My Mother's Day wish list is easy: I'd like a break from my duties as the scheduling czarina, the dubious title my family has bestowed upon me.
If you'd like to de-stress Mom (if that's even possible), here are some favorite places to flee. They're also ideal for husbands, partners, friends or just your blissfully alone self.
At the northern end of the Napa Valley lies Calistoga, which boasts rolling green hills, natural hot springs, geothermal mud and some of the finest wineries in America. After its success with Auberge du Soleil, Auberge Resorts opened Solage in 2007 to immediate fanfare. By 2010, Solbar, Solage's trendy restaurant, had earned a coveted Michelin star. (The Lucky Pig dish — slow-roasted pork, black sesame crepes — is heavenly.)
Less formal than Auberge du Soleil, Solage has modern-décor units facing vineyards and oak trees. It also has a Roman-style bathhouse and an expansive spa facility. Its signature Mudslide treatment involves a bucket of oil-scented geothermal mud, a mineral bath and a nap as you're tucked under a duvet on a sound-therapy chair. (Think groovy shamanic drumming.) The Solage Bathhouse has a bar, so you can suck down a very pleasant "saketini" during your treatment.
Although it is tempting to stay on the property taking advantage of the free yoga, the Pilates Reformer classes and the huge pools, try taking a hotel bike (or borrow one of the hotel's Mercedes convertibles) and explore nearby wineries such as Sterling or Chateau Montelena. The architecture is worth seeing too, some of it über-modern, some like medieval castles.
Info: (866) 942-7442,
. Doubles from $325. Ask about the Girls Getaway package.
Todos Santos, Mexico
Baja is one of Mexico's safer spots, and Todos Santos, an arty, two-street town on the Pacific side, is about as secure as you can get. Rancho Pescadero, an hour north of crowded Cabo San Lucas, is "a different kind of dude ranch," owner Lisa Harper, an ex-Bay Area fashion executive, says of the resort. Think colorful walls, contemporary Mexican art, cacti, surfing, organic food and yoga.
Right on the beach (rough water), this 15-suite, boho-chic resort lies down a sand road that keeps day-trippers away, meaning you'll have the beach to yourself and share the hotel's two pools with a maximum of 35 guests.
It's a great place to learn to surf if you've got the hankering, and the hotel arranges private instructors. You can also horseback ride, hike or head into Todos Santos to shop with the artists, writers and surfers who live here and who have opened gypsy clothing boutiques, global eateries and art galleries.
Or you can lounge by the pool and drink Rancho Pescadero-brand tequila, or head to the Tres Hermanas spa, a tiny beachside
offering chocolate therapy scrub, a
(indigenous word suggesting a sweat lodge) sauna and massages.
The hotel restaurant serves some of the most noteworthy food in Baja (the chef trained at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.), with ingredients all caught or grown within a 20-mile radius. Best of all there are daily yoga classes in the giant yoga
. (If you're a yogini, ask about the yoga workshops by visiting instructors.)
Info: (910) 300-8891 (U.S.)
. Doubles from $185.
L'Auberge de Sedona
Set on what must be the most enviable property in Arizona, the resort Auberge de Sedona overlooks a wide, leafy creek with a view of Sedona's iconic red rock mountains behind. Sedona is one of the world's 11 "vortices," or areas with high electromagnetic fields, said to be good for healing and invigorating body and soul. It also has the most startlingly magnificent scenery, surrounded by iron sandstone cliffs, glowing red in the strong sunlight. The newly refurbished L'Auberge de Sedona has a spa giving transcendent treatments such as energy healing, reiki and reflexology. To cleanse and invigorate, visit the Sedona Rouge spa for a hammam spa ritual treatment or a clinical (i.e. real deal) ayurvedic consultation and massage with a therapist who trained under Deepak Chopra. If you were ever going to try something different, this is the place. Just as healing are the silent hikes among those rock cathedrals. When you first hit town, head to the Hike House and take advantage of the free software that maps hundreds of hikes according to terrain and difficulty (and try the Energy Café for trail mix). Then return to the oasis of L'Auberge and order beetroot carpaccio and duck confit in their creekside restaurant.
Info: (800) 905-5745,
. Doubles from $185. Consider the Spa on the Creek package, which saves on treatments.
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
With 10,000 acres of some of the prettiest land in California only 2 1/2 hours from Los Angeles, Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is one of America's oldest dude ranches. Popular with Hollywood glitterati since 1946, Alisal has recently undergone a face-lift and expansion. Now the ranch has two golf courses, tennis courts, a pool, a 5,500-square-foot gym and spa, and a world-class menu. The rooms are remodeled too, with spacious bathrooms, Indian blankets and vintage photos of cattle drives and cowboys. No more roughing it on the range. The chaps-sporting wranglers are still old school, as is the riding, with more than 50 miles of trails traversing ridges, valleys and pasture to explore during twice-daily, two-hour rides. The ranch also has a large lake, well stocked for fishermen, and archery and air rifle lessons.
And if you can tear yourself from gazing up at Alisal's oak-tree covered hills, the Danish American town of Solvang is nearby, as is the wine trail around Los Olivos and Santa Ynez (featured in the movie "Sideways"). Check out the store Saarloos & Sons in Los Olivos, which sells designer homeware, its family-brand wine and some amazing cupcakes.
Info: (805) 688-6411,
. Doubles from $495. Breakfast and dinner included. Ask about the Mother/Daughter Roundup or the Cowgirl Bootcamp packages.