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Hit the Road: 18 Nearby Getaways

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Hit the Road: 18 Nearby Getaways

 

Summer destinations from seaside chic to country charm.

 

Expedient & Elegant Escapes.

 

Here are 18 weekend destinations that transport your soul (but not your body) far, far away.

 

Now that the warm weather is here, every week offers a new vacation option. Whether you want a restorative, romantic, or active adventure, all you need is a set of wheels (a convertible would be nice), and perhaps a traveling companion, to escape the everyday. Don¡¯t be afraid of the distances. A few hours of scenic driving can put you in a different state of mind¡ªas well as a different state. And you won¡¯t have to hire a house-sitter, stop your mail, or even empty the fridge to get far, far away. Rose Ciccone, associate editor of the BedandBreakfast.com Report, an online newsletter offering a comprehensive B&B directory, database, and reservation network, and a contributing editor to the guidebook series, America¡¯s Favorite Inns, B&Bs and Small Hotels (St. Martin¡¯s Press), chose ten of her favorite destinations for you and your loved ones to enjoy. And our in-house avid travelers, Features Editors Nancy L. Claus and Laurie Yarnell, weighed in with eight more getaways. So put the top down and let¡¯s go!

 

[Pennsylvania]

 

THE INN AT BOWMAN¡¯S HILL

New Hope, PA

 

The Inn at Bowman¡¯s Hill is one of those places you¡¯ll want to return to again and again, not only to enjoy the inn¡¯s charm, elegance, and hospitality, but also to experience it during the different seasons. After announcing ourselves at the inn¡¯s black wrought-iron gate, my husband, Frank, and I followed the driveway down to the beautiful stone English-style manor house. The grounds of the one-year-old inn are lovely with lanterns lining the driveway and flower baskets overflowing with blooms. Adjacent to the main house is a carriage house fronted by a walled English courtyard. Innkeeper Michael Amery, who hails from the U.K., designed and laid every stone in this courtyard himself.  Wall planters, lanterns, and benches surround the center fountain that, he says, is a nod to his wife Lynne¡¯s Italian ancestry. (Lynne was recently awarded the Spirit of Hospitality Innkeeper of the Year award for 2006 by the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association.) The conservatory abounds with orchids, bougainvillea, and other tropical plants that can be enjoyed along with the cascading waterfall.

The formal terrace at the rear of this beautifully landscaped property overlooks the pool as well as the pond and a lovely gazebo. In season, breakfast is served outdoors or under an arbor on the vine terrace. When the weather cools, breakfast is served in a cozy, wood-paneled, pub-like room with a massive stone fireplace and tables for two. Mike¡¯s heritage is reflected in his offering of a traditional English breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, saut¨¦ed potatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, fried bread, and fried tomatoes). If you prefer something lighter, fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereals are set out with the fresh brewed coffee and hot tea service.

Each luxurious guest suite is uniquely decorated with family pieces, artwork, and period reproductions, complemented by flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and Bose CD/radios. King featherbeds, down pillows, luxurious bedding, gas fireplaces, and individually controlled thermostats add to the comfort of the rooms.  The upholstered custom-made headboards are stunning.  The exquisite Italian-tiled bathrooms, featured in every guest room, have oversized whirlpool tubs, comfy bathrobes, thick towels, heated towel racks, and an assortment of toiletries.

Frank and I stayed in the Pond Vista Guest Room in the Carriage House, which has a common area on the second floor with a fireplace, ample seating, and a chest filled with board games. A typically thoughtful touch is the sideboard, holding individual tea trays you can take to your room.  Set for two, each tray has a hotpot, an assortment of teas, individual coffee bags, and sweeteners. A small refrigerator holds bottled water, cheese, and creamer.  

This is a charming retreat for a getaway¡ªeither a weeklong or a weekend-short. The artsy and charming New Hope and Lambertville areas offer much to do. Shop at the boutiques and antique stores and visit the galleries; in season, the Bucks County Playhouse has wonderful theatre events. Peddler¡¯s Village, a shopping and entertainment complex housed in a charming, 18th-century-style country village, is a short ride from town in nearby Lahaska, Bucks County. Take a walk or bike the towpath along the canal and work up an appetite. 

