Healthy Travel: Heavenly Hiking in Vermont

Travel editor Christine Speer is planning the perfect mid-summer vacay

I have a friend who decamped years ago to the mountains of Vermont, and he is positively evangelical about the summertimes up there. He says the mountains are cool and lush, perfect for hiking and nighttime star-gazing. It’s because of him—and because I love a good hike—that I am in love with the idea of a trip to New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, a 33-year-old health spa in the Green Mountains that was just named by MSNBC as one of the top 10 fitness vacations in the world.

It all sounds so back-to-nature (not overly so, though—the rooms all have A.C. and wireless and cable), this unpretentious spa in the woods, where you hike and stretch and swim your day away, then sit down to swordfish kabobs and stuffed peppers at night. Guests can book anything from a two- to four-day trip (starting at just $249 a night for room, meals and the hiking spa program—a deal!) to an 11-plus-day retreat for weight loss ($229 a night for room, meals, and program). And the guided hikes sounds just heavenly, from a beginner-level nature walk to the advanced, inclined hike that eventually offers views of the whole state, in all its summer splendor.

New Life Hiking Spa, Killington, VT, 866-298-5433,