Cool Travel Bargains

Whether your idea of a great weekend is to ski or to read by a fire, these 28 nearby places have a deal for you

By: Andrea Poe

Winter may be the best time to explore the Mid-Atlantic region: Whether you’re interested in a weekend ski trip in Pennsylvania, a romantic retreat to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, or a holiday getaway in Virginia, good deals abound this time of year. And we’ve negotiated even better deals for Washingtonian readers.

Downhill Deals

The Homestead resort, on 3,000 acres in Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, offers every snow sport—skiing to tubing to snowmobiling. Kids will love the skating and hot cocoa while adults may be drawn to the spa. Readers can stay between January 3 and March 14 for $199 a night, and the entire family skis free—a savings of more than $150.

The Homestead, Hot Springs; 540-839-1766; thehomestead.com.

Hidden Valley is one of the East Coast’s friendliest ski resorts. It’s offering the Washingtonian Winter Escape, which includes one night’s accommodation; unlimited skiing, snowboarding, and tubing; and one sports or Swedish massage—all for $140 a person midweek or $180 on weekends (based on double occupancy) through March 1.

Hidden Valley Resort, Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania; 814-443-8000; hiddenvalleyresort.com.

Set on more than 3,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a winter wonderland with downhill and cross-country skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and even dog-sledding. Indoors, there are two spas—one for adults and one for kids—a game room with more than 65 arcade games, a pool, and a large art collection. With the Washingtonian Skis Free package, readers who book two nights—winter rates start at $279—will get four free lift tickets (an $84 value) to Mystic Mountain from December 24 through February 26.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania; 866-344-6957; nemacolin.com.

Eastern Shore Specials

One of the region’s most interesting new getaways is Bartlett Pear Inn, which opened in September. Chef Jordan Lloyd, who did stints at Citronelle in DC and Per Se in New York City, has revived the former Inn at Easton with his wife, Alice. Book the Washingtonian Getaway Weekend and get a suite on a Friday or Saturday night, dinner for two in the inn’s restaurant, a tour of historic downtown Easton, tickets to the Academy Art Museum, and a private cooking demo for $395—a savings of more than $300. The offer is good December through March.

Bartlett Pear Inn, Easton; 410-770-3300; bartlettpearinn.com.

Five Gables Inn & Spa, a charming Victorian bed-and-breakfast in the heart of St. Michaels, is known for its Aveda spa. In December and January, Washingtonian readers who book two nights—rates start at $130 a night in winter—will get half off their second night, a welcome mug of hot cocoa, and a free herbal bath when they book a hot-stone massage or Caribbean treatment.

Five Gables Inn & Spa, St. Michaels; 877-466-0100; fivegables.com.

The elegant Inn at 202 Dover, a Beaux Arts mansion in Easton, is offering readers who book one night from December through February (except holidays) half off a second night in one of its suites. Winter rates start at $279. Guests who have dinner at the inn will receive a free appetizer with each entrée.

Inn at 202 Dover, Easton; 800-450-7600; innat202dover.com.

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge offers plenty of off-season activities, including an indoor pool, a fitness center and spa, and three restaurants. Book the Luxury on Sale package to get a room for $99 (Sunday through Thursday) or $149 (Friday and Saturday) as well as a s’mores kit to use at the outdoor fireplace. Readers will also receive 20 percent off any spa treatments Sunday through Friday and a free amenity such as a bottle of wine or chocolate crabs. The package is good now through March 28. Readers must show this article at check-in to get the Washingtonian deal.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, Cambridge; 410-901-1234; chesapeakebay.hyatt.com.

Hole up along the bay in the waterman’s village of Tilghman. At the Tilghman Island Inn, which has a very good restaurant and rooms with fireplaces, readers who book two nights—rates start at $125 a night in winter—get a third free through February.

Tilghman Island Inn, Tilghman Island; 800-866-2141; tilghmanislandinn.com.

Virginia Resorts on Sale

The Boar’s Head resort, in the Piedmont countryside, has four restaurants, a spa, indoor tennis, a fitness center with more than 50 classes a week, and winter golf that costs as little as $20. Book the Washingtonian Winter Getaway Fireside Package to get a room with a fireplace, a room-service dinner, and breakfast for two—either room service or in the Old Mill Room—starting at $339 a night through March; that’s a savings of $175.

The Boar’s Head, Charlottesville; 800-476-1988; boarsheadinn.com.

