Charleston

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mega-resort just as much as the next person. But sometimes the large crowds, all-you-can-eat buffets, and 24-hour casinos make for an overwhelming stay. When we seek quieter, more intimate getaways, we head to these cottages, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts for some R&R.

Hidden Pond, Maine

Hidden Pond

If you’ve ever dreamt of living in the wilderness, but cringe at the bare bones nature of Thoreau’s stay in Walden, then consider Hidden Pond; it’s got all the seclusion and beauty you crave, with the upscale amenities you can’t live without. Spread over 60 acres in Kennebunkport, the individually decorated bungalows and cottages are cozy, with bright pops of color and some cabin-esque touches (think Ralph Lauren meets woods). The tree house-like spa is a nice perk, as is the organic vegetable farm, and the outdoor bar and restaurant with awesome seating around a fire pit.

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A hotel has “made it” when it’s honored as a Relais & Chateaux property. After all, established in 1954 in France (mais bien sur?!), this exclusive association is made up of just about 500 hotels and restaurants, combined, that introduce guests “to a deeper, truer understanding of the Art of Living.” Or, in much simpler Oyster terms, they show guests a darn good time by providing gorgeous rooms, luxurious facilities and amenities, and top-notch service. We’ve been lucky enough to have stayed in quite a few of these R&C properties (don’t get too jealous — as hotel experts, we also have to stay in spots like this), and here bring you the real creme de la creme of the best of the best.

1. Saint James Paris

St James

It makes sense to start in grand Paris, non? With a sweeping private entrance surrounded by green lawns and an impressive fountain, the upscale Saint James is a rare find in Paris — in fact, the 19th century manor is considered the only chateau-hotel in the city. It’s fitting that the hotel is located in the wealthy 16th arrondissement (and yes, valet parking is included). The 48 rooms and suites are large by Paris standards, and decorated in plush luxurious fabrics. But the common areas are more impressive — especially the black and white grand staircase on the main floor. The terrace is a beautiful spot for lunch on a nice summer day. And there’s also a small fitness center, a spa, and a gourmet restaurant. The rates here are steep, but guests who want to experience luxury in Paris (and can afford it) should give the Saint James a look.

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This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel

People have long questioned the whole “the bigger, the better” theory. Most have concluded that it really depends on the circumstances, and we’d have to concur. After all, in our area of expertise (hotels, of course), sometimes a megaresort — packed with activities, restaurants, and enough rooms to host hundreds of reunions at one time — is just what we’re looking for. Other times, we seek the privacy and tranquil vibe of a smaller hotel. And sometimes, we find that the most charming stays are those in absolutely itsy bitsy hotels — boutique properties tucked away in historic townhomes or on the top floors of unassuming edifices. So while even a hotel with nearly 100 rooms can be considered a boutique property, the tiny hotels that make this list all have just four rooms or fewer. Take a peek inside these intimate getaways to discover some truly unique stays.

Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam

Bed and Breakfast

Number of Rooms: Three

The picturesque, off-the-beaten-track Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam is charm itself, located on a leafy canal with picturesque views of traditional canal houses and bridges in a residential area away from throngs of tourists. Inside and out, the Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam is set apart by the owners’ attention to detail. The little added touches such as fresh flowers, free afternoon cakes, chocolates on the pillows, and a carafe of black currant gin in each guest’s room upon arrival help make this B&B an intimate, special spot.

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Resorts and mega-hotels certainly have their perks, but few stays can feel as personal or as cozy as one at a quaint bed-and-breakfast. While the level of luxury and service can vary greatly from one B&B to another (some claim the status simply by offering free bagels each morning), we’ve had the good fortune of holing up in some particularly charming bed-and-breakfasts across the states. From romantic rooms that maintain the property’s historic flair to absolutely glorious breakfast buffet spreads, these twelve bed-and-breakfasts offer the very best in the U.S.

1. Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn

Savannah Inn

The 15-room Savannah Bed and Breakfast Inn was built in 1853 in the southern end of the historical quarter of Savannah and is listed in the local register of Historic Inns. Each room has individual character, but all are decorated in a formal, traditional style with four-poster beds, oriental carpets, and shelves stocked with books. The inn is renovated and bathrooms are modern, but certain period features, like steep, narrow staircases, remain. Breakfast included in the daily rate is excellent and southern-inflected; afternoon tea and evening cookies are also served. Rooms are available in four carriage houses and assorted nearby cottages.

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Summer is a time for celebration, family bonding, and — most importantly, in our book — travel. But when vacation extravaganzas to far-flung islands and ancient cities don’t fit into the budget, the answer is not to skip vacation: it’s to nearcation! (Yes, we just made a new word. And we think it’s kinda awesome.) Avoid the cost of flights, currency exchange, and pricey destinations for some spectacular cities that are just a short drive from major U.S. cities — we know where you live… So without further adieu, check out five nearcation destinations that won’t break the bank, but will be just the amazing vacation break that you need!