One great thing about staying at fine B&Bs: you can always count on the innkeepers to give you excellent dining recommendations. Mike and Lynne suggested Marsha Brown¡¯s Creole Kitchen on

Main Street

in New Hope. We were not disappointed. Note, however, that parking in town can be tough, with meters active until very late in the evening, year round. Bring lots of quarters!

¡ö The Inn at Bowman¡¯s Hill, 518 Lurgan Rd., New Hope, PA; (215) 862-8090; $295-$455; 6 rooms (including two suites); www.theinnatbowmanshill.com.

 

Glasbern Country Inn

Fogelsville, PA

 

Located near Allentown, an old steel-mining town made famous by the Billy Joel song, Glasbern, a 35-room inn, is perfect for relaxing and unwinding, enjoying fine dining and luxury lodgings. The inn comprises several buildings, including the original 19th-century post-and-beam barn, a farmhouse, and out-buildings, which were renovated by owner Al Granger after he acquired the farm property in 1985. In recent years, several other Pennsylvania barns were moved to the property, where they were reconstructed and now provide a variety of accommodations.

Each of the buildings is distinct. The Carriage House, Farmhouse, Gate House, Pack House, and Stables all have suites, some bi-level. The Garden Cottage is private with a spacious living room and high ceilings. The Barn, which has large standard rooms on the first floor and rooms with whirlpools or patios on the lower level, is where the Glasbern¡¯s charmingly rustic restaurant is located.

We stayed in the bi-level Farmhouse suite which features a living room on the first floor, complete with a wood-burning fireplace and a large whirlpool tub for two (robes and oversized towels are provided). The adjacent sitting room has a wet bar and a TV/DVD.
The slate floors are heated, a nice amenity come wintertime. Beautiful French doors open to a lovely private patio with wrought-iron tables and chairs from where you can look out onto a vast expanse of green. The bedroom and bath are up a short staircase; and just in case you and your partner can¡¯t agree on what to watch, there¡¯s a second television in the bedroom.

But I¡¯d strongly suggest leaving the set off. Instead, take advantage of the beauty that¡¯s right outside your door. In the winter, the assortment of evergreens is stunning. Weeping hemlocks and large holly bushes bright with berries stand out against the background of snow. In spring and summer, you can enjoy the perennial gardens and the inn’s organic vegetable garden. (The veggies grown there come freshly picked onto your breakfast and dinner plates, and the pasture-raised meat comes from the farm.) In addition to an outdoor pool and hiking trails, an on-site fitness center is available.

If you have the urge to do more than just relax, not to worry. A thirty-minute drive will take you to the outlet capital of Reading. Or, if you¡¯d rather be taken back in time, consider a day trip to the Lancaster area to experience the Amish and Mennonite cultures. Or, if you¡¯re up for an adventure, go for a hot-air balloon ride or hunt for antiques.

And, come evening, make sure to bring back a hearty appetite. The restaurant, with its glorious 28-foot-tall cathedral ceiling and exposed beams, has a wonderfully intimate feel. At dinner, the room appears to be lit by just the glow from candles on the table and, in winter, from the fireplace. On every table, flower arrangements and pewter plates are set. The contemporary American menu is outstanding, and the wine list is exceptional. The restaurant is open seven nights, but on Saturday evenings a prix-fixe menu only is served ($55 per person).

In the morning, a hearty farm breakfast is served. Come hungry. Start with the continental buffet that includes juice, fresh fruit, sweet home-baked breads, cereals, and yogurt. Your choice from the featured hot entr¨¦es of Belgian waffles, eggs, or  omelets, is brought to your table.    

¡ö  Glasbern Country inn, 2141 Pack House Rd., Fogelsville, PA; (610) 285-4723; $130-$450; 35 rooms; www.glasbern.com.

 

[New Jersey]

 

SEA CREST BY THE SEA

Spring Lake, NJ

 

Sea Crest by the Sea is a charming Victorian inn at the Jersey shore that has always made it to the top of my ¡°Best Porch¡± list, for good reason. The wrap-around porch offers comfortable seating in a quiet neighborhood and is so close to the water that you can smell the ocean from it. And the inn is only a half-block from one of New Jersey¡¯s finest beaches (Spring Lake is four towns¡ªand just four miles¡ªsouth of Asbury Park).