Lansdowne Resort near Leesburg is a local favorite for its spa, heated indoor pool, and big health club. Newly renovated guest rooms feature marble baths. The Home for the Holidays readers package features deluxe accommodations, breakfast, and a welcome tray of milk and cookies for $129—a savings of 20 percent. The offer is good December 13 through January 10; resort fee ($18) and tax not included.

Lansdowne Resort, Lansdowne; call 888-541-7948 for the Washingtonian Rate; lansdowneexcitement.com. 

Holidays in Annapolis

Annapolis is never more a picture postcard of early America than in winter, when the brick sidewalks and streets are aglow with the flicker of gas lamps. Gibson’s Lodgings, next to the US Naval Academy, is quintessential Annapolis. The 21 guest rooms are in three historic buildings, one dating to the 1770s. December 1 through March 15, readers who book any two nights get a third free. Rooms start at $119 a night.

Gibson’s Lodgings, Annapolis; 877-330-0057; gibsonslodgings.com.

The Inn at Horn Point—tucked away in the neighborhood of Eastport, across a small bridge from downtown Annapolis—is offering the Washingtonian package December 1 through April 1. Book two nights ($339 a night during the week, $379 on a weekend) and receive a $75 dinner credit at O’Leary’s, a bottle of wine, and a one-hour couples massage. That’s a savings of about $100.

Inn at Horn Point, Annapolis; 410-268-1126; innathornpoint.com.

Four Baltimore Bargains

A lobby decked out for the holidays, with life-size toy soldiers, as well as a heated indoor pool make the Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor ideal for kids. The hotel is offering readers a family package that includes a room with two queen-size beds, breakfast for four, valet parking, four tickets to Disney’s A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey at the Maryland Science Center’s Imax-3D theater, and a film-inspired souvenir. Rates start at $193 through January 3.

Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore; 410-539-7888; baltimoreinnerharborsuites.hamptoninn.com.

Explore Baltimore from the Tremont Plaza Hotel, an all-suites hotel with spacious rooms. Its Washingtonian package offers a one-bedroom suite with a king-size bed, living room, and kitchenette plus a split of Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, dinner for two at Tug’s Bar and Grille in the hotel, and two tickets to the National Aquarium for $250—a savings of about 35 percent.

Tremont Plaza Hotel, Baltimore; 410-727-2222; tremontsuitehotels.com.

Inn at 2920 is a boutique hotel nestled among Canton rowhouses, a few miles from the Inner Harbor. Book the Weekend Inn Baltimore deal before March 1, for a stay prior to April 1, and get two nights, full breakfast, a bottle of wine, and a $75 voucher to use at an area restaurant. Rates start at $450 (promo code wkendwash), a savings of about 25 percent. Or stay midweek and get full breakfast and a bottle of wine starting at $160 (promo code wkdaywash).

Inn at 2920, Baltimore; 410-342-4450; theinnat2920.com.

Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast is one of the oldest buildings in the historic neighborhood of Federal Hill. Readers can book the Explore the Harbor and Federal Hill package for $595—a 15-percent savings off typical room rates—until March 31. This includes two nights’ accommodation; a full breakfast; passes that allow entry to the American Visionary Art Museum, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, and other sites; a $15 gift card to use at either Ryleigh’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant or Taverna Corvino; and discounts at Federal Hill boutiques.

Scarborough Fair B&B, Baltimore; 877-954-2747; scarboroughfairbandb.com.

Winter Romance

Down comforters, feather beds, and bedside fireplaces make the Suites at 249, a contemporary boutique hotel, particularly welcoming in winter. Some suites, such as the loft-like Acqua, have steam showers. The hotel, in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is a good launching pad for nearby winery visits. Readers who book one night at full price—winter rates begin at $150—get a second at half off in January.

Suites at 249, Culpeper; 540-827-1100; suitesat249.com.

Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast, in scenic Brandywine Valley, makes a romantic retreat effortless. The inn will provide a room, a bottle of wine, roses, and gourmet chocolates made by a local European-style chocolatier, Éclat, through February for $350—$75 off the regular package price.

Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast, West Chester, Pennsylvania; 800-505-3233; faunbrook.com.

Stone walls edging the long drive to Gramercy Mansion in rural Baltimore County set the stage for romance at this 1902 Tudor. Book the Fireside and Candlelight package to get a room, fresh-baked cookies and cider on arrival, rose petals and votive candles throughout the room, flowers, chocolate truffles at turndown, and a candlelight breakfast by the fire, starting at $375—a savings of $50. Plus, get 20 percent off extra nights.

