This past weekend we packed our bags and escaped to a remote Victorian Castle nestled in the mountainous Hudson Valley to celebrate my 31st birthday. Mohonk Mountain, a National Historic Landmark built in 1869 is a tranquil spa resort surrounded by snow covered mountains and a never-ending forest. It is the perfect place to sneak away to detach and relax in an expansive nature oasis.Mohonk Mountain is famous for their spa that has been ranked the number one resort spa in the USA by Condé Nast Traveler. This caught the eye of my husband (who surprised me with the weekend getaway) because it is one of the only facilities in the United States that has the option to receive a Lomi Lomi massage - a treatment native to Hawaii that incorporates long strokes, stretching and healing practices. We fell in love with this style last December when we vacationed in Kauai so we jumped at the opportunity to experience Lomi Lomi again. After the eighty-minute couples massage we soaked in the outdoor heated mineral pool while overlooking the mountains as a light flurry fell above us – a moment so enchanting that it felt like we were on the set of a Hollywood film.Hiking trails and a 60-foot deep mountain surround the resort. We explored the grounds around the lake and even stumbled upon an old museum where we saw antique items from the the last two centuries, like carriages, sleds, kitchen and farming equipment and old cars. The restaurant on site was cozy and rustic, using the freshest seasonal ingredients sourced locally from nearby farms. The tables overlooked the mountain ranges while a floor-to-ceiling fireplace created a warm ambiance for each meal.The trip ended with one of the best yoga classes I have ever taken in my life. My husband and I did a private session that incorporated both Vinyasa and Restorative techniques. After an hour class, I could actually feel and see my body becoming more flexible. I love practicing yoga as a way to balance the heavy full-body lifting I do, and our teacher was able to give us tips on how to properly do each stance, and how to maximize the stretches to ensure our bodies were feeling the full benefits of each pose.Living in Manhattan, I crave nature. I didn’t want to spend my 31st going to a bar and drinking all night in the city – I had the big party last year. Health and wellness are a big part of who I am and I believe the way you start off a fresh year truly sets the tone for how the year will play out. I need to inhale fresh air while being surrounded by greenery. I need to hear the sounds of birds chirping and leaves blowing in the wind instead of cars honking. I left the resort feeling centered and ready to get back to Manhattan to dive into a new year. And the best part of it all? I dived into my 31st year with my husband by my side.
Sometimes living in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan leaves you craving an escape, but with a busy schedule, it doesn’t always work out. That’s why I very much love the idea of a staycation. This past weekend we packed our bags and checked into the new Four Seasons Downtown.A warm and friendly staff greeted us in the lobby and brought us up to a breathtaking suite overlooking Downtown Manhattan. The Four Seasons is known for going the extra mile to make you feel completely welcome. A beautiful spread of vegetables, home-made hummus, and freshly pressed juices from Chef Acosta were in the room waiting for our arrival. We enjoyed our healthy snack as we settled in before heading to Jersey Boys on Broadway to celebrate my husband’s birthday.The next morning we had a delicious breakfast in bed – fresh avocado toast, smoked salmon omelets, home-made kombucha, matcha tea and roasted potatoes with diced peppers. After putting the finishing touches on our Halloween costumes for the night’s festivities, we squeezed in a late-morning workout. The gym overlooks the newly constructed Oculus – the World Trade Center’s transportation hub – built as a dazzling white architectural structure. As a health fanatic, it’s hard for me to find a gym that I am impressed by when travelling, but this facility had all of the necessary equipment (and more) for an intense workout. After breaking a sweat, it was time to visit the spa - I did not want the 80-minute deep tissue massage to ever end! It was an hour and a half of complete zen, something so necessary in resetting your mind and body from everyday life.Saturday was the big night in New York to celebrate Halloween, so we invited a few friends over to celebrate my husband’s birthday before heading out (in costume) for the evening. I was King Triton from the little mermaid and Gio was Hades from Hercules – a good vs. evil theme (and sidenote, we proudly made parts of our costumes)! All of our friends who stopped by couldn’t believe how beautiful the hotel was - not to mention that it had just opened three weeks earlier and it was operating as if it had been opened for years.This was the second time I stayed at a Four Seasons (the first being on our honeymoon in Bali) and I am blown away by how consistent this hotel line is. The staff and service are always impeccable, the food is deliciously award-worthy, the room accommodations are nothing short of spectacular, and the experience is always special. I look forward to exploring other locations throughout the world and having The Four Seasons play an important role in our everlasting memories throughout the beautiful journey we called Life.
I’ve always believed everyone needs some nature in their lives. I have been drawn to the water since I was a little guy, spending summers down the shore and finding comfort in hearing the crashing of waves. It’s one of those rare moments that you stop and realize how small you really are in comparison to this gigantic planet we live on, and there is something truly mesmerizing about that. While I mainly grew up going down the shore to my family’s house out in New Jersey, I have later in life developed just as much of a love and appreciation for lakeside retreats. My Aunt and Uncle a few years ago bought a vacation house near Lake Joseph and it is one of the most relaxing, stunning, and zen places I have been. Living in New York City, it is essential that us New Yorkers find time to escape the non-stop hustle and constant grind of everyday life and work and retreat to an oasis where you can unplug, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the simple things in life. Especially working in social media, I am constantly connected to the digital space for a variety of brands. When there is an opportunity to minimize that, I definitely take full advantage and swap out the cell phones for kayak paddles. Spending the weekend up at the lake house was beautiful. From kayaking from one side of Lake Joseph to the other, to walking through woods with gigantic trees that looked like they had been growing there for decades, to taking in live theater of a fantastic production of 42nd Street at the Forestburgh Playhouse, the company and memories made from this weekend were invaluable. I always believe in finding a balance in life. I love the fast paced nature of living in one of the world’s most alive cities, but I also appreciate and tremendously value bringing it back to basics and enjoying the beautiful elements of our planet (Sidenote: Captain Planet was one of my favorite shows growing up…and I may or may not have been having flashbacks of some of those epic superhero scenes) ?
Sometimes living in NYC, you get caught up in the daily grind and forget to stop and enjoy the incredible city around you. I had been wanting to check out the Museum of Natural History (my favorite museum in New York) so spent the day touring different exhibits. The coolest section of the museum is the dinosaur exhibit where I was able to not only look at real bones and fossils of the reptiles but also touch one - I can now officially say I have touched a real dinosaur!
The forest and marine life sections were also really interesting to see, and fueled my desire to go whale watching even more! It was the perfect day at the museum and after hanging with the dinos all day, I think it's time to watch Jurrasic World again?