Glasbern sits far from any town, in the midst of farmland in Lehigh Valley PA. That’s apropos for this Historic Hotel of America property, as what is now the Glasbern Inn was once a hill-set farm itself.
My, my, have things changed. Renovated and gussied up, Glasbern has been deemed the “Best Romantic Escape” by Philadelphia Magazine, and has won too many accolades to count.
This is all thanks to Al and Beth Granger, who purchased the derelict 16-acre farm in 1985, after it had been abandoned for 13 years. There was obviously a lot to do to bring it up to luxury standards as an operating inn. But, clearly, nearly 40 years on, the Grangers have nailed, and continue to, nail it.
Over the years, the couple renovated old barns, a farmhouse, a carriage house, and out buildings: kiting rooms out with Jacuzzi tubs, double showers, and fireplaces. They added a pool, ponds, spa, and fitness center – a landscape enhanced by views of the surrounding mountains.
These days, Glasbern (Old English for Glass Barn) is a coveted wedding venue, and has expanded to 150 acres of ponds, rock gardens, event buildings, and a 3,200 sq ft. glass enclosed addition to the original barn: an actual Glass Barn, if you will.
First Impressions of Glasbern
I pulled into Glasbern’s driveway after cruising miles on rural country roads: passing tidy farm structures on my way uphill to the main building – the former barn.
At first, I was confused. A door to the glass-enclosed venue (one of the coolest event rooms I’ve ever seen, overlooking a boulder-strewn hill and pond) was right by a “5-minute parking” space.
I found the actual hotel entrance a few steps beyond. Behind that door is another glorious, soaring space encompassing what serves as both the inn’s reception, and restaurant maitre ‘d desk.
Although the wooden beams are original to the barn, most impressive are the rustic 3-story walls of stacked slate. Part of the 1985 renovation, they must have taken months (and a lot of patience) to complete.
Check in is friendly and patient, as well. Unless you’re staying in one of two standard rooms in the barn, you’ll be handed a map of the property, and told where to drive and park. From most buildings, the restaurant/check-in is a short walk uphill. But, you may want to take the car to the fitness room or spa at the very top of the hill.
Rooms at Glasbern
All rooms and suites, in buildings throughout the property, are sized differently and individually decorated. They tend to be what I’d consider “rustic-luxe” with brick walls or columns, burnished wood floors, oriental rugs, flat-screen TV’s, and plenty of electric outlets.
My room, #20 in the former Farm House, is basically a humungous Jacuzzi and double-shower bathroom furnished with King bed and double-sided gas fireplace.
The commode was private, but both the two-person multi-jet rain shower in one corner, and jetted tub in the other indicated that this uber-romantic space was designed less for families and more for frisky business. Just be aware! And then, be delighted!
You can stay in bed, or in the Jacuzzi – fireplace aglow, as long as you’d like. Or, sit on a rocking chair on the front porch, taking in the beauty of a rural sunset. Or wander the property, checking out other buildings that house a total of 37 rooms.
I’ve eaten around the world, in top restaurants, and I must say that my meal at Glasbern counted among the best I’ve ever had. Like the room itself, which was cozied up by a burning fireplace, but not trendy or designed to the nines, my dish was simply prepared, a perfect portion, and phenomenal.
An early spring Rigatoni dish, the pasta, bathed in olive oil and plenty of garlic, mingled with sundried tomatoes, sautéed spinach, and broccolini. The emphasis was on the veggies – and, thankfully for me, the garlic. So I, didn’t feel as if I were loading up on carbs. It’s a dish I wish I could replicate at home. But I will assuredly order it again when I return.
I polled other diners, who had ordered other items on the menu. Their reports were just as glowing. In the morning, guests are treated to a cooked to order hot breakfast, included in the room rate. The ingredients seem just-picked from nearby farms. This morning meal will surely fill you up till dinner.
Just the Facts
Standard rooms from $169, suites from $265 include parking, free wi-fi, hot, cooked to order breakfast for two.
Looking for more lovey-dovey getaway ideas in Pennsylvania? Check out these 25 Incredibly Romantic Hotels in PA!