Checking Inn


Fall comes as a welcome change after summer’s long, hot days—a bridge between seasons before the frigid hush of winter. This shift is heralded by shorter days and crisper nights as Mother Nature shows off her true colors in blazes of yellow, red and orange leaves. Pick-your-own farms welcome visitors with hayrides and cider and wineries celebrate crush. There’s nothing like enjoying the charm of a small, boutique hotel or inn and there’s no better time of year to explore them than fall. These are the most idyllic inns in America for taking in all that is fall – from foliage to apple picking, farm-to-table dining to spa treatments. From coast to coast, we take a peek inside the dreamy doors of inn after gorgeous inn.

-Rebecca Treon

Here, a peek at a few of our favorite inns. See all 27 that made our list in the Fall 2015 issue of Reign Magazine. On Colorado newsstands and online by clicking here…

Walland, Tennessee

In the 1930s, Chicagoans Dave and Florida Laiser discovered the perfect location for their dream home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains when Florida snagged her silk stocking on a wild blackberry bramble. In 1976, Sandy and Kreis Beall took over the home (son Sam was just four months old), situated on 4,200 acres of tranquility, and converted it into a six-room country inn. Thirty-nine years later, Sam, along with his own family, has continued his family’s legacy of welcome and hospitality. Its luxury accommodations include cottages and standalone houses alongside the extensive farm projects, including heirloom vegetables, fresh eggs, cheese and jam-making, and honey production. Activities from hiking to concerts are on the menu (artists like Emmylou Harris play), but Blackberry Farm’s real focus is culinary: their extraordinary cooking classes, farm-to-table program, brewery, and wine program have garnered them three James Beard awards.

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Canyon Point, Utah

Situated on 600 raw acres of otherworldly desert, it’s easy to feel completely transported at this tucked-away set of boxlike buildings made from stone that blend seamlessly into the surrounding valley. Centered around the swimming pool (built to encompass a large rock formation, with floating relaxation beds) each space around the hotel, including the Living Room and Dining Room, offer sweeping dramatic views of the desert valley and its rock formations. The library is filled with books and games, fireplaces take off the chill, and a minimalist aesthetic lends a feeling of total serenity. Relax under a starlit sky with a drink from Amangiri’s world class wine cellar in the Lounge, reveling in the unexpected getaway found in this sparse valley overlooking the Escalante National Monument.

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Rancho Santa Fe, California

On 21 landscaped acres full of lush rosebushes and towering fragrant eucalyptus, this Mission style southern California retreat (once a secluded getaway for Hollywood starlets) has just undergone a major renovation, upping the luxe factor of the inn and its legendary spa. The original boutique hotel and cottages date from the 1920s to the 1940s, and are surrounded by gardens, pathways, and pools. Defined by antiques and artwork placed throughout the nostalgic hotel, with its sunlit patios, painted tile work, and red tile rooftops, the Inn is the quintessential example of California Spanish revival-style architecture. Hollywood’s greats have long considered the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe an intimate retreat. Likewise, it’s geared toward equestrians and golfers, and croquet on the lawn is a longstanding tradition.

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Dunton, Colorado

Nestled in a valley near Telluride, Dunton began as a mining camp in 1895, but after its boom, the town was abandoned. Post 1918, the ghost town and its surrounding 500 acres operated as a cattle ranch, and later, a tourist dude ranch; in 1994 the property underwent an extensive renovation to become a resort. Today, the 13 standalone cabins have been completely upgraded to include luxe accommodations in a rustic atmosphere. The area offers six hot springs (enjoy a soak under the stars or even in your own cabin) to really get away from it all. Choose from a menu of spa treatments or any number of outdoor activities— fly-fishing, horseback rides on the surrounding mountain trails, or hikes. There’s also a quiet library, outdoor chapel, and a saloon and dance hall where meals are shared at a community table. The saloon’s original wooden bar stands in homage to a bygone era of lawlessness and is carved with Butch Cassidy’s name, among others, giving visitors a taste of the West without leaving behind the comforts of home.

