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The Northeastern region of the USA is well known for its iffy atmospheric conditions. Mark Twain famously quipped, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.”
Chances are if you’re traveling during the cold, freezing months, you’ll experience a blizzard or, in warmer season, what’s affectionately termed a Nor’easter. So, it behooves you to find a place with a snuggle-luxe room and a commensurate meal on site.
A place, in other words, where you don’t have to leave the premises in order to experience a great dinner after check-in.
The following award winning luxury hotels and inns fit this bill…. (and if you need more ideas, check out this Huffington Post piece here). With wood burning or gas fireplace and on-site dining room, these inns make for perfect cold weather romantic getaways.
New Canaan CT
Ask locals if they’ve dined at the Rodger Sherman Inn, and they’ll say, “not in 30 years.” By the 2000’s, this Connecticut landmark had seen much better days.
But things have changed for the better with the addition of prominent chef, Francois Kwaku-Dongo, formerly Executive Chef at Spago in California and L’Escale in Greenwich CT.
Roger Sherman Inn’s 15 recently renovated rooms are interspersed throughout a rambling 18th and 19th century building – one that was facing the wrecking ball in 2016, until the community saved it. Thank goodness it did.
National Harbor MD
Gaylord’s signature architectural element; multiple acres under glass (in this case, 1.5) enclosing burbling brooks, secondary buildings, restaurants and shopping, stone pathways, water features and interior gardens provides the optimal “storm raging outside, but you’re cozy inside” experience.
Temperature controlled – you’re snug and sound inside an inverse snow globe. Plus, you’ve got several excellent restaurants to choose from – including the Southern Charm Old Hickory Steakhouse – just an elevator ride from your upscale room.
If you had to be holed up somewhere, you’d be lucky to find yourself at the charming Groton Inn in the small pastoral boarding school burg of Groton MA.
A Colonial-style roadside lodging, this brand new iteration stands on the footprint of what had been one of the oldest inns in America with the same name, the Groton Inn, first opened in 1678.
The hot new restaurant, Forge & Vine (opened in October ’18) that stands behind the inn in place of the old Carriage House has become quite a local sensation. Yes, you’ll have to venture outside – but just a few strides across the parking lot.
New Bedford MA
Sitting about a quarter mile up Union St. from the waterfront, the brand new New Bedford Harbor Hotel, opened in July 2018, fills a downtown-lodging niche close to museums, historic Town Hall, and the cobblestoned Historic District.
The reception area is small, but personable. And rather dramatic. An enlarged photo of a whaling ship takes up the wall behind the desk, and for a moment you feel as if you’re onboard – sailing away – so appropriate in this former whaling town. The excellent in-house restaurant focuses on local craft beer and elevated, delectable, pub food.
Imagine entering a real life version of the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine, and that’s what you’ll find when you first walk into the lobby of Studio Allston Hotel in Allston MA, opened in April 2018.
A mosaic of color above and below you – leading to and splashed on the elevators, it’s like a psychedelic Yellow Brick Road. Adjacent to Harvard University’s football field, where the Charles River bends on Soldiers Field Road, what was formerly a Day’s Inn is now a playful place with the vibe of a youth hostel on the main floor and upscale, witty, Mid-Century Modern guest rooms.
Casa Cana Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar is attached to the hotel, yet not owned by it. Nevertheless, guests of the hotel need not go anywhere else – the food and scene in this Cuban-influenced restaurant is fantastic and fun.
The Pinehills, MA
Opened in 2014, Mirbeau’s French Country décor, bewitching gardens (with “Monet Bridge” popular for wedding photos), and well-regarded spa appeal to brides and Boomers alike. And, of course, girlfriend groups.
Fifty guest rooms are quietly luxurious – not overdone – and common areas, with fireplaces, are the go-to spots on a snowy winter’s eve. If you don’t plan to stay here, at least reserve a table for lunch or dinner at The Bistro & Wine Bar – a fantastic meal that begins with addictive popovers and honey butter.
West Chesterfield NH
From the fallen bones of 300 year old barns emerged the upscale Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield NH. In the early 1980’s, a collection of decrepit barns and sheds, first built in the 1700’s, were all that stood on this small hill overlooking busy Route 9.
