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Goodbye to heat, humidity, and summer—fall is here, and so are some great travel deals. By Alice Shapin
Named one of the most romantic inns in the country, Bridgeton House on the Delaware offers postcard-worthy autumn views. Photo courtesy of Bridgeton House on the Delaware.


Where: Bridgeton House on the Delaware, 1525 River Rd., Upper Black Eddy, Pa.; 610-982-5856.

What’s special: This luxurious inn, on the banks of the Delaware River in Bucks County, is 30 minutes north of historic New Hope, Pennsylvania. Innkeepers Bea and Charles Briggs turned the 1836 riverside building into a romantic bed-and-breakfast, and out of more than 20,000 destinations nationwide, it was awarded a 2015 Top 10 Romantic Inns designation by Depending on the room, you can enjoy a treetop riverside deck with magnificent views, marble bathrooms, a rain shower for two with heated seats, a two-person whirlpool tub with river views, soaring ceilings, and a gas- or wood-burning fireplace. All rooms have featherbeds and comfy linens. Rates include breakfast (choice of fruit course and main course), afternoon tea (homemade sweets, cheese spreads, breads, and pastries), evening sherry, and access to the stocked butler’s pantry, which contains homemade cookies and biscotti, chips, coffee, and tea. Area activities include wineries, breweries, covered-bridge tours, theater, antiques shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

The deal: Stay two nights in the Luxury Tree House, Boat House, or Penthouse rooms and receive a complimentary cheese tray and bottle of wine, plus a Champagne brunch and late checkout—add-ons worth more than $100. Rates start at $399 a night. Use the booking code WashSpecial.

When: Valid for stays October through December 23, 2015.

In the Heart of the Windy City

Where: Silversmith Hotel, 10 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Ill.; 312-372-7696.

What’s special: At this hotel, a showcase of Arts and Crafts style, the guest rooms have recently been renovated. You’ll find 12-foot ceilings, plush bedding, complimentary high-speed internet access, and mini-refrigerators. The hotel is a quick walk to the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and Willis Tower (former Sears Tower), as well as good shopping and restaurants. We also strongly recommend the architectural boat tour.

The deal: The “In the Heart of the Windy City” package includes handcrafted welcome cocktails in the lounge, dinner and breakfast for two at the hotel’s lounge and restaurant, Adamus, complimentary wi-fi, and a pair of tickets to the Art Institute. Prices start at $299, a 30-percent savings. Use the code WASH when booking online or by phone.

When: Valid for stays October through December 30, 2015. Blackout dates apply.

Driving the Golf Ball

Where: Hilton Head Island, 10 Clubhouse Dr., Hilton Head, S.C.; 843-681-1706.

What’s special: Play some of the best courses on Hilton Head Island, all designed by noted architects such as Arthur Hills, Rees Jones, and Robert Cupp. And if you’re looking for something else to do, you can bike, hit the beach, or play tennis.

The deal: The Heritage Golf Collection’s “Fore” Golf Package includes four nights in villa accommodations (based on availability) and four rounds of golf from Port Royal Golf Club, Shipyard, Palmetto Hall Plantation, and Oyster Reef. Guests receive complimentary range balls, breakfast at the golf clubs, a VIP discount card (for purchases at the club shops and at the restaurants affiliated with Heritage Golf), and all taxes and fees. Washingtonian readers also receive a $50 credit per group. Prices start at $155 per person per night, a savings of 25 percent (deal based on quad occupancy).

When: Valid for stays October through November 7, 2015.

The Sunshine State

Where: The Ritz-Carlton, 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy., Amelia Island, Fla.; 904-277-1100.

What’s special: Located on a barrier island, this resort’s rooms feature a private balcony with either coastal or oceanfront views, marble baths, and Frette linens. The resort also offers 1½ miles of dune-lined beachfront, 18 holes of championship golf, four cocktail lounges (one outdoors and seasonal), a 24-hour fitness center, a spa, tennis, and an indoor pool and a heated outdoor pool with whirlpool.

The deal: The Autumn Breakaway to the Ritz-Carlton package includes accommodations and a daily $100 resort credit to use in the spa, the restaurant Salt, and the hotel’s shops. Mention Washingtonian and also get a spa welcome basket with Kneipp herbal bath products, a $40 value. Prices start at $319.

