This New York Town Was Named Best For Spas + Wellness, Here’s Why
You won't need to travel far to enjoy the nation's best place to relax and unwind.
Travel + Leisure released its annual America's Best Small Towns list and one Central NY locality was crowned the nation's Best Spa + Wellness Town.
Congratulations are in order for Aurora, NY, which beat out the rest of the nation to claim the prestigious title.
"What the chilled-out good life should be"
Travel+Leisure lavished praise onto the Cayuga County-village, which boasts a population of roughly 725.
The op-ed was authored by the publication's news director, Paul Brady, which read more like a love letter from a passionate fan.
"When it comes to small towns with big reputations, lakeside Aurora, New York, is top of the class," Brady declared, which is a sentiment that is strongly shared by the bucolic town.
But it’s also becoming a destination for wellness thanks to the Inns of Aurora Resort & Spa, a collection of six small lodgings and one stunning hilltop retreat... Throw in the fact that this stretch of the Finger Lakes is filled with gorge hikes, tap rooms, farm stands, and low-key beaches, and Aurora starts to look like not only the best small town for wellness, but for just about anybody’s idea of what the chilled-out good life should be.
Aurora shined in this national roundup because of its natural beauty, culture and hospitality.
While this place sounds like an absolute paradise that relaxation-seekers would flock to, it's still hailed as one of America's best-kept secrets.
Alex Schloop, creative director of Inns of Aurora Resort & Spa, explained to the outlet, "The village feels removed from the busy pace of our everyday lives."
And that is why Aurora is able to maintain their perfectly rejuvenating ambiance. Visitors are more likely to feel rested and restored by the time their vacations come to a close, which is why those who've "discovered" the town keep returning year after year.
When to visit Aurora
While the village welcomes guests year-round, some may wonder what season is the best to book their retreat. The answer is simple: Every month offers its own unique, refreshing vibe.
Summertime offers plenty of sunshine while the winter produces cozy, snow-kissed scenes. Guests also rave about the enchanting fall foliage that dots the rolling hills as well as the abundance of spring flowers and farm-fresh goodies they can purchase.
The village hugs the eastern part of Cayuga Lake's shores, which was also named one of the best places to visit once you're in town.
The body of water is one of the largest of the Finger Lakes and offers plenty of activities from swimming to ice fishing.
Guests can also sip a relaxing glass of wine at Heart & Hands Wine Company, which is owned by husband-and-wife duo Tom and Susan Higgins.
For those seeking pure relaxation, the Inns of Aurora is said to be a gamechanger for those seeking the perfect way to unwind. Guests can take advantage of a variety of personalized options that include hydrotherapy, saunas, massages, facials and more.
And if that's not enough to convince you why this tiny, idyllic village earned the title of "America's Best," the area also offers a multitude of unique dining experiences that are designed to pamper and indulge you.
Don't forget there is also an abundance of unique stores and boutiques that align with the town's relaxing and whimsical aesthetic. Plus, this is the place famous homewares brand MacKenzie-Childs calls home.
America's best-kept secret
The honor comes after the outlet's readers crowned the Inns of Aurora the best resort in New York State. Readers highlighted the resort's diverse holistic offerings in health and wellness, as well as the abundance of activities, dining experiences and breathtaking sights.
Aurora has also been featured in another publication. In 2016, it was highlighted by Country Living Magazine, who pieced together an editorial explaining why the town was a national hidden treasure.
As for why Aurora has evolved into a powerhouse in the industry, the credit goes to the American Girl dolls.
Franchise creator Pleasant Rowland graduated from Wells College in 1962 and said the village continued to resonate with her long after she embarked on becoming a titan of the toy world. Rowland famously created the American Girl franchise and ultimately sold it to Mattel in 1998 for a whopping $700 million.
Following the sale, she returned to Aurora with a vision and teamed with Wells College to establish the Aurora Foundation in 2001. There, she began investing millions into breathing life into the inns and shops on Main Street, transforming Mackenzie-Childs into a profitable business and beautifying the town.
And what's even more exciting is - her work isn't done yet. Meaning, Aurora's future stands to burn even brighter.