Since taking ownership several years ago, owners Barbara and Fred Vogel have enhanced Sea Crest by reducing the number of guest rooms in order to make the accommodations more spacious and luxurious. Today, each of the eight guest rooms has a large bath, a whirlpool for two, and a fireplace. Decks and steam showers were also added to some suites.  All have comfortable bedding, either Swedish DUX beds or featherbeds that you can just sink into. The luxurious bed linens are by Frette. My husband and I  enjoyed the ocean views from the deck of our room, the Captain¡¯s Quarters. 

 All of the rooms have TVs and  VCRs, some have DVD players, plus refrigerators stocked with an assortment of beverages, including spring water and a chilled bottle of wine.  Luxurious robes and slippers are provided; towels are large and fluffy, and an array of fine amenities await in the bathroom. And for good measure, each room beckons with a box of Godiva chocolates. Can you say, ¡°Pampered?¡± I found the information book in the room to be delightful¡ªa warm welcome with restaurant reviews and recommendations based on visits by the innkeepers and their staff, information on where to find bicycles, beach towels, etc., as well as information on area attractions.  Barbara and Fred even included photos of their staff with short bios and stories about each employee.

Tea is served every afternoon beginning at 4 with a wide assortment of homemade desserts prepared by the inn¡¯s chef. Cheese, crackers, and fresh fruit are offered along with yummy cakes and pastries. Afternoon tea at inns is not to be missed; in addition to all the treats offered, teatime is usually the most social time of the day. We had a very convivial group of visitors from several states¡ªwe wished we¡¯d been staying longer so we could have gotten to know them better. Early morning coffee is available at 7:30; my advice is to take a cup out on to the porch and enjoy the ocean breeze, weather permitting. Breakfast is buffet style with several hot dishes (our favorites: Belgian waffles, English bangers, and a delicious potato casserole), fresh-baked scones, specialty breads, fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereals, along with juice, coffee, and tea.

Spring Lake is a charming seaside town with a two-mile long boardwalk¡ªall commercial free!¡ªoverlooking a pristine beach. Borrow a bike from the inn or walk and explore the town. The architecture is beautiful, and you may run into a celebrity or two: Mary Higgins Clark has her home here, as does, I¡¯m told, Katie Couric. Divine Park surrounds Spring Lake (the lake is actually spring-fed), and the path around affords lovely lake views.  Enjoy the variety of shops and galleries along

Third Avenue

.

When you are ready for dinner, you will find several wonderful restaurants in the area, from a casual waterside fish market to upscale dining at a beachfront caf¨¦. We chose to dine at a new favorite, the Black Trumpet, which, like many restaurants in the area, does not serve alcoholic beverages, but you are welcome to BYOB. We took along our bottle of wine from the inn; our dinner cost $125, including our tip. 

When you return from your evening¡¯s activities, you will find an assortment of cordials in the dining room, along with an evening treat. We enjoyed the hand-made pecan candy, fresh cookies, and biscotti in front of the fire in the parlor. In warmer weather, we¡¯d recommend that wonderful porch.  

¡ö  Sea Crest by the Sea, 19 Tuttle Ave., Spring Lake, NJ; (800) 803-9031; $310-$490; 8 rooms; www.seacrestbythesea.com.    

The FAIRTHORNE B&B

and COTTAGE

Cape May, NJ

 

In 1970, Cape May was designated a NATIONAL Historic District with 600 restored and preserved Victorian structures, many of which have been converted to bed and breakfasts. One of the loveliest is the Fairthorne, ideally located within walking distance of both the beach, the Washington Mall, and many restaurants.  

Built in 1892 by a whaling captain, the Colonial Revival home, with its leaded stained-glass windows, has been converted into a gracious inn, which houses to six guest rooms that are romantic and comfortable without being fussy. The wall coverings used throughout the inn are lovely, and the Victorian furnishings exquisite. The beautifully decorated and appointed rooms in the main building and adjacent cottage all have private baths, air conditioning, televisions, and VCRs; most rooms have gas or electric fireplaces. Our queen-size sleigh bed had a comfy mattress enhanced by beautiful linens. Bathrooms are light and airy; in addition to fluffy towels and hair dryers, luxurious bathrobes are provided. 

Early-rising guests can enjoy coffee at 6 am. A
candle-lit breakfast is served at two seatings¡ªthe first begins at 8:30¡ªin the dining room at a large communal table. The Fairthorne¡¯s signature breafast includes fruit, muffins, juice, coffee, tea and an entr¨¦e. The entr¨¦e of the day when we visited was perfectly prepared eggs Benedict. After breakfast, we poured ourselves another cup of coffee and enjoyed it on the expansive veranda while we planned our day. 

