Ah, autumn—the season of crisp air, rustling leaves, and cozy getaways. And what could be better than experiencing the magic of fall at a historic inn that’s steeped in charm and surrounded by nature’s finest? If you’re a fan of both history and the vibrant colors of fall, you’re in for a treat. We’ve scoured North America to bring you 10 historic properties that not only boast rich pasts but also offer views that will leave you awestruck.
1. LeConte Lodge, Sevierville, Tennessee
- The View: Mountain ash and conifer forests in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Located at a staggering 6,593 feet in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, LeConte Lodge is a true gem. While the trek to this mountainous haven is not for the faint-hearted (a steep five-mile hike awaits), the reward is well worth it. The lodge, with its circa-1926 wood-shingled cabins and lodges, offers breathtaking views over the Tennessee Valley. But be prepared for a rustic experience; there’s no electricity here, only the warm glow of kerosene lanterns. It’s the perfect place to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature, not to mention the camaraderie over communal meals.
2. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada
- The View: The St. Lawrence River and changing leaves.
Quebec City, with its historic charm, comes alive in the fall as the maples and birches paint the landscape with crimson and amber hues. Amid this picturesque setting stands the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, a fortress-like hotel dating back to 1893. The east side of the hotel offers the best views of the sunrise over the St. Lawrence River. While here, explore the cobblestone streets of Vieux-Québec, including the stunning Plains of Abraham.
3. The Outlook Lodge, Green Mountain Falls, Colorado
- The View: Towering pines and red rock mountains.
Built in 1889 as a church rectory, The Outlook Lodge in Colorado is a delightful escape. Its six guest rooms feature mid-century furnishings and abstract artworks, making it a unique blend of history and modern comfort. The lodge is surrounded by tall trees and offers easy access to hiking paths, including the Crags Trail with impressive vistas of Pikes Peak.
4. Castle Hot Springs, Morristown, Arizona
- The View: Cacti and desert landscapes.
For a truly unique experience, head to Castle Hot Springs in Arizona. This resort, dating back to 1896, offers natural hot springs and stunning desert scenery. In the fall, the Bradshaw Mountain setting comes to life with vibrant colors, including yellow, pink, and green hues from prickly pear flowers and palo verde trees. Guests can soak in natural pools carved into a creek or embark on horseback rides amid towering saguaros.
5. The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, California
- The View: Waterfalls and dramatic rock faces.
Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Lodge is a masterpiece of “parkitecture” constructed from local granite and concrete. While the lodge itself is a sight to behold, the fall views are equally breathtaking. As the black oak trees don their yellow and orange foliage, you’ll have a front-row seat to iconic sights like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. It’s also an ideal base for rock climbing and hiking adventures.
6. Sylvan Lake Lodge, Custer State Park, South Dakota
- The View: A rock-framed mountain lake and pine forests.
Set at 6,145 feet in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Sylvan Lake Lodge is a charming escape. The lodge, built in 1937, offers a range of accommodations, including cabins with views of the Cathedral Spires rock formation. You can explore a mile-long trail around the lake, spot waterfalls, and even drive the Wildlife Loop Road to catch glimpses of bison and pronghorn.
7. The Roundhouse, Beacon, New York
- The View: The rushing rapids of Fishkill Creek.
A boutique hotel in upstate New York, The Roundhouse is housed in 18th- and 19th-century redbrick buildings perched above the rapids of Fishkill Creek. The hotel’s guest rooms are a mix of reclaimed wood, industrial-cool bathrooms, and cozy alpaca blankets. Some suites offer views of the rocky falls, creating a soothing ambiance complemented by the sound of rushing water. Don’t forget to indulge in the local produce and game at the hotel’s restaurant.
8. Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais, Minnesota
- The View: A lake in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters.
Nestled in northern Minnesota’s Gunflint Lake, Gunflint Lodge has been a haven for anglers since 1925. Here, you can stay in both contemporary and historic cabins, all offering lake views and stone fireplaces. In the fall, golden leaves adorn the birches and aspens, creating a picturesque setting. And during winter, you might be treated to mesmerizing views of the Northern Lights.
9. The Historic Driftwood Resort, Vero Beach, Florida
- The View: Atlantic Ocean waves.
This rustic oceanfront property in Florida, built in 1935, offers a unique coastal experience. Each of its 100 rooms is different, with some featuring clawfoot tubs and vintage train bells on porches. In the fall, you can witness big waves and nesting loggerhead sea turtles, making it a perfect time for a beachfront stroll or a visit to the nearby Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
10. The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
– The View: Autumn colors in the Allegheny Mountains.
If you’re seeking an autumn retreat in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, look no further than The Omni Homestead Resort. This historic mountain resort, dating back to the 18th century, offers newly renovated rooms with spectacular fall views. For the best leaf-peeping experience, request a room at the back of the building. And don’t miss the chance to soak in the Serenity Garden Pool or explore the historic Warm Spring Pools.
As you embark on your fall adventures, whether it’s hiking in the Smoky Mountains or savoring the charm of Quebec City, these historic inns promise not only a glimpse into the past but also a front-row seat to nature’s most dazzling show. So, pack your bags and get ready to bask in the splendor of autumn at these remarkable destinations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Autumn Getaways
Q: How can I book a stay at one of these historic inns for the fall season?
A: Booking your autumn getaway at these historic inns is easy. Simply visit the official website of the inn you’re interested in or contact them directly. Most of them offer online reservation systems or provide contact information for inquiries and bookings.
Q: Are these inns suitable for families with children?
A: While these historic inns are known for their charm and scenic locations, it’s essential to check with each property regarding their family-friendly amenities and policies. Some inns may cater more to couples and adults, while others welcome families with open arms. It’s always a good idea to inquire about accommodations, activities, and age restrictions before booking.
Q: What should I pack for a fall stay at these inns?
A: Packing for a fall stay at these inns depends on your planned activities and the specific location. Generally, you’ll want to bring layers, as fall weather can be unpredictable. Don’t forget comfortable hiking or walking shoes, as many of these inns are situated in natural settings with hiking trails. Also, consider packing a camera to capture the stunning fall foliage.
Q: Are there dining options at these historic inns?
A: Many of these inns offer dining options, ranging from on-site restaurants serving local cuisine to communal meals with other guests. However, it’s a good practice to check in advance, especially if you have dietary restrictions or specific culinary preferences. Some inns may also be close to dining establishments in nearby towns or cities, giving you the flexibility to explore local cuisine.
Q: What are some activities I can enjoy during my stay at these inns?
A: Activities vary depending on the location and the inn. Common activities include hiking, exploring nearby natural attractions, enjoying fall foliage, and stargazing. Some inns may offer additional amenities such as hot tubs, outdoor fire pits, or even guided tours. Be sure to inquire about the activities available at the specific inn you plan to visit to make the most of your stay.