Washington is within reach of a handful of national resort destinations—many of which have garnered international recognition. From the cool and beautiful forests stretching up and down the Appalachian Mountains, to the sun-flecked peppery beaches of the Carolinas, and the historic rivers leading to the Chesapeake Bay, there are endless opportunities for whiling the summer away. These resorts are all within a day’s drive or airplane hop of Washington, but the diversity is astonishing. If you haven’t planned your summer retreats, this will help you get started. Gather the family or significant others around the table and figure out which suit your vacationer’s palette best.
IN THE VIRGINIAS
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
In the small community of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., nestled safely within the Allegheny Mountains, lies one of this country’s most longstanding and luxurious resorts. Since 1778, the Greenbrier has hosted distinguished guests from around the world, setting the standard for luxury accommodations nationwide, while continually reinventing itself. Once known by the Southern elite as the “Queen of the Watering Places,” this sprawling estate in the lush foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast.
With the very best of comfort and accommodations, spa treatments, leisure pursuits and world-class cuisine, the Greenbrier brings together all the luxuries of the world’s finest resorts with the distinct history and character of the region. There is an endless variety of cottages and suites, such as intimate single guest houses and seven-room suites, equipped with wood-burning fireplaces, private porches and patios overlooking the surrounding area. Once you settle in, the Greenbrier offers enough activities to keep guests returning with every season.
The highlight is the resort’s collection of four 18-hole signature golf courses, all of which compliment the surrounding mountainous landscape. The championship courses—the Old White TPC, the Greenbrier, the Meadows and the Snead, a private residents-only course—are designed to challenge and captivate golfers of every skill level. The resort also features a full-service clubhouse, award-winning golf shop and expert instruction by the Greenbrier Golf Academy. The resort’s 40,000-square-foot luxury spa is another signature offering, providing an elegant setting to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. Relax in a whirlpool bath or soak up the healing properties of the native sulphur waters. With their wealth of exclusive spa treatments, there are endless reasons to visit this award-winning spa. For more information, visit www.Greenbrier.com
The Tides Inn
The Chesapeake Bay is to Washingtonians what Long Island is to New Yorkers: a stone’s throw seaside destination to rusticate and rejuvenate away from the urban tumult. Bordered by the Potomac River to the north, the Rappahannock River to the south, and Chesapeake Bay to the east, the Tides Inn provides a luxury resort setting that is quintessentially Delmarvan.
Located in historic Irvington, Va., history buffs will appreciate the opportunity to experience our nation’s heritage first-hand at the Tides. From the struggle for independence to the steamboat era, from 18th-century gardens to 21st-century artisans, the area surrounding the Tides Inn hotel in Virginia is full of historic excitement.
The Tides offers a “Girlfriend Getaway,” for friends to enjoy a variety of activities, such as touring the local wine trail, relaxing at the spa and enjoying the Tides Inn’s cuisine and cocktails.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the resort and spa destination includes the beautiful new Tides Marina, the 18-hole Golden Eagle Golf Course, as well as sailing opportunities, where you can set sail around Carters Creek and the Rappahannock River. The on-site sailing school at the Tides offers a four-day basic keelboat course that leads to sailing certification. There are also shorter sailing classes for various interests, and everyone in the family can find a Chesapeake Bay sailing course created just for them. For more information, visit www.TidesInn.com.
WAY DOWN IN DIXIE
Outer Banks, North Carolina
For over half a century the Outer Banks in North Carolina have been perhaps the premier Washingtonian beach destination. Within walking distance of the unparalleled sand, surf and tranquil waters of the sound, the Sanderling Resort gives you the best of hospitality and Carolina character. Of course, staying at the Sanderling has other benefits as well, including access to the Pine Island Racquet and Fitness Club and the Currituck Golf Club.
This is a great place to take the family. Among many beachside attractions, the 3,400-acre Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary, adjacent to the Sanderling, is a favorite resting spot of countless regional beachside bird families (When summer ends in a few months, dozens of species of migrating geese and ducks descend on Currituck Sound, providing spectacular autumn bird watching). The Sanderling’s Eco-Center offers kayak tours of the preserve, and walking paths through the sanctuary are open to the public year-round. Couple that with beachfront access, great local seafood and the fresh salty air, and you can keep you and your family happy for weeks. For more information, visit www.TheSanderling.com.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
This is an easy weekend getaway from Washington. Truly one of America’s most luxurious resorts, it is located along the pristine shores of Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
This exquisite hotel is only 30 minutes from downtown Charleston, which captures the spirit, history and charm of southern hospitality and some of the best southern comfort food there is—barbeque shrimp and grits are not to be missed.
With its 255 gracious guestrooms and suites, the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is perhaps the finest oceanfront hotel built on the East Coast in the past 20 years. Each spacious room features luxurious five fixture baths, large marble showers, dual vanities, private water closets, shuttered bathroom windows and ocean view balconies. A private concierge level offers exclusive, personalized services and private elevator access, while the concierge club features unmatched culinary offerings throughout the day. Families and adults can enjoy two oceanfront pools.
Kiawah Island is a golfer’s paradise with five competitively designed master golf courses. In fact, three of Kiawah Island’s golf courses ranked on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s Top 75 Resort Courses,” and Conde Nast Traveler listed the resort among the top “50 Golf Resorts Worldwide.” For more information, visit www.KiawahResort.com.
Lake Placid Lodge
Lake Placid, New York
In 1882, a German family built themselves a rustic camp from which they could enjoy the dramatic view of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. This remained a private residence until 1946, when the property was sold and reopened as a hotel.
Today, the front hall is a classic Adirondack interior, with a welcoming stone fireplace, furniture crafted in the distinctive regional Adirondack style and a stairwell filled by a towering birch tree. There are thirteen rooms and seventeen luxurious cabins at the water’s edge, and the woods, water and sun enfold the Lodge.
The main lodge is full of spaces that are just as cozy and appealing. Artisans, the formal dining room, offer a seasonal New American menu. Wood-paneled Maggie’s Pub, with its fireplace and tables set by the windows, is just the place for a first-rate burger and a pint of the locally brewed Ubu Ale.
Whether you prefer to curl up in front of a fireplace and take on the challenge of a handcrafted Stave puzzle or decide to hike one of the ancient Adirondack trails, the choices are many. And warmer weather brings endless adventures. Take a tour of Lake Placid aboard the 35-foot mahogany Hacker-Craft, go swimming or fishing, kayaking or canoeing or captain your own boat. Lake Placid is one of the cleanest spring-fed lakes in New York. Lake Placid Lodge is an iconic American resort. For more information, visit www.LakePlacidLodge.com.?