Romantic Respites

Sixteen luxurious B&Bs for amorous weekend escapes.



A Weekend Romance

 

Bed, breakfast and canoodling at some of the region’s most wildly indulgent and convenient escapes.

 

 

Captain's House Inn (Above) 

There are times when “average” and “standard” just won’t do. A clean room and an invisible staff are fine for road trips with the family, but what if you want your getaway to be more than just an ordinary overnight with your significant other? There are establishments that throw a bit of chintz around and advertise as a romantic B&B. And then there are those that offer in-room massage for two
and gourmet breakfast to be savored beneath a canopy of lace,
which is really more of what you had in mind.

If you’re looking for royal treatment where reality exceeds expectations, choose from the following list. Some are newcomers on the scene—
others tried and true. You start with the inspiration; they will attend
to the details (all of them, simply maaarvelous).

 

 

 

The French Manor

Huckleberry Rd, South Sterling, PA

(877) 720-6090 www.thefrenchmanor.com

{From White Plains: 2 hours}

 

 

Modeled after a manor in the South of France and situated on a mountaintop surrounded by 45 private acres, the French Manor will satisfy your Euro-cravings without the hassle of airports. Owners Ron and Mary Kay know how to pamper their guests: a fresh-cut rose, a bottle of sherry, and a cheese-and-fruit tray await in each sumptuous room. Enjoy a swanky afternoon tea, and after some sightseeing, a nap, and a nice, hot shower, you may be ready to indulge in  a delicious seven-course dinner ($120 on average, with entrées like filet mignon topped with seared lobster—a favorite) in the sweeping dining room, which features a 40-foot vaulted ceiling and two huge fireplaces. The French Provincial-style rooms are decorated in rich colors and wood, with walls of cypress or cedar paneling and pineapple-carved, four-poster beds. Godiva chocolates appear on the luxurious 400-thread-count sheets for turndown service each night.

Ask for: The Turret Suite,  a two-story space that incorporates a sun-drenched living room downstairs and a king-size cannonball bed, surrounded by turret windows, above. Cost: $249 to $310 per night.

What Makes It Special: The Poconos, a region known for its beauty but long the domain of the kitschy heart-shaped tub, now has seriously indulgent lodging and a restaurant so grand it earned a coveted Four Diamond Award (the only one in the Poconos).

When Here: Most guests come for the food and the scenery, and to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Sit out on your private balcony with an incomparable mountaintop view and ruminate on your great meal to come as part of the Enchanted Evening Package ($385 per couple for a suite per night, midweek) which includes chilled Champagne, fresh flowers, and chocolates on arrival, a candlelight dinner, a full country breakfast, and a picnic-basket lunch for those staying two nights or more.

 

 

1870 Wedgwood Inn of New Hope

111 W Bridge St, New Hope, PA

(215) 862-2570 www.wedgwoodinn.com

{From White Plains: 1½ hours}

 

Carl and Nadine (Dinie) Glassman not only operate the country’s oldest apprenticeship program for aspiring innkeepers, they literally wrote the book on the topic: How to Start and Run Your Own Inn. So it’s no surprise that the Glassmans’ own B&B, The 1870 Wedgwood Inn of New Hope, is such a standout. Recently renovated, the two-time Best of Philly (Philadelphia Magazine) winner now includes several suites that feature a double Jacuzzi tub facing the in-room fireplace. Common areas sport all the welcoming cushy appointments of a luxury accommodation—for instance, fresh cookies right out of the oven greet guests in a Victorian parlor swathed in mahogany wood and Oriental rugs and, throughout the three common rooms, visitors chat among the ever-growing collection of Wedgwood china (its signature blue-and-ivory palette is repeated throughout the inn). Still, you need not leave your room at all. Scrumptious breakfasts, like quiche with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, tropical fruit salad topped with inn-made granola, and just baked cranberry orange bread, will be delivered right to your bedside.

Ask for: One of the inn’s two carriage house suites, with king-size four-poster mahogany bed, hand-painted mermaid mural surrounding an in-bedroom Jacuzzi, and double French doors that open to the balcony. Cost: $240-$310 per night, including gourmet breakfast.

