Charles Town, West Virginia
It's a country house that appears to tumble down its hillside one room at a time. Its flowered patios are lovely. Guest rooms--with a cosmopolitan decor, and some with wooded views, fireplace, or whirlpool tub--are exquisite.
But many visitors make tracks to Hillbrook for the food, even without an overnight stay.
By reservation only, a seven-course dinner, including wine, is served Thursday through Sunday for $75. (Dinner is required when booking a room, unless it's the same day.) Chef Christine Hale may use a French touch in the first course and an Asian one in the third; menus are designed daily according to the season and guests' restrictions. Favorites include sherried fennel soup, smoked local trout en croûte, filet mignon, and chocolate pâté.
Lunch is also offered, by reservation, for $35. Sunday-afternoon tea, for groups of six or more, offers five courses for $35. Breakfast means a fruit dish and hot entrée.
Bottom line: A refined atmosphere, and seven delicious courses, in the countryside.
Hillbrook Inn, 800-304-4223; hillbrookinn.com. Rooms: $200 to $325 for two including full breakfast; same-day reservations (as available) $149. Open Thursday through Sunday only.