Summer travel is classic fun, sure, but don’t overlook winter and its quiet and bountiful beauty. From boutique country inns to sprawling mountain estates, here are seven Southern retreats where you won’t fret if there’s a little chill in the air.
Freshly reopened, century-old Keswick Hall makes an ideal base for exploring Charlottesville and its surrounding wineries. Whether you choose to venture out or stay inside all day, don’t miss a meal (or two, or three) at Marigold, the new onsite restaurant by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with seasonal dishes such as fig compote and burrata in aged balsamic and tarragon, and beef tenderloin with miso mustard and parsnips. You’ll want to save room for the caramelized apple pie and a tumbler of amaro.
Meadows of Dan, Virginia
The 12,000 acres that make up Primland shine in the winter when the leafless landscape makes it possible to see straight across the Blue Ridge Mountains. On clear winter nights, an astronomer directs star-gazing views into the winter sky from Primland’s own planetarium.
Salamander, in the heart of Virginia’s horse country, welcomes guests with fireplaces at seemingly every corner and a spa where you can whittle away a whole day. Brace the cold for an onsite riding lesson with one of Salamander’s instructors or opt for a guided trail ride through the property’s 340 acres of rolling fields. Traveling with your own horse? Salamander’s twenty-two-stall horse barn is open for overnight guests.
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
No place decorates for the holidays quite like “America’s Resort,” but even after the new year, Greenbrier keeps winter guests occupied with an indoor pool, ice skating rink, and a full schedule of events, including its Dinner & Show series throughout January, February, and March (including a Murder Mystery Dinner on March 5) and bourbon tastings every Friday and Saturday evening.
Inn at Perry Cabin
St. Michael’s, Maryland
Maryland’s Eastern Shore is sleepy and stunning in the winter when the crowds have fled but many restaurants and shops are still open. Enjoy the quiet at the Inn at Perry Cabin, where you can book a massage, ride a bike into town, or venture further afield to catch a glimpse of the wild horses of Assateague Island or visit the shops of nearby Easton. The inn also recently converted its greenhouses and gazebos to make outdoor dining possible year-round.
This recently renovated modern take on a country inn sits on the edge of Shenandoah National Park. Bin Lu, the former chef of D.C.’s lauded Pineapple & Pearls helms the new restaurant, where the four-course prix-fixe menu features wine-poached quinces and chicken pot pie with chanterelles.
Old Edwards Inn & Spa
Highlands, North Carolina
The award-winning inn and spa sits in a pocket of Western North Carolina that has long attracted artists and musicians. Take in a concert at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts or head to the Bascom arts center for ceramics and fiber exhibitions and a notable artist shop. Or, just stay close and cozy up with a book in the inn’s fireside lounge.