@ Good Commons
I really can’t recommend this place enough for anyone in search of a quiet, relaxing East Coast getaway. My first visit to Good Commons was for their Labor Day Food, Wine, and Rejuvenation Retreat which lucky for me, also fell on my birthday. I was in the market for an affordable weekender that didn’t require a ton of planning, but had all the makings for a memorable, pampered adventure. After checking out the Good Commons website upon the recommendation of a good friend, I was confident I’d found exactly what I was looking for. The fact that all I had to do was show up at a convenient Midtown Manhattan location and “get on the bus” was a major selling point. Their retreat packages (typically in the $400 – 700 range depending on your choice of accomodations) are all-inclusive: food, lodging, activities, AND roundtrip transportation from New York City. Can’t beat that! Guests hop aboard the Good Bus, a veggie oil powered jitney, stocked with homemade munchies and various wines chosen by the weekend’s sommelier, for what amounts to a mobile wine tasting drive from the Big Apple to the Green Mountains. A mere 5 hours later, you’re greeted by one of the most amazingly warm and fiercely generous women I’ve ever met in my entire life, Good Commons’ owner and hostess, Tesha Buss. She lights up a room on impact and immediately makes you feel like her casa es su casa. A champagne toast kicks things off right, followed by a light yet hearty dinner, and a welcome circle that encourages all the participants to set their intentions for the days ahead.
They have plenty of activities on tap throughout the weekend: hiking, cheese making and brewery tours, music festivals, picnicing and paddleboating at the lake, exercise and movement classes, and so much more. But one of the things I like best about Good Commons is, you can choose to partake in everything under the sun or absolutely nothing at all. The vibe is so relaxed, you’re under no pressure to do anything other than what your heart prompts. If you’re feeling sendentary, curl up with a good book in the hammock, or in an overstuffed chair in the cozy upstairs living room. Soak in the jacuzzi all day and then schedule a private massage with the on-call therapist in the healing arts loft. Nestle into a bench on the hill and daydream as you overlook the epic, rolling greenery of Vermont or feel free to take off on a solo nature walk. Wi-fi is available if you just can’t tear yourself away from your laptop. If you’re feeling more active and social, jump on board the Good Bus and they’ll whisk you off to the day’s scheduled outings along with the other fabulous guests, who will undoubtedly become a few of your new best friends after the weekend is over.
The best part is, of course, the FOOD and for their F, W, & R getaways in particular, Good Commons pulls out all the stops. A four-course meal with wine pairing is on the agenda for both Saturday and Sunday night. Yes, TWO nights of multi-course gourmet dining. Memorial Day’s getaway will feature an incredible seasonal menu by resident chef, Matthew Wexler, as well as visiting chef, April Stamm (both seasoned culinary school grads who trained under by Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill). These two talented chefs exhibit their own unique approach to weekend’s decadent dinners, utilizing the best of Vermont’s seasonally freshest, local ingredients, emboding the concept of “farm to table” in the truest sense of the term. Since coming to GC, Chef Wexler has been deeply committed building relationships with the local specialty food purveyors and farmers in the area, making each of his menus an experience you’re not likely to find in any other region of the country.
Each menu is never the same twice and carefully crafted to feature the bounty of beautiful Vermont ingredients at their peak of availability. Breakfasts are a mouth-watering buffet of handmade pastry treats, baked egg dishes, local artisanal bacon or sausage, with bottomless pitchers of fresh juices and coffee, served at the long family-style table in the light-filled dining room. Dinners are carefully constructed individual courses, illustrating a particular theme which nicely build from one to the next, and perfectly straddle the fine line between a work of art that’s almost to pretty to eat and accessible comfort food that you can’t wait to tuck into.
As the last course concludes, guests tend to make their way outdoors to the back deck, nightcaps in hand. Smores are roasted around in the fire pit and hilarious storytelling ensues, until the evening slowly winds down into quiet fireside conversations and killer stargazing. Tip-toe through this maze of a house and slip into your pillowy bed, where you’ll peacefully drift off to sleep, feeling like you’re in the comfort of your own home and any memory of urban chaos is a million miles away.
Yep, choosing this place as one sweet little vacation destination is a no-brainer. But don’t be shy, there are only a few coveted spots left for Memorial Day. If you already have plans, check out their calendar of upcoming retreats that abounds with many other opportunities for blissful getaways throughout 2010. Be sure to tell them that Eye For Style sent you (there’s a special offer in it for you) and ENJOY!