A trolley- or carriage-ride tour of town is a wonderful way to learn your way around ¡°the Cape,¡± as it is called by locals  Cape May. The tours originate from Washington Commons (corner of

Ocean Street

and the entrance to the Washington Mall) and are sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC).

Cape May¡¯s beach has been ranked one of the top ten in America. You can walk over to the 1859 Cape May lighthouse, not far from the inn, climb its 199 steps, and enjoy the panoramic view of the Jersey Cape, the southernmost tip of New Jersey, where the Delaware River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is located on the grounds of Cape May Point State. If you¡¯d rather save your energy for other sports¡ªsay dining¡ªyou can just enjoy the lighthouse from the beach and grounds of the park. 

About that other sport? You can begin it rather early, around 3:30, when afternoon tea is served. Do sample Diane¡¯s cheese spread and chocolate-chip cookies. What about dinner? Ask innkeepers Ed or Diane. They¡¯ll be happy to offer suggestions and provide menus from local restaurants. They¡¯ll also make the reservations.

¡ö  The Fairthorne, 111 Ocean St., Cape May, NJ, (609) 884-8791 or (800) 438-8742; $140-$280; 9 rooms; www.fairthorne.com.

 

[Connecticut]

 

Deacon Timothy Pratt Bed & Breakfast  

Old Saybrook, CT

 

When we first met Shelley Nobile, we were impressed
with this young woman who gave up a career as an electrical engineer to pursue her love of history, antiques, and decorating. She purchased the Deacon Timothy Pratt House, a historic (c. 1746) center-chimney Colonial home in 1995, and immediately began restoration. The many fine original details include wide-plank wood floors with hand-forged nails, exposed hand-hewn beams, wainscoting, and seven working fireplaces. When Shelley opened her B&B, it featured just three guest rooms, but she has since expanded it to seven, including three in the adjacent building, the James Soda Fountain & Gallery, originally part of the Pratt Tavern owned by Deacon Timothy¡¯s brother, which she restored and opened to guests in 2001.

This dynamic young woman has received accolades from local residents for both restoration projects. The soda fountain, with its original 1896 marble counter, operated late into the 20th century and was eventually turned into an art gallery. Shelley has kept the soda fountain and the art gallery intact, while renovating the rest of the building and adding guest accommodations. The soda fountain and art gallery are open all year long, as is the adjacent Beautiful Impressions rubber stamping gift shop.

Shelley¡¯s flair for design is evident in the guest rooms as well as in the common areas. Fresh flowers and dried arrangements are used throughout the house. The room colors, the hand stenciling, the wallpaper, and the fabrics enhance the period d¨¦cor. Guest rooms are tastefully furnished with romantic four-poster or canopy beds, fireplaces, and comfortable seating. All rooms have cable TV, wireless Internet, and phones with data ports and Jacuzzi. My favorite room is the Library with its deep red-accented walls, white woodwork, and a working fireplace original to the building.  

Beverages and cookies are available during the day, and sherry is set out in the dining room in the evening. You will find books and magazines in the parlor. During milder weather, take advantage of the expansive grounds with pretty
gardens, inviting sitting areas, hammocks, and a handsome two-
century-old maple tree with swing. 

Breakfast is served by candlelight in the elegant dining room. The glass doors of the original built-in corner cupboard expose the fine china and crystal used at breakfast. The inn¡¯s culinary trained chefs prepare breakfast and snacks. We enjoyed a wonderful assortment of baked goods that included muffins and rosemary focaccia bread served with homemade orange butter. We started with fresh fruit cups, and our entr¨¦es, cr¨ºpes topped with caramelized bananas, were delicious.   

The Deacon Timothy Pratt House and the James Soda Fountain & Gallery are located in the historic district of Old Saybrook, on gas-lit

Main Street

, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Old Saybrook is a small New England seacoast town bordered by both the Connecticut River and the Long Island Sound. The inn is only a mile from the beach, and a short drive will take you to area attractions that include Mystic Seaport, casinos (Foxwoods¡ªsee page 107¡ªand Mohegan Sun), and the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. Shelley has area maps and will assist in planning a scenic walking tour and coastal bicycle trips. She can also help with restaurant recommendations and reservations.

