Touring the country in its autumnal glory.
Despite our sub-tropical geography, Floridians love fall colors and traditions. Like reverse snowbirds, we hop on a plane and head north for destinations that promise a quintessential fall experience. Some of us even follow fall, making our way down the East Coast for peak color, or going out west for the gloriously golden aspen trees. Here are some ideas for where to spend a long weekend this season and partake in one of nature’s greatest shows.
The Point/Adirondacks, N.Y.
Everyone I know who’s stayed at the Point resort in the Adirondacks can’t stop talking about it. They become obsessed and count down the days until they can return. Once owned by the Rockefeller family, the remote, 75-acre property with a historic great camp (the regional term for a grand lodge) in northern New York is a member of the Relais & Châteaux collection. Each of its 11 uniquely-decorated guest rooms with private baths features lake views, a wood-burning fireplace and porch to listen to the loons. The all-inclusive hospitality concept is also known for its old-fashioned charm, such as scenic boat rides on antique watercraft and regularly scheduled black-tie dinners. You can see why it’s a timeless hit.
Pickering House Inn/Wolfeboro, N. H.
Every fall, leaf peepers descend on New England. The region has so many gorgeous historic inns and resorts, but I chose Pickering House Inn near Lake Winnipesaukee’s Wolfeboro Bay, because it was just rated the top hotel/resort in New England by Travel & Leisure. Local residents Peter and Patty Cooke spent two years renovating the early 19th-century tavern turned private residence for the Pickering family who were instrumental in Wolfeboro’s prosperity. They offer traditional bed-and-breakfast packages in 10 unique guestrooms with gourmet breakfast in Pickering’s Kitchen and priority dinner reservations at Pavilion, their sister restaurant next door. It’s the ideal place to set off for fall adventures like hiking, strolling town and visiting Moulton’s Farm for wagon rides and treats from cider doughnuts to pumpkin whoopie pies.
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection/Newport, R.I.
Also making T&L’s top 10 list for New England, the Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is shaking up Newport’s hospitality scene. Nationally renowned design firm Swoon is charged with reinventing a Vanderbilt scion’s historic, Georgian-style mansion-turned-resort. The original owner’s love of adventure and travel, as well as Newport’s Colonial heritage are among inspirations for the new lobby and library lounge with a fabulous, old-fashioned portrait gallery.
Patrons of the Spotted Pig are delighted that the defunct New York gastro-pub’s British chef owner April Bloomfield has resurfaced at the Dining Room at the Vanderbilt to curate a seasonal selection of her signature elevated tavern fare. In addition to several savory dishes, it’s worth a reservation for her spin on clam chowder.
The abundance of fun common areas welcomes fall delights. Cozy up with a book in the Living Room, dine in the Conservatory, watch the sunset from the Roof Deck, and pamper yourself in the spa. Come early 2022, its 33 guestrooms will be fully renovated too.
Primland/Blue Ridge Mountains, N.C.
Famous for its breathtaking mountain views and luxury amenities, Primland also began as a private retreat. The family built a towering resort and 18-hole, Audubon-certified golf course (designed by Donald Steel) on their 12,000-acre property, which joined Auberge Resorts Collection this year. Among a choice of 62 rooms, one can stay in the lodge or in several types of standalone cottages including a trio of intimate, modern treehouses with romantic baths and ample decks. There are many dining options like Elements whose farm fare (honeyed quail, mixed beet salad, potato and truffle gnocchi with kale) is overseen by a chef who worked at Daniel Boulud and Soho House in New York. In between fine meals, visit the spa and try activities from kayaking to archery. Another major draw is stargazing from one of the largest observatories on the East Coast.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch/Avon, Colo.
Located at the gateway to Beaver Creek in the Rocky Mountains, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is wonderfully restorative. Its mountain setting bursts with fall color, and the luxury spa’s exclusive treatments alone are worth the trip. The Miner’s Mineral Mud Wrap, whose detoxifying charcoal mud uses ore sourced from nearby mines, combines a rose quartz scrub, mud wrap, Vichy shower, and full body and scalp massage with amethyst oil and shea butter. Named for its glowing results, the Alpenglow includes a shea butter scrub, honey and avocado wrap and full body massage. Along with plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas, relax in the stone-lined coed grotto before and after treatments. Multiple, onsite restaurants specialize in different cuisines from Sakaba’s sushi to Wyld’s seasonal, locally-inspired ingredients. End the day with a glass of wine or whisky at the outdoor Fireside Bar.