“This is so nice, I never want to leave,” murmured my 1o-year old daughter as she settled under the sheet of the heated table for her very first massage. We had just checked in to the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, Massachusetts for a mother daughter spa getaway to share some quality time together, the highlight of which being a visit to the on-site Beach Plum Spa. I had long dreamed of sharing spa weekends with my daughter, but I didn’t think those days would come until she was a teenager, so I was thrilled to learn that the Beach Plum Spa offers a number of services for kids and tweens. I didn’t have to wait until she was a teenager and no longer wanted to hang out with me — we could start a special tradition now!
As we were changing into our robes in the women’s locker room, I was glad that I remembered to follow my own tried and true travel advice and prepared her for what to expect at the spa. It is easy to forget how unsure and nervous I was before my very first massage in my mid-20s — underwear off or on? where will they touch? what am I supposed to “do”? Since I’ve gained some experience in the intervening decades, I was able to give her a play-by-play of what to expect — from waiting in the relaxation room, to what happens when you first enter the room, the order of the massage, and what to do when it is over. I’m glad I prepped her because I found out she was expecting to be in a chair like you would find at the dentist’s office — now that certainly isn’t relaxing!
Once we were done giggling about how big the robe and sandals were on her, and finished rolling up her sleeves, we proceeded to the relaxation room. While small, the relaxation area did its job. With soft music playing gently in the background and twinkling lights on the ceiling set against a dark blue background to conjure up the image of the night sky, it didn’t take long for the tension of the previous few weeks to slowly ebb away. After cooking, cleaning and entertaining over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, mama needed a massage! We were both feeling sleepy by the time our massage therapists, Kim and Ariane came to greet us.
The Beach Plum Spa, which has locations at The John Carver Inn in Plymouth, The Daniel Webster Inn in Sandwich, and The Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, offers a full range of services, including nails, facials, scrubs, wraps, and a number of different massages. What sets them apart in my mind are the services they offer for kids; like the decadent-sounding chocolate milkshake pedicure, where kids enjoy a hot chocolate while soaking their feet in a chocolate milkshake bath, get exfoliated with a chocolate scrub and finished with an application of chocolate mousse lotion and choice of nail polish. How delicious is that? As special as the nail services sound, a parent-child massage wasn’t something I’ve ever seen before and something that I couldn’t turn down (plus, like I said, mama needed a massage!)
We were escorted into the couples massage room, so that parent and child can get side-by-side massages for everyone’s comfort and security. I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to relax with her in the room. I’ve never found couple massages that relaxing because I’m aware of my partner in the room and get distracted by the chit-chat between him and his therapist. I also have this built in maternal instinct that I can’t fully relax while I’m in charge. That means I can’t fall asleep on the airplane while she is still awake, I can’t stop being “on” when we are traveling by ourselves, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fully enjoy the massage if I was worried about making sure she was okay. But you know what, it was fine. More than fine, it was fabulous.
Kim and Ariane were both amazing and so respectful of the experience, treating us the same and making sure we were both comfortable. They catered to our goals of relaxation, providing just the right amount of gentle pressure. My tightly knotted shoulders were soon feeling loose and limber. One of my favorite parts of every massage, the foot massage, was topped off by wrapping our feet in hot towels to make us feel snug as a bug. When they finished off with my second favorite part (ok, they are all my favorite parts), the head massage, we were both like jelly smeared on our respective tables.
During the whole massage I had a warm glow inside, and it wasn’t from the toasty massage table — it was a glow of happiness of sharing this wonderful experience with my daughter. I have been there for many of her firsts — first smile, first word, first steps, first day of school, first lost tooth, and the list goes on. I know that as time goes on, there will be many firsts that I won’t be there for (some gladly.) But to have the opportunity to get away and spend quality time together, and share an experience like her first massage, lying side-by-side, listening to her giggle as the therapist found a ticklish spot, glancing over and smiling at each other in the middle of our bliss — absolutely priceless.
As our time in the massage room drew to its inevitable close, our lovely therapists concluded with the standard goodbye — “take your time, whenever you are ready.” Now as someone with experience, I know that isn’t really true, but for the new initiate, she was ready to take those words quite literally. She burrowed down further into her cozy table, repeating over and over…”it was so nice, I can’t stop saying it because it was so nice.” I thought I was going to need a spatula to peel her off the table, but I eventually convinced her we needed to get up and the happiness written all over her face warmed my heart even more.
As grown up an experience as our mother-daughter spa day was, the nice thing about being a tween is that you can also still enjoy “kid” stuff. Since the John Carver Inn caters to both, after our massage we were off to the Pilgrim Cove Pool to check out the indoor waterslide!
See my post about Plimoth Plantation for more on what to do when you visit Plymouth, MA.
Note: Our stay and spa treatment were hosted by the John Carver Inn and the Beach Plum Spa we thank them for their generosity and assure you that the opinions expressed above are our own. Spa images are courtesy of Catania Hospitality Group.