Winter weather is safely in the past, which means … drumroll, please … that it’s a great time to hit the road and snag a travel deal that can infuse your wellbeing and fitness routines with new life.
During the shoulder season, discounted lodging rates typically vary by state, specific area or venue, and the dates you want to stay at a posh — or unique — inn, hotel or resort. Start by checking dates and rates via your favorite travel sites. Then call direct to ask for the best rate and if there’s anything the front desk can add — vouchers, upgrades, a celebration bottle of wine, etc.
Not only will you save substantially from high-season room rates, but you also won’t be fighting seasonal traffic, and you won’t need to make a dinner reservation days or weeks in advance.
To the North
Sure, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine slogs through mud season until the end of May, but unless you have your heart set on hiking up a sloppy slope, why should that stop you from enjoying sweet deals on first-rate food, fun and lodging?
Speaking of sweet, The Woodstock Inn & Resort has renamed mud season Sugar Season, which comes in three packaged offers for stays through May 16 that will save you up to 45 percent off standard rates for their Woodstock Collection Rooms -— designed during a just-completed $16.5 million renovation. The inn has several on-site dining options that feature menu items laced with that delectable Vermont maple syrup, and a Sunday brunch adds the sweet sounds of live music. Or, you can take a walk to one of the nearby in-town restaurants.
To burn it all off the inn has a top-flight fitness facility with a variety of classes, indoor pool and indoor and outdoor tennis. The golf course and mountain biking trails open May 1. Walk or borrow one of the inn’s bikes to shop the boutiques and art galleries in Woodstock Village. And don’t forget to check out the inn’s full-service spa menu.
To the South
The breeze off the Atlantic might still be a bit nippy walking Newport’s famous Cliff Walk or shopping along Thames Street, but step a few blocks in among the picturesque storefronts, historic inns, and quaint coastal streets and you’ll notice that spring has sprung about two weeks ahead of Boston. Daffodils rule at the family friendly Newport Daffodil Days Festival that runs through April 21, followed by lots of other spring happenings in and around Newport.
Unlike many summer-vacation hot spots along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coastlines that don’t open until Memorial Day weekend, all of Newport’s museums, Gilded Age mansions and most of the area shops and restaurants are open and waiting for your business right now.
Overnight options run from the pricey, but still well below summer peak-season rates for the Chanler at Cliff Walk, to too numerous to select from inns, hotels, and B&Bs that can accommodate family or solo travelers.
In nice weather, the 10-mile Ocean Drive loop is a one-of-a-kind bike ride filled with its stunning, scenic mansions and coastline views.
To the West
Although major summer attractions like Jacob’s Pillow, summer theater, and Tanglewood aren’t yet options in the Berkshires, the region affords lots of museums, scenic strolls or vigorous hikes in state park, Audubon Society and Trustees of Reservations sites, and fine dining restaurants to enjoy.
If you’re in the market for a fitness and spa retreat, Canyon Ranch Lenox offers a Women’s Wellness Week, May 5-11, with a 15 percent savings on a stay of four nights or longer, plus a $200 daily resort credit.
Author Edith Wharton’s Gilded Age estate in Lenox, The Mount, opens May 11; the groomed grounds, with their emerging spring blooms, are open and free to stroll in April.
Feel like an outdoor spring swim? Then you’ll enjoy the heated-year-round outdoor pool and hot tub at the iconic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge (currently offering two package-stay deals).