Fall Getaways: Mirbeau Inn And Spa
A French-style resort in the Finger Lakes.
A claw-foot tub, fireplace, and the exclusive Mirbeau Estate Beds ensure a good night’s sleep at the Mirbeau Inn.
There’s one important requirement to master upon visiting Mirbeau Inn and Spa: correctly pronouncing Skaneateles (sken-e-at-less), the lakeside village in which the country French-designed property is located. Inspired by the grounds at the home of Claude Monet in Giverny, France, a serene garden complete with walking path, plantings of Chinese wisteria and iris, and an arched footbridge over a pond replete with koi surround Mirbeau’s central chateau and four satellite cottages.
Checking into your room reveals yet another of Mirbeau’s draws: stupendous bedding that will have you wondering how you’ll ever go back to your Sleepy’s mattress at home. True, the claw-foot soaking tub, gas fireplace, and unlimited movie rentals are all wonderful but the Mirbeau Estate Collection Mattress, made exclusively for the resort, plus NaturaPedic pillows, provide a restful slumber I can’t imagine being matched. Upon being asked how my Mirbeau trip was, the first thing out of my mouth was, “They had unbelievable beds!”
Mirbeau translates as “reflected beauty,” and it’s beauty you’ll find whether staying on-grounds; bench-sitting in the small run of park between downtown Skaneateles and Skaneateles Lake, gazing into the clear, sea-green water; or driving around the lake, a ride which will take the better part of a morning but with gorgeous farmland views (more cows than cars!) such that you won’t care about time.
Explore: Spend some time strolling through downtown with its tony shops and restaurants—not a single chain in sight—less than a one-mile walk from Mirbeau. The crisp air and clear skies of the region can be best experienced on a hike; about 12 miles from Skaneateles is the Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenter’s Falls (www.fllt.org), an 87-acre preserve with a medium-level trail, groves of hemlocks, a view of the 100-foot-deep Bear Swamp Creek ravine, and a 90-foot waterfall. The trail ends with a beautiful vista of Skaneateles Lake, ensuring some nice photography to share with your Facebook friends. Indulge in a tasting ($5 to taste five wines!), purchase a Riesling (a well-priced regional specialty), stroll the gardens, and play with Lexi, the winery’s Golden Retriever mascot, at Anyela’s Vineyards (www.anyelasvineyards.com), just 10 minutes from Mirbeau. Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards (www.beakandskiff.com) is the region’s original pick-your-own apple orchards, in business since 1911. Besides the apples, there’s a country store with local cheeses and cider donuts, and a café with both hot and cold sandwiches made with farm-fresh ingredients.
Dine: The Finger Lakes region is home to more than 200 wineries, and Mirbeau does its part to celebrate that legacy. In its exceptional farm-to-table restaurant, there is a 400-bottle wine list along with interactive wine stations with rotating selections of wines not usually available by the glass in 1½-, 3-, or 6-ounce pours. Gilda’s (www.gildas skaneateles.com) is a terrific adult dinner-only eatery serving small plates (veal meatballs, garlic shrimp); artisan pizza (Brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta); and house-made desserts (chocolate pots de creme). Get dressed up to dine at Joelle’s French Bistro (www.joellesfrenchbistro.com), located in a charming white clapboard house. On the menu: lamb loin chops; veal Moroccan tagine; braised sweetbread casserole. Reservations are a smart choice.
Insider’s Tip: A stay at Mirbeau isn’t complete without visiting the 14,000-square-foot spa on the lower level of the central building (I highly recommend the gentleman’s facial). Make sure to get there early to enjoy the spa guest waiting area: a Greco-Roman relaxation room with heated foot pool, fireplace, and hot teas. Adjacent to this room is the Aqua Terrace, a neat outdoor space complete with wine bar, fireplace, and hot tub.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
851 W Genesee St, Skaneateles, NY (887) 647-2328; www.mirbeau.com
Distance from White Plains: 4 hours, 15 minutes Details: Starting at $575/night through October 9, 2014, with one 50-minute spa treatment per guest included (Sunday to Thursday only