Knivsta, Sweden

Photo: Krusenberg Herrgård
Photo: Krusenberg Herrgård

Did you spend your childhood summers by a lake? You learned to swim by dog paddling to a wooden dock in the middle of the water. Made s’mores by a crackling fire on the small, rocky beach. And fell asleep–quickly, after running around all day–to the sound of a cricket that followed someone inside. Maybe it’s time to return to the simple lakeside vacation. Upgraded, this time.

From Stockholm, take the Upptåget–local train–north to Knivsta. It may be only 48 kilometers outside of the city, but along the shores of Mälaren, Sweden’s third-largest lake, it feels worlds away. Crisp air. Sparkling water. Dense forests. And instead of a wooden hut with mattresses from the 1970s, Krusenberg Herrgård has all the modern comforts of home. And then some.

Photo: Krusenberg Herrgård
Photo: Krusenberg Herrgård

Built upon the foundation of a limestone castle that burned down, Krusenberg Herrgård is a historic mansion from the early 1800s. Surrounded by apple orchards and award-winning gardens, the mansion has been turned into a peaceful retreat. Leave the agenda at home and turn off you cell phone upon arrival. Wake up to birds chirping and sunshine peeking through the curtains. Swim laps in the outdoor heated pool before breakfast. The lake still needs time to warm up. Join the small group doing hatha yoga. Play tennis or follow the bike trail. Sit by the wood-burning sauna. And then run into the still-chilly lake. So refreshing.

Later, or even tomorrow–no need to cram everything into one day–jump in a canoe or a rowboat, and paddle to Skokloster Castle. Have a light lunch at the Bridge House, and afternoon drinks on the pier. Hike on the Upland Trail. Play billiards or darts. Maybe even have a Lavender Dream exfoliation and body wrap at the spa before dinner one day.

Dinner is quite an event at the mansion. The restaurant has served kings and queens, so you know you’re in for a treat. Potato cakes with bleak roe. Veal strip loin from Skebokvarn in Upland. Swedish cheese with homemade marmalade. The only thing that isn’t locally sourced is the wine, though the list focuses on handcrafted vintages.

One thing is missing though. S’mores. But you can still watch the fireflies dance in the moonlight before crashing as soon as your head hits the pillow. Some things never change, regardless of your age.

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