¡ö  The Deacon Timothy Pratt Bed & Breakfast, 325 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT, (860) 395-1229 or (800) 640-1195;  $120-$220; 7 rooms; www.pratthouse.net.   

 

[Vermont]

 

THE INN AT WESTON
Weston, VT

The Inn at Weston, located in the charming village of Weston (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), provides (1) a romantic setting, (2) lovely rooms, and (3) gourmet dining—a perfect recipe for a delicious Vermont getaway, thanks to innkeepers Bob and Linda Aldrich along with Scott Hendricks, who are wonderful hosts.

After checking in, my husband and I were pleased to partake in the afternoon tea set out in the well-stocked library. We were duly impressed by the expansive grounds with views of the West River and with Adirondack chairs conveniently available for relaxing. The inn is comfortably elegant from the common areas to the spacious guest rooms. Many of Bob Aldrich’s beautiful orchids find their way from the greenhouse to the inn. Fresh flowers and plants can be found just about everywhere. Be sure to ask for a tour of the greenhouse; it contains one of the largest (and most breathtaking) private orchid collections in the Northeast.

The inn is within walking distance of the famous Vermont Country Store, well-known for its Vermont-made products, and shops that feature Christmas collectibles and home furnishings. Nearby is the Weston Playhouse located on the village green, which, during the summer season, presents summer-stock theater. For a real treat, take the short drive to the famous Weston Priory, a Benedictine monastery, where the Brothers, touted for their beautiful music, welcome visitors.

We did just that and returned to the inn for dinner in the darling main dining room. Chef Michael Kennedy’s dishes are both innovative and delicious. We loved everything—the pesto flatbread with tomatoes, spinach, red peppers, and fresh mozzarella; the tender, luscious steak; and the sweet sea scallops. The award-winning wine list is excellent. Live piano music accompanied dinner, which made the experience even more romantic. The restaurant’s bar is cozy and has a separate pub menu for casual dining. But in the summer, I’d recommend the Gazebo, a perfect setting to enjoy a cocktail or a meal.

Accommodations are located in the Main Inn, the Coleman House, and the more expensive Carriage House. The rooms each offer a variety of amenities; some have whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and TV/VCRs. Our room, the Peabody in the Main Inn, was lovely with a private deck for warm weather and a fireplace for chilly nights.

Early risers can take wake-up mugs of coffee back to their rooms, while a multi-course breakfast with several entrée offerings is served in the dining room later each morning. Take my advice and don’t do without an order of the homemade blueberry pancakes.

The Inn at Weston, Scenic Rte. 100, Weston, VT; (802) 824-6789; $185-$385; 13 rooms; www.innweston.com.

THREE MOUNTAIN INN
Jamaica, VT

Retreat to southern Vermont and enjoy a stay at the Three Mountain Inn. Located in the quiet village of Jamaica, on scenic Route 30, this charming 1790s, 15-room country inn, run by Jennifer and Ed Dorta-Duque, is steeped in history.

Sit down to a full breakfast while planning your day. A short walk away is the entrance to Jamaica State Park, which has several walking trails including one that takes you to Hamilton Falls, a 125-foot cascade. The inn will pack a picnic lunch for you to take along and send you off with complimentary entry tickets and a trail guide to boot. During the summer months, take advantage of the inn’s swimming pool—either before you leave in the morning or after you return in the afternoon. If you decide to visit Three Mountain Inn in the winter, you can enjoy nearby Stratton Mountain, which skiers well know has excellent downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as Bromley, Mt. Snow, and Magic Mountain ski resorts. (The three mountains to which the inn’s name refers are, however, Ball, Turkey, and Shatterack Mountains.) Other area winter activities include snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and ice-skating.

The village of Jamaica boasts the wonderful Elaine Beckwith Gallery, with its assortment of graphics, etchings, and paintings, in addition to several unique stores such as Jennie Blue, featuring custom-made pottery, and Margie’s Muse Handweaving and Gallery, which offers hand-made scarves and sweaters. Nearby villages offer antique shops, museums, live theater, and concerts. Brattleboro, which is about a half-hour away, has numerous bookstores where you can locate those hard-to-find titles as well as first editions.

Have an urge to shop? A short drive will take you to the designer outlets and factory stores in Manchester where you will find everything from Baccarat crystal to the Giorgio Armani Company Store. Also in Manchester is Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln’s historic home, which is open to the public year round. In addition to tours, special events take place, including concerts, craft shows, and polo matches.

