Miami Herald (Sunday)
Inns of all varieties have coziness in common
In the late ’60s, my husband, Jim, and his college pals in L.A. would load surfboards on top of a beat-up van and head
Staying at a cozy and romantic bed-and-breakfast or small inn is a splendid way to celebrate spring – the season of flowers, inspiration and renewal of life. Inns range from quaint guesthouses to posh lodges and offer personalized service and pampering throughout your stay.
Every state has its share of inns, so it all comes down to choosing what you like, whether it’s lakeside, mountainside or small-town charm. Here’s a sampling of inns for a romantic getaway.
The Swag in Waynesville, North Carolina
The Swag, a tranquil mountaintop hideaway in North Carolina’s swath of the Smoky Mountains, is where log cabin meets luxury and ritzy meets rustic. Combined with a verdant garden filled with jewel-tone flowers and vegetables, myriad hiking trails to see wildflowers and local fauna including everything from birds to bears, and the inclusion of three sumptuous meals, it’s the ideal Smokies getaway. With a sky-high elevation of 5,000 feet, The Swag, sharing a border with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has dramatic and spectacular views at every turn. Just 17 suites, cabins and cottages make up the inn, but don’t look for a television. You won’t find one. Rates are all-inclusive. www.theswag.com
The Georges in Lexington, Virginia
With only 21 rooms set in three buildings in downtown Lexington, The Georges is set within walking distance of restaurants, shops and historic sites. Each of the rooms has a view of either Washington and Lee University, Virginia Military Institute, Main Street or House Mountain. The rooms are spacious, the linens luxurious. Breakfast is freshly made and is included at TAPS, one of The
Georges’ two restaurants – the other is Haywood’s Piano Bar and Grill. Lexington is nestled in the hills and meadows of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, so there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and photograph, including the stunning stone archway of Natural Bridge State Park. www.thegeorges.com
Lookout Point Lakeside Inn in Hot Springs,
The Lookout Point Lakeside Inn on Lake Hamilton offers canoeing, boating or kayaking. Each of the cozy rooms – all stylishly decorated in bright colors – overlook the sparkling lake, its shadows and swirls created by the surrounding Ouachita Mountains. Just
16 extravagant rooms make up the boutique inn. Breakfast can be served in your room, an intimate table for two, and loaded with items including fresh fruits, buttery biscuits, lemon ricotta pancakes and egg-and-cheese quesadillas. A short drive away are Hot Springs National Parks, gardens, wineries and spas. www.lookoutpointinn.com
Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg, California
The Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg is one of those quintessential wine country inns complete with
French furnishings including four-poster beds, rich colors and antiques. The hotel, a member of Relais & Chateaux, brings the French countryside to small-town California.
The Old World-style hotel offers breakfast in your room and extras of personalized service for its guests, including wine tours. Right off, the enticements of the 16-room inn are extras like wrought ironwork, canopied fourposter beds, gas fireplaces, original artwork, marble vanities and huge showers. Unwind with the hotel’s daily wine and cheese reception that’s held in the warm and inviting walnut-paneled library. www.hotellesmars.com
Harraseeket Inn in
While an inn with 94 rooms, suites and townhouses may not at first seem romantic, the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport is the anomaly. With its classic New England look and historic buildings, dating to 1798, the inn offers champagne, roses and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Plus, many of the rooms have fireplaces. Two restaurants anchor the inn. The first is Maine Harvest, open for a breakfast buffet of eggs your way, pancakes, French toast and fresh fruits. The other is Broad Arrow Tavern, which has an open kitchen and wood-fired oven and grill. Items including lobster, blueberries, raspberries, beef, eggs and maple syrup are, as you would expect, locally sourced. Plan to go whale, moose and bird-watching. www.harraseeketinn.com
Inn at Lost Creek in Telluride, Colorado
High-altitude lovebirds will enjoy Telluride’s Inn at Lost Creek, rising above sea level some 9,500 feet. Here, the light is unreal, glowing silver and gold and red. The dog-friendly inn, which offers 32 rooms ranging from studios to two-bedroom condominiums, is in the heart of Telluride’s Mountain Village. With lots of wood, natural stone and light, the inn can be defined as mountain elegant. Breakfast is buffet-style with all the usual fixings plus extras like smoked salmon. www.innatlostcreek.com