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Putnam County Retreats for Health Nuts (Reluctant or Hardcore)

If buzz words like “detoxify,” “slimming” and “energizing” leave you short of breath and queasy, with the sinking fear that someone in a white coat is going to whisk you away for a bracing green tea enema, you’re not alone. At New York States of Mind, we too enjoy our health kicks with a heaping dollop of cupcake-infused indulgence. Somewhat reluctantly, however, we also recognize the need for self-discipline. Here are our recommendations for wellness options in the Hudson Valley's Putnam County, ranging from the involuntarily healthful to committedly hardcore.

For Superficial Recharging: SALON AT THE GARRISON

The Nitty Gritty: If your outer surface is in desperate need of a tuneup, look no further than the Salon at the Garrison. The setting of the spa alone — which is tucked away in a gorgeous nook of the Hudson Highlands (an offshoot of the Appalachian Mountains) with a view of the Hudson River, and part of a resort that includes a challenging 18-hole golf course, a phenomenal farm-to-table restaurant and country-chic lodging — will cool your chronically-spinning jets the second you set foot on the grounds.

Why We Dig It: The spa perfectly balances a homey, individualized vibe with a roster of options for all of your preening needs. Massages (Swedish, sports, Shiatsu, therapeutic, hot rock or prenatal) for tense muscles, body treatments (herbal balance wraps, enzyme peels, salt rubs) for bloating and dehydration and all kinds of head-enhancing options (facials, hair extensions, permanent makeup, regular makeup, cuts, updos and tints) abound for everyone. Unsurprisingly, bridal parties are frequent guests at the salon, as are gaggles of other makeover needing gals out looking for a good time. Healthy (but delish) spa lunches from the Terrace Grill restaurant are also available.

Level of Commitment: Financially moderate (packages start at $50), spiritually free.

GPS: 2015 US 9, Garrison. (845) 424-3604.

For Pure Spirituality: CHUANG YEN MONASTERY

The Nitty Gritty: If you spend more time worrying about the chips in your soul than the chips in your nails, Chuang Yen may offer just the salve you need to soothe the jagged edges of your aura. Chuang Yen is a Buddhist temple in the middle of 125 acres of fish-laden lakes and ponds, winding wooded paths and lush fields of grass in Kent. Created in 1975 to give North American Buddhists a place for Dharma Assembly, it offers Buddhist teachings, retreats, talks, lunches and Chinese language classes — it is also free and open to the public.

Why We Dig It: The temple buildings (including a large hall, a dining center, a library and a memorial terrace) were erected in the style of China’s Tang Dynasty and were designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei; the architecture alone is worth a visit. The monastery’s melting pot of programs (including sitting and walking meditation, lectures, book discussions, various seasonal rituals and vegetarian lunches at the dining hall every weekend) offer something for everyone, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike.

Level of Commitment: Financially light (it is free to enter, lunch is a $6 per person suggested donation, retreats vary), spiritually variable.

GPS: 2020 Route 301, Carmel, (845) 225-1819. NB: The monastery is closed in winter, from January to March.  

For a Spiritual and Physical Workout: SKYBABY YOGA

The Nitty Gritty: If you want to leave a workout feeling pumped both physically and spiritually, then SkyBaby Yoga will fill your prescription for holistic health. SkyBaby aims to unite its teachers and students with each other and with their own inner cores. Owner Melia Marzollo stresses the studio’s goal to affirm and say “yes” instead of deny and say “no” to ourselves, in both life and yoga. Yin, Hatha, Hot Yoga, Toddler Yoga, Restorative and Vinyasa yoga classes are offered, as are both mat and apparatus Pilates.

Why We Dig It: Whether you’re two or 82, pregnant or post-partum, advanced or beginner, there is a nook into which you can flop your flexible (or not-so-flexible) little being, without feeling any of the pressure to fit a particular body type or the cookie-cutter mentality that is prevalent at so many yoga studios. SkyBaby is also serious about fun: yoga parties (including free mat rentals and Champagne) start at $250 for a 75-minute yoga class plus one hour of party time for 10 guests. (Optional add-ons include chair massages, hand massages, henna tattoos and swag bags).

Level of Commitment: Financially light (classes begin at $15 each), spiritually moderate.

GPS: 75 Main Street, Cold Spring (845) 265-4444.  


The Nitty Gritty: Other than a big glass of wine, sometimes the best way to unwind and retreat from it all is to lock yourself in with your own blend of potions. Slough off the stresses of the world with goodies from Cold Spring Apothecary. The store stocks completely chemical-free, small-batch, 100 percent green, plant-based natural remedies for every imaginable skin woe. Owner Stacey Dugliss-Wesselman worked as a hairstylist in Brooklyn before developing an allergy to almost everything synthetic and turned her beauty smarts to her own line of products. She relocated to the Hudson Valley, and after a few years of tinkering with her line of products she opened the doors to the Apothecary in 2011.

Why We Dig It: Everyone needs to stop and smell the organic rosewater toner (and pick up some botanical scalp treatment, citrus and ginger salt spray, sea buckthorn berry oil and hibiscus-infused conditioner while you’re at it). Mini-facials are also available in store for those who prefer to leave treatments to the professionals.

Level of Commitment: Financially light (potions start at $10.50), spiritually light.

GPS: 49 Main Street in Cold Spring, (845) 232-1272.

Photo: "Lion Guardians of the Bodhi Path" by Tony Fischer is licensed under CC BY 2.0