4 Winter Getaways
From New York to Virginia, this is where you want to spend your winter vacation.
The inn’s peach bread pudding.
Situated on 573 acres just two miles west of Charlottesville, Va., at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this sumptuous estate offers elegant rooms and suites, a full-service spa, a championship golf course, two on-site restaurants, and a daily schedule of outdoor recreational activities.
Drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes.
Accommodations: In Elizabethan England, the image of a boar’s head on the sign of a tavern or public house was a symbol of a warm welcome and good food. At this special property, it still is. Built between 1819 and 1830, the former private home and surrounding farm—collectively known as Birdwood—was the epitome of Southern graciousness. Now owned and operated by the University of Virginia Foundation, it remains so in its architecture, landscape and furnishings, the latter which combine antiques with Southern country-estate décor. Fieldstone, pine beams and planking rescued from an 1834 gristmill add rustic-chic touches. Some suites have gas fireplaces—you can even have your dinner sent up to the room
and picnic next to it. In most suites, balconies or patios overlook the beautiful countryside. Rates are $165-$285.
Where to eat: At the Old Mill Room, executive chef Bill Justus and restaurant chef Francisco Ayala are committed to treating mostly locally grown meats and produce with respectful simplicity. It’s the case whether they’re serving smoked salmon, portobello Benedict, grilled- chorizo breakfast hash, panko-crusted ahi tuna, or sage-dusted breast of chicken. Breakfast entrées are $10.50-$16. The full Southern breakfast buffet is $22; continental buffet is $16. Dinners are $24-$39. Ask about afternoon high tea ($30) and spirits-pairing dinners ($95).
Don’t miss the signature peanut soup or the crab nachos at the laid-back and cozy Bistro 1834. Sandwiches and salads are $10-$18, and entrées run $16-$30.
What to do: Check out the daily schedule of complimentary guest activities. They may include guided nature walks on the grounds’ Heritage Trail, golf clinics, or squash. Bikes, helmets and maps are free for rides on the network of paved paths around the property. Poles are also available gratis for catch-and-release fishing in the ponds.
Weather permitting, play 18 holes on the championship mountain-view Birdwood Golf Course. Greens fees are $52/weekdays, $65/weekends, and $35 after 2:30 p.m. Cart fees are $22, and golf club rentals are $45. A 30-minute private lesson is $50. On-course instruction with the golf pro ranges from one hour and four holes ($125) to three-and-a-half hours and 18 holes ($300).
Winter means trout season, and Boar’s Head can set up a guided half- or full-day fly-fishing excursion. A half day starts at $225 for one or two anglers, a full day at $325. One-hour on-site lessons start at $75 for one or two people.
Hone your tennis skills in a private lesson with the resort’s pro (starting at $58 per hour), or play on the indoor courts for $30 an hour. A private squash lesson starts at $55 a half-hour.
Many of the ingredients for the treatments at the Boar’s Head Spa are indigenous to the area’s mountains. Go for a head-to-toe sampler package that includes an express targeted massage, a quick-fix facial, a spa manicure, and a pedicure for $230. Or pick three 50-minute services to create a custom package for $300.
Enjoy some well-earned “me” time—or “we” time for couples—when you leave your young ones (infants to age 12) in the capable hands of the childcare providers at the Boar’s Head Sports Club. The state-licensed service costs $10 an hour.
Take in a men’s or women’s University of Virginia basketball game at John Paul Jones Arena. Call or check the website for ticket prices. 295 Massie Road, Charlottesville, (888) 575-8497.
Hit some of the city’s dining hot spots and pay a special fixed price for three courses during January’s Charlottesville Restaurant Week.
200 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, Va., (855) 452-2295.
The Hammam at Glenmere
During the glamorous Gilded Age, this elegant country home in New York’s lower Hudson Valley regularly hosted royalty and aristocrats. Perched atop a hill overlooking a sparkling lake and 150 acres, it remains a luxurious adults-only retreat from the everyday—especially when you book one of the deep-healing restoration rituals at its hammam.
Drive time: 3 hours.
Accommodations: Inside and out, Glenmere Mansion retains many of the features from the time it was built in 1911 for a real estate heir, including marble statuary, hand-carved mantels, staircases and a fountain. European antiques and an art collection embellish the public spaces and guestrooms. Yet it still has the intimacy and warmth of a private home. Many of the 18 rooms and suites have fireplaces. An overnight stay includes a full breakfast. Room rates are $750-$995; junior suites are $1,295; suites begin at $1,870.
Where to eat: Dine by candlelight on a three-course prix-fixe dinner at The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion. Recent selections included sea scallops with cauliflower mousseline, capers, citrus and cranberries, and Long Island duck breast with farro risotto and rhubarb marmalade. Sunday champagne brunch is $65. Thursdays feature wine-pairing dinners, also $65.
The atmosphere is casual and the menu diverse at Frog’s End Tavern at Glenmere. Share a tasting of charcuterie, pâté or artisanal cheeses. Go for a sandwich or a rustic flatbread pizza. Or choose an entrée from among the meat and seafood selections, or the house-made pastas and gnocchi ($13-$32).
If you have a favorite Mexican specialty, chances are you’ll find it done authentically at Cancun Inn Restaurant. Or try the Spanish-style, seafood-filled zarzuela de mariscos. Entrées are $11.95-$19.95. 1396 Kings Hwy., Sugar Loaf, (845) 544-1570.
What to do: Five minutes from Glenmere is the Sugar Loaf Art & Craft Village, where you’ll find more than 24 artists’ studios, boutiques and galleries within strolling distance. Be sure to visit the studios of the 10 resident artisans, who live and work in barns and buildings that date back to the 1700s. 1371 Kings Hwy., Chester.
