NEWBURYPORT — Whether you’re looking to escape the fast-paced corporate world for a day, or to treat yourself to an emotional, physical, and mental retreat, you may want to try the healing powers of Newburyport.
In recent years, this small city of about 17,000 has seen a boom in yoga and Pilates studios, massage therapy and various holistic healing and Eastern medicine centers. About 45 minutes north of Boston, the port town on the banks of the Merrimack River feels a world away: sweeping river views, quiet nature preserves, salt marshes, the Atlantic where the river empties. If you’re looking to relax your mind, body, spirit, or all three, you may find your inner peace on the North Shore.
Whether you’re a yoga newbie or you move like a pretzel-bending pro, you’ll find a class at your level at Riverside Yoga and Massage. They also offer nutrition coaching and massage by licensed massage therapist James Murphy, who, by the way, has treated elite runners after the Boston Marathon and dancers for Boston Ballet. (1 Titcomb St., 508-237-1745, riverside-yoga.com)
Take a class or book a private yoga session at the Yoga Center of Newburyport. They also offer acupuncture and holistic healing sessions by appointment, along with yoga retreats, meditation classes, prenatal yoga, and chair-supported yoga. (12 Maple St., 978-255-3175, newburyportyoga.com)
Repose Yoga Studio offers special classes like children’s yoga and live music yoga. (49 Liberty St., 508-423-3182, reposeyogastudio.com ) Rasamaya Yoga offers a number of classes, including heated yoga and back-care yoga, along with nutritional counseling. (251 Low St., 877-676-7272, rasamaya.com)
Yoga and Pilates are both low-impact and therapeutic, but while yoga is an ancient Indian practice concentrating on breathing, meditation, and balance, Pilates — invented around 1920 by Joseph Pilates — is a bit more athletic, and concentrates on strengthening core muscles, balance, and flexibility. Try both to see which you like best.
Port Pilates Studio offers private and small group Pilates classes, using equipment, such as foam rollers and jump-boards. Starting in June, they take small groups out for Pilates on stand-up paddle boards on the Merrimack River. (40 Pleasant St., 978-499-7877, portpilatesstudio.com)
Kick it up a notch at Engage Your Core Pilates, with cardio Pilates, Pilates kickboxing, or a barre class, which mixes principles of Pilates and ballet. (95 Parker St., 978-462-4742, engageyourcore.com)
Positive Works Studio offers classes, private sessions, and duo sessions. Various therapeutic techniques and instruction include Pilates and isolated stretching. (38 Washington St., 978-417-2377,www.positiveworksstudio.com)
GET THE KNOTS OUT
There’s nothing like a massage. And you’ve got plenty of options. Elements Massage offers various types of massage therapy, from deep-tissue to hot stone to Swedish, to trigger-point for localized knots. (45 Storey Ave., 978-358-7233, elementsmassage.com/newburyport)
Aromatherapy is said to stimulate the olfactory area of the brain to effect emotion and rouse memory, among other benefits, by harnessing the power of essentials oils, or highly concentrated plant extracts, such as fennel, ginger, and juniper. Learn more at BC Essentials. (47 Pleasant St., 781-983-0304, bcessentials.com)
Eastern cultures have used acupuncture to aid in relieving stress, anxiety, and depression among other conditions for centuries. Try for yourself at Newburyport Acupuncture or Rivers of Wellness Accupunture (both located at 37½ Forrester St., 978-465-5036, 978-457-1769, newburyportacupuncture.com,riversofwellness.com). Seasons of Change Massage Therapy, in the same building, offers acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage (978-465-6847).
Port City Integrative Health offers various Eastern-style therapies, including acupuncture and Sotai, which uses regulated breathing and gentle movements to both increase range of motion and help a person recover from old injuries. (18 Highland Ave., 978-893-6130, portcityintegrativehealth.com)
HEALTHY EATS AND TREATS
If you’re an omnivore, you’ve got loads of options, many right in the downtown area. As you might guess, Newburyport also offers its share of fare for vegans, vegetarians, and those who seek gluten-free or organic options. The breakfast menu at 17 State Street Cafe has meatless options that include blueberry or banana walnut pancakes, gluten-free cinnamon raisin French toast, seasonal fruit, and gluten-free home fries, alongside plenty of omelets. (17 State St., 978-948-3456, www.17statestreetcafe.com)
For lunch, try the vegan and organic Mandarava. Menu changes daily, but there’s typically a soup, a “daily bowl” of bean and grains and veggies, homemade breads, and pastries. (46 Inn St., 978-465-7300,www.mandarava.kitchen)
For a quick gluten-free or vegan lunch, snack or juice, head to ReVitalive Cafe and Juice Bar. (50 Water St., 978-462-0639, revitalive.com)
The Purple Onion Cafe caters to meat-lovers and vegans alike. Meatless options include vegan rice bowls like spicy apricot sauté or mango pineapple salsa, meatless tortilla salad, and roasted veggie sandwich. (44 Inn St., 978-465-9600, pur
Oregano Pizzeria and Ristorante offers meatless and gluten-free options, such as eggplant rollatini or pear salad with candied sesame walnuts. Many meatless pizzas include vegan style, Mediterranean, and the “antioxidant-packed” oregano pie. Of course, you can always create your own combo. Gluten-free crusts available. (16 Pleasant St., 978-462-5013, oreganopizzeria.com)
You’ll also want to check out Tannery Marketplace, with dozens of shops, galleries, and eateries, along with a bimonthly, bustling farmers’ market. (75 Water St., 978-465-7047, tannerymarketplace.com)
Brown Sugar by the Sea, located at the Tannery, offers fresh takes on traditional Thai food, from tofu triangles with crushed roasted peanuts to mango fried rice. (978-499-8424, brownsugarbythesea.com). Also at the Tannery, the artisanal Chococoa Baking Co. and Cafe makes all-natural triple-chocolate whoopie pies. Made with local butter and eggs and filled with buttercream. There are also gluten-free whoopies. (978-499-8889, chococoabaking.com)