When my husband and I returned from the day’s activities, we relaxed by the fire in the keeping room and enjoyed afternoon refreshments, including assorted local cheeses.

The fully stocked pub is perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail or an after-dinner brandy in front of the fireplace—or, in the warmer months, in the keeping room. Candlelight dinners in the inn’s award-winning restaurant (it has received the coveted AAA Four Diamond Award and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence) feature Vermont grown- and raised-products. The prix-fixe menu includes five courses, and each is exquisitely prepared and presented, making for a memorable dining experience ($55 per person).

The beautifully decorated rooms and wonderful amenities spell romance. Whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, soft music playing on the CD, and comfy robes add to the ambience. All guest rooms feature luxurious linens and fabulous featherbeds. Another nice touch in each room is the complimentary amenities bag with soaps, lotion, shampoo, and lip balm—perfect for sun worshippers and skiers alike. Accommodations in the Sage Hill Cottage offered us every amenity—a spa tub for two, gas fireplace, TV/DVD/CD surround-sound stereo system, skylights, heated floors, and separate dual-head shower.

Three Mountain Inn, Rte. 30, Jamaica, VT; (802) 874-4140/(800) 532-9399; $145-$360; 5 rooms; www.threemountaininn.com.

[Massachusetts]

HIGH POINTE INN
West Barnstable, MA

My husband and I have enjoyed many vacations on Cape Cod, in all seasons. On our last trip we chose the High Pointe Inn, owned by Debbie and
Rich Howard, experienced innkeepers who clearly delight in pampering their guests.

The inn sits on a hilltop, conveniently located on the “quiet side” of the Cape, offering unobstructed views of woods, salt marshes, dunes, and the Cape Cod Bay. Short drives will bring you to some of the finest beaches on the East Coast. In addition to swimming in the bay, you can bike, kayak, fish, hike, or play golf. If you prefer less athletic activities, you can always visit the antique shops, galleries, and museums that line the Old Kings Highway, scenic Rte. 6A. The Cape Cod Playhouse, America’s oldest professional summer theater, is located a short drive away.

The three guest suites are large and comfortable with panoramic views from their picture windows. Our suite, Moonglow, was delightfully light and airy. The pencil-post bed with its luxury linens was extremely comfortable, as were the reclining wing chairs set in from a picture window. Binoculars are thoughtfully provided, and on a clear day you can see the Pilgrim’s Monument in Provincetown. All rooms have CD players and individual controls for heating and air-conditioning. The Sand Dollar suite has a wood-burning fireplace and lovely French doors that lead to the deck. Debbie Howard has a flair for decorating. Lots of thought went into the amenities provided too, which included—and this I appreciated a lot— sunscreen. Little touches leave lasting impressions.

Common areas are inviting. In cooler weather, enjoy the fireplace in the dining room while watching TV; in milder weather, move to the deck and savor the views. Sip a cordial in the living room while chatting with other guests; read the newspapers or browse through the literature and pamphlets about Cape Cod.

Coffee is available in the Great Room for early risers. A full breakfast is served at a communal table in the large, bright dining room, but when weather permits, it is served alfresco on the deck. We enjoyed migas, scrambled eggs with cheese, and chorizo sausage topped with salsa and sour cream served in a tortilla. The blueberry muffins were scrumptious. Debbie and Rich are a great team—she bakes and takes care of guests in the dining room while he enjoys creating in the kitchen. A nice surprise are the “avocado rollups” offered at the end of the meal: warm, moistened, scented washcloths. Yet another thoughtful touch.

The most appealing attributes of High Pointe, however, are Debbie and Rich, who live on-site and clearly enjoy what they are doing. Many guests from their former inn in New Hampshire have followed them to the Cape and, like us, continue to return.

High Pointe Inn, 70 High St. West Barnstable, MA;
(508) 362-4441 or (888) 362-4441, $125-$195; 3 rooms, www.the highpointeinn.com.
 

[New York]

Albergo Allegria
Windham, NY

Approximately two hours from downtown White Plains, the town of Windham, a scenic year-round resort town in the Catskill Mountains, makes for an appealing weekend getaway. It offers skiing on thirty-four trails in winter as well as fishing, boating, and swimming in summer. In spring and fall, you can take a hike or ride a bike and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Plus Windham and the surrounding area offer fine dining, historic sites, antique shops, and art galleries along with country stores, from which you can load up on local products.

