hill, Route 47, Washington Depot, 860-868-1700), a congenial little cafe that doubles as an art gallery.
STATE FARE: For local flavor, pop over to Dottie’s Diner in Woodbury (740 Main Street, 203-263-2545), where the doughnut bread pudding is the stuff of legend. You absolutely must.
PASTIMES: The Mayflower’s oft-lauded spa isn’t just about soaks and massages and facials (of course, those are amazing); it also features a serious fitness component, with lots of classes and activities on offer. We liked the yoga-style stretch-and-release class, but sporty types might prefer the private kayaking, biking or archery sessions. And it would be a waste of all the natural scenery if you didn’t go for a hike: The estate itself is 56 walkable acres, and Lake Waramaug State Park (30 Lake Waramaug Road, New Preston, 860-868-2592) is just nine miles away.
DAY TRIP: Does it get more fall-in-New-England than apple-picking? (No, it does not.) Make the 20-minute drive to March Farm (160 Munger Lane, Bethlehem, 203-266-7721), pick your own basketful, and shop the quaint farm market’s selection of fresh veggies, homemade jams and jellies, and special pastries.
GETTING THERE: Driving is really the most convenient way to get to Washington from Philly. The trip clocks in at just under four hours—the perfect length for some of that obligatory New England leaf-peeping.