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Winthrop, Washington

Visitors flock to see the changing foliage on the Cascade Highway at this resort where elegance and mountain ruggedness meet. Stay in one of the lodges or a quaint cabin—both are outfitted with furniture and artwork crafted by local artisans. Sit by a cozy fire and enjoy mountain or waterfront views. Enjoy tastes from an extensive collection of Washington wines, and meals created from goods procured from area farms and producers. Sweeping views of the valley call guests outdoors for hiking, fly-fishing, and horseback riding, though some like to take a turn on a boat. As high as the clouds, Sun Mountain is an escape in every sense of the word.

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Hawley, Pennsylvania

An award-winning retreat set on 150 acres (with a lake) of Pocono countryside, the lodge focuses on helping guests re-focus, with daily spa treatments, culinary education, art classes, and yoga and fitness programs. Seasonally-inspired menus come from one of the on-site gardens, there are multiple pools, saunas, and whirlpools to enjoy and both indoor (spin, weights, dance) and outdoor (golf, hiking, kayaking) fitness options. The Lodge is also big on giving back: They house a turtle sanctuary and a number of charitable community programs, as well as a commitment to environmental sustainability.

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Washington, Virginia

Pioneering American Chef Patrick O’Connell started this legendary inn in a former garage in 1978. Out of necessity, he made use of the now trendy farm-to-table concept by allying himself with local farmers and producers. A self-taught chef, he has earned countless accolades and is credited with re-inventing American cuisine. Over the past thirty-odd years, the inn has grown to include four standalone houses from the colonial era, each sumptuously decorated by London stage and set designer Joyce Evans. The small village in rural Virginia remains nearly as unspoiled as it was when George Washington himself named the streets in 1749. Nearby towns offer antiquing and pick-your- own orchards, winery tours, and scenic drives through the Shenandoah Valley and Montpelier and Monticello presidential estates.

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Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

In 1775, the local doc, Doctor Bird, owned the parcel of land where this unconventional resort now sits, until Winthrop and Vivian Smith purchased the historic estate in 1948. The farm, (on which the Smiths raised ample fruit, vegetables, and livestock) remains in the family today, the original manor at the heart of the 113-acre resort. Eighteen uniquely designed cottages have whimsical themes; one is a treehouse replete with Jacuzzi and fireplace suspended 35 feet above ground, a childhood fantasy become real. Three acres of organic gardens and three greenhouses, plus an apiary, henhouse, and an orchard supply the restaurant with fresh goods (cooking classes are part of the offerings, too). The spa and fitness classes are the perfect rejuvenating retreat, and activities for all ages and seasons ensure that there’s always a way to enjoy Winvian.

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Philipsburg, Montana

What began as a mining claim in the 1860s became a cattle ranch until being converted into today’s luxury guest ranch. Remote though it may be, visitors are enveloped into a true western experience by staying at the Granite Lodge, whose nine unique rooms reflect the authentic West. The 19th century barn has been restored to include three rustic rooms, while canvas glamping cabins are so spectacular you’d never know you were in a tent. Seven luxury homes accommodate larger groups and families. Between straddling a saddle bar stool in the saloon, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, shooting, geocaching, archery, rodeo, stagecoach rides and s’mores over a fire pit, nothing is missing from this rural Western adventure.

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Big Sur, California

The Posts were among Big Sur’s founding families, and their hundred-acre homestead developed from a ranch into an acclaimed luxury resort with a unique commitment to environmental and social stewardship. Lodgings are built with sustainable materials, the hotel uses solar power, and the grounds provide a habitat for a number of wild creatures. The onsite restaurant, Sierra Mar, has an award-winning wine cellar. Enjoy a hot stone couples’ massage before a cozy fire with a view of trees and sea cliffs. Dramatic ocean views paired with modern glass and wood cabins make this an unforgettable destination.

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St. Simons Island, Georgia

This little island has been privately owned since 1908 and is only accessible by boat. It offers seven miles of beaches and 10,000 acres of wilderness to explore with naturalist programs ranging from birding to bicycling to beach combing. The island’s six charming cottages–surrounded by moss draped oaks and marshland—can accommodate 32 guests; the perfect getaway for a family reunion. Sustainable family-style dining is inspired by the island’s seed-to-table garden, which provides organic fruits and vegetables alongside locally procured seafood. Enjoy the unhurried pace of island life at this jewel of the Georgian Golden Isles.

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