The nippy weather is perfect for a quick getaway from your city. If you live in or around Mumbai, Pune or Nashik, go on a long drive to Igatpuri this weekend and relax in the so called 'Heaven of Maharashtra'. With most short vacations, the place of stay becomes quite important as you need to rest well before driving off again the next day. Choose your resort or hotel wisely to be able to enjoy your time in Igatpuri.
The trick with every long weekend outing is to leave your city early in the morning. Skip the traffic jams, put your car on cruise control and play your collection of favorite road trip music. The hill station of Igatpuri will be waiting to welcome you with its mist-covered houses and open fields.
When I went on my maiden trip to Igatpuri with my new family, we chose The Herb Farm for our abode. Conveniently located on the Mumbai-Nashik Expressway, the boutique property is quite easy to reach. One of the primary factors which drove our decision was the food. This is a vegetarian resort, ideal for those who are finicky about their meals.
The drive to Mundhegaon, where the cottages are actually located, is through some important landmarks. One of these is the Myanmar Gate. The huge gate in Dhammagiri provides a generous view of the Sahyadris. You can stop for a tea break, hike over the hills here, stroll in the parks and gardens or admire the Dhamma Sarovara lake for a couple of hours before getting back on course.
We reached The Herb Farm just in time to check into our comfy rooms on stilts. Almost mimicking tree-houses, our cottages came with a hammock, a sun deck and lounging chairs with a tea table. Each of the cottages is named after a herb such as 'Oregano', 'Cilantro', 'Thyme', 'Dill', 'Rosemary', etc., doing poetic justice to the name of this resort-style homestay.
In-Room Facilities at The Herb Farm
The entrance to the cottages are through the deck. Inside, you will find a double bed draped with a warm blanket and bed-runner, four large pillows and a few extra cushions. There is also a desk, a chair, an electric kettle with an assortment of teas and coffees, a cupboard, side tables and a wall-mounted television. The French windows which open out to the deck have locks and curtains for privacy. Even though the rooms are air-conditioned, they provide you with air-coolers.
The Herb Farm promotes eco-tourism. In the spirit of responsible travel, the property has kept the bathrooms glass-roofed to let natural light in, minimizing the usage of electricity. Apart from co-branded bath amenities, you also get a bathrobe. Some effort has also gone towards aesthetics, as seen from the glass pots and faux plants that grace the bathroom shelves.
Vegetarian Dining with Home-Grown Herbs
As the name suggests, The Herb Farm has plenty of land which is used for gardening and to produce its own herbs and certain vegetables. Most of the ingredients that go into your food are sourced from their very own backyard kitchen garden. The in-house restaurant serves only veg food, and each of their dishes come in copious quantities, so portion is never an issue. The chefs can whip up multi-cuisine delicacies, ranging from North and South Indian to Chinese and Italian.
When staying here for longer, take advantage of the swimming pool. The resort has loungers with canopies and plenty of towels solely for the pool. If you're not a swimmer, grab a float or fasten a life-jacket to still enjoy splashing in the cool water.
Other Things to Look Forward To
You will not run out of ways to kill time when you stay at The Herb Farm. Gaze out into the Darna River Lake and watch the locals catch fish or see a full-length long-distance train in a single frame (the Igatpuri station is some distance away) when it rushes past, in the horizon. You can spend your evenings playing badminton, a game of dart, chess or carrom. The place also has a mocktail bar with a refreshing list of coolers on its menu. The fact that the property is alcohol-free is another reason why it's so family-friendly.
Discover more vegetarian properties and relaxing getaways from Mumbai on my travel blog - Oindrila Goes Footloose. Do follow me on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook!