Despite the fact retailers have been selling Christmas lights for two months already, autumn has only just begun. And that means it's time to take in the crisp fall air and stunning scenery before the temps turn to freezing and that scenery gets all grey and gloomy. Do it right this year by scheduling a pilgrimage to proper fall foliage spot that's also home to a posh resort. Here, five properties where you can live it up in between leaf peeping.
1. Twin Farms — Barnard, Vermont
When you think of gorgeous fall colors, you think of New England, period. And the rambling resort Twin Farms, set on 300 acres in the middle of made-for-a-postcard Vermont, lets you enjoy the vibrant scenery from the lap of luxury. Go with a traditional fireplace room in the lodge or splurge on a two-level individual cottages with floor-to-ceiling windows and stone hot tub. You can take in the changing leaves while hiking, biking, canoeing, or even fly fishing right on the property, or take a countryside drive in one of the two BMW sedans it currently has on hand to loan out to guests. The hotel's spa features glass-brick steam rooms and Japanese soaking tubs with drool-worthy treatments like fireside massages and a honey bliss body treatment that uses a sugar scrub made with local honey. You won't have to waste time thinking about where you'll eat since the place is all-inclusive, so you'll get to take advantage of fresh-baked pastries in the morning, have them pack you a picnic lunch for your afternoon, and indulge in a candlelit dinner focused on farm-to-table fare in the evenings.
2. The Inn on Biltmore Estate — Asheville, North Carolina
You've come to the right place at The Inn on Biltmore Estate since Asheville — thanks to its elevated location in the mountains in the western part of the state — boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons with the most diverse colors in the country. (Yes, there's actual geography-based science behind it, but we're more focused on haute hotels here, so you can research that on your own time.) The inn is actually located on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau George Vanderbilt had built in the late 1800s. Both the home and the gardens are worth a tour and you won't have to go far to see Technicolor hues since the 8,000-acre estate is also home to plenty of red maples and a various types of gum trees that will be showing off yellow, orange, and red by mid-October. And don't forget to stop by the winery (not that you would forget), which does complimentary tastings as well as tours and special pairings. Over at the inn, there's also a swanky spa, and sophisticated restaurant that serves up meals made with ingredients grown and raised on the estate, from its beef to its berries.
3. Triple Creek Ranch — Darby, Montana
If you've never stayed on a no-frills, really rustic ranch before, well, Triple Creek Ranch isn't going to be it. Unlike most ranches, this one has top-notch service, a fine art collection, private masseuses available, and cabins that come equipped with everything from steam showers to wraparound balconies to golf carts for tooling around the grounds whenever the mood strikes. Staffers can set up a variety of adventure outings including ATV tours, horseback riding, cattle drives, or whitewater rafting expeditions. For the dose of color you came for, hike a trail within the nearby Bitterroot National Forest or sign on for one of the resort's autumn birding events that take place in October. Meals are included in the room rate and feature upscale fare that's part contemporary, part cowboy — think grilled Texas venison loin or Wagyu beef with caramelized fennel home fries. And no need to make the trek to the lodge for dinner: The hotel is happy to make meal deliveries to your cabin, too.
4. Whiteface Lodge — Lake Placid, New York
This one's the pick for a family foliage getaway. The Lake Placid-adjacent resort Whiteface Lodge has a movie theater, game room, bowling lanes, a kids' program on weekends, and, (best of all) nightly s'mores sessions around the fire that's just perfect for chilly autumn evenings. There are also indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, a spa, and, if you head up during the winter, an ice skating rink. Suites have exposed wood beam ceilings, Adirondack-esque accents, and full kitchens, but it's the main lodge that's the showstopper with its soaring ceilings, an antler-adorned chandelier, and a gargantuan stone fireplace. Vibrant trees abound in the Adirondacks but for a different natural wonder, take the two-mile Oak Rim Trail (or any of other cool area hikes) to the flowing Rainbow Falls, passing turning trees along the way. Back at the lodge, hit the cozy Kanu Lodge, which offers live music, and a bar stocked with 20 vodkas, 25 single-malt Scotches, and a variety of craft beers. If you time your trip right, you can check out any number of fall events too, including the band-and-barbecue-filled Flaming Leaves Fest in October.
5. The Four Seasons — Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Southwest boasts killer colors all year long thanks to its superb sunsets, magical mountains, and dazzling desertscapes, but come fall the state really shows off. Make your home base the intimate Four Seasons, 10 minutes from Santa Fe, where you can take in the surrounding scenery from the terrace off your casita done up in a chic Southwestern style and ready to warm you up with a wood-burning fireplace and heated floors. Take one of the resort's daily guided hikes along a local ridge trail or head out for a drive to get your color fix along the nearby 15-mile Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway. And if you need one final dose of something local before you head home, try the spa's Mountain Spirit Purification treatment that begins with kicks off with a smudging of sage and ends with an adobe clay body mask.
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