Newsletters

Get Well+Being delivered to your inbox every Monday Morning.

Labyrinths have gotten more popular in recent years, and Washington has a surprising number of them. Here’s why walking in circles can be very calming. By Judy Colbert
Photograph of Georgetown Labyrinth by Andrew Propp.

Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has a single path leading to its center and back out—there’s just one way to go, with no decisions to make about which way to turn. This is by design. The idea is to allow those who walk a labyrinth to focus on inner thoughts.

“People walk a labyrinth for centering, feeling grounded, as prayer, for aspirations and yearnings,” says Sue Mosher, who offers guided labyrinth walks throughout Washington. “They allow the labyrinth to speak to them so they make space for their inner lives.”

Photograph of labyrinth at American Psychological Association by Len Spoden.

Interested in trying one? While labyrinths date back four millennia, there’s been renewed interest in recent years, and two dozen labyrinths now exist within a ten-mile radius of DC. There are also versions as small as a smartphone app.

Starting in 2009, the Labyrinth Society designated the first Saturday in May—this year, May 3—as World Labyrinth Day, when, at 1 pm local time, people are invited to walk a labyrinth. To find one near you, check labyrinthlocator.com. For more information about labyrinths, see labyrinthsociety.org.

These six labyrinths, representing a range of designs, are open to the public. Although the patterns vary, the effect is the same. Unless otherwise noted, they’re open daily from sunrise to sunset or a bit after.

American Psychological Association

On a green rooftop near Union Station, the 42-foot labyrinth features trellises, plantings, tables, a journal, and a finger labyrinth that you can “walk” with your fingers—a good option for those with ambulatory issues. Open Monday through Friday 7 to 7. Sign in at the security desk to go up to the roof, or call Holly Siprelle (202-336-5519) to arrange a guided walk. 10 G St., NE.

How to Walk a Labyrinth

Expert Sue Mosher’s step-by-step tips.

STEP 1: “Ask yourself why you’re going on this journey. Is there something in your life you want to leave behind? Some question you’d like to pose? Something for which you want to offer gratitude? It’s also fine simply to be open to the experience.”

STEP 2: “At the threshold, express your intention. Take a deep breath and relax. Take off your shoes, if you like, to be in closer contact with the path.”

STEP 3: “In the labyrinth, notice the alternating rhythm of straight stretches and turns and the movement toward the center, then away again. Release whatever expectations or concerns you may be carrying.”

STEP 4: “Don’t be in a hurry. Linger at the center to receive whatever may be waiting for you there. Carry it gently on the return journey.”

Barton Park

Part of the former Northern Virginia Whitman-Walker Clinic’s healing garden, the 37-foot labyrinth of precast stone and pavers went into storage when that branch of the clinic closed, then it was moved to this Arlington public park in late 2013. Two benches sit amid the trees and plantings. Corner of North Barton and 10th St. N., Arlington.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Although this ten-acre park can be busy, its paved labyrinth offers not only views of the Potomac River, Roosevelt Island, and Key Bridge but also a chance to quiet any outside noise. It’s accessible for wheelchair users and stroller-pushers. A contemplative bench is nearby with a journal for your thoughts. 33rd and K sts., NW.

St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church

Set among old pines and other trees, the 40-foot labyrinth is made of rubber mulch with white stones outlining the path and is set near a memorial garden with benches. At nearby Art at the Center, parishioner Kathryn Horn Coneway offers workshops on making finger labyrinths from clay. 8531 Riverside Rd., Alexandria.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

A 62-foot labyrinth is made from turf and pavers, while a 36-by-36-inch plexiglass finger labyrinth is also available. A journal for your thoughts is under the bench. 6030 Grosvenor La., Bethesda.

University of Maryland

The Garden of Reflection and Remembrance labyrinth is adjacent to the campus chapel. Guided walks, yoga sessions, and special events are regularly scheduled. Benches, trees, and water elements help visitors connect with nature. 7600 Baltimore Ave., College Park.

Judy Colbert (judy@judycolbert.com) is coauthor of Peaceful Places Washington, DC.

This article appears in the April 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:18 AM/ET, 04/30/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The region’s best places to ski and snowboard, for both easy day trips and fun weekends away. By Matthew Graham
Seven Springs (above) is a great choice for those learning to ski. Photograph courtesy of the resort.

