Ahhh, finally, it's Autumn! The summer heat is gone, and the constant search for shade is over. The air is fresher, crisper, clearer, and filled with soft autumn breezes and the promise of upcoming holidays and (hopefully!) warm family gatherings to celebrate them again. And the steamy green landscapes of summer are slowly giving way to the glorious colors and softer textures of Autumn. This is a very special time of year in America. And there are many wonderful places in which to luxuriate in an Autumn escape...
#5 - BLUE BANK RESORT, REELFOOT LAKE, TENNESSEE - Any place situated on a lake named Reelfoot and in a town called Hornbeak is bound to have a rural charm...and Blue Bank Resort has that in abundance. This 125-year-old rustic getaway is a true hunting and fishing resort," with expert guides to take you into the woods or onto the water. And a true autumn escape, as well, for those who just want to luxuriate in a place abundant in peace, quiet, charm, natural beauty, and 750 feet of lakeside footage. Reelfoot lake is 18,000 acres of incredibly diverse ecosystems full of cypress trees, over 200 species of birds and many beautiful aquatic plants. The lake is swimming with fish, the woods are filled with deer and duck, and you'll hear the autumn leaves crackling under your feet as you explore. And the resort provides all the equipment you'll need. The accommodations are homey and comfortable. There's a pool, hot tub and marina. The main lodge has the Fishhouse Grill with Southern specialties and good wines. And nearby is one of Tennessee's most fun family places, Discovery Park of America, with attractions from dinosaur bones to an authentic frontier village.
#4 - BUFFALO BILL VILLAGE, CODY, WYOMING - William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a true American icon...a soldier, a bison hunter, and the world's greatest showman of his time (perhaps of any time). And you can't stroll anywhere in the town named after him without seeing evidence of his enormous legacy in the town, and on the West. The cabins at Buffalo Bill Village are right in town, within walking distance of attractions, museums, and restaurants, and within easy driving distance (about 95 miles) of Yellowstone National Park and the magnificent Grand Teton Range (a few hours). You can walk to local attractions such as Cody Dug Up Gun Museum, the prestigious Buffalo Bill Center of the West (with five museums and a research library), and the ridin', ropin', steer-rasslin'and buckin' broncs at the Cody Rodeo. Construction on the 114 original Buffalo Bill Cabins began during the Depression. Today there are 83 cabins, all of which have been renovated with modern comforts like HDTVs, Wi-Fi and pillowtop beds, while maintaining their authentic frontier feel. And the town of Cody, with its Old West red- and brown-brick buildings, looks much as it did when Buffalo Bill was taking his Wild West Show all over the world.
#3 - EDGEWATER RESORT, EPHRAIM, WISCONSIN - Door County is a peninsula sticking out into Lake Michigan. Here, time really does seem like it's stood still for a while. The lake shoreline is splattered with picturesque fishing villages with white wooden shops and homes, and you'll pass huge green pastures with red barns and grazing cows and horses. And Door County still has one-of-a-kind resorts like Edgewater Resort, where natural beauty, gracious accommodations, and old-time service still reign supreme in a resort overlooking Eagle Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan. There are waterfront suites with hot tubs and there are cozy cottages, all in a spectacular setting, along with a variety of other interesting guest rooms. Many units have fireplaces and kitchens. In this evocative setting, time moves more slowly, and the small-town pleasures seem to be enhanced. The town - like pretty much all towns in Door County - is made for strolling, and you'll visit all types of specialty stores and restaurants and gift shops that you thought had disappeared years ago. To get the true essence of this special resort in this special place, join the nightly gatherings at the pool, overlooking Lake Michigan, for some of America's most stunning sunsets.
#2 - AIRSTREAM TRAILERS, LAKE BASTROP NORTH SHORE PARK, AUSTIN, TEXAS - A company called LCRA Parks has come up with one of the coolest hotels in America - five luxurious, 1950's-era Airstream Trailers, sitting astride scenic Lake Bastrop. In addition to being very cool trailers, they're fitted out with everything the family needs on vacation. And if location is everything...they've got it. Each of the 25-foot Flying Cloud Airstreams is facing the lake, and each has its own spacious concrete terrace equipped with Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, and an outdoor gas grill with granite countertops. Inside, each of LCRA Park's sleek, stainless Airstream campers has dual A/C units to keep guests cool on even the hottest Texas days, as well as heat for the cooler nights. Each has one queen bed and two twins, sleeping up to four guests. Other Airstream amenities include a private restroom with shower, linens, towels, two TVs, DVD player, fridge, microwave, stovetop, cookware, dinnerware, and a Keurig coffee maker. Lake Bastrop North Shore Park is 182 acres, with amenities including tent and RV camping, hiking, mountain-biking, picnicking, fishing, barbecuing, kayaking, watercraft rentals, snacks, fishing, kayaking/boating, hiking, biking, volleyball, and mini-golf
#1 - MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE, NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK - When the Smiley family decided to build a one-of-a-kind resort in the Hudson River Valley in 1869, they didn't fool around. They built a true Victorian castle - complete with towers and spires and turrets - on the cliffs overlooking iridescent-blue Lake Mohonk. Located 90 miles north of New York City, Mohonk Mountain House is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pure outdoor playground. The Dining Room offers stunning views of the Catskill Mountains and stunning variety in the farm-to-table local specialties, and there are two more restaurants, a lounge, and the Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain. Many visitors enjoy a sunset cocktail on the aptly-named Sunset Porch. And wellness isn't a new trend here; the Hudson Valley Spa & Wellness Getaway has been here since the resort opened. There's tennis, horseback riding, history tours, an indoor pool, golf, boating and rowing, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, paddle-boarding, hiking and climbing and biking in the summer, and ice-skating and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and tubing in winter. And no matter if you're there in warm weather or cold, there's a silent and grand majesty in this dream-like castle - listed on the National Register of Historic Places - atop sheer rock cliffs.
These are my own Top 5 places for an Autumn escape. We'd love to hear about yours...write us and let us know!