15 great destinations that are only a short excursion away.
Inn at Willow Grove
The scoop: Whether you stay in the circa-1778 manor house or your own private cottage at this 40-acre estate in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, your personal butler will bring you special treats and cater to your every whim. Come mid-week for Tapas Wednesday ($5 each) with a fun menu of delicious innovations at the inn’s intimate Vintage Restaurant. Visit the mansion that fourth U.S. president James Madison shared with his love, Dolley, at Montpelier. $18-$20 for one- or two-hour tour. 11350 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station; (540) 672-2728; www.montpelier.org.
Cost: Rooms, suites and cottages start at $275-$570, double occupancy.
Drive time: From Main Line: 3 hours, 45 minutes; from Wilmington: 3 hours, 20 minutes.
14079 Plantation Way, Orange, Va., (540) 317-1206, www.innatwillowgrove.com.
Soar Sky High
The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm
The scoop: In the 1930s, this 1740 stone manor house, surrounded by 100 acres of woodland and pasture, was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright George S. Kaufman who regularly hosted the elite of Hollywood, Broadway and the literary world at lavish parties here. You can still experience some of the glamour of those days in one of the whirlpool suites in the main house or 19th-century stone bank barn. Luxuriate in spa treatments right in your suite. Full breakfast is included. A hot air balloon awaits just outside the door to whisk you away on a one-hour voyage over beautiful Bucks County. $279. The United States Hot Air Balloon Team, (800) 763-5987, www.ushotairballoon.com.
Cost: $275-$475 weekdays double occupancy, $375-$525 weekends.
Drive time: From Main Line: 1 hour; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 15 minutes.
5281 York Road, Holicong, Pa., (215) 794-5104, www.barleysheaf.com.
Smell the Roses
Carnegie Inn & Spa
The scoop: Modeled after a traditional Scottish manor house, this elegant hotel tucked away in the woods offers spacious, individually decorated, antiques-furnished rooms and suites. Full breakfast is included. For the ultimate in romance, book a Dinner and Duet Massage Package at the on-premises spa. It includes a his-and-hers side-by-side massage, dinner for two from the inn’s fine dining restaurant, champagne and roses. $400 (accommodations are extra).
Cost: Rooms are $169-$179, double occupancy, suites $219-$239.
Drive time: From Main Line: 3 hours; from Wilmington: 3 hours, 15 minutes.
100 Cricklewood Drive, State College, Pa., (814) 234-2424, www.carnegieinnandspa.com.
Expand Your Horizons
The Lodge at Woodloch
The scoop: Ever wonder if you have a hidden talent or are you just in the mood to try something new? You can choose from dozens of activities at this adult-destination spa resort set on 150 wooded acres in the Poconos’ lake region. Take an art, journaling, fitness or meditation class; attend a gardening workshop or cooking demo; learn the sport of archery or fly fishing; explore breathtaking hiking and biking trails or go kayaking on the property’s private lake. Many activities, along with meals, are included with your overnight stay.
Cost: Rooms begin at $409, double occupancy, suites $509.
Drive time: From Main Line: 2 hours, 30 minutes; from Wilmington: 3 hours.
109 River Birch Lane, Hawley, Pa., (570) 685-8500, www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com.
Get Lost in the Past
Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club
The scoop: This gracious, pet-friendly resort in the gloriously green Berkshire Mountains is surrounded by a history enthusiast’s paradise of museums, famous homes and other sites of interest. Take a guided tour of Ventford Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum for a glimpse of how the very wealthy families of the late 19th and early 20th centuries lived. $18. 104 Walker St., Lenox, (413) 637-3206, www.gildedage.org. Or spend the day exploring the total opposite of opulence, the late18th century, outdoor-living history museum Hancock Shaker Village. $20. 1843 W. Housatonic St., Hancock,(413) 443-0188; www.hancockshakervillage.org.
Cost: $215 midweek, double occupancy, $395 weekend.
Drive time: From Main Line: 4 hours, 20 minutes; from Wilmington: 4 hours, 30 minutes.