With four terrain parks and an Olympic-size Superpipe, Snowshoe Mountain Resort is a top pick for snowboarders. Photograph courtesy of the resort.

This is an update from this original article.

Best Overall Ski Resort: Snowshoe Mountain Resort

With 57 trails, Snowshoe is not only the largest ski resort in the region; it also has the highest vertical drop (1,500 feet) and the most natural snow (an average of 180 inches annually), although all 251 acres are covered by snow-making if necessary. Four terrain parks and an Olympic-size Superpipe make the West Virginia retreat a top pick for snowboarders and freestyle skiers, too. An abundance of blue runs on the main face and in the Silver Creek area make Snowshoe a great choice for intermediate skiers as well. Lodging ranges from inexpensive, comfortable hotels in the valley to slope-side condos. The mountaintop village also includes an array of shops and restaurants as well as swimming pools and a 15,000-square-foot arcade. 877-441-4386; snowshoemtn.com.

Best for Families: Wisp Resort

Adjacent to Deep Creek Lake, Wisp—Maryland’s only ski resort—is ideal for families, with plenty of discounted ski-and-stay packages. Thirty percent of the terrain is rated easy, so children and other beginners will have a fine time. Off-slope family fun includes snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and riding the Mountain Coaster—whose cars zoom along 3,500 feet of downhill steel track snaking through the woods. 301-387-4000; wispresort.com.

Most Romantic: Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen offers a mountaintop spa with outdoor hot tubs as well as nicely appointed condos along a ridgeline facing east over the Blue Ridge Mountains and Virginia wine country. Couples can ski, get a massage, snuggle in front of their fireplace, and wake to a spectacular sunrise. 434-325-2200; wintergreenresort.com.

Best for Expert Skiers: Blue Knob

There’s nothing fancy about Blue Knob, in Claysburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a skier’s mountain, with five beginner slopes, 15 intermediate, and a whopping 14 expert runs on the steepest terrain in the region, including the Extrovert and the Lower Shortway, two of the toughest slopes in the Mid-Atlantic. The resort also features expert glade skiing through the trees, tight chutes, and an open bowl area. 800-458-3403; blueknob.com.

Best Ski School: Seven Springs

There’s a learning program for everyone at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. Amost all instructors are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America or the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Group lessons are limited to eight students and based on skill level. The resort also offers private lessons, the Burton Snowboards Learn to Ride program, a Tiny Tots School, a Youth Academy, telemark skiing classes, and a 55-plus program for older skiers of intermediate ability who wish to take it to the next level. After a lesson, you can enjoy the best nightlife of any regional resort, including live music on weekends, bowling, swimming, roller-skating, and indoor mini-golf. 800-452-2223; 7springs.com.

Best Night Skiing: Liberty Mountain Resort

Only an hour and a half’s drive north of DC, Liberty in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania, is the most convenient resort for Washingtonians. All 16 trails are well lit for night skiing: You can leave work at 4 and be on the slopes for the 5-to-10-pm ticket. Want a bite to eat? McKee’s Tavern serves great burgers, sandwiches, and a variety of beers on tap and in bottles. 717-642-8282; libertymountainresort.com.

Massanutten Resort (bottom left) thrills those seeking snowtubing. Photograph courtesy of the resort.

Best Day Trip: Whitetail Resort

Also 90 minutes from DC, Whitetail in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, is a lot bigger than Liberty. There are 22 trails (six more than at Liberty) and 935 feet of vertical drop (compared with Liberty’s 620). All of the slopes are wide open, and the east-facing mountain helps keep the snow from turning to ice. There are two terrain parks, a halfpipe, and the area’s best mogul run. The bumps on the Bold Decision expert slope are big and relentless but generally soft. Don’t miss the beginner Sidewinder Trail, where the pitch is constant from top to bottom. 717-328-9400; skiwhitetail.com.

Least Crowded: Montage Mountain

Right off of Interstate 81 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Montage—formerly Sno Mountain—is an easy drive, at less than four hours from DC, but never overrun. Even on holiday weekends, lift lines are usually short to nonexistent. The mountain offers 26 trails with a 1,000-foot vertical drop, and all are lit for night skiing. For a fun getaway, head to Montage for a Saturday-afternoon/evening ticket, book a cheap hotel room near the interstate in Scranton that night, then on Sunday continue about 50 minutes north to ski Elk Mountain (elkskier.com), a bit of Vermont in Pennsylvania. 855-754-7946; montageisback.com.

