When the thermometer begins to hit boiling degrees -- and days start with sweaty commutes and nights end with incessantly flipping your pillow to the cool side -- it’s natural to want to book it to the beach. Though the ocean breeze and refreshing waters will help you keep your chill when mercury’s at an all-time high, the crowds are less than ideal. With that in mind, we recommend trying something different and packing your bags for the U.S. countryside, where you can get away from it all while reconnecting with nature. Here are eight picturesque properties around the country worth checking into.
1. Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
Close your eyes and picture the countryside -- what do you see? Sprawling lawns, perhaps? How about some babbling creeks, rustic barns, serene ponds, and majestic mountains in the distance? Blackberry Farm, a gorgeous farm hotel that sits on 4,200 acres in Walland, Tennessee has it all. Still, despite its secluded setting, guests will not be required to rough it during their stay. Pampering amenities include a tranquil spa, two pools, and a restaurant that serves up farm-to-table fare (the majority of the produce is picked from the property’s garden). Wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, brewery tours, and gardening activities are also on offer. The upscale attitude also spills into the rooms (chic, private cottages shelter plush beds and large porches; some also feature fireplaces and whirlpools). Cozy rooms within the Main House are also available, and are adorned in antiques and elegant furnishings. Foodie and nature lovers, rejoice.
2. Gramercy Mansion, Maryland
Housed inside a 1902 English Tudor-style mansion, this upscale property seduces romantic couples with its ornately decorated rooms that feature two-person jetted tubs and fireplaces. Elegant manicured gardens, an outdoor pool, and free made-to-order breakfasts -- plus, rich decor, including loads of antiques, oriental rugs, crystal chandeliers, and medieval-looking tapestries -- seal the deal. But that doesn’t mean families don’t stop by. In fact, the property welcomes all generations, with kid-friendly perks like a basketball hoop, playground, and trampoline, too.
3. Amee Farm, Vermont
Set on 40 acres, Amee Farm isn’t your typical bed-and-breakfast. Sure, it’s warm and quaint and has plenty of charm to go around like all the rest, but the rooms here look like they could star in a chic home decor magazine. But don’t worry -- stylish as it may be, those who are seeking a peaceful countryside getaway will discover just that, thanks to the hotel’s isolated location, which features ponds, a waterfall, hiking and biking trails, and a wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs for admiring the scenery.
4. Hidden Pond, Maine
All of the bungalows and cottages at this upscale boutique hotel are bright and homey, with pops of color and lodge-like touches like stone fireplaces adorned with antlers. And while the accommodations are certainly intriguing, the major selling point is the hotel’s tranquil, get-away-from-it-all vibe, which is highlighted by a spa that’s set up to resemble a tree house, free yoga classes that are held at the organic farm (where guests can also pick up fresh flowers and produce), and an outdoor bar and grill that sits on a “sand bar” with chairs surrounding fire pits. Plus, a shuttle transports visitors to and from the beach that’s five minutes away. It’s no wonder couples and families are both drawn to booking a stay here.
5. Winvian, Connecticut
Quiet, relaxing, and secluded -- these are a few words that capture what Winvian, a romantic property set on 113 acres of countryside outside the tiny village of Morris, is all about. Guests will get the best of both worlds, as the cottages exude an understated rustic elegance and are coupled with the convenience of modern amenities, such as working fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and Bose surround systems. A terrific spa and restaurant serving a farm-to-table menu with seasonal ingredients top off the serene escape.
6. Westglow Resort & Spa, North Carolina
Not only does this hotel occupy a 42-acre estate that’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it was also originally built in 1917 as the home of local painter and writer Elliott Daingerfield -- and is surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. And that’s not where the property’s impressive features stop. Visitors can channel their inner peace during a yoga class or morning walk, break a sweat at a tennis session, splash around the indoor pool and hot tub, refuel at the popular fine-dining restaurant, or unwind at the holistic spa, which provides everything from Swedish massages to acupuncture. Or, simply stake out a spot on one of the rocking chairs on the front porch and take it all in. (Note: bed-and-breakfast and all-inclusive packages are available as well.)
7. Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas
Despite its name -- and the fact that it offers over a hundred spa and salon treatment options -- this waterside retreat in Texas Hill Country is much more than a spa resort. The bucolic property offers kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, hiking, and 19 lakeside acres for kicking back and relaxing. Fitness classes, wellness lectures, yoga, and three swimming pools will also keep guests occupied, as will the restaurant that serves fare using produce and herbs grown at the resort’s organic garden. All that activity will have you feeling tired in no time -- and the rooms, which are small yet charming, provide the perfect place to get some shut-eye.
8. The Inn at Fontanel, Tennessee
Built in the style of a Tennessee country farmhouse, this 184-acre property is situated in a wooded area that features a peaceful courtyard with gardens, a pond, a fountain, and a waterfall. Secluded it may be, but there’s plenty of on-site amenities that make this hotel a destination in and of itself (an amphitheater that hosts a range of shows, a whiskey and rum distillery, a wine tasting room, hiking trails, and ziplines, to name a few). Guests can even borrow bikes and golf carts to explore the grounds, which also house the former home of country singer Barbara Mandrell. In keeping with the rest of the property, the rooms are also simultaneously rustic and elegant. (The Grand Southern Suite features a to-die-for walk-in closet, the King Guest House comes with a fireplace, and the Carriage House boasts a rooftop patio.) And if a change of pace is what you’re after, you can reach the bars, restaurants, shops, and music scene of downtown Nashville in 20 minutes by car.
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