Mayflower Inn & Spa

Mayflower Inn & Spa
Washington, CT

Nestled in New England's wooded countryside is an escape so serene it inspires a Thoreau-type sojourn. But indoors, the Mayflower (doubles from $520, is affirmatively anti-Walden: this Relais & Chateaux property's plushly appointed quarters feature antique canopied beds with Frette linens, gas fireplaces, and marble soaking tubs. There are thirty rooms spread throughout four freestanding cottages; splurge on a spacious suite in the Allerton Cottage for privacy and proximity to the spa house. arguably the Inn's main draw, the 20,000- square-foot ode to repose includes an array of water amenities (indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam-based Thermal sanctuary), exercise studios, and a sun-drenched Garden room with a sigh-inducing vista. The restaurant's top-notch chef rounds out the resort.  — E.S.

What to Do

  1. The inn grounds offer a number of secluded spots designed for quiet contemplation. Stroll the meticulous green-hedged Shakespeare Garden. Wander the American Poetry Maze, pausing to read quotes from literary greats. Or center yourself by pacing the labyrinth, a granite and grass path located outside the Spa House.
  2. Transcendent therapies abound at the spa. While you can't go wrong with a restorative mas- sage, those with muscles and a mind to unwind should opt for the Mayflower Sweet Surrender. Its combination of cranial-sacral, lymphatic, and acupressure techniques — complemented by new age music, guided meditations, and aromatherapy — promotes deep relaxation ($198, 860-868-9466).
  3. Four state parks provide ample opportunities for enjoying nature. Choose from easy trails trac- ing scenic Lake Waramaug, the steep ascent to Kent Falls, and other nearby hikes. Highlights vary by the season. You can swim at Mount Tom in the summer, view the foliage covering the Catskill and Taconic mountains in the fall, or cross-country ski in Steep Rock preserve in the winter.
  4. After a mouthwatering meal of sheep's milk gnudi and slow-roasted salmon in the main dining room, retire to the leather and mahogany-accent- ed library for a fireside nightcap. Upon request, the Tap Room bartender will deliver a snifter of cognac or an icy cucumber gin cocktail for you to sip over a friendly chess match.
  5. With more than thirty professional dealers, the nearby town of Woodbury has been dubbed the “antiques capital of Connecticut.” Many of the shops along the six-mile stretch of Route 6 are located in historic homes, which adds to the charm of visiting. Schedule an appointment to browse novelties from other eras and possibly leave with a decorative period piece. The inn provides a list of recommended vendors and contact information in every room (