Best Bargain: Canaan Valley

A high-season, adult weekend lift ticket at Canaan Valley in Davis, West Virginia, is only $52—compared with $62 and up at most other regional resorts. That’s just the start of the bargains: A weekend pass runs $85, and a midweek lodging/ski/breakfast package is $84 per person per night (based on double occupancy). If you crave more than Canaan’s 43 trails—and don’t mind spending more money—visit adjacent Timberline Resort (timberlineresort.com), home of the two-mile Salamander Trail, the longest run in the Mid-Atlantic. 304-866-4121; canaanresort.com.

Best Adaptive Skiing: Wintergreen Resort

Founded in 1984, Wintergreen Adaptive Sports, which works with the Wounded Warrior Project, brings skiing and snowboarding to the physically and mentally challenged. Each skier is provided with customized equipment, such as a sit-down ski sled, and specialized assistance from some 100 volunteer instructors. 434-325-2007; wintergreenresort.com.

Best Snow Tubing: Massanutten Resort

The 900-foot-long, 125-foot-high tubing hill at Massanutten in Harrisonburg, Virginia, thrills riders with three whoop-de-doo jumps, high-walled individual lanes, and one magic-carpet lift that makes it an easy trip back up for multiple runs on a two-hour lift ticket. 540-289-4954; massresort.com.

This article appears in the January 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 10:42 AM/ET, 01/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
No matter your resolution—from getting healthy to improving your tennis game—here are getaways to help kick-start your New Year’s goals. By Andrea Poe
Mark Salter’s Chesapeake Seasons Cooking Demonstrations at the Robert Morris Inn include a two-hour cooking demo and recipe cards—plus you get to enjoy the two-course lunch he’s prepared.

Hone Your Sport

Boar’s Head, a resort in Charlottesville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is offering Everything for Your Sport. This couples package includes two 60-minute lessons in the sport of your choice (golf, tennis, or squash), two 60-minute sport-specific personal-training sessions, and two 60-minute yoga classes tailored to your sport, along with accommodations, breakfast for two, resort fees, tax, and tip. Rates start at $725 a couple. 434-296-2181.


Cook Like a Pro

Hole up at the historic Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore, and learn to cook with co-owner and chef Mark Salter, whose most recent stint was helming the kitchen at the Inn at Perry Cabin. Throughout the winter, Salter will share his culinary prowess with small groups in his Chesapeake Seasons Cooking Demonstrations, which include a two-hour demo, recipe cards, a two-course lunch, and a glass of wine. A cooking package—encompassing the demo, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner for two plus one night in a Captain’s Suite—runs $210 a person. 410-226-5111.


Get Well and Relax

The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia offers guests a way to double down on efforts to improve their health, thanks to an on-site medical clinic. There, nine physicians—from cardiologists to endocrinologists—conduct preventive plans and diagnostics reviews. A 60-to-90-minute introductory interview about your health history sets the tone for the individualized attention you’ll receive. Combine doctor visits with massages and detoxifying hydrotherapies at the spa and you have a recipe for a healthy start to 2014. Packages, which include clinic services and accommodations, start at $2,250. 800-362-7798.


Find Some Peace

It’s hard to imagine a more tranquil slice of land on which to restore your soul and perfect your downward dog than Fox Haven Learning Center’s 620-acre organic farm along the Catoctin Creek in Jefferson, Maryland. On January 24 and 25, mini-retreats feature yoga, wholesome food, and meditation. Stay in one of three historic farmhouses with porches offering views of the property, which is teeming with bald eagles, beavers, great blue herons, and foxes. Rates start at $199 if you register by December 15; after that, they begin at $229. 301-695-8646.

This article appears in the January 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 01:17 PM/ET, 01/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These inns have excellent restaurants and amenities such as fireplaces and spas. Once you check in, you’ll never have to leave. By Joe Sugarman
Middleburg’s cozy Goodstone Inn can offer good deals in winter. Another draw: a new chef. Photograph by Jumping Rocks Photography.

Romance in Hunt Country

Middleburg’s Goodstone Inn & Restaurant has long been a go-to for Washingtonians seeking a little romance in Virginia’s Hunt Country. Eighteen differently decorated rooms and suites in six cottages allow couples to pick an experience from French countryside to rustic chic. (To really get away from it all, book the standalone Bull Barn, with its wood-burning fireplace and king-size sleigh bed.)

