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The Stay List: U.S. East Photo by The Inn at Middleton Place
The Inn at Middleton Place, Charleston, features floor-to-ceiling windows.
Battle House, Mobile, Alabama Recently renovated downtown historic hotel one block from bay. Once a destination for debutantes and politicians (including Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson). Elaborate moldings, portraits of kings, ballroom, and dining under magnolia-blossom stained-glass ceiling. 238 rooms; $189-299.
Mentone Springs Hotel, Mentone, Alabama Restored Queen Anne Victorian hotel built in 1884—oldest in Alabama—known for the restorative powers of its mineral spring water. Formal gardens, wraparound porch, fireplaces in suites, queen beds in all rooms. Fresh trout in the restaurant. Refreshing: no TVs or cell phone service. 9 rooms; $85-215.
Breadloaf Mountain Lodge and Cottages, Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut Revolutionary War-era inn and cottages. Original hardwood floors and chestnut beams mesh with plasma TVs and wireless Internet. Steps from Appalachian and Connecticut wine trails. On-site fly-fishing school; kayaking and bird-watching on grounds. Local produce, meats, and sundries. Owners grew up fishing on the river, wishing they could own the inn. 11 rooms; $115-470.
The Willard Intercontinental, Washington, D.C. Centerpiece of capital history two blocks from the White House. Presidential patrons date back to Franklin Pierce, and Ulysses S. Grant popularized the term "lobbyist" in reference to historic lobby. Edwardian furnishings, views of Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument, and a gallery dedicated to hotel's heritage. 332 rooms; $349-4,199.
The Moorings Village, Islamorada, Florida Restored 1930s cottages on what was originally a coconut plantation estate. Blessedly far removed from bustle of Key West, which is about 85 miles (137 kilometers) away. Setting: 18 acres (seven hectares) of beachfront land amid palm trees and bougainvillea. French doors and wraparound verandas. Black-and-white photographs, historic navigation charts, and wooden fishing poles memorably set the scene. 30 rooms; $275-1,500.
Herlong Mansion Historic Inn and Gardens, Micanopy, Florida Corinthian-columned neoclassical mansion turned B&B. Mahogany floors and claw-foot tubs inside; jasmine-covered gazebos, magnolia trees, and oaks draped with Spanish moss outside. Walk down a two-lane country road to visit the antiques shops of small-town Micanopy, oldest inland settlement in Florida. 12 rooms, 2 cottages; $99-349.
WaterColor Inn, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida Gulf of Mexico luxury within 499-acre (202-hectare) community and nature preserve. Nestled amid white-sand dunes, the classic beach resort stands no higher than four stories, preserving shore views. Outdoor cabana showers. Staff naturalists help protect area wildlife. 60 rooms; $400-845.
Glen-Ella Springs Country Inn, Clarkesville, Georgia Cozy B&B in foothills of Blue Ridge Mountains. Meadows and perennial gardens surround, and all rooms open onto a rocking-chair-filled porch. Country-comfortable pine-paneled walls, chintz bedspreads, and local handicrafts. Gas-log fireplaces and whirlpool tubs in suites and penthouses. Order fresh rainbow trout in restaurant. 16 rooms; $150-265.
Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island, Georgia A family-run Carnegie mansion built in 1900 on Georgia's largest barrier island. Original furniture, family heirlooms, and antiques. Oak trees, salt marsh, and boat landing comprise the "backyard." Bird-watching and beachgoing. On the house: round-trip boat transportation, island tours. Biking, kayaking, and fishing. No phones. 16 rooms; $350-595, 2-night minimum.
Len Foote Hike Inn, Dawsonville, Georgia Nonprofit Japanese-style inn on stilts near southern terminus of Appalachian Trail. Private bunk rooms, family-style meals, hot showers, and mountain views. Environmental programs. The catch: Must hike five miles (eight kilometers) across mountain streams and through forest of oak, hickory, and rhododendrons to get here. 20 rooms; $99-140.
The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia Hideaway on private barrier island accessible only by boat. Unwind in cedar hunting lodge from 1917 or in a house built with oyster-shell masonry—a traditional Georgia coast style. Salt marshes and seven-mile shell-strewn beach. 15 rooms; $450-675; $7,700-8,000 per night for whole 17.9-square-mile island.