While you’re at Sugar Loaf, also stop at the Seligmann Center to see displays of contemporary works by new and established artists. Admission is free. 23-26 White Oak Drive, Sugar Loaf, (845) 469-9459.
The Hammam at Glenmere is an opulent marble bathhouse offering cleansing and purifying rituals that combine ancient and modern techniques inspired by Turkey, Morocco and Tibet. Rituals are $195-$440.
Stop by Brotherhood Winery—America’s oldest (established 1839)—for a tour and tasting ($10) or a tasting flight ($7). It’s open Friday, Saturday and Sunday in winter. 100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive, Washingtonville, (845) 496-3661, www.brotherhood-winery.com.
Go skiing or snowboarding at Mount Peter. Full-day lift tickets are $30/weekdays, $49/weekends. 51 Old Mount Peter Road, Warwick, (845) 986-4940.
Take a guided one- or two-hour tour of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with West Point Tours, the only way you can access the campus. Hear stories about the academy’s ties to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Armstrong Custer and Benedict Arnold. Highlights include the beautiful Cadet Chapel and the Battle Monument. Tours are $14-$16. (845) 446-4724.
634 Pine Hill Road, Chester, N.Y., (845) 469-1900.
Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet
Break out your bathing suit. Water fun is always in season at the new Kalahari Resort in the Poconos. This African-themed hotel is home to Pennsylvania’s largest indoor water park—100,000 square feet—plus an additional 30,000 square feet of dry family fun, a variety of dining, and a full-service spa.
Drive time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Accommodations: Warm, natural colors and decorative accents create an African ambiance at Kalahari. Some rooms have bunk beds for the kids, and whirlpools are available in certain suites. In true Poconos style, the bath is heart-shaped in the honeymoon suite. Water-park admission is included with overnight stay. Rates start at $249.
Where to eat: Named for the highest point in the Kalahari Desert, Brandberg offers a top-of-the-line dining experience at the resort. Unique dishes include barbecued bone marrow with bacon jam, and buttermilk-fried quail with a sweet-potato-whiskey waffle. Entrées are $18-$36. Even the hot dogs and hamburgers are playfully prepared, like the PB Burger with Thai peanut sauce and the kimchi dog ($9-$17).
At the resort’s Ivory Coast Lounge, start your action-packed day with a hearty breakfast of Irish-oat-and-brown sugar-fortified cranberry-banana-almond pancakes or spinach-and-artichoke Benedict ($9-$16). Or build your own breakfast at the Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet ($13.99), with its open kitchen and chef’s action station. The buffet is also available for dinner ($19.99).
What to do: You could easily spend all day in the water park (9 a.m.-10 p.m.). Only strong swimmers should take on the Flowrider, a rough-and-tumble bodyboarding and surfing attraction. If you prefer the thrills and chills of a high-speed coaster, grab a raft and try the Anaconda, with its open flumes, enclosed tunnels and gushing geysers. The Zimbabwe Zipper flume reaches speeds up to 40 mph, and the Rippling Rhino sends you speed-sliding down almost 400 feet. For the less daring, there’s a lazy river and a swim-up bar. The little ones have their own water play area, too.
In addition to videogames and boardwalk-like skill-testers, the extensive arcade at Kalahari features mini bowling ($5), black-light mini golf ($6), a virtual-reality experience ($7), and a laser adventure ($4).
Every day, there’s a new schedule of activities, including family hikes, Hula-Hoop contests, finger painting, scavenger hunts, cookie decorating, and crafting cool stuff like racecars and African thumb pianos. In the evening, put the kids in their pajamas and take them down to the lobby for story time.
250 Kalahari Blvd., Pocono Manor, (570) 216-5493.
The Inn at BoonsBoro
Washington County is home to five national parks and eight state parks, making it rich in outdoor recreational opportunities. Its hub is Hagerstown. In the downtown historic district, you’ll find several cool restaurants and arts- and-entertainment venues. Neighboring Sharpsburg was the site of one of the Civil War’s fiercest conflicts, the Battle of Antietam. In nearby Boonsboro, you can spend the night in a charming B&B owned by one of America’s most popular romance writers.
Drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Accommodations: Though the original late-18th-century hotel that stood on the site was destroyed by fire, the inn was carefully restored, using brick and stone salvaged from the blaze, to reflect the design of the period. If you’re a fan of bestselling author Nora Roberts’ romantic novels, you’ll enjoy the rooms and suites themed around literary characters like Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. A multicourse breakfast is included. Rates are $225-$285/weekdays, $255-$305/weekends. 1 N. Main St., Boonsboro, (301) 432-1188.
Where to eat: The Rhubarb House is open weekdays for lunch, and Friday and Saturday for dinner. Specialties include pasta bowls, sandwiches and salads. Save room for the homemade desserts. Prices are $6.95-$12.95. 12 Public Square, Hagerstown, (301) 733-4399.
What to do: Hire someone from Antietam Guides to drive your car for a two- or three-hour tour ($65-$95) of the 3,000-acre Antietam National Battlefield (5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, 301-432-5124), one of the country’s best preserved Civil War battlefields (301-432-4329). Admission for self-guided auto or walking tour is $5 per adult, $10 per car. Bonnymead Farm offers narrated 90-minute tours of the battlefield in a horse and carriage for $70-$90 (5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, 304-876-1307).
In Hagerstown, Mansion House Art Center is an 1846 Georgian-style manor that displays the works of more 20 local artists (501 Highland Way, 301-797-6813). The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts exhibits old masters, American paintings, sculptures, textiles and Oriental art (401 Museum Drive, 301-739-5727). Built between 1739 and 1740, the Jonathan Hager House & Museum (301-739-8577, ext. 170), originally the residence of Hagerstown’s founder, is furnished in the style of that period. Admission is $3.