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As one of friends said to us when we pulled up at the vintage Inn at Montpelier on Main Street, "Montpelier's got charm coming out of its butt." Never were truer words spoken. The charm that oozes from Montpelier is especially apparent during autumn, its top tourist season, when leaf peepers from around the world descend on the state to pretty much watch grass grow, or rather, leaves die.
Said friend is a native of Montpelier, and according to him, The Inn is the place to stay as a base for forays into the foliage. Maybe it's the expansive front porch or maybe it's the fiery red trees already around the property, but we get why it's so popular. Hint: it's both. The main house and its ten fireplaces were built early in the 1800s and it remains independently owned.
According to local news in Charlottesville, Virginia, the colors are headed down to the Bible Belt -- one place to take in the natural autumnal palette is Keswick Hall, just a short drive from Jefferson's Monticello (as well as his classically designed University of Virginia).
Complete with baby butlers, an "Arnold Palmer" signature 18-hole golf course, a smokin' wine cellar and some delicious bars, spa, tennis, and three swimming pools, you should be able to find something to do in between all that intense leaf-peeping.
The hotel is offering a healthy handful of packages, so you might get some goodies tacked onto the usual room rates that start around $365.
When it comes to taking in the changing leaves of autumn, no mention of Prince of Wales hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, as we did yesterday, is complete without mentioning its countryside doppelganger, Pillar and Post. If Prince of Wales is Buckingham Palace, then Pillar and Post is the queen's country home, Sandringham Estate. The hotels have the same owner, with a clear fixation on British aristocracy.
The building, constructed in the 1890s, was originally a canning factory. Now a five-star hotel, it bears little resemblance to the original structure. The grounds include an enormous spa, a saltwater pool, and faux waterfall whirlpool.
Be forewarned, as the buggy photo above shows, the hotel takes its country cottage theme a little too seriously. For those who feel a surge of nausea at the sight of a ruffled bed skirt, this place is not for you. But if craft fairs are your favorite Saturday activity, book a room now.
[Photo: Dave Mather]
October begins today. The month ushers in with it the transformation of brightly colored leaves and crisp, comfortable air. After we finish our trips to bungalows on the beach and before we head off to ski resorts, there are a few places best suited for taking in Autumn.
At Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada, in addition to the abundance of foliage in the surrounding areas, fall offers the town's best wine tours and its annual Shaw Festival, a play series held at local venues. The most renowned and, well, fanciest hotel in town is Prince of Wales, which takes its moniker literally.
Fall Foliage Hotels / Upstate New York Hotels / Hotel Celebrations / Historic Hotels / Fall-Foliage Hotels / → All Tags
One of America's grand dame hotels is rolling out a special to commemorate its upcoming centennial. The Otesaga in Cooperstown, perched on the shores of Lake Otsego and a stone's throw from America's richest baseball museum, is surrounded by history and is history itself.
A century old on July 12, 2009, the hotel is part of literary history (the lake is referred to as "Glimmerglass" in writer James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales); was an architectural marvel when it opened, with phones in every room and central heating, designed by the same fellows that built The Dakota in New York City; and a celebrity haunt, with baseball players like Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Joltin' Joe DiMaggio holed up.
We've already covered a good hotel to check out the fall foliage in Boston: Hotel Marlowe, with its farm getaways and kayaks.
The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel is also offering a cool-weather weekend special, although it's a bit more romance than leaf-peeping.
Called a "Sweetheart's Staycation," starting at $599 per person, you'll get two nights' stay, bubbly and chocolates, a dinner cruise around Boston Harbor on an Odyssey Ship, breakfast and bed, and late check-out.
The fine print didn't say if there are any windows for booking, but it sounds like a good deal for lovers of love and leaves.
[Photo: Renaissance North America]
Yesterday was the first official day of fall...still plenty of time to book a leaf-peeper getaway. The US Hotels Group just announced two getaways at their upscale New England resorts, The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine (where the Bush parents call home), and The Windham Hill Inn in West Townshend, Vermont.
Between September 22nd and October 18, and starting at rates of $1100 per person, you get two nights accommodations, dinner for two each night, breakfast and afternoon tea, and er, driving maps of the area.
Rooms at the The Windham Hill come with fireplaces, jacuzzis, and decks -- while The White Barn Inn, built in the 1860s, has an on-site spa and its White White Barn Inn Restaurant has won a Mobil 5-Star, AAA Five-Diamond rating.
Fortunately, the hotels don't charge you extra if you stay mid-week or weekend. And your fee includes, well, driving maps, which you could probably get for free from the state tourism board or local visitor centers, anyway. Or the internet. But you get the point.
