These winter retreats combine just the right mix of ambiance and adventure–though they vary in luxury.
I proposed to my wife here, so I may be a little biased. This rustic five-room lodge on the fringe of the White Mountain National Forest was built a century ago as a robber baron’s vacation home, and it feels completely removed from civilization. You can snowshoe or dogsled on the vast property at the foot of Caribou Mountain, or drive 10 miles to ski at Sunday River. Two-day rates start at $400.
Lake Placid, New York
Even though it was built only six years ago, the grand, log-framed Whiteface Lodge looks and feels like it’s been a fixture in the Adirondacks since the days when Rockefellers and Vanderbilts used to keep their second (or third) homes here. The amenities, like the indoor/outdoor swimming pool and surround-sound movie theater, will definitely feel like guilty pleasures for outdoorsy types. But there’s nothing artificial about the nearby world-class cross-country ski trails, where the Winter Olympic Nordic competitions were held in 1980, the downhill skiing and snowboarding on Whiteface, or the snowshoeing throughout the surrounding High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Starts at $500 a night.
Blueberry Hill Inn
Talk about secluded. This colonial-style 19th-century farmhouse roosts on 180 acres, surrounded by a 2,200-acre nature preserve, outside of Middlebury, Vermont. There are no phones or TVs in the rooms, but the inn does have 40 miles of maintained ski trails and many more miles of snowshoeing within its property. The gourmet family-style meals served in the dining room will ensure that you return every evening in time for dinner. Starts at $250 a night.
Carter Notch Hut
White Mountains, New Hampshire
What the two bunkhouses at the oldest overnight hut on the Appalachian Trail lack in privacy and heat, they make up for in location and atmosphere. Built in 1914, the Carter Notch Hut is accessible by snowshoeing nearly four miles to a wooded nook at 3,000 feet beneath Carter Dome and Wildcat Mountain. In the winter, the kitchen and wood-heated main building are self-serve. The unheated bunkhouses sleep a total of 40. Starts at $44 per person.