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Fitness getaways for cheap: for an action-packed spring adventure that won’t tank your bank account, check out these 4 affordable fitness resorts and spas

Fitness getaways for cheap: for an action-packed spring adventure that won’t tank your bank account, check out these 4 affordable fitness resorts and spas – Venture Out

With holiday bills still clobbering your credit-card balances and income taxes coming up soon, who has the money to burn for an expensive spring break? Fortunately, you don’t have to spend big bucks to have a fun and adventurous getaway. From budget spas to historic mountain retreats, the following four escapes deliver so much fitness for the dollar, you may wonder if they left a zero off your bill. Because March weather can be iffy (“in like a lion, out like a lamb,” remember?) we’ve listed activities for snow and dry land — just in case Mother Nature pulls a fast one. All prices are per night, double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.

1. New Age Health Spa, Neversink, N.Y.

Leave it to New Yorkers to know a good deal when they see one. Case in point: this fitness/yoga resort nestled on 280 acres in the Catskill Mountains. The spa’s become so popular with the Big Apple crowd that it runs direct shuttles from the corner of Madison Avenue and 72nd Street!

The resort, which occupies a restored farmhouse, several white cottages and assorted outbuildings, looks almost like it leapt from the pages of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about New Age, which offers a cutting-edge yoga program, tai chi, guided meditation and more at the new Cayuga Yoga & Meditation Center, featuring a stone fireplace and enormous arched windows overlooking deer-filled meadows. The fitness center also provides the latest and greatest equipment and classes, plus Pilates (mat and Reformer) and a heated pool for aquacize.

Enjoy guided hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through sleepy hollows and slumbering towns lost in time, or huff-puff up to panoramic vistas. Truly intrepid guests can pit brawn and brain against the resort’s own Alpine Tower, a 50-foot-high combination ropes/challenge course. There are more than 130 different ways to the top via rope ladders, handholds, and netting not to mention a lot of chutzpa. Or brave the High Elements course, where you “tightrope walk” across 30-foot-high balance beams, then fly along a high-speed “zip line” for 30 seconds in the life of Tinkerbell.

At mealtime, everyone congregates in the rustic dining room to share hearty, lowfat vegetarian fare that revolves around homemade whole-grain dishes and organic salad greens grown in New Age’s three on-site greenhouses.

At night it’s so peaceful, you’re likely to conk out long before Friends comes on (there’s no TV in the monastic guest rooms, just one in the guest lounge, so it’s a moot point anyhow). But if you’re still sleepless, the world’s most adorable spa is waiting to steam, soak or massage you to nirvana, with offerings ranging from the sublime (aromatherapy-oil body wrap, massage and reflexology) to the celestial (tarot-card readings and astrological charting). Or step outside your cottage and chart your own course in the star-filled sky.

Seven days, from $1,002 per person, triple occupancy; (800) 682-4348, newagehealthspa.com – Carole Jacobs

2. Coolfont Resort, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

This historic resort nestles between two mountains on 1,300 acres facing a breathtaking lake. Stay at the three-story Manor House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places; settle into a hillside chalet with a wood-burning stove, whirlpool bath and deck; or relax in the Woodland House Lodge, where suites feature wood stoves and double whirlpools.

Then head out for snow tubing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing at nearby Whitetail Recreation Area. If the snow is gone, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding (the resort has its own stables), boating and fishing in the lake. Indoors, there’s a fitness center with a spring-fed pool and a full-service spa where you can unwind with acupuncture, shiatsu, reflexology, massage, loofah scrubs, plus herbal wraps that include a personalized aromatherapy scent. In addition to daily mind-body and weight-loss programs, special wellness packages include Couples Rendezvous (with partner yoga and dancing lessons), Breathe Free (a vacation to help you quit smoking) and Wild Women’s Weekends, where you can hike/drum/journal/meditate yourself to mind-body bliss.

From $86, includes breakfast and dinner; (800) 888-8768, coolfont.com.

Rebecca Haarlow

3. Tennessee Fitness Spa, Waynesboro, Tenn.

Think your wallet would get more of a workout than your body after a week at a health resort? Not at Tennessee Fitness Spa, which feels more like a camp than a spa, with rustic digs (lakefront lodge and two-story wooden chalets) plus friendly “counselors” known for fostering fat-blasting fun and camaraderie.

Your stay starts with a fitness assessment, followed by you and a staff member creating a personalized program that reflects your weight-loss, exercise and health goals. Enjoy aerobics, weight training and yoga in the spacious gym, aqua aerobics in the indoor pool and guided nature hikes through the rolling Tennessee hills.

Feast on unusual lowfat fare like vegetarian pizza, Dijon chicken and lasagna, then head to the sweet little spa for simple pleasures like massage, manicures and pedicures. Or take a soothing soak in the 10-person hot tub and share the day’s adventures with newfound fitness buddies.

From $155 per person, quadruple occupancy; (800) 235-8365, tfspa.com.

Beth Janes

4. The Palms at Palm Springs, Calif.

Don’t let the tony ZIP code fool you. This unpretentious spa, which occupies a cluster of red-tile-roofed haciendas just a stone’s throw from Palm Springs’ glitz-and-glam fashion district, is one of the cheapest places on American turf to drop a few holiday pounds. In March, the desert erupts into a carpet of minuscule wildflowers, and the temps are positively springlike. It’s the perfect time to come shed weight without breaking your budget.

The spa’s bungalow-style rooms face a lawn-fringed swimming pool that’s a beauty, plus a jampacked fitness center that offers everything from aerobics to Zen yoga, plus fitness and health evaluations. Enjoy guided nature walks and breathtaking mountain hikes in the craggy San Jacinto Mountains, which rise from the sidewalk’s end and crest in nearly 11,000-foot peaks, spires and pinnacles that reflect the pinkish-purple rays of the setting sun.

After a fat-blasting workout, head to the spa for aromatherapy, body scrubs and massage, or unwind with biofeedback, hypnotherapy and reflexology. Then chow down on calorie-controlled tasty food such as stir-fry, vegetable crepes, broiled red snapper and vegetarian lasagna. Feel free to go for seconds to boost the spa’s 1,000-calorie meal plan to a healthier 1,800 calories a day.

For a close-up peek at those peaks, ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. In just 121/2 minutes, you’ll be whisked from the desert flats to a winter wonderland past gasp-inspiring views of razor gorges and gaping canyons surrounded by soaring spires. It’s the best show in town, and maybe even on earth.

Five-night midweek package, from $795 per person, all-inclusive, includes one spa treatment; (800) 753-PALM, palmsspa.com

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group