Inn by The Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine Painterly, extensively revamped gray-shingled—and carbon-neutral—retreat with cozy, cottage-of-one's-own allure. An autumnal palette colors the toasty, maple-furnished rooms (some with private deck, kitchen, and flat-screen TV). Atlantic landscape recalls Winslow Homer with expansive views of lobster-boat-sprinkled waters. Lush grounds: gardens, a bird sanctuary, and a boardwalk leading to a sandy beach. 57 rooms; $179-709.
Home-Nest Farm, Fayette, Maine 240 acres (97 hectares) of mountain-hemmed woodlands, wildflowerflecked meadows, and high-bush blueberry fields frame a trio of 200-year-old farmhouses in central Maine's lake district. Storybook denizens—sheep, dogs, a llama, horses, and a donkey with nicknames—worthy of A.A. Milne. Indoor period details (wooden furniture and photographs of original home owners) and nap-worthy nooks. 11 rooms; $120-150.
Black Point Inn, Scarborough, Maine The new ownership's immaculate revamp has resuscitated the classic 1878 inn's old-fashioned charms. Rooms—with ruggedly romantic bay or ocean views—have original wall coverings and antiques. Among the outdoor pastimes: walks along the photogenic cliffs of Prouts Neck, a round of golf at an oceanside golf course, heated-pool swims, tennis, and kayaking. 25 rooms; $190-290.
Migis Lodge, South Casco, Maine 31 pretty cottages and a lodge dot 100 acres (40.5 hectares) of stately pine forest along Sebago Lake. Cozy (fieldstone fireplaces, handmade quilts) and lounge-inspiring (lake-view porches). Enticing the active: tennis and golf at Point Sebago; boating, waterskiing, canoeing, etc. For the little ones: playground, sandy beach, and pet llamas. Six rooms in main lodge, 31 cottages sleeping 2 to 12; $305-370 per person.
Brampton Bed & Breakfast Inn, Chestertown, Maryland A three-story plantation house built mid-19th century by a peach grower for his (much younger) second wife. Oodles of walnut woodwork: doors, windows, stair balustrade. Afternoon tea. Jams made with fruit from the organic garden. When it's time to get out and about there are Brampton-developed biking tours. 8 rooms, 4 suites; $195-435.
Jurys Boston Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts Imposing brick-and-limestone facade betrays past life: 1920s Boston Police Headquarters. Reborn Back Bay landmark emanates comfy, masculine style: welcoming two-story stone fireplace in the deco-style lobby; wood, stone, and glass throughout, green/copper color scheme in guest rooms. Solid martini list and rib-hugging nibbles in the spacious Cuffs Irish Bar. 225 rooms; $185-475.
The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts Redbrick Harvard Square hotel with tweedy splendor. Recently renovated rooms with scholarly tilt: cherrywood desks and fit-for-a-professor chairs, oversize clocks. Artisanal, farm-to-table restaurant, Henrietta's Table, celebrates sustainable agriculture and New England produce. 294 rooms; $249-4,500.
The Inn at Castle Hill, Ipswich, Massachusetts Sand dunes, salt marshes, and a dramatic coastline add up to a romance-friendly backdrop for this lost-in-time 1850 summer house with sea-facing wraparound veranda, cozy windowseats, and airy rooms painted to match seashells and whitecaps. Decadent quiet (no TVs, radios, phones). Biking, hiking on surrounding 2,100-acre (849-hectare) Crane Estate. 10 rooms; $115-385.
The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts Mid-19th-century inn par excellence: gray-shingled and white-trimmed with views of both ocean and bay, rose and lavender gardens. Pine-and-chintz guest rooms are teched-out (Wi-Fi, flat screens) and country fresh (wildflower bouquets, hand-stenciled finishes). Indulgences abound: seaweed wraps in brand-new spa; aromatherapy naps in chef's herb gardens; port and cheese anytime. 32 rooms; $380-1,450.
The Porches Inn, North Adams, Massachusetts Artful 2001 revamp of six Victorian row houses across the street from MASS MoCA art museum. Colorful rooms (some two-story, spiral-staircase lofts), patchwork coverlets, claw-foot tubs, painted floors, vintage vinyl furniture, and paint-by-number 1950s artwork. Steps from the town's shops and restaurants. 47 rooms; $129-495.
Belfry Inne, Sandwich, Massachusetts Three parts charm: a former church, rectory, and Queen Anne clapboard house in Cape Cod's oldest town. Antiques, hand-painted furniture, and oriental rugs in some rooms; vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows in others. Fireplaces. Whirlpool tubs. Shrimp and lobster served up in the loved-by-locals Belfry Bistro's cathedral setting. 21 rooms; $145-310.
Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts Elm-shaded 1897 guesthouse on the town's quaint Main Street delights with lace-and-parasol Victoriana: original Otis birdcage elevator, fanciful rooms prettied in things past (vintage books, brass and iron beds). Hiking, skiing, canoeing in the Berkshires. For the culturati: Norman Rockwell museum and Tanglewood. 108 rooms; $89-460.
Fearrington House Country Inn & Restaurant, Pittsboro, North Carolina Milk white clapboard homestead in Chatham County enchants with pond-and-pasture serenity. Redbrick pathways coil through trellised English gardens; 1,200-acre (486-hectare) verdant sweep hosts cows, goats, and donkeys. Rooms (each unique) long on Southern comforts: floral bedspreads, armoires crafted from old church doors. Haute-farmhouse fare and cooking classes in the restaurant (the original columned homestead). 32 rooms; $250-545.
Virginia Hotel, Cape May, New Jersey Pure Victorian (built in 1879) meets timeless beach and boardwalk (a quick walk away) in what is considered America's original seaside resort. Several hundred Victorian-era buildings in the area make long walks fun. In-house restaurant is big on local farmers market produce and fresh shellfish. 24 rooms; $100-475.
Woolverton Inn, Stockton, New Jersey A short drive from weekend-getaway meccas New Hope and Lambertville. Built in 1792 on ten acres (four hectares) cloistered by some 300 acres (121 hectares) of farmland and forest. Produce and cut-flower gardens. Room decor: sleek, stylish mix of antiques and modern pieces; chintz used judiciously. Three-course breakfasts. 8 rooms and 5 cottages; $145-425.
Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, New Hampshire In 1905 Teddy Roosevelt negotiated the Russo-Japanese War's end at this oceanfront inn—still brimming with stately aplomb: 36 luxury suites, tennis courts, dockside sailboats, and spa. Sip hot clam chowder beneath the muraled dining room rotunda. Sweeping seasonal chrysanthemum and daffodil displays. 161 rooms; $179-899.
Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, Lake Placid, New York Luxurious inn set on hilltop overlooking Adirondack High Peaks and Mirror Lake. One block from Main Street. Rooms and suites: mahogany accents, antique windows, artisan birch furniture, intricate stonework. Adirondack chairs dot property. Toboggan chute in winter. Famous for flapjacks with hot—local—maple syrup. 131 rooms; $250-1,400.
Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Milton, New York An Edenesque Hudson Valley metropolis antidote an easy 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Manhattan. Original building dates from 1764; solar/geothermal spa crafted from a garage in 2007. Chickens and peacocks roam the aviary (safe from the resident llamas and Angora goats); the garden is organic. Chef: Culinary Institute of America graduate and Slow Food member. 13 rooms, 3 carriage houses, 2 cottages; $225-600.
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York Sprawling, castle-like Victorian resort built in 1869. Still family-run, with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. Activities for miles: hiking, caving, rock climbing, skating, golf, lake swimming. Spa with solarium. 138 fireplaces and 238 balconies with 600+ rocking chairs. 265 rooms; $480-920.
The Blue Moon Hotel, New York, New York Manhattan's Lower East Side tenement turned boutique hotel. Public-space walls lined with collages of historic newspaper clippings, bank receipts, etc., evoke the building's past. Rooms have original wood moldings, wrought-iron beds, art nouveau light fixtures; present tense: flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. 22 rooms; $255-1,050.
The Inn on 23rd, New York, New York Urban B&B in Chelsea town house. Decor and furnishings transplanted from home on Long Island, complete with family photos and heirlooms. Hostess is a former gallery owner. Breakfast, prepared by the Culinary Center of New York, served in library. 12 rooms; $249-309.
Lafayette House, New York, New York Perfectly preserved 19th-century town house near SoHo. Remnants of then: elegant antiques, pocket doors, hardwood floors, fireplaces, majestic beds, moldings. And now: Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with DVD players. Birdhouses on patio. 15 rooms; $350-495.
Hohmeyer's Lake Clear Lodge, Lake Clear, New York German-infused Adirondack lodge run by local couple. Originally opened in 1886 by a great aunt and uncle as post office. For today's travelers: homemade wine and beer; simmering stockpots of sauerbraten. Fireplaces, jetted tubs, hydrotherapy steam showers. On 25 acres (ten hectares) in St. Regis wilderness area. 3 rooms and 7 chalets; $189-329.
