Girls' Getaway: Lake Austin Spa Resort

Two supermoms relax and rejuvinate at this Texas retreat.

These coworkers do it all—juggling demanding careers and busy families (teens, husbands, and older parents)—so they sought a retreat that spent as much time nurturing their tired souls as stretching their stiff muscles. Annette Thompson, a travel writer, and Nellah McGough, an editorial assistant, selected Lake Austin Spa Resort because it connects the best of spa culture with lifestyle consultations, fitness sessions, and gourmet dining. Sure, they’d sweat, but they’d also indulge.

Trip RX: Annette and Nellah figured that they could fully decompress in four days choosing activities off a packed menu ranging from acupuncture to Zumba. Between indoor cycling and Pilates, breathing lessons and cooking demos, and satisfying massages, facials, and body wraps, their hours could be structured or they could simply plop into a hammock for a nap in the shade. Lake Austin sure isn’t your mother’s fat farm.

Before the Trip: “I was searching for long-lasting motivation to raise my fitness level,” Annette says. For months before the trip, she focused on weight lifting with a trainer at the YMCA. As Nellah’s warm-up, she got off the couch and onto the treadmill. “I wanted a health resuscitation!” she says.

The Rendezvous: A short drive from the Austin airport, the resort’s tin-roofed limestone buildings hug the shoreline of the placid Colorado River. Annette and Nellah shared a cottage-style room overlooking the herb, wildflower, and vegetable garden and the lake beyond. While they took some of the same classes, most often Annette and Nellah met at meals to share workout successes and to plan their rendezvous time at the pool.

Moment of Truth: Nellah overcame her fear of “putting on a swimsuit and taking my first-ever water-aerobics class.” Instructor Sandy Erickson made easing into the Deep-Water Blast class doable, demystifying the flotation belts, fin gloves, and water barbells gear. Meanwhile, over in the Treehouse Studio, Annette closed her eyes and trusted her balance in the Beaming class, which uses yoga poses on a floor-level balance beam.

Ultimate Stress Buster: Cruising in a boat on the deep-green lake at sunset, watching water-skiers and wakeboarders show off their cuts and wake-jumps.

Happy Hour: Spa chef Terry Conlan’s frozen yogurt and a glass of herbal iced tea with fresh mint and agave nectar.

After Dark: Kicking back under Texas-size skies in spa robes and flip-flops, searching for shooting stars.

The Trip Effect: Annette signed up to run her second marathon to celebrate the anniversary of the trip, while Nellah faced her fear of the gym and signed up with a personal trainer. Both joined Lake Austin’s Monarch Club, which offers discounts and credits for returning guests.

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