When: Valid for stays through January 16, 2016.

Romance in Bermuda

Where: The Reefs Resort & Club, 56 S. Shore Rd., Southampton, Bermuda; 441-238-0222.

What’s special: This intimate, family-owned cliffside resort overlooks a rose-sand cove and offers breathtaking ocean views. Upscale accommodations include guest rooms, suites, and condos, all with Atlantic vistas. On the property is La Serena Spa and three dining venues, including the new laid-back Aqua Terra, with ocean views and plenty of local ingredients on the menu. At the resort, you can play tennis, lounge on the beach, and hit the pool. Or you might leave the sanctuary of the resort to play golf nearby, rent a scooter to explore the island, shop, or go reef-snorkeling, scuba-diving, kayaking, or waterskiing.

The deal: The Romance Package is a six-day/five-night vacation in an oceanview room, with a welcome rum-swizzle drink; Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries brought to the room after arrival; two 60-minute massages (one for each of you); daily breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner (in October, on the beach); drink vouchers; round-trip airport transfers; and all taxes and service charges, a savings that adds up to 5 to 10 percent depending on room and time of year. The package starts at $3,140 per room. Washingtonian readers also receive a free picnic lunch for two, a $40 savings.

When: Valid for stays through April 1, 2016.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 10/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
If you want an authentic Oktoberfest, go to where the Germans are By Candyce H. Stapen
One of the largest Oktoberfests in the region is in tiny Lovettsville, Virginia, which was settled by Germans in the 1730s. Photo by Alicia Bruce of Love Knot Photo.

A beer garden serving brews, bratwurst, and sauerbraten—and the booming oompah-pah of a blaskapelle (Alpine wind ensemble)—takes over the historic district of Lovettsville, Virginia, this Saturday, September 26, for its 22nd annual Oktoberfest. That’s when the town—population 1,800—pays homage to the Germans who first settled the area in the 1730s. Last year, about 8,000 people attended the event, making it one of the biggest Oktoberfests hosted by a small town in the Mid-Atlantic. Lovettsville is 55 miles from DC.

When not eating or dancing, you can take the kids to fly on the free moon bounce or browse the 100-plus vendors selling dulcimers, quilts, and candles. When the polka and waltz tunes end, typically around 5, be sure to head to the track to cheer on your favorite wiener in the dachshund race. Afterward, a rock band plays until 11. Admission is free.

Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 09/25/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
All within a day's (designated) drive. By Todd Kliman
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Best Picnic Spot

Boxwood Estate Winery

Step one: Make a pit stop at Market Salamander in Middleburg to stock up on roast chicken, crabcakes, falafel, mac and cheese, and homemade biscuits (if any are left). Step two: Continue a mile down the road to Boxwood Estate. Step three: Belly up to the bar of the tasting room for a relaxed tour of the literal fruits of the property. Step four: Buy a bottle of the crisp rosé or the big but soft Topiary, and head to one of the outdoor tables to enjoy a long, lingering picnic. (2042 Burrland La., Middleburg; 540-687-8778).

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Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 09/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
When Labor Day comes, don’t think end of summer. Instead, extend the fun with these exclusive reader deals. By Alice Shapin
Salamander Resort & Spa is offering Washingtonian readers 30 percent off room rates. Photo courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa.

Nearby Rest and Recreation

Where: Salamander Resort & Spa, 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg, Va.; 800-651-0721.

What’s special: The 168-room luxury property makes you feel you’re visiting a posh country estate. The main floor has a library, billiards room, and living room. Guest rooms are large (545 to 575 square feet) and have terraces or stone balconies. The bathrooms feature large walk-in showers with body jets as well as 19-inch TVs. Even the bedding and throws evoke equestrian life. At the 23,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, you can choose from a variety of treatments and educational workshops. In keeping with the “country home” theme, the resort is dog-friendly. Among the activities, guests can play tennis, go horseback riding, swim, take a cooking class, or get a bird’s-eye view of the area from the zipline. Stroll over to Middleburg to sample the art galleries, gift and antiques shops, and restaurants, or drive to area wineries.

