Forest bathing, a Japanese ritual, has found a loyal following in Vermont’s Green Mountains, and it’s inspiring everything from spa experiences to the new syrups collection from Crabtree & Evelyn.
After months of being cooped up inside, it’s not surprising that people are spending more time outdoors. However, for Vermonters, being in nature is a way of life. The Green Mountain State is known for its lush, unspoilt landscape, and more recently, it’s become a hotspot for forest bathing. Known in Japan as shinrin-yoku (which translates as “taking in the forest”), forest bathing is a meditative experience that involves walking through greenery to relax, soak up the atmosphere and connect with nature.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Japan might have defined the practice, but Vermont residents have long been lovers of the great outdoors. “Vermont has 1.5 million acres of conservation land,” says Crabtree & Evelyn’s Ashley Souza. “The ease at which you can be one with nature is more than abundant. There are a plethora of wellness retreats, including hiking and yoga, but there’s really no need to pay to enjoy the beauty that is Vermont.”
Locals and visitors can reap the benefits of forest bathing with expert guides like Duncan Murdoch, a Vermont native who lived in New York for 14 years before feeling the pull to return to his roots. In 2015, he received his nature and forest therapy guide certification from the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and began leading forest-bathing experiences in Central Park. He has since returned to his home town to immerse himself in the practice and offer it to others fully.
“Our history as Vermonters is about having a relationship culturally with the land,” says Murdoch. “So, we’ve worked hard to preserve the beauty of the landscape, unlike any other place in this country. There are no billboards here. You can immerse yourself in nature very quickly. That’s what makes Vermont so special.”
So, how do people feel when they forest bathe? “Language is so limited when it comes to describing how you feel while forest bathing,” says Murdoch. “You drop into this zone where there is no time, or this time is not linear; it either flies or stands still. It’s this captivation and this fascination where you’re totally engaged with your surroundings, and you don’t feel like anything’s being demanded of you. You’re not being depleted, and your attention isn’t being grabbed. Your attention is being received.”
For Souza, forest bathing was an opportunity to venture into the wild in the company of her beloved dog Bluto. It made her more sensitive to her surroundings, as she soaked up the ambience of the calm and quiet forest. “As we slowly explored our surroundings, sunlight peeked through the towering trees, like a spotlight on the beauty Mother Nature has created,” she recalls. “The lush moss, and grounding earth tones were a sight for sore eyes. We both stopped in our tracks when the soft, warm breeze brushed across our faces on a hot, humid day. The only noise we heard was that of the running river, which provided a cool moment for our tired feet. The forest has the ability to make you feel so small, yet more connected to yourself than anywhere else.”
Unlike other wooded destinations, Vermont goes through four distinct seasons, creating opportunities for drastically different forest-bathing experiences. “The diversity of the seasons here makes forest bathing particularly incredible,” says Murdoch. “I’ll walk through the same area and ask participants to focus on the sounds of birds chirping in the spring, the crystal sparkle of the snow in winter and the colors of the leaves in fall. It’s exciting to bear witness to the rhythms of the earth and acknowledge you have seasons within you as well.”
As forest bathing has become more mainstream, hotels in Vermont have started to promote the experience as a luxury offering, along with other amenities. The Lodge, at Spruce Peak in Stowe, runs a forest-bathing experience through the resort’s spa, and pairs it with another nature-inspired practice: earthing.
“We combined forest bathing and earthing for an enjoyable, meditative experience in the mountains of Vermont,” says Jessica Swartley, the spa director. “The benefit is twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire guests to reconnect with and protect Vermont’s forests.”
It also takes mindfulness to new heights, and offers the chance to take a much-deserved time out in nature. “The only thing that is required is for you to observe, listen, feel and absorb all that is around you,” says Souza. “Lay in the dirt, climb a tree or run your fingers through the moss. Simply relish the quiet peace of the forest and forget about the chaos of the world for a few, sweet hours.”
How forest bathing has inspired Crabtree & Evelyn’s new syrups collection
The Gardeners Syrups Collection is a range of ingestible syrups that have been tapped, crafted and manufactured at an organic maple farm in northern Vermont. “The forests of Vermont were the inspiration for our syrups line in The Gardener’s,” says Souza. “I have been fascinated with bringing syrup textures to life in personal care, as well as the wellness benefits of pure maple syrup used in my diet in place of refined sugar. Growing up in New England and having the artisan trade of tree tapping for syrup in my backyard, there was no better place for our products to be made, but in the forests of Vermont.”
Syrups can provide nourishment when they’re sourced straight from the tree – offering the power to transport you back to nature and the cool serenity of the forest-inspired the collection. Incorporating ingestible and topical products, it offers a holistic approach to nourishing authentic beauty from the inside out.
Indulge your senses and discover more at crabtree-evelyn.co.uk.
This branded content article was published as part of a commercial campaign that has now ended.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.