-LivingSocial “Escapes” – The Mirbeau Inn and Spa-
“If its too much pressure let me know,” my masseuse said. “No pain, no gain,” I responded, “the more pressure you give, the more tension relieved.” And relieved I am – of tension, stress, pain, and mental clutter. I am a new person thanks to the magic of a modern day spa weekend (and my masseuse). Is it time to indulge yourself?
Thumbs Up for the Finger Lake Retreat
If so, when deciding on a spa getaway, please don’t overlook the gems in the northeast part of the United States. One that sparkles is The Mirbeau Inn and Spa set on the north tip of Lake Skaneateles, at the “Eastern Gateway to the Finger Lake Region”, in New York State wine country. On a trip offered by LivingSocial, featuring one of the “escapes” in their series, my “better half,” travel writer Georgie Jet and I, spent two days in the French inspired Inn in the classic up-state New York December environment. This is one of the “escapes” LivingSocial will be offering this year, and a discount at The Mirbeau will be an easy sell.
Penchant for Tension? – “Take a Trip” – Dr. Cam
Although a relaxing and fantastic place to visit any time of year, the short days and late year light that softly reveal the leafless trees, white coated fields, and crystal clear lake create a special ambience to the spa and town. And like in nature, it is a time for methodical restoration and regeneration-especially inside the cozy confines of the Mirbeau!
We checked in after a 5-hour drive from Warren, VT. – and exhaled. People in plush robes, de-stressed with smiling faces relaxed in a nearby lounge. French fabrics, artwork, and décor along with a soft orange-yellow light, comfy sofas, and warm fireplaces gave the place a sumptuous feel. We then took a one minute stroll to our French-country cottage across an arched bridge over the courtyard pond. The pond, bridge, lily pads, and gardens are modeled after impressionist Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France. We felt like we were in one of his famous “Water Lily” paintings.
The room was as inviting as the lobby, with all the luxuries you would expect from a high-end inn, plus an oversized soaking tub for two. All of the rooms have a gas-lighted fireplace too. We could have slipped on our super-soft robes and stayed there for two days! But then we would miss dinner at the hotel’s “French Steakhouse” or a chance to experience some of the Mirbeau’s incredible spa treatments, not to mention see the quaint Victorian town of Skaneateles, which has a Dickens festival every December.
Dinner with some new-found friends in the Mirbeau’s nationally acclaimed “French Steakhouse” was superb. After a delicious table-side prepared Caesar salad, we feasted on steak, seafood, risotto, lobster bisque, and more. Local wines from the Finger Lakes and others from California complimented the meal. We especially liked a semi-dry Riesling made by Dr. Frank near Lake Kueka, N.Y.
The dessert, “Menage a Trois” Poires, was out of this world. It is a riesling poached pear served with pear sorbet and cardamom cream. The fallen chocolate soufflé with pot de crème and cocoa ice cream was a sweeeet alternative! Afterward, we had a digestif or liqueur at the bar and perused their 24 bottle self-serve wine tasting station. This large selection of glass encased and specially preserved wines (with the inert argon gas) last up to 90 days after being opened, and can be sampled in different amounts by buying and inserting a “wine card”. Needless to say, we slept soundly that night in our “Mirbeau” bed, exclusively made for the Inn.
In the morning we had breakfast (eggs hollandaise and lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce) while looking out through large windows at the Monet-like landscape. The gardens in the growing seasons are reputed to be spectacular. After an herbal-infused steambath and a soak in the 15-person Jacuzzi on the “Aqua-Terrace” (an open-air terrace with grand fireplace, large natural boulders, and trellises) we booked our personal spa treatments for the afternoon. Whether a classic massage, body wrap, pedicure, facial, or one of the many other treatments, you can’t go wrong. Even just chillaxing on a chaise lounge in the indoor resting area around the immense heated rock, with soft music, was a pleasure.
For lunch that day we and our friends walked to town, only a quarter of a mile, to a great spot on the lake called the Bluewater Grill. The Napoleon with Maine lobster salad, avocado, and mango salsa was very tasty. Lake Skaneateles has a reputation for being one of the cleanest in the country, and I can attest to its visual clarity (like looking through glass).
That afternoon, back in the Mirbeau kitchen, we all had a very enjoyable and practical cooking class taught by the “French Restaurant” chef where we learned how to make a Tuscan chicken and white bean dish (the key is pounding the chicken!). Later, GeorgieJet and I had our heavenly massages and then melted into our cozy cottage. GeorgieJet’s signature wine country treatment included some “Vino Therapy” – which implemented oils infused with grapeseed extract and antioxidants, a pinot noir salt scrub, and a Shiraz skin firming cream application. I went with the “Hemp Therapy” – just foolin’ mon!
Winter Blues? “Try the Finger Lake Whites” – Dr. Konstantin Frank
That evening we all rendezvoused in the lobby and sampled some more of the Finger Lake wines – delicious! For dinner, we went back to downtown Skaneateles to the historic Sherwood Inn.
It is a lovely relic from the 18th century with good food, a hoppin’ bar, and views of the lake. Later that night, we returned to the Mirbeau’s bar and lounge and wiled away the time talking to each other, and the bartender Rick. Between mixing specialty concoctions and pouring Absinthe, he entertained us with stories from the Finger Lake region. It was a fun and memorable way to spend our last evening together.
The next morning, as we drove west across the second half of New York to visit GeogieJet’s father in Erie, PA, we reflected on the unique and exceptional quality of the Mirbeau and its surroundings. It is a soothing and romantic retreat with lasting benefits – for the mind, body, and soul. The Mirbeau exudes an air of tranquility and the staff could not have treated us better. I just met a friend today who had taken a “girls only” vacation there and she echoed my sentiments. The inn, spa, and restaurant, with their French flair and relaxed decadence made our experience one to remember. It is a “diamant” that shines brightly in the heart New York State. LivingSocial has a winner here.
by JohnnyJet correspondent-“Highroad Cam”