Ahhh...It's Autumn! And after another scorching summer, who isn't ready for the cooler weather? Sweater weather! Pumpkins on porches! Children leading Moms and Dads to Halloween-costume stores. The sweet smell of Autumn leaves, and the subtle sounds as they hit the ground. Aromas from the kitchen of Autumn specialties like pumpkin pie. Hikes though forests bursting with brilliant fall colors everywhere you turn. And football. It's Autumn!
And here are five wonderful inns at which to celebrate the season:
#5 - THE CALDWELL HOUSE BED AND BREAKFAST, SALISBURY MILLS, NEW YORK - The Hudson Valley, in upstate New York, takes on a warm, intimate glow in Autumn...and few places glow as brightly as The Caldwell House. This land was first settled by an Irish immigrant family in 1802, who built their home and then set up a store, a sawmill, and a leather-tanning business on it. And several of their original buildings are now part of the B&B. There are fireplaces in the dining room and parlors along with several of the bedrooms, quilted bedspreads, 24/7 complimentary drinks and snacks, and a gourmet three-course breakfast. This time of year, the hiking through virgin forests and waterfalls is breathtaking...and so are the wine, beer, and distillery trails, including Brotherhood Winery, America's oldest. This award-winning B&B is close to historic landmarks such as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Franklin D. Roosevelt home at Hyde Park, and the Vanderbilt Mansion, as well as the dramatic views of the fall foliage along the majestic Hudson River. The stunning beauty of the region produced America's first wave of great landscape painters is area produces America's first famous landscape painters (called "the Hudson River School"), along with legendary literary characters such as Rip Van Winkle...who is said to still be wandering these mountains with his dog Wolf to escape his wife's nagging!
#4 - THE GATHERING GUESTHOUSES, FREDERICKSBURG, TEXAS - Fredericksburg, in the beautiful Texas Hill country, was settled by early German emigrants in the mid-1800's, and constructed in the style of a Bavarian village. The Gathering Guesthouses includes The Barn, The Pumphouse, The Cottage, The Hideaway and The Farmhouse, a craftsman-style building constructed by descendants of the original owners in 1933. The property is now a small compound of eleven very private guest houses, retaining the architectural and style-elements of the early days but incorporating all the modern conveniences. The furniture and interior accents are authentic and hand-crafted, and no two units are the same. Every unit has its own outdoor space, and there are comfortable couches scattered amongst the buildings, and tables/chairs at which to gather. There's a pool and even a waterfall. And behind the pool there's a pasture in which to contemplate the changing of the seasons in the Hill Country. Here, you can wander around a serene property where the only footsteps you'll hear will be your own. The Gathering Guesthouses is a place to take a deep breath, let the tenseness flow out of your body (and mind), and take in the sights, sounds - and aromas - of a tiny town that still reflects its colorful German heritage.
#3 - BAILEYS HARBOR SCHOOLHOUSE INN, DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN - What better place to welcome in the Autumn season than in a rural county filled with red barn-silos and grazing cows and horses and pastoral little villages that haven't changed much over the decades! And "Schoolhouse Inn" means something here...this actually was a schoolhouse, built in 1917 to house first through eighth grades, and now a wonderful, seven-suite country inn. Door County is actually a very scenic peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan. This inn is just as scenic, and your hosts are a fifth-generation Door County family who have an authentic piece of Americana on their hands. The school closed down in 1983, and was later used as town offices, and then retail shops. It became a seven-room inn in 2003. Baileys Harbor is a great walking village, and the inn is only blocks from Lake Michigan, and from interesting shops and atmospheric restaurants. And the rooms are bright and airy with light-colored walls, li9ght-colored wooden furniture, and Midwestern crafts and decorative items. And right outside the inn are some of the friendliest people and local merchants you'll ever meet, in a scenic old-time village where time stopped - happily! - several decades ago.
#2 - BOTTGER MANSION OF OLD TOWN, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - This is an historic B&B in the Old Town section of Albuquerque, site of the original Spanish settlement in 1706. Today Old Town is filled with atmospheric old restaurants and interesting shops, and even a rattlesnake museum. Bottger Mansion is a seven-room inn with beautifully-colored walls, antique wooden furniture, bedding with brass headboards, and antique fixtures such as sinks standing on porcelain columns. A few cats have apparently adopted the grounds as their own (they're not in guest areas!); one of them, Socks, actually has her own Facebook page! Breakfasts here are spectacular, with specialties such as Blueberry French Toast Casserole or green Chile Quiche. You can eat it at a small table for two or a larger table with other guests. And if the weather cooperates, you can eat it outside in the courtyard. The inn takes its name from Charles Bottger and his wife, who built the mansion in 1912. Here, in Old Town, you're within walking distance of the oldest church in New Mexico, and of the Plaza, where Native American craftspeople lay out their art on weekends. Over the years, the Bottger Mansion has had some interesting guests. In the 1940's, Machine Gun Kelly and his gang checked out just a few minutes before the police arrived. In 1956, Elvis Presley performed two shows in Albuquerque, and stayed at the Bottger. And in the late-50's, Frank Sinatra performed at a wedding in the courtyard.
And now, my pick for the Top Autumn Inn in America for 2019:
#1 - SILVER FORK LODGE & RESTAURANT, BRIGHTON, UTAH - About 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, in the middle of a canyon surrounded by 10,000-12,000-foot peaks, sits the village of Brighton. It's not really a village, actually, with two ski resorts (Solitude and Brighton, each of which gets over 500 inches of snow!) and one of America's great inns. Silver Fork Lodge is a Utah landmark...an authentic Western lodge where the furniture and design accents and blankets and wall hangings and Native ceremonial items and carvings and even a stool in the bar - which is a real saddle! - are really from the Old West. This is a homey, cozy place with drop-dead views and the freshest air you've ever inhaled...and you'll be inhaling it a lot, because the surrounding scenery will literally take your breath away. There's a living/sitting room downstairs, and an authentically-furnished TV/movie room, and a nice bar. The floors and staircases and hallways and guest rooms here are real wood, not laminate, and the green hallways are lined with Western art and artifacts. In addition to the two ski resorts, which have - naturally - plenty of trails and eateries, Silver Fork Lodge is close to the authentic Western town of Park City (site of the 2002 Winter Olympics), filled with interesting shops and galleries and funky eateries, and technicolor wooden buildings in Old West style sitting on impossibly-steep hillsides. And the drive there from Silver Fork Lodge is one of the most dramatic in America. The Silver Fork Restaurant is one of the most award-winning in the West. This woodsy indoor room is always bustling with diners who often drive an hour or two just to experience a meal here (especially on Thanksgiving!). There's also an outdoor dining deck overlooking forest and canyon. Silver Fork Lodge & Restaurant is one of a kind!
There you have it ... my picks for the Top 5 Autumn Inns In America. What are your picks...we'd love to hear them!