Not everyone has the time or money for an extended vacation, but most of us can manage several days or a long weekend away. Throw in some relaxation and a little pampering and a short getaway can feel like a real break — especially when that getaway focuses on your favorite hobby or interest.
Themed vacations are a hot travel trend this year and a number of inns and bed & breakfasts around New England are adding new riffs on standard stays — experiential adventures such as cooking classes, beer making, lobster fishing and even axe throwing.
That’s right, axe throwing.
“At New England Inns & Resorts we’ve found that themed travel packages continue to grow in popularity with travelers,” says Beth Steucek, CEO, New England Inns & Resorts Association. “Not only do they tend to offer added-value, but they also generally offer a unique experience beyond spa and golf.”
Packages run the gamut of interesting activities.
Take Snapdragon Inn’s Private Fly Fishing Adventure Package. The Windsor, Vermont inn’s one-night trip for two includes your own private, certified fly-fishing guide to help you hone your casting techniques, all equipment and a half-day, guided fly fishing tour of area waters, along with overnight accommodations and continental breakfast for $499. (You can extend your stay and add spa and other services at additional costs.) Information: www.snapdragoninn.com.
At the Galen C. Moses House in Bath, Maine, visitors opting for the Maritime Package can spend the weekend studying the midcoast’s maritime history. The two-night stay for two, $445, includes lodging, breakfasts, and passes to the Maine Maritime Museum. (Add a one-hour cruise for two for $50.) Information: www.galenmoses.com.
Janites, (as fans of Jane Austen call themselves), might want to check out Jane Austen-inspired weekends at The Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vt. Visitors dress in period clothing, (optional), and discuss Jane Austen, her books, the movies based on her books and the Regency period. Weekend rates start at $295 for singles, $260 per person for doubles, $235 per person for triples, and include two nights’ lodging, a Friday evening literary talk over dessert and coffee, full breakfast on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon tea, Saturday dinner and book discussion, Sunday continental breakfast, and a Jane Austen quiz with Sunday brunch. Information: www.onehundredmain.com.
You’ll have to wait until next spring to discover your inner lumberjack at Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitfield, N.H. From May through June, guests can learn to throw an axe just like they do at woodsman skills competitions at county fairs across the country. Rates start at $169 and include accommodations for one night and an axe throwing lesson. (The resort’s gift shop stocks axe throwing apparel.) Information: www.mountainviewgrand.com.
At the Hartstone Inn & Hideaway in Camden, Maine, guests learn the techniques and recipes of a real restaurant chef. The Chef For The Day package includes four hours in the kitchen preparing dinner with the chef, food tasting, personalized chef’s cookbook and Hartstone Inn apron. Rates are $325 for the first person and $50 for the second. Room rates additional. Information: www.hartstoneinn.com.
Something’s brewing for beer lovers and craft beer connoisseurs at Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport, Mass. The two-night, hops-filled experience includes breakfast each morning, two brews delivered to your room upon arrival, a tour of the Cape Ann Brewing Company, a $25 gift certificate for the Cape Ann Brew Pub, two Cape Ann Brewing Pint Glasses, two passes for the Gloucester Water Shuttle (which docks right at the Brew Pub). Packages start at $319. Information: www.emersoninnbythesea.com.
Chebeague Island Inn, Portland, Maine, caters to lobster aficionados with its Lucky Lobstering package, which includes a two-hour excursion around Casco Bay with a Maine lobsterman guide. Guests learn about lobster habits, habitat, conservation efforts and more and enjoy two nights luxury lodging in a double occupancy room, gourmet breakfast daily, afternoon tea daily, a private lobster catching trip with the Inn’s lobsterman, Capt. Jedediah Spear, aboard the Sea Nile and a custom five-course lobster tasting using your catch, with wine pairings. Rates start at $1,160 for two people. Available now through mid-September. Information: www.chebeagueislandinn.com.
More packages available at http://www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com . All packages based on availability, advance reservations required. Taxes not included. Prices can vary based on time of year and rooms chosen.