After renting a chair for seven years, Erika Cook, a stylist with 16 years of experience, was ready to move up. With the support of her family, friends, clients, and fiancé, she opened Tranquility Salon & Spa, where she and her staff perform everything from curls with Surface hair products to manicures with durable Shellac gel polish. Cook is doing everything she can to make the salon a success, especially by making as many services available as possible. Along with waxing and makeup applications, she offers hot-stone, sports, and other massage services, as well as glycolic-acid peels that reduce the worry lines that appear when you agonize too long over whether to buy ketchup or catsup.
The branches of the baobab tree zigzag into the African sky like roots, giving the tree its distinctive upside-down shape and giving Alchemy Wellness Studio the fruits that infuse one of its signature facials. The studio’s experienced aestheticians meld natural ingredients such as baobab fruit and kigelia—an African flowering plant and natural astringent—into their ameliorating spa treatments, reflecting their overarching focus on holistic, organic care. This goal carries over onto the menu of services—which includes reiki, aromatherapy, and more standard spa fare, such as waxing treatments and mani-pedis—as well as into the cups of fair-trade coffee clients sip as they shrug off the stressors of everyday life.
Charym's rustic barn-like studio, a winner of Connecticut Magazine's Best Yoga Studio in 2010, 2011, and 2012, provides a peaceful backdrop for its varied yoga sessions that emphasize a harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Experienced instructors lead classes that range from slow, therapeutic yoga styles to more demanding Vinyasa flow sessions. Other classes incorporate elements of ballet, core fitness, or different types of exercise. Beyond large barn doors, guests sprawl out in a high-ceilinged studio that conjures tranquility with its white walls and abundant natural lighting.
True to its name, Harmony Massage & Spa uses therapeutic bodywork to help restore a sense of balance between the body, mind, and soul. The spa's therapists view massage as more than an indulgence?to them, massage should be a regular treatment for individuals seeking to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Each of the specialists' sessions work towards wellness by increasing circulation, improving joint flexibility, and alleviating chronic pains. Heated stones and soothing aromatherapy oils can accentuate the therapeutic benefits of the massage. Beyond bodywork, Harmony Massage & Spa offers facial waxing, as well as manicures and pedicures with optional nail art encased in tiny nail frames.
"Now listen up," insists Connecticut Magazine. "Matthew?s tableside Caesar salad has to be the best in the state, if not the country." It's hard to argue with that claim. Starting with torn hearts of romaine lettuce, the salad is made right next to your table, which gives you the chance to catch the distinct aromas of garlic croutons and parmesan cheese before each is thrown into the mix.
Executive Chef Greg Marcuson's culinary talents, of course, extend beyond salad. In fact, they're visible throughout Matthew's menu, in the Berkshire lamb shanks he braises for eight hours and in the cheddar grits he pairs with jumbo shrimp tossed in a barbecue dry rub.
But even the food can't claim sole responsibility for Matthew's popularity. Credit is also due to the restaurant's idyllic location, which includes a spacious outdoor patio with a stunning view of the Farmington River and its kindly fish god.
Chairs aplenty host guests during manicures, pedicures, and chair massages inside Noella Spa & Nails. Rows of cozy seating face a mounted TV in the manicure section, and the salon's big enough to host birthday and bachelorette parties. Technicians apply lemon sugar scrub to hands and cover nails with chip-resistant CND Shellac or OPI, Essie, or Gelish polish. Staffers also wax off unwanted leg and eyebrow hairs and saturate the skin with vitamin C during anti-aging facials, using Dermalogica skincare products instead of just dumping a carton of OJ on faces.