Story by Ann Hattes with photos by Neil Hattes –
In the heart of upstate New York , the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort on over 3,400 acres offers world-class golf, dining, spa, entertainment, casino gaming, and lodging.
The Lodge, an intimate AAA Four Diamond 95 room all-suite hotel is an oasis of calm well secluded from the casino and main hotel. The Lodge’s liberal use of natural stone and wood makes for a stylish, comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. Displays of Oneida arts, crafts and culture accompanied by explanations enhance the ambiance with the surrounding gardens adding to the serene feeling.
Additionally The Lodge offers quick access to 72 holes of golf, interior access to Skaná spa, and houses the AAA Four Diamond rated Wildflowers restaurant serving continental fare with a contemporary twist focusing on seasonal ingredients.
Guests discover that The Lodge is a sophisticated hidden gem offering all Turning Stone Resort’s amenities totally separate from the casino, but just a short walk away if one does want to try one’s luck.
The elegant and intimate Wildflowers restaurant presents culinary magic with impeccable service. There is steak and fish as well as more unusual fare like bison and rabbit. Caesar Salad, Steak Diane, and Bananas Foster are prepared tableside. Lobster bisque is a traditional favorite and a root beer float shot a unique meal finale.
Lobster Bisque House Salad
Combining the region’s fresh seasonal produce with the collective wisdom of all the chefs he has worked with, he creates a one of a kind dining experience.
Skaná (skah-nah) means “peace” in the Oneida language, and soothing, rejuvenating and peaceful it is. Using Native American healing principles, Skaná spa seeks to create peace and harmony within using healing herbs provided by Mother Earth. Guests immerse themselves in the deep, restorative power of spa therapy amidst stunning architecture with a welcome area derived from a traditional arched Oneida longhouse.
Individual treatments to restore balance and harmony and to invigorate the body, mind and spirit include Lavender Dreams, Reawakening, Leaves & Flowers, and From the Earth. The Oneida people have lived in harmony with nature for hundreds of years. They often burned sage, sweet grass and cedar for spiritual cleansing. As they collected herbs to make their healing poultices, teas, and soaks, they always left some leaves on the plants to ensure the plant’s prosperity.
Spa guests are invited to enjoy the powers of water, an important life force according to Oneida teachings. The series of progressive steps taken in the Balancing Waters Ritual is designed to be relaxing, yet stimulating to the circulatory and central nervous system. The therapeutic balance of mineral waters, infused with 21 different minerals, includes the alternating use of hot and cool water treatments as well as steam baths and dry inhalation. Allow 40 to 50 minutes before the spa treatment to do the Balancing Waters Ritual.
Loretta Taylor, Director of Spa Operations, embraces the Oneida culture, integrating it into the spa experience with some treatments following the seasons, maple syrup with its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties used in the spring for example. Taylor encourages guests to use spa services as a preventative measure, partaking of balancing remedies that feature the healing tradition of therapeutic herbal and mineral wraps and scrubs, warm stones, restorative baths and relaxing massages to shed stress.
One can easily spend an entire day in this tranquil spa setting, even enjoying a tasty lunch prepared by the Wildflowers chef. Giant dream catchers adorn every treatment room, each by a local artist with its own Native American tale to tell.
Complimentary tea, specialty infused water, fruit and nuts are available for hydration and snacking. Such healthy pampering is sure to lead to rejuvenation and blissful relaxation.
The Oneida people lived here, one with natural beauty for centuries, and making visitors feel welcome is very much a part of their tradition. “The Lodge is meant to be an exceptional place,” states Ray Halbritter, Nation Representative/CEO. “We hope you will see we have spent a great deal of time on the details. When you leave we hope you take with you the feeling you have been touched by the spirit of this special place. The Lodge at Turning Stone is in the center of our ancestral homeland.” The Oneida don’t say “Good-bye.” They say “Na ki wa” – “Until we meet again.” And guests will indeed want to meet again, returning to The Lodge at Turning Stone for Native American inspired spa treatments, gourmet cuisine, and luxurious pampering for a getaway of total relaxation.
Turning Stone Resort Casino 5218 Patrick Road Verona , NY 13478 800-771-7711; 315-361-7711 www.turningstone.com Turning Stone Resort is located in central New York off NYS Thruway exit 33, half way between Albany and Rochester , and 30 miles east of Syracuse . In addition to The Lodge suites at Turning Stone, there is also lodging in the 21-story Tower as well as the Hotel and Inn . Sports enthusiasts appreciate the three 18-hole and two 9-hole golf layouts plus the eight tennis courts, four indoor and four outdoor. In addition to a variety of casual dining options, fine dining venues beyond Wildflowers include gourmet Asian and Thai cuisine at Peach Blossom, Italian fare at Pino Bianco, Forest Grill steakhouse and a Brazilian steakhouse. Guests residing at The Lodge or in suite level accommodations at the Tower may also dine at Club two.one, a private membership dining club located on the top floor of the Tower with sweeping panoramic views of the countryside. Marquee entertainment, from live musical and variety shows to comedy and cultural events, appear at the resort’s cabaret style Showroom as well as the New York-style club LAVA.