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Maple Scrub at the Spa at the Equinox in Manchester Village, Vermont

How Sweet It Is... to be Scrubbed in Maple Sugar

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Maple Scrub at Equinox Avanyu Spa in VT

B. Kamins products featuring pure maple sugar are used in the Maple Scrub at the spa at The Equinox.

© 2003 Kim Knox Beckius
In Vermont, French toast and pancakes aren't the only things being slathered in maple. You can be, too! I was immediately intrigued when I heard about the Maple Scrub treatment at the Spa at the Equinox Resort (check rates) in Manchester Village, Vermont. Maple is, of course, one of New England's most distinctive flavors, and as it turns out, it's not just for breakfast!

A Unique New England Spa Experience

The Equinox, a historic hotel that has welcomed guests since 1769, was already one of Vermont's premier destinations for a relaxing country getaway before the addition in January of 2003 of a 13,000-square-foot spa, which offers many unique treatments designed to incorporate indigenous ingredients and to embrace the natural energy and spirit of Vermont.

In addition to the Maple Scrub, the Avanyu Spa offers a number of other signature treatments that embody the essence of Vermont including the Autumnal Ritual, a head-to-toe body treatment featuring exfoliation and envelopment in pure gold and chamomile; the Mountain Man Facial, a deep cleansing and rejuvenating facial for men who are exposed to harsh weather conditions; and the Spirit of Vermont, a unique experience that incorporates elements of Reiki, reflexology and massage to relieve stress and boost energy, focus and a sense of well-being.

Indoor Pool at the Spa at The Equinox

Seahorse sculptures frame the sunny and sparkling indoor pool at the Equinox's Spa.

© 2003 Kim Knox Beckius
Before my Maple Scrub appointment, I indulged in a leisurely swim in the spa's heated indoor lap pool. Housed in an atrium-like structure with exposed ceiling beams and walls of windows, the pool area was awash in warm sunlight. The spa also boasts a fitness studio with cardiovascular and strength training equipment, an Image Center where manicures and pedicures are offered, a retail shop and a movement studio for yoga and other classes.

Erin, my therapist, met me in the cozy waiting lounge, where I spent a few moments cuddled up in my fluffy white spa robe, mesmerized by the crackling fire and delighted by the surprisingly refreshing cucumber water that was available in large, sparkling pitchers.

The Maple Scrub takes advantage of the abrasive qualities of maple sugar to exfoliate the skin and stimulate circulation. The Maple Sugar Body Scrub product, made by B. Kamins, is a blend of pure vegetable oils and pure maple sugar. It contains vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, plus B vitamins, AHA acids and essential mineral salts of calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus. The product is designed to brighten dull, dry skin and leave skin silky smooth and rehydrated.

How Sweet It Is

Best of all, it smells fabulous. I almost hated to shower away the deliciously scented scrub particles, but Erin assured me that I was in for more maple. Phase two of the treatment features the head-to-toe application of B. Kamins' anti-aging and moisturizing Maple Body Lotion, a rich, absorbable shea butter lotion infused with maple, honey and soy.

As I relaxed and allowed the light, creamy lotion to seep into my skin, I had a Zen-like revelation: It is better to be the pancake than to eat the pancake--especially if you're watching your figure!

Then again, my husband had the opposite reaction when I hopped into the car after our all-too-brief overnight getaway at the Equinox. When I told him that I had managed to resist plunking down $37 for a 6.5-oz. bottle of the maple lotion, he seemed overjoyed. As it turned out, it wasn't about the money. "You smell like breakfast," he said. "Now I'm going to be hungry all day!"

The spa at the Equinox is open to non-hotel guests, who are assessed a $50 day fee. However, that fee is waived with the purchase of any 50-minute spa treatment. Descriptions of all treatments are available at the resort's Web site, and spa reservations may be made by calling toll free, 800-362-4747.

Book a Spa Escape, or Pamper Yourself at Home

Waiting Lounge at Equinox Avanyu Spa

A crackling fireplace makes the waiting lounge a cozy place to relax in between spa treatments.

© 2003 Kim Knox Beckius
I highly recommend you book yourself an overnight or longer stay at the Equinox, though. Not only does the resort offer an 18-hole golf course and access to a variety of recreational activities including mountain biking, tennis, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, archery, cross-country and downhill skiing, ice skating and the Orvis Fly-Fishing and Shooting Schools, it also boasts some extraordinary opportunities for learning and fun via the on-site Land-Rover Experience Driving School. Of course, Manchester is also known for its outlet shopping, which may get your heart racing, too. For hotel reservations, call toll free, 800-362-4747.

If you absolutely can't get to Vermont but simply must experience the sumptuous delight of being scrubbed with maple sugar, you're in luck. B. Kamins products are sold by a number of outlets, and you can compare prices online. Of course, scrubbing yourself doesn't feel nearly as indulgent. You might be able to find a loving partner to help you, but before you ask, be sure you're prepared to reciprocate by whipping up a short stack.

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