55 Lee Road, Lenox, Mass., (413) 637-1364, www.cranwell.com.
Soak in the Scenery
The scoop: Once a summer retreat for the rich and famous, this 16-room European-style hotel has lost none of its luster since it first opened in 1852. It is also pet friendly so you can bring the other love of your life along. Continental breakfast is included. Indulge in a four-course chef ’s tasting dinner at the on-site Delmonico Room. $85. Pack a lunch from the hotel’s Pâtisserie Fauchère and head for the nearby Delaware Watergap National Recreation Area, which has easy-to-challenging hiking trails with gorgeous waterfall views including 75-foot Dingmans Falls and 105-foot, threetier Raymondskill Falls. The main street of the historic town of Milford also has numerous art galleries and shops.
Cost: $225-$450 double occupancy.
Drive time: From Main Line: 2 hours, 30 minutes; from Wilmington: 2 hours, 40 minutes.
401 Broad St., Milford, Pa., (570) 409-1212, www.hotelfauchere.com.
Fine Art Finds
Lancaster Arts Hotel
The scoop: Bet you didn’t know that Lancaster is an impressive art center, with some great museums and a multitude of galleries. This cool, contemporary hotel in an artfully converted 19th-century tobacco warehouse is not only in the center of it all, but also prominently showcases original works by Pennsylvania talent everywhere from its lobby to the guestrooms and suites. Some suites have jetted tubs. Expanded Continental breakfast is included. Visit the Lancaster Museum of Art, 135 N. Lime St., (717) 394-3497, www.lmapa.org (free) and downtown Lancaster’s Gallery Row on the first and second blocks of North Prince Street.www.visithistoriclancaster.com.
Cost: Rooms are $189-$209, double occupancy, suites $259-$359.
Drive time: From Main Line: 1 hour, 15 minutes; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
300 Harrisburg Ave., Lancaster, Pa., (717) 299-3000, www.lancasterartshotel.com.
The scoop: Take a hand-in-hand walk on the beach in Ocean City or get up close to the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore. Whatever you choose, make your home base this lovingly restored Victorian hideaway in centrally located, small-town-cozy Berlin, which has an antique- and boutique shop-filled main street that’s perfect for leisurely browsing. End the day with a sunset canoe or kayak paddle with Ayers Creek Adventures. $40 per person. For $20 more, the two of you can bask in the glow of a roaring bonfire with some wine and cheese. 8628 Grey Fox Lane, (443) 513-0889, www.ayerscreekadventures.com.
Cost: $95-$175 weekdays, $105-$220 weekends.
Drive time: From Main Line: 2 hours, 30 minutes; from Wilmington: 2 hours.
2 N. Main St., Berlin, Md., (410) 641-3589, www.atlantichotel.com.
Go Out and Play
Mohonk Mountain House
The scoop: At this National Historic Landmark Victorian castle located in the Hudson Valley, you really get the royal treatment. Meals and most activities, including guided hikes on its 1,200 lakeside acres, rock climbing, tennis and midweek golf ($32 weekends), are part of your package, so all you have to think about is what fun thing you feel like doing or delicious thing you feel like eating. The on-premise spa offers a full range of services for both of you.
Cost: A standard queen room is $254 per person based on double occupancy weekdays, $310 weekends.
Drive time: From Main Line: 3 hours; from Wilmington: 3 hours, 15 minutes.
1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, N.Y., (855) 883-3798, www.mohonk.com.
Go Treasure Hunting
Another Second Penny Inn
The scoop: This charming 1710 New England farmhouse, with its two guestrooms and one suite, is snuggled into the serene countryside, but only about three miles from the bustling seafaring center of Mystic with its tall ships, famous aquarium and fun shopping. Continental breakfast on weekdays, five-course feast on weekends. More than a dozen shops in country barns and multi-dealer malls are located an easy drive along the coastal part of Mystic County’s Antiques Trail. For a detailed map, go to www.mystic.org/images/stories/ antiquestrail/AntiqueTrail-w.pdf. In the evening, head for the Mohegan Sun Casino for gaming, clubbing and headline entertainment. 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, (860) 226-7711; www.mohegansun.com.
