By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen
With Thanksgiving this week I was thinking back on what I was grateful for, and a weekend away in October came to mind.
Leaf peeping, for one. It’s a thing—really—with sightseeing trains and all. I wasn’t aware of this trend, which is why I was surprised when my friends and I wanted to do a girls’ weekend last month, and found every hotel in Upstate New York and Connecticut booked. I guess we city-dwellers crave pumpkin and apple picking, fall colors, and just some fresh air.
We didn’t care as much about the leaves (even though they were a nice bonus): We were looking for a spa, hiking, and some good laughs. We discovered everything we wanted at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mt. Tremper, New York. I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I never ventured much to upstate New York—we had all the leaves and pumpkins and farms you need, so I wasn’t aware of the Emerson. Luckily for me (who even on weekends is working—trying to find new places to write about), the hotel had just undergone a recent $6 million renovation with interiors by Rosalyn Cama of New Haven, Connecticut-based firm Cama, who collaborated with Alfandre Architecture for a refreshed look that channels Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous “Nature” essay.
Set on 20 acres, it is a hidden treasure in the Catskills. (Literally—I almost drove by it.) Besides the quaint, residentially inspired guestrooms in the contemporary inn and Adirondack-style lodge, I was most excited about the new 6,000-square-foot spa, which is serene and welcoming: rich wood contrasts a neutral, yet almost sparkling palette (thanks to mosaics) that reflects the beautiful surroundings. The highlight, though, are the 17th-century Rajasthani palace doors that lead to the spa.
We enjoyed lunch and dinner at Woodnotes Grille, the hotel’s newly revamped restaurant, and had drinks on the patio overlooking that mesmerizing fall foliage. All of this plus a hike around the property—complete with a stroll around the resort’s creek—was just what the doctor ordered, especially for a group of women with a gaggle of kids (whom we happily left at home).