When it comes to exotic getaways, there’s a nearly endless number of tropical islands and far off locales. But even in the dead of winter, you can get a taste of summer — or any season for that matter — a short drive outside the city.
Crystal Springs, in northwestern New Jersey, is a renowned golf destination, with some of the best courses in the region. However, it’s also got the sort of four-season experience any couple or family will enjoy, with award-winning dining options, skiing and hiking, a high-end spa and an indoor pool unlike any you’ve seen before. All within a 90-minute drive of Manhattan.
Lodge living: Crystal Springs boasts two hotels, with the Grand Cascades Lodge serving as the flagship, four-star spot. The rooms are decorated as you’d expect for a lodge. Many feature soaring vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, balconies with mountain views and full gourmet kitchens — as well as nice touches such as heated floors and “warming zones” in the bathroom.
Minerals Resort and Spa is considered the three-star option, and it is designed to be more family-oriented.
Fine dining: A highlight of any stay at Crystal Springs should be dinner at Restaurant Latour, a recipient of a “Wine Spectator” Grand Award the past five years. It’s not cheap (about $400 for two people having the tasting menu with wine) or fast (take your time and it’ll be a three-hour experience), but executive chef Michael Weisshaupt puts together a meal that’s as delicious as it is memorable.
Is this Jersey? Or a magical summer spot?
Take any notion you have of an indoor pool and throw it away. Now think of lush vegetation, an imaginatively sculpted main pool that creates plenty of private nooks and a vibe that feels more like a tropical destination than anything you’ve ever seen in New Jersey. The Biosphere is built inside what's effectively a greenhouse, which they are able to open and close to control the temperature. There’s also a waterslide that entertains the adults as much as the kids. And don’t miss the hot tub, sauna and steam room in this massive complex.