What Makes It Special: Carl’s own home-brewed Almond Liqueur for every guest—served with two shot glasses and chocolates at bedside.

When Here: Guests can shop with the locals by following Dinie on her back-roads fresh-market expeditions and country-roads antiquing on Sundays and Mondays.

 

 

 

Southern Mansion

720 Washington St, Cape May, NJ

(800) 381-3888 www.southernmansion.net

{From White Plains: 3 hours}

 

With the amenities of a hotel and the intimacy of a boutique B&B, the Southern Mansion brings authentic Southern hospitality to this New Jersey seaside resort. Built during the Civil War, the home was resuscitated and reopened in 1996 as “the fanciest inn in Cape May,” according to owner Barbara Bray-Wilde. Each massive room is so impressive, Bray-Wilde generally hears an audible gasp of surprise from first-time guests. “Heavy tea,” served at 4 pm and featuring as many as seven chicken, steak, and salad appetizers in addition to tea sandwiches, cookies, and scones, served in a spectacular wrap-around solarium, feeds the flagging body and soul so thoroughly you need not spend a fortune on dinner downtown.

Ask For: The Cupola Room, with its own 20-foot-high cupola that features a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the ocean and town ($250-$400).  Splurge in your personal love-nest on a custom five-course dinner for two (an additional $400). “If,” says Bray-Wilde, “you tell us, ‘My honey loves tart Tatin,’ we make it!”

What Makes It Special: Each room is larger than many New York City apartments.

When Here: For a greater appreciation of the building’s history and secrets, take the crowd-pleasing hour-long Mansion tour.

 

 

 

Pig Hill Inn

73 Main St, Cold Spring-on-Hudson

(845) 265-9247 www.pighillinn.com

{From White Plains: 45 minutes}

 

Situated in a three-story brick building in this tiny town chock full of antiques shops, the unassuming Pig Hill Inn stands out as a laid-back yet sophisticated boutique hotel.  Choose to take the signature apple crumb cake, along with a full country breakfast, in bed, or dine on your blueberry pancakes or apple-Danish French toast in the sunny glass conservatory downstairs. All nine rooms feature  the deep, rich tones and fabrics of classic manor homes: brick reds, Federal blues, and soothing taupes. Innkeepers are happy to recommend dining in town and often send people to funky and delish Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill. Antique hunters can spend all day perusing cute little shops like Serious Toyz and Spooky Antiques—just a taste of the vintage specialty stores that abound here.

Ask for: The Tranquility Suite with four-poster canopy bed, wood-burning stove, and two-person Jacuzzi. Cost: $190 to $230 per night.

What Makes It Special: The antique furniture in each of the nine rooms is for sale, so if you love your weekend sleigh bed, by all means, take it home.

When Here: What’s a big abandoned Scottish Castle doing on an island in the middle of the Hudson River? Find out on a Hudson Valley Outfitters of Cold Spring kayaking tour that takes you on a historian-led walking tour of Bannerman Island, originally built as a warehouse for Brooklyn-based Bannerman’s, Inc.,  a purveyor of surplus war supplies.

 

 

 

Whistlewood Farm

52 Pells Rd, Rhinebeck, NY

(845) 876-6838 www.whistlewood.com

{From White Plains: 1½ hours}

 

With an ambience of refined rusticity, Whistlewood Farm could be a Ralph Lauren outpost. As you enter the driveway and drive by pastures dotted with grazing horses, you realize this is not the typical over-upholstered B&B. Colorful woolen Southwest blankets are flung over artisanal cowboy furniture in the living room, and homemade sweets are set out for guests 24 hours a day on an antique stove in the well-used kitchen. Owner Maggie Myer prides herself on the plump strawberry, rhubarb, apple, and pumpkin pies that emerge hot from her oven.   

Ask for: Northwind Room, with cathedral ceiling, stone fireplace, Jacuzzi, and stunning handmade antler chandelier. Cost: $250 to $315 per night.

