The Hip Mom Treats Herself to a Hip Getaway
One of my many guilty pleasures is perusing Gwyneth Paltrow’s “goop,” her weekly e-newsletter exploring all things fabulously Gwyneth. A little while ago she did a piece on “Wellness Retreats,” and I drooled over the lush resorts in fabulous locales, from Canyon Ranch in Massachusetts to an Ashram in the Bahamas to a palatial mountain retreat in the Himalayas. All readily accessible for a weekend or a week by the likes of moms like Gwyneth, but perhaps not so easy for the rest of us mortals! But I devoured the article and fantasized about spending a night or two away from my madding crowd, rejuvenating, eating healthful food infused with kale that actually tastes good, indulging in all sorts of spa treatments involving aromatic oils, and maybe attempting a few yoga poses. I’d come back with a lovely glow, surely looking at least eight years younger, refreshed and ready to jump back into the shrieking mayhem.
Imagine my delight, then, when a friend of a friend told me about a little spa getaway and resort just an hour away from Tulsa: The Canebrake Resort and Spa. After eight years of living here, I had never heard of this little gem in Wagoner County. The Canebrake is “the region’s finest eco-friendly resort and spa.” After perusing the website, which boasts of the luxurious rooms and Ayurvedic spa treatments, classes in the state-of-the-art Yoga Barn, garden-to-table fine dining, and special events like cooking classes and spring renewal retreats, I was thrilled! Here, finally, is a doable getaway for even suburban Okie moms like myself. Maybe we can’t afford the time or expense of a big glam getaway to, say, the Golden Door in California, but we can take a quick drive for a night or two away for minimal expense – and come back equally as fabulous as if we’d joined Gwyneth herself.
So, I kidnap my good friend Kappa Kappa Karen (alas, we were not sorority sisters – we met well into motherhood – but I suspect we would have dreamed up many hilarious shenanigans in college together), convince my saintly husband PVT to watch our jillion kids for 20 hours or so, and set out on the quick drive through bucolic countryside to The Canebrake. It’s an easy, placid drive, so I am already relaxed by the time we wind down the country road leading to the resort entrance. The main building sits on 250 acres of a family ranch. And, just so your environmental conscience can rest easy, The Canebrake is the first gold-level ECO-certified restaurant and lodging facility in Oklahoma. It is raining when we arrive, but the views are beautiful: wetlands, leafy forests and rolling hills, and snippets of Lake Fort Gibson.
We are greeted right at our car by a friendly valet, who takes our luggage the short walk to the check-in desk. Two friendly, cheery women help us check in and ply us with champagne, which is exactly how I like to be greeted! They usher us over to the spa where we have massages scheduled upon our arrival (and they brush off the fact that I somehow got the time wrong, instead of acting uppity and annoyed!). Our massages are heavenly: Karen gets a targeted massage by a very strong and able masseuse who manages to get some troublesome kinks out of her back (she is an avid tennis player), and my masseuse, who administers a prenatal massage (it’s my seventh pregnancy and I’ve never had one! I’m due, right?), has all sorts of tips for my various aches and pains. Apparently, pregnancy can make you very tight in the neck and shoulders from sleeping on your side, so he concentrates on those areas and suggests some helpful stretches. He also suggests keeping my feet above my heart a couple of times per day — some nice lounging with my feet up — to help with the repulsive varicosities in my left leg.
Refreshed and energized, we meet our valet who takes us and our luggage via golf cart on the short ride to our “retreat room” — all the rooms at the Canebrake are just a little jaunt away from the main building. (There are also Queen Suites that accommodate up to four guests and have jetted tubs; King Suites, the most luxurious rooms, include dining rooms as well.) Our room is just delightful: small, but well-appointed, pristine and homey. And it is so QUIET! All we can hear are some sprinkling raindrops and chippering birds — it takes my frazzled ears some time to decompress!
I am especially impressed with the delights offered by the minibar — there is a Pinot Noir from Oregon, which wows me. We relax for a bit (oh strange and disconcerting feeling), and then make the not-too-arduous journey from our room to the Canebrake Kitchen. The Canebrake Kitchen is an award-winning, garden-to-table restaurant that seats 65 and overlooks the open kitchen. The food is sublime: Kappa Kappa Karen orders the Happy Brussel Sprouts, tossed with Oklahoma pecans, gorgonzola crumbles, and fried onion rings; she also has the Shrimp Hush Puppies, and pronounces everything delicious. I am thrilled to discover fried Pacific Oysters on the menu, and slurp those up along with a sumptuous Caesar. There are many more delights on the menu, from a Rack of Lamb, to a “Buffalo Bolognese” – that’s a ragu with Oklahoma Bison! – Linguine with Mussels, and a Grilled Ribeye. The Kitchen also hosts wine dinners and cooking classes with the chef. Recent and upcoming events include Mediterranean Cuisine, All Things Bacon, and Fresh Garden Herbs. After thoroughly relishing our dinner (and catching up on months of gossip), we wander past the adjacent bar, where there is live music, and where the resort’s pet-friendly policy is very much in evidence. The singer’s dog is happily sniffing and wagging around with other guests. Despite its canine friendliness, The Canebrake wants to remain a haven for adults. No kids under 16 can spend the night. However, kids are welcome in the restaurant, so feel free to tote along the kids AND dogs for the upcoming Mother’s Day Brunch and other frequent special occasions.
Kappa Kappa Karen and I return to our room for a movie (what a treat to have control of the remote and not have to perform the nightly bedtime circus), and then we roll out of bed at the luxurious hour of 8:30 a.m. for the complimentary breakfast. Then we are off to the Yoga Barn for a yoga class, which is also complimentary for overnight guests. The Yoga Barn offers classes like Deep Stretch, Hour of Power, and Restorative Power; private lessons are also available. I have had a dysfunctional relationship with yoga over the years; sometimes I enjoy it, and sometimes it so tedious that I find myself composing grocery lists in my head while snoozing my way through a warrior pose. But this yoga class is a lot of fun, not too “woo-woo” (for lack of a more scientific term), and keeps me engaged and interested. I’m surprised it goes so fast! Also offered are yoga retreats and workshops; a “Take Root” workshop recently explored ways to deepen and strengthen your yoga practice, and an upcoming three-day “Summer Solstice Ayurveda Retreat” with guest yogi Maria Garre will feature classes, workshops, healthful meals and meditation sessions.
A mere 20 hours later, Karen and I regretfully pack up for the short drive home, but we are refreshed and ready to dive back into the messy, snotty chaos of our lives. No, The Canebrake is not one of Gwyneth’s super sexy, detox, Ashram getaways, but it’s quick, doable, relatively inexpensive (our room was just $160 per night for two, including the breakfast and yoga!), and briefly, we felt like pampered movie star mamas. What’s a better way to getaway than that?