Art, Flora and Fireplaces Near Philly

The Inn at Bowman’s Hill - New Hope, Pennsylvania

Drive Time: An hour north of Philadelphia and 90 minutes southwest of NYC

This BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection stunner is truly one-of-a-kind in its Bucks County locale. Its grounds are a certified wildlife habitat. Just minutes away is the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, where 130-some acres of fields and meadows are awash in native flora. Though it’s monumentally hard to leave the inn, with its luxurious fireside suites and on-site swimming pool.

For its small size, Bucks County is home to several major institutions, including the James A. Michener Art Museum. Nearby, explore the quirky Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle, the poured-concrete Gothic home of a gentleman anthropologist and collector extraordinaire.




Great Crab, Great Oak on the Eastern Shore

Great Oak Manor - Chestertown, Maryland

Drive Time: 2 hours or less from Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philly

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is one of the top coastal regions in the mid-Atlantic, known for its proximity to major area metros and family-friendly summer fun. For an elegant stay, the waterfront Great Oak Manor is tops. The historical estate has a private beach, perfect sunsets and rooms filled with period details: crown molding, intricate floral wallpaper, and original fireplaces.

The Eastern Shore has all the usual coastal activities: birding, boating, fishing. Take it a step further with a stop for crab. Hop on a Chesapeake charter (like Let’s Go Crabbing on nearby Tilghman Island) that supplies bait and equipment and catch a Maryland blue crab of your very own. DIY dinner, anyone? On your way be sure to check out the Wye Grist Mill, the oldest water powered grist mill in the U.S. Where they've been grinding grain since 1682! 




A Magnum Opus (or Two) in the Catskills

Renwick Clifton House - Saugerties, New York

Drive Time: Around 2 hours from NYC, Scranton, Hartford or New Haven

This grand 1812 manse looks straight out of the antebellum South. And yet, here it is in Saugerties, a small town nestled between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River, loved for hiking and biking, antiquing and art. Spend the day on the trails or the shops, then sink into relaxation in the Renwick Clifton’s downright luxe rooms, complete with W Hotels mattresses and silk blankets.

Take a detour to one of the Catskills’ strangest, loveliest secrets. Opus 40 is a former quarry turned sculpture park, where visitors are welcome to walk around and scramble on the works. Take off on a nearby hiking trail on Overlook Mountain, or enjoy one of the many events at Opus 40 ranging from the musical to the mystical.



Battlefields and Breakfasts in West Virginia

The Carriage Inn B&B - Charles Town, West Virginia

Drive Time: Less than 90 minutes from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore’s ‘burbs

The Carriage Inn promises to “break you out of the rat race” and they manage to do just that. Two suites come with Jacuzzi tubs, and most rooms have a seasonal gas fireplace for warming up wintry weekend escapees. But it’s the warm service from innkeepers Donn and Marie that brings repeat guests back (plus breakfasts like caramel apple French toast).

Harpers Ferry is just 15 minutes east, passed by most Beltway and Baltimore residents on their way to the inn. It’s home to multiple museums and exhibits about the Civil War, including the hyper-immersive Living History Weekends that take this national park one step past the usual reenactors.



A Beach Retreat Fit for a Queen

The Queen Victoria - Cape May, New Jersey

Drive Time: A reasonable 90 minutes from Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE

Cape May is a quaint seaside town located on the southern tip of New Jersey’s coastline. Its homes and promenades are straight out of a Victorian postcard, and the Queen Victoria is a proper example of the town’s intricate architecture and historical charm. Here, antiques mix well with modern comforts, especially in the aptly named Crown Jewel suite. (Hello, two-person marble shower!)

As you drive your way south to Cape May, you’ll find the Jersey Shore is packed with sights, especially along Wildwoods’ forever-long boardwalk. Lovers of the strange and historical, check out Asbury Park: Both the Paranormal Bookshop and the vintage pinball Silverball Museum are well worth the stop.


—by Dara Continenza