The restaurant has a new chef, Benjamin Lambert, who honed his culinary chops under a Food Network-like cast of mentors ranging from Rocco DiSpirito to Geoffrey Zakarian to Michael Mina. Lambert’s French-inspired menu meanders from brioche-crusted sweetbreads in truffle sauce to Châteaubriand, prepared tableside. Check the website for cool-weather packages. 540-687-3333.


Butlers and Beignets

At the Inn at Willow Grove, you don’t have to leave your room for breakfast. Just ring for your butler, who will deliver a tray of complimentary French-press coffee and a paper bag of hot sugared beignets. Service is the name of the game at this inn, which includes a restored 18th-century manor house and cozy private cottages with fireplaces, set in the Blue Ridge foothills of Orange, Virginia.

The butler will come in handy if you want to book a massage at the inn’s Smokehouse Spa or dinner at Vintage Restaurant, where executive chef Jason Daniels hosts the “Three on Thursday” tasting, a three-course, farm-to-table meal for $29.95. Just be sure to save room: Your butler will be back at turndown, bearing a pot of hot tea and a tray of sweets. 540-317-1206.


The Cat’s Meow

When you stay at the Inn at Montchanin Village in Wilmington, Delaware, you don’t just get a room; you get a small town. Montchanin Village, in the Brandywine Valley, is made up of 11 restored buildings dating from 1799 to 1910; most once housed workers at the nearby DuPont gunpowder mill (now the Hagley Museum and Library). Today the old homes accommodate 28 luxe rooms and suites, many with soaking tubs and gas fireplaces.

The village’s stone-covered lanes remain, as do the outdoor privies (now gardeners’ sheds). A sprawling 19th-century barn holds a lobby with wooden beams and cushy chairs as well as a full-service spa. Cat lovers will cozy up to Krazy Kat’s restaurant, decorated in an over-the-top animal theme, complete with tiger-print chairs and portraits of military-garbed felines. The Modern American cuisine includes stout-braised short ribs, scallop gratin, and seared antelope with a cherry-Cabernet reduction. 302-888-2133.


Organic Style in Baltimore

Open just two years, the Inn at the Black Olive has already leaped to the top of Baltimore’s hotel heap on TripAdvisor. Every suite in the 12-room inn promises Inner Harbor views, a soaking tub, and enough eco-friendly amenities to please the pickiest green guests—from organic mattresses to furniture made with sustainably grown wood.

The inn is run by Demitris Spiliadis, who, with his family, also operates the Black Olive, a Greek restaurant specializing in seafood, around the corner in Fells Point. You can stroll over there for dinner or head up to the inn’s swank rooftop restaurant, the Olive Room, for a decidedly lamb-centric take on classic Greek cuisine, complemented by a mostly organic wine list. 443-681-6316.


Eating Well in Easton

Choosing a room at Easton’s Inn at 202 Dover is like picking a travel itinerary—should you go Asian, English, French, or African? Each of the four suites at this restored 1874 mansion features decor inspired by a different country, and all are tastefully done. (There’s also a queen-size bedroom.)

And while we love the French fare at the neighboring Bartlett Pear Inn, the Inn at 202 Dover boasts the equally sublime Peacock Restaurant & Lounge, where chef Douglas Potts prepares contemporary Eastern Shore cuisine—oyster bisque, seared duck breast, or whatever comes in fresh that morning. He calls it Potts Luck. 866-450-7600.

This article appears in the January 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 12:46 PM/ET, 01/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
We asked ten busy jet-setters to tell us how to dress and what to bring to guarantee comfort and style on the plane. By Elizabeth Thorp
Erina Pindar (left) and Janine Cifelli (right) share their travel outfit basics.

As a founder of a busy travel startup, I travel quite a bit and have some core rules: No shorts or sandals. Ever. (It’s always freezing on planes, even if your destination is tropical. Also, who wants their bare legs on a seat that a possible bird flu carrier might have just sat in for 14 hours?)

Other rules are ballet flats or boots—for comfort, but also because you don’t want to totter around in six-inch heels if you need to evacuate quickly—with lots of layers and a cashmere wrap. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering: What are the secrets of other jet-setters? So I decided to find out.

I checked in with ten busy and fashionable travelers, who divulged their best tips and tricks for traveling in style and comfort. Check out our slideshow for their input.

Posted at 12:30 PM/ET, 05/07/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()