Drive time: From Main Line: 4 hours, 15 minutes; from Wilmington: 4 hours, 30 minutes.
870 Pequot Trail, Stonington, Conn., (860) 535-1710, www.secondpenny.com.
The Inn at Jim Thorpe
The scoop: The town of Jim Thorpe is a Victorian gem tucked away in the Poconos, and this period-pretty hotel captures the romanticism of that era in a sophisticated way. Mini-suites have whirlpool tubs. Includes $7 breakfast voucher for on-site Broadway Grille & Pub. Book a guided horseback ride on trails passing through bucolic fields and farmland. $55.95 per person. Apollo Farms, 3070 Summer Mountain Road, Palmerton; (610) 900-4120; www.apollofarmsltd.com.
Cost: Rooms are $89-$135 weekday double occupancy, $119-$179 weekend; suites are $149- $165/$239-$255.
Drive time: From Main Line: 1 hour, 30 minutes; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
24 Broadway, Jim Thorpe, Pa., (570) 325-2599, www.innjt.com.
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast
The scoop: Close to 70 wineries have sprung up in the unspoiled countryside surrounding the New York Finger Lakes region’s Keuka and Seneca lakes and you’ll be in the perfect spot to plan the ultimate tasting tour if you stay at this lovely little getaway spot located close by. Take one of the comfortable rooms in the house or ask for your own super-private log cabin. Innkeeper Burney Baron will happily share his reflecting telescope for some stargazing on a clear night. Full breakfast is included.
Cost: In-house rooms and suite are $159-$189, double occupancy, cabins $189.
Drive Time: From Main Line: 4 hours, 30 minutes; from Wilmington: 5 hours.
1491 State Route 14A, Penn Yan, N.Y., (315) 536-0686; www.losgatosbandb.com.
Historic Inns of Annapolis
The scoop: A trio of stately guesthouses dating back to the late 17th and 18th centuries provides a posh setting for your escape from the mayhem of modern day living (but you still get all of the contemporary amenities). This is Annapolis, so you’ll want to get out on the water. Go midweek if you want to catch the Wednesday Night Boat Races. You can be part of the action aboard the Schooner Woodwind or Woodwind II, both of which participate. $44 for a two-hour cruise. Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 80 Compromise St., (410) 263-7837, www.schoonerwoodwind.com. If you can stay the weekend, take the two-day beginner’s course at Annapolis Sailing School. $495 per person. 7001 Bembe Beach Road, (800) 638-9192,www.annapolissailing.com.
Cost: $139-$199 weekdays, double occupancy, $169-$229 weekends.
Drive time: From Main Line: 2 hours; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
58 State Circle, Annapolis, Md., (410) 263-2641, www.historicinnsofannapolis.com.
Turn Up the Heat
The scoop: Located in verdant farm country only about 15 minutes from Hershey, this homey inn goes far beyond breakfast to attract foodies. It has its own cooking school so you can get a hands-on experience preparing (and eating) a four- or five-course gourmet meal with a guest chef. $225 per person (accommodations are extra). If you want a whirlpool, ask for the Great Southwest Room or English Manor Suite. Full candlelight breakfast is included.
Cost: Rooms are $139-$234, double occupancy, suite $267.
Drive time: From Main Line: 1 hour, 20 minutes; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 35 minutes.
4515 Hill Church Road, Annville, Pa., (888) 868-4515, www.annvilleinn.com.
The scoop: Comfort combines with class at this more than century-old home and its carriage house situated in the heart of town. The most romantic room is the rooftop Conservatory, with its glass ceiling so you can see a 180-degree view of the city by day and a sky filled with stars at night. Full breakfast is included. Visit the studios of close to two dozen artists as they work in a variety of media including painting, pottery, photography, sculpture and jewelry at The Banana Factory, 25 W. Third St., (610) 332-1300,www.bananafactory.org. At night, take in a musical or comedy performance at The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. 101 Founders Way, (610) 662-1300, www.steelstacks.org.
Cost: Rooms and suites range from $155-$295.
Drive time: From Main Line: 1 hour, 15 minutes; from Wilmington: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
250 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, Pa., (610) 882-2100, www.sayremansion.com.