The deal: The Pre Pay & Save plan starts at $245, which is 30 percent off the best available rate. The deal includes one night plus a complimentary sampling for two of Virginia wines in the Gold Cup Wine Bar. This offer is not changeable or refundable, must be prepaid at the time of the booking, and must be booked seven days prior to arrival. Use the booking code DCOFFER or click here.

When: Valid for stays through December 31, 2015.

Weekend of Wellness

Where: Omni Bedford Springs Resort, 2138 Business 220, Bedford, Pa.; 814-624-5633.

What’s special: This luxury resort is on 2,200 acres, where you can enjoy hiking trails, guided naturalist hikes, and miles of mountain biking. There are two swimming pools—one outdoor, one indoor (heated and mineral-spring-fed). The Springs Eternal Spa uses the on-site spring water in its treatments. A championship golf course is the work of three prominent architects: Spencer Oldham, A.W. Tillinghast, and Donald Ross. The course offers breathtaking views of the Allegheny Mountains and Cumberland Valley. History abounds at this resort, which is designated a National Historic Landmark. Twelve Presidents have visited, and the first transatlantic cable was received by James Buchanan here—he made the hotel his “summer White House.” Throughout the property, you’ll see memorabilia of all that happened here.

The deal: The Be Well Weekend Package includes accommodations for two or three nights, selected meals, and access to discussions and lectures (such as Herbal Medicine, Spine Health, and Food Is Medicine) by experts in health and wellness, as well as yoga and guided hikes. Rates start at $265 a night. Readers who mention Washingtonian’s Great Getaways blog also receive a Bedford Bath ritual (a $50 to $65 value) and a signature soy candle ($10 value). For reservations, call 800-THE-OMNI and reference the group code 090915LIVEWELLW, or call 814-624-5633.

When: Valid for stays September 10 through 13, 2015.

Driving on the Grand Strand

Where: Mystical Golf, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; 843-282-2977.

What’s special: From these beautiful townhouse accommodations, you can roll out of bed and be right by three of Myrtle Beach’s best golf courses. Each has its own clubhouse, theme, and look. The Wizard features deep bunkers, fairways framed by mounding, large bentgrass greens, and several stone bridges. Man O’ War was built on a 100-acre lake and has back-to-back island greens. The Witch is heavily tree-lined and was laid out among 500 acres of tranquil cypress groves and wetlands, teeming with flora and fauna.

The deal: Choose from two Fall Golf Stay and Play packages: The Gold Package starts at $99 per person per day (taxes included) and includes three rounds of golf with a cart—one on each course—plus one complimentary round on the course of your choice; three nights’ lodging in a well-appointed three-bedroom golf villa (which has four beds); free breakfast daily (available 24 hours a day); and a free steak dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse (including nonalcoholic beverages and taxes). The Silver Package starts at $89 per person per day (taxes included) and includes the same lodging and three rounds of golf but not the complimentary round, daily breakfast, or steak dinner. Mention Washingtonian when booking to also get a gift basket with a golf hat, golf towel, logo golf ball from each of the three courses, and a divot tool—a $35 value.

When: Valid for stays through November 29, 2015.

Mountain Thrills

Where: Topnotch Resort, 4000 Mountain Rd., Stowe, Vt.; 800-451-8686.

What’s special: This luxury mountainside resort, with 68 rooms and 23 resort homes, has a stunning location. Step outside to the pool and be wowed by the commanding view of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. As the weather gets cooler and leaves begin to turn, you can take advantage of the hot tub and the heated outdoor pool. Or swim indoors in a heated pool, take a fitness class, participate in water aerobics, hike, mountain-bike, or visit the destination-like spa. You can also play tennis indoors or out, and take lessons. In the afternoon, there are freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies. Evenings, sit by the fire pit and gaze at the stars. Kids can do chalk drawing, nature walks, and exercising. Craft beer is big in Vermont—on Tuesday nights, there’s local beer tastings. Or you can tour some of the state’s local breweries.

The deal: The Taste of Vermont, a Washingtonian exclusive package, includes dinner for two at on-site Flannel restaurant each night, breakfast for two each morning, a complimentary microbrew tasting for two adults, and private lounge access to the Topnotch Spa. Prices start at $359 a night, a 20-percent savings. To book, click here or enter “Washington” in the promotion-code field on the online booking engine on Topnotch’s website.