Settlers Inn, Hawley, Pennsylvania Arts-and-crafts lodge in country town. Native bluestone fireplace, chestnut beams, mission-style furniture throughout. Hiking and biking expeditions to nearby waterfalls. Herbs and edible flowers direct from the garden. Bread fresh from the inn's ovens. On the other hand: flat-screen LCD TVs. 21 rooms; $140-365.
The Hotel Fauchère, Milford, Pennsylvania An 1880 Victorian Italianate oasis in the Upper Delaware River region. Shaded by native red and sugar maples. Hudson River School paintings grace the walls. Kiehl's body products; heated bathroom floors. Room decor both streamlined and cushy. Provisions supplied by local growers to the in-house Delmonico restaurant. Arty bar. 16 rooms; $200-350.
Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island Three-story Georgian revival building on Newport's Cliff Walk (3.5 miles [5.6 kilometers] of oceanfront property). Unconventional: Edwardian sitting room in lieu of front desk lobby. Themed guest rooms have antique oil paintings, canopy beds, and marble-and-granite bathrooms. Yum factor: the burgers at the Chanler's Spiced Pear Restaurant. 20 rooms; $275-1,295.
Vanderbilt Hall Hotel, Newport, Rhode Island Brick New England colonial on quiet cobblestone street of Newport's Historic Hill. Built by a Vanderbilt in 1909 as men's social club. Balustrade staircase, restored period pieces, requisite dark wood. Harbor view from roof deck. Local art on display. Gilded Age Newport mansions nearby. 33 rooms; $199-1,000. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina Gracefully secluded golf resort in a white-picket-fence village in South Carolina low country. Airy cottages have large screened porches, May River views, fireplaces, and plasma TVs. 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, spa, tours of Savannah and Beaufort, miles of walking trails. 50 cottages; $475-2,200.
The Inn at Middleton Place, Charleston, South Carolina Architectural sleekness on bluffs of Ashley River that lets nature do the talking: Cypress paneling and mission-style desks bring out colors of trees, and floor-to-ceiling windows reveal surrounding woodlands. Nature tours. Holistic cooking classes. Labyrinth, swan-dotted reflection pools, secret gardens. Carriage rides through bamboo forest. 52 rooms; $179-500.
Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont Home-style cottages scattered across grounds of Basin Harbor, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Custom millwork, artisanal screened doors, and native-stone fireplaces. Some 15,000 square feet (1,394 square meters) of gardens bloom with scores of annuals and perennials. Almost endless list of outdoorsy things to do; on-site Kid's Camp makes for smiles all around. 49 rooms and 74 cottages; $150-550.
Clifton Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia Landmark 1799 inn built by Thomas Jefferson's son-in-law. Antiques-filled rooms freshened by bright color schemes in cottages, farmhouse, and main colonial. Contemporary: spa-jet showers, Italian linens, CD library. 100-acre (40.5-hectare) spread spans private lake, infinity pool, manicured gardens. 18 rooms; $205-635.
Keswick Hall, Keswick, Virginia Inviting colonial grandeur on rolling 600-acre (243-hectare) estate not far from Monticello. Each room unique; some with four-poster beds, terraces. Traditional elegance throughout: wood-burning fireplaces, snooker table, well-tended lush gardens. Library (with 400 books on Virginia). Arnold Palmer golf course. The 2:1 staff-to-guest ratio assures service befitting the manor-born. 48 rooms; $295-950.
General Francis Marion Hotel, Marion, Virginia Roaring Twenties vintage small-town find. Careful 2006 restoration reduced room inventory, doubling guest space square footage. Period details: playing-card tile motif in the Card Room, walnut-paneled ballroom. Millennial updates: flat-screen TVs, free high-speed Internet. 36 rooms; $75-199.
Inn at Narrow Passage, Woodstock, Virginia Rustic colonial-era 1740 log inn on five acres (two hectares) fronting the Shenandoah River. Exposed beams and timber walls in original building; rooms in 1983 addition open onto porches. Old-fashioned appeal: lemonade on the front lawn, fly-fishing on the river. Newfangled: free Wi-Fi, AC. 12 rooms; $135-165.
The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia Undiluted countryside Americana on a large scale: classic 6,500-acre (2,630-hectare) getaway in the Allegheny Mountains dates to 1778. $50 million invested in 2007: new bathrooms, plasma TVs, serious restaurant. Vivid Dorothy Draper floral-themed interiors remain. Diversions abound: mineral baths, tours of the hotel's Cold Warera congressional bunker, falconry, and lots more. 721 rooms; $275-900.
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