Story and photography by Donna Adinolfi
“The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.” – Anais Nin
This quote came to mind as I continued my drive toward the Finger Lakes region of New York from Lenox, MA. The 11 Finger Lakes are located between Syracuse, Rochester and Elmira-Corning, NY.
I needed to be on the east coast for an extended stay and my stress meter was in the red zone for a multitude of reasons. For me, driving has always been the answer to reducing stress. So I decided to return home to Michigan by way of a much longer northern route, which would take me to Lenox, MA first and then through the Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls. I also knew that I needed to do something to break the constant chatter playing in my head so a couple of ’spa’ stops were added to the journey. Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, NY had been on my spa bucket list for several years so everything lined up from being in the area to have time to retreat.
The Respite Begins
I was filled with anticipation as I drove up to Mirbeau Inn & Spa. I would finally see the property inspired by Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny and the 1897-99 painting, Water Lilies, and the Japanese Bridge would come to life for me at this charming resort.
The property offers 34-rooms with 18 rooms in the main building and 16 within the four cottages. I was in one of the cottages, which provided a sitting area with a fireplace, exposed ceiling beams, patio overlooking the gardens, luxury (king) bedding, large bathroom with a French-style soaking tub and European tiled-shower. Muted tones in the rooms and bathroom created a comfortable and inviting oasis. The room set the tone for my stay!
Having always loved the French-country look I immersed myself in beauty from the colorful flowers around the property to the French-blue and Terra Cotta colors in the architecture. As a water sign (Scorpio), I knew that being close to the lake would be calming so I took a late afternoon stroll around the property and to the nearby village of Skaneateles, which is the 3rd deepest Finger Lake. If more time allowed, I’d have considered one of the lake’s boat tours, a bike ride using one of Mirbeau’s on-property bicycles, near-by breweries, and a hike at Baltimore Woods.
Mirbeau Inn offers a number of group and private fitness classes and other activities, so when you go, I’d recommend a 3 night (or longer) stay for a chance to immerse yourself in their offerings, the Spa, and off-property adventure. The resort offers yoga, Pilates, spin, stretch classes and a number of other classes and while this isn’t a destination spa with meals and spa services included, it is an affordable option in northern New York where you can create your own retreat.
Ah, the Spa!
I was pleasantly surprised by Mirbeau’s Spa with its 18-treatment rooms, as it was much larger than I imagined and quite lovely. The warm colors provided a relaxing ambiance and the European theme continued with roman-columns, a stone fireplace, herbal-infused sauna, and a heated foot pool. Aqua Terrace has a full bar and offers a lighter menu during the day. The outdoor area provided a hot spa pool, waterfall, and ample space to relax and enjoy nature as this 12-acre resort is surrounded by 100-foot high spruce trees.
Two spa services called out to me including Monet’s Favorite Fragrance Massage (yes, with lavender essential oil) and the Deep Tissue (always a spa go-to). An antidote to stress is aromatherapy! It’s also important to note that Mirbeau Inn & Spa offers lower pricing for their treatments during the week (Monday-Thursday) and they are well received in the community for the spa, restaurant and the number of workshops and special events offered.
The Bistro & Wine Bar
There are a few options for dining at Mirbeau and when I travel solo, I opt for the wine bar, a great place to connect with the local community. This turned out to be one of the most relaxing, engaging and memorable nights for me. Many of the patrons knew one another and the bartender, of course. I also found out the proper way to pronounce Skaneateles, which is Skinny-At-Liss, so now you know, too.
They source local and organic products with a focus on clean cuisine. There are French-inspired menu items and an extensive wine list. I chose the Chicken Paillard, a wine bar favorite, for my dinner along with a glass of 2013 Grenache-Syrah-Mouvedre, Famille Perrin, France – when in France (or when you feel like you are!).
While my time at Mirbeau Inn & Spa was short, the memory of my stay still lingers. I did leave there feeling a little lighter in body, mind and spirit and often reflect on the beauty that surrounded me.