As the leaves start to turn and the air becomes crisp, there’s nothing quite like the charm of historic inns to make your autumn getaway truly memorable. These timeless establishments offer not only a glimpse into the past but also breathtaking vistas that perfectly complement the season. So, if you’re a fan of history, nature, and cozy getaways, here are 10 historic properties with fall views as rich as their storied pasts.
1. LeConte Lodge, Sevierville, Tennessee
- The View: Mountain ash and conifer forests in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains, LeConte Lodge stands as the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States, perched at an impressive 6,593 feet. Getting there is an adventure in itself, with guests embarking on a scenic five-mile hike. And yes, they proudly offer “I Hiked It” T-shirts for those who conquer the trail.
The circa-1926 wood-shingled cabins and lodges provide not only terrific views over the Tennessee Valley but also a rustic experience with no electricity. Instead, the warm glow of kerosene lanterns illuminates your evenings. Beyond the breathtaking nature, communal meals foster camaraderie, making it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
2. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada
- The View: The St. Lawrence River and changing leaves.
In the heart of Quebec City, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac stands as a magnificent 1893 hotel. As the maples and birches change to shades of crimson and amber in late September, this castle-like hotel becomes a sought-after destination.
Built to charm train travelers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this Fairmont property offers not only stunning river views but also a library-like 1608 Bar for a memorable drink experience. Wander the cobblestone streets of Vieux-Québec (Old City) and explore the vibrant fall colors in spots like the Plains of Abraham.
3. The Outlook Lodge, Green Mountain Falls, Colorado
- The View: Towering pines and red rock mountains.
Originally constructed as a church rectory in 1889, the Outlook Lodge in Colorado exudes historic charm. With its wood-framed structure and wraparound porch, it offers an inviting atmosphere for your fall retreat.
Situated approximately 15 miles from Colorado Springs, the lodge provides easy access to the Ute Pass and the picturesque town of Green Mountain Falls. Nature lovers will appreciate its proximity to Pike National Forest, where hiking trails, including the breathtaking Crags Trail, offer impressive vistas of Pikes Peak.
4. Castle Hot Springs, Morristown, Arizona
- The View: Cacti and desert landscapes.
If you’re in search of a unique desert retreat, Castle Hot Springs in Arizona has been attracting travelers since 1896. Surrounded by Sonoran Desert scenery and natural hot springs, this resort offers a serene escape.
Fall in the Bradshaw Mountain setting is surprisingly lush, with colorful displays of yellow, pink, and green from prickly pear flowers, palo verde trees, and gold poppies. Guests can immerse themselves in the desert experience with dips in natural pools carved into a creek or daring adventures like the via ferrata, which features a 200-foot-long aerial walkway over the valley.
5. The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, California
- The View: Waterfalls and dramatic rock faces.
In Yosemite National Park, the Ahwahnee Lodge stands as a testament to parkitecture, blending seamlessly with its surroundings. Constructed in 1927, this lodge boasts magnificent views, both inside and out.
As fall arrives, the leaves on the surrounding black oak trees transform into shades of yellow and orange, enhancing the lodge’s beauty. Located at the east end of Yosemite Valley, the Ahwahnee provides easy access to rock climbing at Royal Arches and hiking along the scenic Merced River.
6. Sylvan Lake Lodge, Custer State Park, South Dakota
- The View: A rock-framed mountain lake and pine forests.
Built in 1937 amid the Black Hills of western South Dakota, Sylvan Lake Lodge offers a cozy retreat at 6,145 feet. Guests can choose to stay in the main building with its wood-paneled lobby and stone deck overlooking Sylvan Lake or opt for one of the eleven cabins, including a honeymoon bungalow with breathtaking views of Cathedral Spires.
Exploring the surroundings is a must, with a mile-long trail around the lake leading to waterfalls, towering boulders, and access to longer hikes. For wildlife enthusiasts, the nearby Custer State Park’s Wildlife Loop Road is perfect for spotting bison, pronghorn, and the occasional coyote.
7. The Roundhouse, Beacon, New York
- The View: The rushing rapids of Fishkill Creek.