What Makes It Special; Very private, very quiet—but within a forest trail walk of the Rhinebeck Tennis Club (bring your racquet) and the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center.

When Here: Drive 20 minutes to the Culinary Institute of America (845-471-6608), where dinner is a fraction of what you’d pay just about anywhere else and just as good.

 

 

 

Fox ‘n’ Hound Inn

142 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY

(866) 369-1913 www.foxnhoundbandb.com

{From White Plains: 2 ¾ hours}

 

A Tiffany stained-glass window in the foyer welcomes guests to this meticulously restored Victorian. An intimate, sophisticated alternative to the larger resorts and hotels of Saratoga Springs, Fox ‘n’ Hound is a labor of love for lively owner Marlena Sacca, who pored over details like bird’s-eye maple panels and moldings, period furnishings, and cozy bedrooms.

Ask for: The Crown Suite, with its custom-made crown headboard of deep purple velvet with satin pillows and bedding. This suite features a king-size bed and a private balcony overlooking the garden. Cost: $175-$375 per night.

What Makes It Special: Marlena, a former Culinary Institute chef-instructor originally from Romania, delights in preparing complimentary multi-course gourmet breakfasts with an ethnic twist. Though dishes change daily, you may be presented with “poached eggs with salmon and wasabi cream” (her version of eggs Florentine) or “chocolate waffles with dried-fruit compote.”

When Here: Saratoga Springs was the site of the first American “European Spa” at the turn of the last century—and you can still take a healing dip in the warm, effervescent waters at the newly renovated Roosevelt Spas located in the public park ($20 for 15 minutes).

 

 

 

Griswold Inn

36 Main St, Essex, CT

(860) 767-1776 www.griswoldinn.com

{From White Plains: 1½ hours}

 

Joan and Doug Paul are the sixth owners of the iconic Griswold Inn, which has been operating continuously since it opened in 1776.  Melding modern-day lavishness with Old World charm, they have orchestrated changes to make “The Gris” even more alluring—renovating bedrooms to opulent standards, and opening a new wine/tapas bar. Offering 50 wines by the glass and “little plates”—“pumpkin seed-crusted Stonington sea scallops with pumpkin broth” or “petite Brie chèvre en croûte with golden raspberry jam”—you can wile away a pleasant night in this dining room alone. 

Ask for: Suite 38, furnished with Turkish rugs, a sitting room with antique writing desk, and Waterworks fixtures in the spacious bathroom. Cost: $220-$370.

What Makes It Special: After 230 years, The Gris is still The Place To Be Seen! And, eating dinner in a relocated (indoor) New Hampshire Covered Bridge, then drinking and dancing to live entertainment in the quirky adored Tap Room—a 19th-century schoolhouse—never goes out of style.  

When Here: Grab a scoop of homemade ice cream across the street at Sweet P’s, then walk 10 paces to a riverfront bench to watch the boats go by.

 

 

 

Inn at National Hall

Two Post Rd W, Westport, CT

(800) 628-4255 www.innatnationalhall.com

{From White Plains: ½ hour}

 

This three-story Italianate structure on the Saugatuck River was originally the 1873 First National Bank of Westport. In the early 1990s, Arthur Tauck of Tauck Tour fame saw promise in neglect and renovated this in-town building to its current glorious state. A European continental breakfast (which includes fresh fruit, baked goods, cereal, yogurt, juices, coffee, and tea) is offered. The ceiling in every third-floor suite is high enough to allow for an upstairs loft. At present, the Inn has no dining room, so the staff is happy to make recommendations in downtown Westport, which is full of wonderful restaurants. Try local sensation, Da Pietro’s, a few blocks away.

Ask for: The Turkistan Suite, where President Clinton has stayed, features 12-foot-high windows, a spacious living room, and a wide staircase that leads upstairs to a king bed with an Egyptian print canopy and painted valance. Cost: $630-$660 per night.

What Makes It Special: Each spectacular room is an exercise in inventive, extravagant interior design. You’ll want to try out each one.