Gramercy Mansion, Baltimore; 800-553-3404; gramercymansion.com.

Shadow Mountain Escape’s cabins in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley are an iconic winter scene. Four handcrafted timber structures include the Butterfly, a cozy couples retreat atop a saltbox barn, and Bear Dance Lodge, which has a great view of the ridgeline from its observatory tower and is ideal for families since it sleeps eight. Readers can get two nights, two tickets to Luray Caverns, and a basket of baked goods, starting at $375 for a two-night weekend or $475 for three nights—a savings of more than $50—December 1 through March 31.

Shadow Mountain Escape, Luray; 540-843-0584; shadowmountainescape.com.

Nautical-themed waterfront cottage rentals on North Point Peninsula in Baltimore County make for a secluded getaway about an hour from Washington. Readers who book the Happy Arrival package will get a chocolate-and-fruit tray, two Champagne flutes with sparkling wine or cider, a sweetheart cake for two, flowers, and a coupon book good for $500 off local shopping, starting at $129 a night through March 15.

San Cameron’s Residences at Dockside Landing, Sparrows Point; 443-717-3186; sancamregistry.com.

Spa Weekend

If you overindulge during the holidays, you might head to Inn at Peralynna Manor, a soothing small hotel in Howard County. Book the Get Fit at the Phat Farm for a Washingtonian rate of $699 for two nights—the normal rate is $1,250. Get three days of fitness classes, nutrition counseling, pampering, and all meals, led by model Shelissa Kearney and TV fitness personality Brenda von Rautenkranz. This retreat is held one weekend a month through March.

Inn at Peralynna Manor, Columbia; 877-737-2596; peralynna.com.

Historic Stays

Fredericksburg, Virginia, is steeped in American history. And Homewood Suites, which features a free grocery-shopping service to help stock the kitchenette, is offering the Washingtonian Winter family deal. The package, $129 a night through March 15, includes a room and breakfast for a family of four as well as passes for nine museums and sites, including Civil War battlefields and George Washington’s boyhood farm.

Homewood Suites, Fredericksburg; 540-786-9700; homewoodsuites1.hilton.com.

Enjoy a cozy getaway in Virginia’s horse country at Middleburg Country Inn. Some rooms in the historic inn feature four-poster beds and fireplaces; the Sully also has a Jacuzzi. Rates include a full breakfast in a pretty dining room. The inn has created a package for Washingtonian readers: Book a room, starting at $150 a night, during December, January, or February (except Valentine’s Day weekend) and get a $75 gift certificate to the Hidden Horse restaurant, a local favorite recently revamped by the inn’s owners.

Middleburg Country Inn, Middleburg; 800-262-6082; middleburgcountryinn.com.

Blooming Bargain

Winter is prime time to visit one of America’s horticultural masterpieces, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. January 23 through March 31, the Orchid Extravaganza takes over the four-acre conservatory. The nearby Hotel du Pont, which has retained the old-world glamour from the days when it hosted John F. Kennedy and Katharine Hepburn, has created the Washingtonian Reader Orchid Package. This deal includes accommodations, admission to Longwood Gardens and the Orchid Extravaganza, valet parking, breakfast, and an orchid-themed chocolate treat, starting at $199.

Hotel du Pont, Wilmington, Delaware; 800-441-9019; hoteldupont.com.

Family Wonderlands

Amish country offers many festive experiences, from the National Christmas Center to $6 all-you-can-skate days at the ice park and buggies across Amish farms at Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides. The new Marriott in Lancaster, with its indoor pool and spa, is offering readers a rate starting at $109 a night with parking. This is 35 percent off regular rates and is good December through February, with a few blackout dates.

Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Pennsylvania; call 888-850-6146 to ask for the Washingtonian rate or go to marriottlancaster.com and enter “PX3” in the corporate/promotional-code option under the “special rates and awards” button.

Tap into affordable luxury at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. The hotel, in the heart of the city, is a good base for family trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the newly expanded Please Touch interactive children’s museum, and the Liberty Bell. When you book the Family Value package and mention The Washingtonian, you’ll receive half off an adjoining room, a savings of more than $150; a behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel; $100 credit toward the spa, restaurant, or room; a personalized child’s amenity such as a handcrafted chocolate or a toy; milk and cookies at turndown; and a “Welcome to Philadelphia” book. The deal is good through February; rates start at $315 a night.

Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia; 215-963-1500; fourseasons.com/philadelphia.

This article first appeared in the December 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.