Atlantic City 

Driving Time from New York City: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Atlantic City

When most people think of Atlantic City, they think gambling, and casinos galore. While that’s certainly a major part of the destination, Atlantic City is also an excellent choice for a wallet-friendly summer vacation that doesn’t have to include time spent at the tables. In fact, this sparkling seaside city offers one of the East Coast’s most impressive lineups of comedy shows, concerts, festivals ,and events, and then piles on plenty of outdoor attractions: sandy beaches, a festive boardwalk (don’t miss the saltwater taffy!), New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, an aquarium, ballet, sport fishing, golf, museums, trolley tours, surfing and a lot, lot more. (Bonus: Check out our non-gamer’s guide to Atlantic City.)

Where to Stay: It’s easy to score a great deal at one of Atlantic City’s casino hotels, but our value pick goes to the Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City. Decked out in Roaring Twenties-themed decor and just steps from the boardwalk, this hotel in an extremely affordable option.

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Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and with it comes the official kick-off of the summer season. When next Friday hits, thousands of beach-bound celebrators will clog the highways on their way to sun and surf. But while we love a good beach day just as much as the next patriot, this Memorial Day we’re excited to try something inland. Join us in avoiding the crowds, uncovering new corners of America, and – of course – honoring our soldiers, with parades, festivals, and much more at these ten locales not on the beach.

1. Washington, D.C.

If you want to go hardcore patriotic, there really isn’t any place better to be this Memorial Day than Washington, D.C. In addition to a variety of military ceremonies taking place around town, visitors can also attend the National Parade or the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally (nothing like the wind in your hair, right?!). Or visitors can also opt to simply stroll through Washington’s many amazing monuments — during the day or at night — and sample some of D.C.’s delicious culinary offerings.

STAY: The gorgeous, 317-room W Washington D.C. blends the new — fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a great spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service — with the old — the property’s historic Beaux Arts building dates back to 1917. Plus, you can see the Washington Monument from the hotel’s hip rooftop lounge, POV, making celebrating in style easy.
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When you’re in the mood for love but only have a few days to spare, a weekend getaway — in a destination that won’t take all weekend to get to — is just what you need. And if you choose a hotel with features like private fireplaces, Italian linens, enormous soaking tubs, and spectacular views, your few days can add up to a perfectly romantic escape. Here are seven romantic hotels in hometowns across the United States that are great for a quick getaway with your better half.

Captain's House Inn

Captain’s House Inn, Cape Cod

There’s something inherently romantic about New England’s historic inns, charming hospitality, and breezy beaches. Cape Cod’s Captain’s House Inn revels in this trifecta, adding cozy ambiance with English country decor, in-room fireplaces, and soaking tubs. An adults-only policy (no children under 10) and a delicious gourmet breakfast (as well as afternoon tea) add to the romantic vibe.

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A waterfront vacation doesn’t have to mean a trip to the beach. River locales, such as charming San Antonio or rugged Snoqualmie, offer plenty of the same draws as oceans and lakes. Flowing past some of America’s best cities, around mountain ranges, and through desserts, these rivers are the optimal alternative vacation spots for boating, fishing, hiking, and more while on vacation. So get ready to dive into our favorite river destinations.

1. May River in Bluffton, South Carolina 

The May River is just one corner of gorgeous Carolina Lowcountry.

Carolina Lowcountry is a truly other-worldly corner of the United States. Here, salty marshes and mossy forests are connected by scenic waterways. The May, Cooper, and New Rivers wind through the region’s haunting landscapes, providing visitors with unique ways to soak in the beauty of the region. Boating and kayaking are popular, especially since bottlenose dolphins are common in this area. You can also go fishing, crabbing, or shrimping.

STAY:  The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry is really more akin to a sprawling estate, offering a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming; plus, the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. Read More »

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Hotel Ella, Austin, Texas

Hotel Ella, Austin, Texas

If there’s one word that can describe the ethereal beauty and warm ambiance of the South, it’s charming. And what better way to celebrate this corner of the United States than by reveling in a little bit of history during your visit? These mansions — most of them dating back to the 1800s — represent the epitome of Southern charm. So pack your bags and head for the Mason-Dixon Line: It’s time for some proper front porch sittin’.

 

 

 

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Through our many travels we’ve learned that April showers don’t just bring May flowers – they bring delicious May produce! Everything from zucchini to asparagus, spring peas to corn, and watermelon to strawberries begin sprouting up during the spring and summer. And if you’re not quite ready to put on the overalls and bring in the harvest yourself, the next best thing is to visit a local farmers’ market, where fresh produce abounds. We’ve picked out our 10 favorite farmers’ markets across the states, so no matter where your spring and summer vacations take you, you’ll have plenty of tasty treats to bring home. And we’ve even found a great hotel near each spot so you can be sure to beat the crowds.

1. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Vegetable stand at Pike Place Market

Pike Place is one of Seattle’s main attractions. Featuring numerous produce, meat, and fish stands, the market also has plenty of craft kiosks for buying local artwork and gifts. It is open 7 days a week, and though most stands close around 5 p.m., several fine-dining restaurants on the 9-acre historic district are open late.

Where to Stay: Inn at the Market is aptly named. It is one of Seattle’s best-known, and most popular, hotels, in large part due to its unbeatable location: It’s in the heart of downtown Seattle, just half a block from Pike Place Market.

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