In 1984, Pamela Lendzion hired architect Rod Williams, who looked at these tumbling structures and saw….a Luxury Country Inn – much like the one he designed in Dover VT, the Inn at Sawmill Farm – and made it a reality.
Lendzion owned the 9-room Chesterfield Inn until 1987, when Judy and Phil Hueber purchased the ten-acre property, added 6 more rooms in two outbuildings, and never left.
They’ve created a Yankee-luxe home away from home for corporate travelers, parents of students at area colleges (Keene State, Marlboro, Landmark), girlfriend groups, and of course leaf peepers in autumn.
The on-site restaurant is known for being one of the best in the area, so, yes, bring on the blizzard.
Resurrecting the spirit of the paper mill that used to command this dogleg turn on Partition St. (before it burned down in the mid- 70’s), then dusting it with understated glitz, the 30-room Diamond Mills Hotel has become a go-to for weddings and special events for both locals and NYC Brides and Grooms.
Though the rooms at Diamond Mills are upscale and wonderful, the in-house restaurant, Tavern, is really where this place shines. Tavern, is a soaring, bright two-story atrium, crammed with CIA grads.
White Plains, NY
Halfway (30 minutes) between Greenwich CT and Manhattan, the Ritz Carlton Westchester is frequented by corporate executives mid-week.
However, this Ritz has become a preferred “Staycation” for locals who want to a) get away from the kids, b) rock one more weekend alone BEFORE having kids, c) enjoy a stay-over-spa-indulgence, or just d) discover and be immersed in the famous Ritz Carlton caché.
Book a couple of spa treatments; watch the snowstorm raging outside from the glass-enclosed rooftop pool; then dine on excellent cuisine in the lobby around a contemporary fireplace.
Admittedly, there’s not much to do in Carbondale PA, which makes the 61-room Select Registry boutique Hotel Anthracite an anomaly. A thrilling find for hunters of cool lodgings in obscure places, Hotel Anthracite celebrates the clean-burning hard coal (anthracite) found and mined here.
Food at in-house Kol Restaurant is very good, surprisingly so. Sitting down for a meal in this pretty, low lit, crystal chandeliered, art-on-walls place is a joy and truly a port in a storm.
Once upon a time, this was the more rustic, “family friendly” brother of the upscale Hotel Hershey. But most of the 665 rooms and suites at the Lodge have been refreshed to luxury standards, and the lobby sports a large and impressive four-sided stone fireplace around which HersheyPark-weary parents take a much-needed load off.
Of course, as a Hershey Co. property, you get a full-sized Hershey’s Chocolate Bar at check-in, and can choose between five, count ‘em, five restaurants – casual to fine – within its walls.
The Red Fox Inn is one of the oldest and finest inns in the country – established in 1728 – so it’s not difficult to imagine Elizabeth Taylor or Jackie Kennedy staying here during fox-hunting seasons of yore.
While the restaurant and several rooms are located right on Main Street, most guest rooms are scattered in cottages a block from the busy intersection – where you can stay quietly in lap-of-horse-country luxury. For dinner, picture a whitewashed fieldstone-walled hunt club with fireplace, wood tables, low ceiling.
And then add excellent food. Within a warren of rooms, the Tavern, shade-lamp votives aglow, features Southern cuisine with local produce. In the morning a full made-to-order breakfast, served in the Tavern, comes complementary with the room.
With just nine luxury rooms, this inn provides guests with a stay in American History. While a student at UVA, Ryan Hubbard walked by this Federal style red brick townhouse – constructed in 1822 by Thomas Jefferson’s builder – nearly ever day.
In 2003 he bought the building, in 2016, he completely renovated the rooms to luxury standards, and in 2017 opened an on-site restaurant, Farm Bell Kitchen, which is fast becoming a Charlottesville hot spot, especially for brunch. Please note – “Supper” is served only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for now
Mason and Rook
Mason and Rook can be found on a quiet side street – steps from DC’s zesty food and entertainment 14thStreet District – with a nondescript apartment-like exterior that belies panache within.
On a residential street, the unassuming Mason and Rook has a quirky, trendy sense of style, lots of art, eager and cheerful staff, and complimentary wine and nibbles from 5-6pm.
In-house (and destination) restaurant, Radiator, serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner inside and, weather permitting, in a backyard garden patio.