This boutique hotel in upstate New York combines 18th- and 19th-century redbrick buildings with modern comforts. Once home to textile and lawnmower factories, the property now offers plush guest rooms, industrial-cool bathrooms, and, in some suites, views of the rocky falls of Fishkill Creek.
Don’t miss the chance to dine in the hotel restaurant, which serves locally sourced produce and game. Beyond the hotel, Beacon has transformed into a popular weekend getaway, thanks in part to contemporary art museum Dia Beacon, making it an ideal destination for art and nature lovers alike.
8. Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais, Minnesota
- The View: A lake in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters.
Since 1925, Gunflint Lodge has been a haven for anglers in northern Minnesota’s Gunflint Lake. The lodge offers a mix of contemporary and historic cabins, all with stunning lake views and stone fireplaces.
Autumn brings golden leaves to the birches and aspens, creating a picturesque landscape. As winter sets in, guests have the chance to witness the Northern Lights from cabins facing north. The lodge also organizes full moon hikes, offering opportunities to spot wildlife in the serene Superior National Forest.
9. The Historic Driftwood Resort, Vero Beach, Florida
- The View: Atlantic Ocean waves.
Built in 1935, the Historic Driftwood Inn in Vero Beach, Florida, exudes rustic charm with salvaged barn timber construction. Each of the one hundred unique rooms tells its own story, with some featuring clawfoot tubs and porches adorned with vintage train bells.
Fall in Florida brings big waves and nesting loggerhead sea turtles along the coast. Keep an eye out for hatchlings during your morning walks or head to the nearby Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a critical habitat for these magnificent creatures.
10. The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
– The View: Autumn colors in the Allegheny Mountains.
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, the Omni Homestead Resort has been a favorite retreat for swells, including President Thomas Jefferson, since the 18th century. Newly renovated rooms offer a comfortable stay in a redbrick colonial-revival structure.
For the best fall views, request a room at the back of the building. Whether you soak in the hotel’s mineral water Serenity Garden Pool or venture to the historic Warm Spring Pools, which recently underwent a $4 million restoration, you’ll find relaxation and natural beauty. As winter approaches, the Gentlemen’s Bath House with its domed roof becomes an enchanting spot to soak, with snowflakes falling through the oculus creating a magical ambiance.
So, whether you’re craving the vibrant colors of fall foliage or seeking the cozy charm of historic inns, these 10 properties promise an unforgettable autumn experience. Each one not only offers a glimpse into the past but also a chance to create new memories in the embrace of nature’s beauty. Enjoy your autumn adventure!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Autumn Inns
What are some highlights of LeConte Lodge in Tennessee?
LeConte Lodge in Tennessee offers stunning mountain views, rustic cabins with no electricity, and a unique hiking experience.
What can I expect at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City?
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac boasts views of the St. Lawrence River, a historic ambiance, and easy access to Old Quebec’s cobblestone streets.
What sets The Outlook Lodge in Colorado apart?
The Outlook Lodge in Colorado offers a historic wood-framed setting, proximity to hiking trails, and a serene forested environment.
Tell me about the natural beauty of Castle Hot Springs in Arizona.
Castle Hot Springs in Arizona offers desert landscapes, natural hot springs, and lush fall colors, making it a unique desert retreat.
What makes The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park special?
The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park features stunning parkitecture, captivating fall views, and easy access to outdoor activities.
What’s unique about Sylvan Lake Lodge in South Dakota?
Sylvan Lake Lodge in South Dakota offers lakeside cabins, a mile-long trail, and opportunities for wildlife sightings in the Black Hills.
What’s special about The Roundhouse in Beacon, New York?
The Roundhouse in Beacon, New York, offers a blend of historic redbrick buildings, modern comforts, and the soothing sound of Fishkill Creek.
What’s the appeal of Gunflint Lodge in Minnesota?
Gunflint Lodge in Minnesota provides lakeside cabins, golden autumn leaves, and the chance to witness the Northern Lights in winter.
What’s unique about The Historic Driftwood Resort in Vero Beach, Florida?
The Historic Driftwood Resort in Florida boasts oceanfront views, rustic charm, and the chance to see nesting loggerhead sea turtles in fall.
What’s special about the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia?
The Omni Homestead Resort in Virginia offers a historic setting, autumnal beauty in the Allegheny Mountains, and rejuvenating mineral pools.