11 Inns, B&Bs and Resorts That Welcome Winter in Style
Remember what it was like to frolic in the snow when you were kid? Relive sledding, skating and snow tubing at hotels across America this winter.
It may be winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to hunker down and stay indoors until spring! A host of inns and resorts across the United States welcome the season with great panache. You’ll find go-to pastimes such as skiing and ice skating (even in the desert!), but you’ll also experience unique outings, including dogsledding and sleigh rides. And you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the seasonal decorations and holiday lights: Each venue has restaurants open to the general public and/or special events that everyone can enjoy throughout the winter.
In the Northeast
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
Perched above Lake Mohonk in the Hudson Valley, this Victorian castle is a National Historic Landmark that has a rich offering of winter activities at an all-in-one price. From late November to late March, get out and explore by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, take a spin on the ice rink or zip down a hill on a snow tube. Once you work up an appetite, indulge in a 3-course dinner, buffet breakfast, afternoon tea or cookies—all included in the nightly rate.
Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House
Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid, New York
The stunning lodge right on the shore of Lake Placid offers 13 elegant guest rooms plus 17 cabins. The lodge has a multitude of winter activities from November through March, from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to ice skating, ice fishing, downhill skiing, bobsled rides and more. Each evening get toasty at a lakeside snow bonfire, where you’re served hot chocolate and s’mores.
Hermitage Inn, West Dover, Vermont
The original farmhouse dates as far back as the 1840s, and accommodations are available in the main house, wine house and carriage house. There’s plenty to keep you busy, including downhill skiing on Haystack Mountain, snowmobiling, 9 miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing plus sleigh rides with the inn’s prized Percheron horses, Will and Bill. Most wintertime activities are available from November through March.
In the South
Amelia Island Williams House, Amelia Island, Florida
Winter is a sweet time to visit Williams House due to its participation in the popular Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns, which is held every December. You’ll sample holiday treats at 6 of the town’s inns and you can travel by horse-drawn carriage or trolley from place to place. Afterward, work off a few calories by borrowing bikes from the Williams House to cruise through downtown or to the beach.
Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
This resort in the Allegheny Mountains dates back to the 1700s, when the first hotel was built on the site. Since then, 22 U.S. presidents have visited, including Thomas Jefferson, who came to enjoy the healing properties of the hot springs. Visitors enjoy all types of winter activities from November to March, including skiing and snowboarding trails. You can also ice skate to the music of the season, surrounded by holiday lights. Or, be brave and take a dip in the outdoor heated pool.
Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort
In the Midwest
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, Ely, Minnesota
If you’re looking for a doggone unusual winter retreat, head to Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge from early December to late March. Here’s your chance to try your hand at dogsledding—no experience required. Stay at the cozy lodge or even do camping trips with your sled dog team. And don’t skip the trip to the nearby International Wolf Center, which works to support the survival of the wolf population.
Photo courtesy of Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Here’s your chance to visit a German-style Christmas market without heading abroad. The Osthoff Resort opened during the Gilded Age of the late-1800s. Each Christmas season from early to mid-December, it hosts the Old World Christmas Market. You can buy Czech glass ornaments, German nutcrackers, savory bratwursts and a whole array of holiday items. On weekends the little ones can take part in ornament making, cookie decorating or even eat breakfast with Santa. After the holidays, visitors partake in a variety of wintertime recreation like ice fishing, ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and more.
In the Southwest
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona
This luxury hotel offers a unique holiday experience in the desert from mid-November through year’s end. The season kicks off with a Christmas tree lighting and a visit from Santa and his elves. Lagoon Lights features more than 3 million LED lights in displays featuring poinsettias, menorahs, a fishing Santa and much more. You can also take a spin on the ice-skating rink or toast marshmallows around a campfire.
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas
It may feel more like fall outside, but it’s completely Christmastime at the Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas, which kicks off in mid-November and closes shop on January 1. Wear your winter jacket for ICE!, which features 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and 5 2-story-tall ice slides. The resort is decorated with more than 2 million lights and an abundance of holiday decorations. Kids keep busy with gingerbread decorating classes or can relax with Mrs. Claus over milk and cookies.
Photo courtesy of Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
In the West
The Osprey at Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek, Colorado
You’ll have plenty of traditional pastimes to choose from at this mountain ski lodge, just steps from downhill skiing at Beaver Creek Resort. There’s a dedicated park for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with trails stretching more than 32 kilometers. You can also get a different perspective of the area with a snowmobile or dog sled excursion or by hot air ballooning over the area. Winter activities get into swing at the end of November and continue through mid-April.
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, Riverside, California
The history of this stunning hotel stretches back to the 1870s. It has welcomed 10 presidents, and each year it hosts the Festival of Lights starting right after Thanksgiving and going through early January. The hotel is decorated with more than 4 million holiday lights, and Santa makes an appearance. See real snow, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and ogle an opulent Christmas tree in the hotel lobby.
Photo courtesy of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
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