Shenandoah River Outfitters: Canoes and Log Cabins
Stay in one of this outfitter’s log cabins on Virginia’s Shenandoah River and have easy access to the water. The setup at Shenandoah River Outfitters couldn’t be better: Shuttle service is provided to and from 19 put-in and take-out points along the river. Each is marked by a sign attached to a tree. Want a two-hour canoe trip? Go from stop 8 to 11. Or spend a half day rafting from 13 to 19. Or just laze along the water on an inner tube. Livery service is provided if you bring your own boat.
Fishing and paddling trips are also available. This is considered the river’s most scenic section, between the Massanutten Ridge and the Blue Ridge of Shenandoah National Park. Wherever you go, you have a view of mountains.
Most of the log cabins have a kitchenette, bathroom, dining area, DirecTV, heating and air conditioning, and charcoal grill. The cabins sleep up to six—four comfortably. The newer ones have hot tubs on the deck. All cabins are pet-friendly.
Our tip: Bring your own bed linens and towels and save the $15-a-bed charge. While dining is available in nearby Luray—mostly fast food—we suggest packing provisions and having a cookout.
Travel time from Washington: Two hours.
What it costs: In the fall, cabins start at $155 a night on weekends, with a two-night minimum; $115 on weekdays. Rentals start at $18 a person for an inner tube, $55 for a canoe.
More information: shenandoahriver.com.
Lancaster Arts Hotel: Gallery Tour? This Way, Sir
Love seeing art and talking to artists? Consider a stay at Lancaster Arts Hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The hotel will refer you to a concierge who can map out an art tour, even making appointments for you to visit local artists’ studios. Simply visit paartsexperience.com and let the concierge know the artists or region you’re interested in.
You don’t even have to leave the building to see interesting art. The elegant hotel, a former tobacco warehouse, has a small gallery as well as art throughout the common areas; many rooms are dedicated to artists. Nearly all of the art in the hotel is for sale.
More than a half dozen restaurants are within walking distance. On-site is the very good John J. Jeffries Restaurant, which specializes in local and organic meats, produce, and seafood.
Our tip: If you’ve got time, stroll through the charming city of beautiful old brick buildings. Visit the Lancaster Museum of Art to see the works of regional artists, the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum, and Gallery Row, home to more than 18 galleries. On the first Friday of each month, nearly 100 art destinations in town—including performing-arts venues—hold open houses and stay open until at least 9 pm.
Travel time from Washington: 2½ hours.
What it costs: The Pennsylvania Arts Experience package starts at $216 a night if you stay two nights.
More information: lancasterartshotel.com.