BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY - 2001
For 13 years this 40-acre farm just southwest of Annandale has been a quiet haven for rejuvenation and meditation. Although Clare's Well is run by Franciscan nuns (the name is inspired by Clare of Assisi, a 13th-century saint and friend of Francis), the retreat isn't traditionally religious. Rather, the place is devoted to personal reflection and spirituality, whether it's found in Scripture or in a nature hike, swim, or canoe trip. (Or, for that matter, a massage.) The farm has room for only seven guests, ensuring plenty of personal space to clear your mind and take care of yourself. Guests stay in three hermitages--small cabins with heat and electricity, but no running water. This last is available in the Wellness Center, where there's also a hot tub and sauna. The cost for an overnight stay with three meals is $45 per person; a one-hour massage runs $40. Reservations are essential; the further in advance the better. This may not be the Four Seasons, but if what you want is a chance to leave behind the stresses of a hectic life, this is your destination.