When: Book by October 15 for travel through December 15, 2015. Valid for stays Sunday through Thursday (except Columbus Day weekend and Thanksgiving Day).

Beach Getaway

Where: The Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, S.C.; 866-561-8802.

What’s special: Sea Pines is a 5,000-acre oceanfront retreat offering views of the Atlantic Ocean and Calibogue Sound. Guests can golf on three championship courses, bike, play tennis on 21 clay courts or take lessons, swim, kayak, fish, jetski, relax on the beach, see the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum, dine at eateries from casual to elegant, wander through shops, or hit the fitness center.

The deal: The Getaway Package includes 15 percent off nightly and weekly rates for homes and villas; complimentary dinner entrées for two (one time only) at Live Oak or Links restaurants; complimentary lunch entrées for two (one time only) at Live Oak, Links, or Coast; free bikes for two during the entire stay; one complimentary portrait session on the beach by the professionals at Memory Lane Portraits and a 10-percent discount on portrait orders; unlimited use of fitness-center equipment; free wi-fi; two hours of tennis per day at the Sea Pines Racquet Club; and preferred rates at the golf courses, including Harbour Town Golf Links (closed until September 28), home of the RBC Heritage tournament. Readers get a $75 resort credit when booking a weeklong stay. Prices, starting at $974.84, reflect a discount for a deluxe, two-bedroom villa for seven nights (including all taxes and fees). Savings is about $525 (40 percent). To get this deal, click here and use the online code Washingtonian.

When: Valid through February 27, 2016.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 09/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A great small town offers some quirky charms for a weekend away. By Sallie Lewis
Standing guard over town is Fort Ligonier, a key garrison in the French and Indian War. Photograph by April Reppucci.

Ligonier, Pennsylvania, may be among the best places on Earth to lick an ice-cream cone on a warm summer night. Cone in hand from Ligonier Creamery, locals head to the town gazebo to listen to a Sunday-night concert. Others gather with friends to bowl at the Wicked Googly Bar & Restaurant in Ligonier Lanes. Nested within lush Ligonier Valley, the town attracts golfers, fly-fishermen, and other lovers of the outdoors. Plus hunters: The late Joe Snyder filled his Joe’s Bar with an array of trophies, from costumed squirrels to waterbucks, a polar bear, and a massive elephant head. It’s worth a stop for a cold beer.

Chill out with a nice cold beer, and a polar bear, at Joe's Bar. Photograph by Flickr user Shaun.

Standing guard over town is Fort Ligonier, an important relic of the French and Indian War. Stay in town at the Thistledown at Seger House (221 W. Main St.; 724-238-4087), a charming inn with eight renovated bedrooms, and walk to the Kitchen on Main (136 E. Main St.; 724-238-4199), a BYOB favorite that serves New American fare such as the grilled lemon-dill salmon burger on its lunch menu. The charms of Ligonier aren’t all American: The new French patisserie Warrior King Pastries (114 S. Market St.; 724-624-3880) bakes butter croissants and savory quiches.

Population: 1,549.

Distance from DC: 187 miles.

Nearby: One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces, Fallingwater, is a 45-minute drive away.

Posted at 02:06 PM/ET, 08/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
It's Larger Than Monet's Famous Garden—and in Full Bloom Now By Sherri Dalphonse
Frederick's Color on the Creek water garden is currently in full, stunning bloom. Photo courtesy of Peter Kremers.

Are you a fan of Monet's water lily paintings? Then consider cruising up to Frederick, Maryland, this weekend to see a similarly dreamy tableau with your own eyes.

Now in its third year, Color on the Creek—a project that installed lilies, lotuses, and other water plants to limit the growth of algae on Carroll Creek—is in full bloom. According to Color on the Creek's chairman, Peter Kremers, the Frederick water garden—with some 1,800 plants—is now six times the size of Monet's famed garden in Giverny, France. The garden, which is free to see, runs through the heart of lively Frederick, home to interesting shops and good restaurants.

Although there are blooms at all hours, including at night, Kremers says that the best time to visit is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. or noon, when every plant is in full flower—the day bloomers open around 8 or 9 a.m, while the night bloomers, which come alive at 7 p.m., stay open until 11 a.m. or noon.

