In the Green Mountains of Vermont, you'll find New Life Hiking Spa, home to an abudance of hiking, healthy eating, and spa services to help you disconnect from your day-to-day life, rejuvenate, adopt healthy habits, and perhaps lose a few pounds in the process.
New Life Hiking Spa was founded by Jimmy LeSage in 1978 and today it has evolved into an award winning destination spa, with an emphasis on hiking, fresh air, and healthy food.
As a certified personal trainer who has seen plenty of people crash and burn on their attempts to stick to fad diets, I was happy to see that New Life emphasizes a natural approach to health and weight loss with a focus on fresh, whole foods built on a foundation of water-based foods such as fruit and vegetables ... something that people can easily learn and stick with for the long term. Whenever possible, New Life provides food that is raised locally using sustainable farming and procurement practices.
The New Life Hiking Spa is open for 20 weeks each year (May 14 to October 5 in 2020) ... which coincides with prime hiking season in Killington, Vermont.
The schedule for a typical day is flexible, but the general structure looks like this:
Morning: Start your day at 7:00am with a morning stretch, followed by breakfast from 7:30am - 8:00am, which offers 4 options: two that are egg-based, an oatmeal dish, and a protein shake. After that, it's time to hit the trails. There are three level to choose from:
- Nature Walk: 2-4 miles of flat or rolling hills at a more relaxing pace.
- Classic Hike: 4-6 miles on wooded trails with beautiful lookouts, ancient mines, and serene waterfalls.
- Advanced Hikes: 3-6 miles covering steeper, more challenging terrain. Some of these hikes will climb to elevations over 4,000 feet giving hikers the opportunity to experience Vermont's high alpine tundra environment.
Mid-Day: A healthy lunch is served at 12:30pm which includes soup and an entree. Once your food has digested, you can choose from a variety of water workouts (ex. pool strength training, kayaking excursions), fitness classes, total body strengthening and toning classes, fit ball workouts, boot camp workouts, outdoor games, yoga classes, Qi Gong, or attending lectures on topics such as healthy eating, changing habits, Chinese medicine, etc.
Evening: Dinner is served at 6:30pm and is followed by evening lectures and other activities.
In the afternoon and evening you may also choose to enjoy a massage or schedule a nutritional health counseling or personal fitness training session. Note that one massage or reflexology session is included for each 3-night stay. Additional sessions may be scheduled with prices ranging from $80 - $95 per service, depending on the service you choose.
New Life Hiking Spa also offers an indoor pool and outdoor hot tub.
New Life Hiking Spa offers a variety of packages:
For stays of 3 - 10 nights, the cost is $269 per day single occupancy and $249 per day per person for double occupancy.
For stays of 11 - 20 nights, the cost is $259 per day single occupancy and $239 per day per person for double occupancy.
They also offer a 21-night Extended Stay Wellness Retreat which runs $249 per day single occupancy and $229 per day per person for double occupancy.
The longer stays are encouraged to provide the time needed for guests to make lifestyle changes (eating habits and exercise) that are more likely to stick for the long-haul.
Guest reviews vary, ranging from 4.2 stars on Google, 4 stars on Trip Advisor, and 3.5 stars on Yelp, as I write this article.
Negatives: Some reviews complain that it is an older facility (it was formerly a Best Western) that feels a bit run down, and the guest rooms are not very appealing or uplifting. Some guests feel that the meal choices and portions are limited. Guests also mentioned that other "non-New Life" guests can use the facilities, such as the bar, and felt that these guests can be loud.
Positives: On the plus side, people consistently rave about the hikes, the staff, and the opportunity to meet terrific people from around the world.
Overall, New Life Spa doesn't have the vibe of a fancy spa or four-star accommodations, but if you are looking for a great hiking and wellness experience that will help you adopt healthy habits as you kickoff a new weight loss of fitness lifestyle, then New Life Spa may be a great option for you.
Mark Aspelin is a travel writer, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and author of two books (Profitable Conservation and How to Fail at Life: Lessons for the Next Generation) and two blogs (New Mexico and Beyond and Adventure-Spa.com). He has enjoyed a wide variety of adventures in his travels to 100 countries and all 50 U.S. States. Mark lives in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.