[Photo: The Notorious Meg]
What about those buckeye trees? Yes, nobody ever thinks of Ohio when it comes to trees turning, but The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that mid-October is going to be a choice time to see the colors change before the leaves drop.
There's no place better to snuggle up than in a picturesque, hilly college town, with peaceful sidewalks perfect for strolling, and one of the best beer bars in the entire state...
That place is Granville, Ohio, a half hour's drive from Columbus and home to Denison University.
The Granville Inn has 30 guest rooms, with deliciously low rates that start at $99. The rooms are equipped with free internet access, cable, and crammed with antiques. Although, we do admit it does give off a "night at Grandma's" sort of vibe.
But there's alcohol! Wine Spectator has given wine list an Award of Excellence for four years straight, and the hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also purported to be haunted. So you could have some ghost-hunting to go with your leaf-peeping too.
You may be smack in the middle of Boston Proper, but you can still enjoy that autumn chill in the great outdoors.
Kimpton's Hotel Marlowe is offering an active Fall Foliage Package. A rate of $999 (and going higher, depending on the room you book) gets you two nights, a bike ride around the city with Urban Adventours, and a kayak to swish up the Charles, park the car at Harvard yard (say that with a Boston accent).
For real trees with real leaves, the package also offers your choice of day trips to local working farms. You'll get a free ride to Boston Hill Farm in North Andover, for pumpkin picking and tractor rides, plus more apples you could eat or stuff into a pie, with Cortlands, MacIntoshes, and Macouns.
Or get a bit of history at Brooksby Farm in Peabody, 250 acres of farm, barns, gardens, and orchards, smack in the middle of the burbs. Pet emus, alpacas, and sheep, pick apples by the bushel, and wolf down some cider with a maple syrup candy chaser. Yum.
But those rolling green hills won't stay that way for long. According to the Vermont Vacation's Foliage Report, the wet weather New England has been having will translate to a spectacular palette of autumn hues.
This website's pretty cool, too - they even tell you what regions of the state are most likely to have available lodging. (Hint: The weekend of October 10-12 is nearly a statewide blackout of rooms.)
So where to spend some time leaf-gazing? Ironically, a good stop is at Mount Snow, at the sprawling Grand Summit Hotel. Predominantly known for skiing, it's got all the seasonal benefits of slope life without the snow plows -- outdoor pool, sauna, hot tubs...
When you get tired of all that natural beauty, there are nearby wineries, mountain biking, working farm and dairies...not to mention a local Oktoberfest right at the mountain base, October 11 & 12. Room rates for a room with two queen beds start at $138 a night.
When the seasons start to change and colors begin to turn, we'd usually suggest a trip to the Northeast to catch Fall Foliage at its peak. But turns out peepers south of the Mason-Dixon line are eager to cash in on this autumnal rite of passage, too. (And we hear, it may even be a few degrees warmer down there!)
From October 1 through November 15, foliage fanatics can book a room at Old Edwards Inn and experience fall in the Smoky Mountains with the Leaf Looker Package. The deal includes two nights in one of the 32 deluxe guestrooms (we'd recommend snagging a porch suite), a champagne welcome, continental breakfasts, and a gourmet picnic lunch that's perfectly packed for the open road. The inn is conveniently located near a number of trails, scenic routes for drives through the Smokys and area waterfalls.
Plus, the Inn's exclusive Sweet Mountain Meadow Cocoon spa treatment ensures a restful night's sleep after a long day out in the crisp North Carolina air.
Winvian, a 113-acre resort in Litchfield Hills, Conn., has an ego as big as its grounds. The website's home page is long on hyperbole and short on specifics:
A place like this is difficult to describe, for it lacks nothing. Winvian aspires to host you with no airs but graces, no extravagance or opulence, only warmth and treats. The cuisine, the wines, the spa and the team are as unexpected as the experiences that one might wish to enjoy -- carefree with no need for purple prose, this or that, something or other. A flight of fancy, a leap of faith, pie in the sky.
Wha?! Sounds like these people spent too much time holed up in the woods. This place better be nice, because rooms cost way more than the EconoLodges we usually crash at when stuck in the country. For autumn, the resort has several packages. "Fall Getaway" includes a $50 spa certificate and a bottle of champagne. Rooms start at $999 per night.
For those wanting to avoid the extended family in November, the "Thanksgiving Escape" package starts at $5,000 for a three-nights stay. It comes with champagne, thanksgiving dinner, spa treatments for both guests, a cheese and wine platter, and a $50 credit. Better hope you get a sweet year-end bonus this year.