Can't make it this weekend? The garden will continue to grow larger, and remain at peak, for the next three weeks. In fact, there will be something in bloom until the first frost, in late October or early November.

Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 08/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Admit it—you often dream of a simpler life. A small-town life. Here are 27 places that will charm you with old-fashioned hospitality and new fangled vigor, whether you visit for a day, a weekend—or for good.
Downtown Lexington. Photograph via iStock.

America's "Coolest Small Town"

Berlin, Maryland

Explore Love & War

Boonsboro, Maryland

Kayak a Wildlife Refuge

Cambridge, Maryland

Enjoy a Halloween Tradition

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 08/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Welcome to Port Tobacco, MD: population 16. By Michael Gaynor
Port Tobacco, population 16, wasn't always so minor. Photograph by Pat and Chuck Blackley/Alamy.

There are small towns, and then there’s Port Tobacco, Maryland. According to the 2010 census, its population is just 13. But when asked for a more updated number, all resident Kay Volman has to do is crane her neck and count the houses.

“Let’s see—one, two, three . . . .” she says. A visitor has a view of just about every residence in Port Tobacco from the front of the historic courthouse. Many are restored from the original Colonial-era constructions, the oldest dating to 1720. Some residents, most of whom are retirees, can chart their Port Tobacco heritage to the 19th century.

Volman finishes counting: “Sixteen! So we’ve grown a little bit.”

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Posted at 09:32 AM/ET, 08/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph by Andrew Propp

Most beach communities shut down come Labor Day, but not Lewes, Delaware (one reason it attracts a fair share of retirees). Visitors will find a picturesque historic district and a handful of shops and activities—including a scenic bike loop through Cape Henlopen State Park and Rehoboth—that make for a pleasant visit even on a cool or cloudy day.

The off-season makes it easier to get a table at Agave (137 Second St.; 302-645-1232), a terrific Mexican restaurant where, in season, the peak wait can be three hours, and at Nectar Cafe & Juice Bar (111 Neils Alley; 302-645-5842), a sweet spot for juices, sandwiches, and breakfast. Stay at the Inn at Canal Square (122 Market St.; 888-644-1911) in a room overlooking the soothing canal or at Dogfish Inn (105 Savannah Rd.; 302-644-8292), with its beer-infused, retro-modern vibe.

Population: 2,943.

Distance from DC: 118 miles.

Town trivia: Founded in 1631, Lewes is the “First Town in the First State.”

Posted at 05:13 PM/ET, 08/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A pulled-pork sandwich from the BBQ Joint.

Come Saturday night, the otherwise quiet town of Easton buzzes as people make their way along the brick sidewalks to dinner. For years, this small town has earned an outsize reputation for good food. You can sit on the patio at the Bartlett Pear Inn (28 S. Harrison St.; 410-770-3300) and sample the light farm-to-table fare that chef/co-owner Jordan Lloyd honed during his tenure at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s storied New York restaurant. Or try dishes like butter-poached lobster at the Peacock Restaurant & Lounge (202 E. Dover St.; 410-819-8007), housed in a gracious mansion. It’s not all haute cuisine: The BBQ Joint (216 E. Dover St.; 410-690-3641)—which has an outpost at DC’s Union Market—delivers juicy ribs and brisket. Out of the Fire (22 Goldsborough St.; 410-770-4777) offers organic salads and wood-fired pizza, while Brasserie Brightwell (206 N. Washington St.; 410-819-3838) serves steak frites and other French bistro fare.

The roasting room at Rise Up Roasters.

One of the best ways to delve into the town’s food culture is with a three-hour, $59 tour from Eastern Shore Food Tours, Saturdays 11 to 2; you can try bites and sips at four restaurants and meet the chefs. Stay at the Tidewater Inn (101 E. Dover St.; 410-822-1300) at the center of town, and walk to breakfast at Rise Up (618 Dover Rd.; 410-822-1353), a funky cafe that roasts fair-trade beans on-site.

Population: 16,675.

Distance from DC: 70 miles.

Town Trivia: The Waterfowl Festival, November 12 through 15, features oysters, goose-calling contests, and world-class art.

Posted at 04:45 PM/ET, 08/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()