Winter weekend getaways not far from NYC
After everything we've been through this month, summer vacation is already a distant memory -- so it's time to start planning your winter break. A weeklong jaunt to the Caribbean might deplete your vacation days and bank account, but that doesn't mean you can't get away for a weekend of restorative fun and relaxation. The following cozy inns, lodges and spa hotels offer warming breakfasts, in-room fireplaces and off-season deals, all within driving distance of Long Island.
For outdoors and sports enthusiasts
LAKE PLACID LODGE, LAKE PLACE, NY
This rustic but luxurious resort on the lake offers guest rooms and stand-alone cottages with handcrafted Adirondack-style furniture and wood-burning fireplaces. In snowy months, there is cross-country skiing, ice skating and snow shoeing on the grounds. In the evening, enjoy bonfires in the snow with hot chocolate and s'mores. At the nearby Olympic Skating Oval you can pretend you are Eric Heiden for an afternoon, or ride the Olympic bobsled track with a professional driver and brakeman.
Two restaurants at the lodge, the elegant Artisans and the more casual Maggie's Pub, offer lunch and dinner. The Lake Placid Lodge is not cheap (rates range from $350 for a room with a king-size bed to $1,900 for a two-bedroom cottage), but amenities -- from in-room massages to cooking classes -- are impressive, and breakfast is included. The "Ski and Snuggle" package includes a two-night stay in a cabin or suite with a late departure, and two lift tickets to Whiteface Mountain.
INFO Five hours from Manhattan; 518-523-2700, lakeplacidlodge.com
History with a glass of wine
AURORA INN AND E.B. MORGAN HOUSE, AURORA, NY
These historic sister inns on the shores of Lake Cayuga in the Finger Lakes region have been restored to gleaming perfection. Rooms, most with gas fireplaces, are furnished with lustrous antiques, Oriental rugs and exquisite wallpapers. Winter rates are considerably lower than in summer, with luxuriously appointed rooms going for $175 to $300 a night. The Inn's restaurant, warmed in the winter by a blazing wood fire, serves dishes made with regional products and pairs them with Finger Lakes wines.
Stop in at tasting rooms along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, and you can buy local bottles to bring home. While you're out and about, take some time to explore the village of Aurora, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Or visit the historic home for aged and indigent African-Americans established and run by Harriet Tubman after the Civil War.
Other places of interest include nearby Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the women's rights movement and, coincidentally, the inspiration for the town in "It's a Wonderful Life." Promotions include a sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas for rooms in January, February and March; sign up on the Inn's website to receive emails. A "Procrastinator's Special" rewards last-minute travelers with 10 percent off when they reserve a room on the same day as their arrival.
INFO Four hours from Manhattan; 315-364-8888, innsofaurora.com
Art lovers' getaway
THE PORCHES, NORTH ADAMS, MASS.
If you love the Berkshires, contemporary art and rooms with "retro-edgy, industrial granny chic ambience," then The Porches is for you. Sit in a rocking chair on the porch that overlooks MASS MoCA, the vast converted factory complex in North Adams that houses a stimulating program of avant-garde exhibits and performances. Enjoy drinks in front of the lobby bar fireplace or next to the outdoor fire pit. Even when there's snow on the ground, you can swim in the year-round outdoor heated pool, open 24 hours a day. With a nod to North Adams' industrial past, complimentary breakfast is delivered to your room in a workman's tin lunchbox. For lunch or dinner, ask your innkeeper to reserve a table at the trendy Gramercy Bistro, on the grounds of the museum.
When you've tired of culture (the Clark Art Institute and the celebrated Williams College Museum also are nearby), enjoy winter hiking in the Berkshire Hills. Suites with fireplaces are reasonably priced, from $230 to $295, during the winter. The Inn's MASS MoCA package provides two admissions to MASS MoCA, dinner at either Gramercy Bistro or Mezze in Williamstown, plus overnight accommodations and breakfast, for $250 to $305.
INFO Three-and-a-half hours from Manhattan; 413-664-0400, porches.com
THE EMERSON, MT. TREMPER, NY
The Emerson, Mt. Tremper, N.Y.
If your idea of winter fun includes a yoga class, a hot stone massage and a hand-rejuvenating manicure, then consider The Emerson, a Catskills spa resort featuring a family-friendly lodge as well as guest rooms at an adults-only inn. The award-winning spa offers dozens of treatments that can be purchased in packages for significant savings. All rooms at the inn, and some at the lodge, have gas fireplaces. Three restaurants provide dining options (along with funky eateries in nearby Woodstock).
For outdoor adventure, there is skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing down the road at Belleayre Mountain. For hippies young and old, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, built on the site of the original Woodstock concert, has an interactive exhibit that tells the story of the 1960s and Woodstock. Weekday room rates are as low as $159 at the lodge, and $199 at the inn. Check the website for ski packages coming in December.
INFO Two-and-a-half hours from Manhattan; 877-688-2828, emersonresort.com
Inn on the farm
BUTTERMILK FALLS INN, MILTON, NY
Just a short drive from the city, the Buttermilk Falls Inn sits on the banks of the Hudson River, surrounded by nature trails that lead to the property's namesake waterfall. The main building, constructed in 1764, contains 10 guest rooms with fireplaces and views of the Hudson or the Inn's gardens. Four free-standing cottages and a renovated barn with seven suites round out the accommodations.
The Inn operates a 10-acre working farm, which guests are free to stroll, and a livestock barn housing heritage breed chickens, angora goats, llamas and alpacas. The farm's organic herbs, vegetables, fruits and eggs are featured at breakfast and afternoon tea, and in dishes at the Inn's restaurant, Henry's Farm to Table. The property also is home to the Buttermilk Spa, offering an extensive menu of spa services as well as an indoor pool, sauna and steam room. The Spark & Spa Package, starting at $295 for one night, $565 for two nights, includes a bottle of wine to sip in front of the fire, a $25-a-person spa credit and complimentary dessert at Henry's.
INFO 90 minutes from Manhattan; 845-795-1310, buttermilkfallsinn.com/theinn