When Here: Check out the goings on at Westport County Playhouse, an old classic theater rescued from the wrecking ball by Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman a few years ago. Bold-faced names headline productions new and old in a very intimate setting.

 

 

Cliffside Inn

Newport, RI (800) 845-1811

www.cliffsideinn.com

{From White Plains: 3 hours}

 

Beatrice Turner, a Newport beauty and prolific artist, left hundreds of self-portraits in the nooks and crannies of Cliffside, her summer cottage. Found at her death in 1948, only 70 paintings were rescued from the bonfire, and they now grace the walls of the luxurious Cliffside Inn. The interior is so authentically plush-Victorian, it was used as a set on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. Exceptional breakfasts (eggs Benedict served over crab cakes, for instance) and a magical Gilded Age afternoon tea (served from 4:30 to 5:30) are complimentary.  Private bathrooms are called “Bathing Salons” and merit the designation. “They are wildly over the top,” says manager Win Baker, as are each and every lavish room.

Ask For: The Governor’s Suite, with king four-poster bed, sitting area with Victorian fainting couch, and fireplace. Its wood paneled bath suite has an oak floor, two-person whirlpool tub, fireplace, one-of-a-kind Victorian “birdcage” shower, and an antique double pedestal sink from the old Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Cost: $305-$580 per night.

What Makes It Special: Afternoon tea is unparalleled; The Cliffside Inn is the only New England establishment to be listed in Bruce Richardson’s cocktail table book Great Tea Rooms of America.

When Here: Cliffside Inn is 50 feet from the venerable Cliffwalk—a three-mile-long esplanade that hugs the ocean-battered cliffs behind Newport’s famous mansions. Take a long  scramble, then come back to your room for a rejuvenating in-room custom Farmaesthetics Spa treatment.

 

 

 

Old Lyme Inn

85 Lyme St Old Lyme, CT

(800) 434-5352 www.oldlymeinn.com

{From White Plains: 1½ hours}

 

Across the street from the Florence Griswold Museum, the very birthplace of American Impressionism (where Childe Hassam got his start), Old Lyme Inn is, in itself, a work of art. Candy and Keith Green bought the inn five years ago and have turned it into a live-in museum, with spacious antique-filled rooms and a library. Dine on beef Wellington or flamed prime steaks in high style in the venerable Winslow Dining Room amid Impressionist oils from the turn of the century (from downtown Cooley Gallery) on sale for tens of thousands of dollars. A continental breakfast (included), with lots of fresh fruit and baked goods, is laid out every morning in the Federal-style lobby.

Ask for:  Room 7 or 11, both Honeymoon Suites with queen lace-canopy beds. Cost: $165-$185 per night.

What Makes it Special: Luxurious accommodations at the epicenter of a still-thriving artists’ colony.

When Here: Walk across the street to the Florence Griswold Museum. Then, stop into the studio, where you’ll be handed a pallet, oil paints, canvas, and smock to create your own masterpiece out back along the banks of the Lieutenant River.

 

 

 

 

Windham Hill Inn

311 Lawrence Dr, West Townshend, VT

(800) 944-4080 www.windhamhill.com

{From White Plains: 3½ hours}

 

Haute cuisine in the middle of nowhere. How utterly charming is that? Stumbling upon five-star dining and lodging within miles of any significant town or attraction feels like a secret you want to keep. “This is a place for complete relaxation,” says former Dean and DeLuca employee—and now owner of Windham Hill Inn—Marina Coneeny. There’s a heated pool and tennis court, and plenty of hiking in the adjacent hills, not to mention 10 kilometers of groomed trails on site for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A three-course gourmet breakfast greets you in the morning and you can splurge on the trails with an epicurean box-lunch ($30 for two). Dinner is destination dining at its best; dishes the likes of maple-brined pork chops with vanilla-infused parsnip purée and roasted red onion stuffed with bulgur wheat salad ($50 prix-fixe menu) has put Windham Hill on the map—though you’ll need a good one to find this place.

 

 

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