At the end of a busy day, the perfect place to relax is the award-winning Albergo Allegria Bed and Breakfast. Italian for the “Inn of Happiness,” Albergo Allegria is family owned and lovingly cared for by owners Lenore and Vito Radelich and their daughter and son-in-law, innkeepers Marianna and Leslie Leman.

Originally part of a large vacation complex built in 1892, Albergo Allegria, a collection of Victorian buildings, was purchased by the Radelichs in 1982; the couple then painstakingly restored the neglected structures. They salvaged some of the original wood, moldings, and stained glass and, after moving one of the cottages, joined them to create what is now the inn.

Today, the bed and breakfast has fourteen guest rooms and seven suites. Five suites are located in the detached Carriage House that once was the stables. Each suite in the Carriage House has two entrances, one in front for easy access to the main house, and another in back leading to the gardens and the parking area. These suites all have king-size beds, marble-tile fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs for two. The larger Master and Millennium Suites in the main house also have fireplaces and spa-size whirlpool tubs. All guest rooms have private baths with both tub and shower. Bath amenities include luxurious robes, oversized fluffy towels, hair dryers, makeup mirrors, and toiletries. Rooms have a definite Victorian influence.

An extensive assortment of videos and CDs are available to guests. Prepare some popcorn and take it and a movie back to your room. The guest pantry is fully stocked with the largest assortment of teas—both loose and bagged—I have seen outside a teashop. The innkeepers provide a one-cup coffee brewer with a full assortment of regular and decaf coffees, including flavored and hearty French roasts, so fresh coffee is always available. In addition to the bottled water in your room, the refrigerator in the guest pantry is stocked with juices and soft drinks. Biscotti and cookies are also available.

Breakfast is served in the dining room at individual tables. Breakfast specials vary; during our visit, we were offered a zucchini frittata, banana-pecan pancakes, and ham-and-cheese omelets. We had a hard time deciding, so our server suggested trying a little bit of each. Nice! If for some reason you’re not into banana-pecan pancakes or zucchini frittata, you can always order eggs any style with hash browns and breakfast meats or a plain omelet with toast.

The large parlor on the first floor has comfortable seating and we enjoyed afternoon tea in front of the fireplace while looking through menus and reading guest reviews of area restaurants. While the inn is totally non-smoking, the thoughtful innkeepers have provided a screened-in gazebo for their guests who smoke.

There is much to do and see in this area of the Catskill Mountains and Albergo Allegria is an inviting and warm B&B whose innkeepers continue to strive to make your stay more enjoyable each time you visit.

Albergo Allegria, 43 Rte. 296, Windham, NY; (518) 734-5560; $73-$299; www.albergousa.com; 21 rooms.

[Maine]

YORK HARBOR INN
York, ME

Until five years ago when we discovered the York Harbor Inn, the towns of Kittery and York had been stops on our way north—for the outlet shopping, the lobster rolls at the Sun & Surf Restaurant on York Beach, and the great view of the Nubble Lighthouse.

The cabin room has a wonderful history: it was a home on the Isle of Shoals that was dismantled and brought to the mainland around 1637 and had adjacent historic buildings added and restored to become part of the inn. In addition to rooms in the main inn, Yorkshire House (c. 1783) has eleven delightful guest rooms, some with fireplaces and/or spa tubs; the adjacent Harbor Hill Inn has seven luxury guestrooms, all with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. You will also find bottles of spring water in your room and complimentary soft drinks; coffee and tea are always available in the lobby area. Harbor Cliffs, a stately home on the rise next to the inn, operates as an independent, elegantly furnished, seven-room bed and breakfast with a Continental breakfast served each morning either in the dining room or on the spacious front porch with its ocean views. Several rooms offer working fireplaces and/or spa tubs; some have private decks. The majority of the rooms in these buildings have ocean views. Newly opened is the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn, located on Route 1A about a half-mile from the main building, also on Route 1A. Exquisitely appointed rooms have spacious baths with two-person spa tubs and fireplaces. A two-room suite on the second floor has a balcony, and the two rooms on the third floor boast cathedral ceilings.

We had great views of both the ocean and the entry to York Harbor from our room in the Harbor Hill. The Great Room at the Harbor Hill Inn, with its large stone fireplace and cushy sofas, is a great spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the morning papers.

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