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Red, White, and Beautiful

Ten tempting all-American lodges with style and ambience to spare

As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.


Spring Creek Ranch

Spring Creek Ranch

If you take your rugged with a dash of comfy, find your haven at Spring Creek Ranch, four miles northwest of Jackson and its prime access to the Tetons. With 13,000-foot mountains staring you in the face, you can't help but itch to go forth and conquer. Possible plans of attack: Mountain-bike 15-mile River Road, which runs along the Snake River between Signal Mountain and Cottonwood Creek in Grand Teton National Park, or dive into the Snake for a float trip or fishing. At day's end, happily surrender to one of Spring Creek's 126 guest rooms or condos, where authenticity reigns with lodgepole-pine furniture, a mountain-view balcony, and a wood-burning fireplace. The spa offers everything from Thai massage to mud wraps and al fresco yoga, and the restaurant, the Granary, serves western game?try the super-tender elk tenderloin. Doubles from $310, including breakfast; 800-443-6139,

The Historic Heart of Aspen

Hotel Jerome, Colorado

Hotel Jerome

In 1889, New York tycoon Jerome Wheeler built a Victorian luxury hotel in a burgeoning silver-mining town situated in a river valley amid glorious mountains. The grandeur might have seemed out of place back then, but today it fits into Aspen's ritzy ambience. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wheeler's Hotel Jerome maintains its exquisite 19th-century soul and atmosphere, but it's been thoroughly retrofitted with the modern trappings—heated outdoor pool, Jacuzzis, bars, restaurants—you expect from a boutique auberge. The cherry on top? Head any direction from your finely appointed room to find diversionary action like fly-fishing, road and trail biking, and gobs of hiking. Across the street is world-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa's decadent Matsuhisa Aspen, a mecca for mind-blowing Japanese fare. Hold off on dessert, though, and hit the Jerome for orgasmic white-chocolate banana cream pie at Jacob's Corner. Doubles from $460; 800-331-7213,

Spanish Colonial Style by the Sea

Four Seasons Biltmore, California

Four Seasons Resort

This sanctuary on the beach four miles east of downtown Santa Barbara is pure, laid-back Southern California chic. Don't miss the must-do's—loll by the pool with a strawberry daiquiri and spoil yourself at the spa with an avocado-citrus body wrap. You'll stay in the 1927 Spanish colonial hotel, with its 207 guest rooms, or one of 12 cottages concealed in a maze of red-brick pathways and gardens full of eucalyptus, jasmine, bougainvillea, and roses. Your on-site culinary options are twofold: Play it casual at the Patio, which serves local seafood, or dress it up at La Marina. Venture away from this refuge on the sea to deep-sea-fish for halibut, red snapper, and swordfish; boat to the Channel Islands to watch blue whales and dolphins; or take a sailing lesson. Better yet, get in touch with your inner oenophile in wine country, less than an hour inland. Doubles from $580; 805-969-2261,

Diamond on the Rogue

Tu Tu' Tun Lodge, Oregon

After kayaking a calm stretch of the Rogue River and hiking the Shrader Trail through forest that feels primeval—packed with rhododendrons, cedars, and firs—you might feel like you're in pre-pioneer Oregon. Thankfully, not so. You're a hop away from Tu Tu' Tun Lodge, the perfect melding of Pacific Northwest wilderness and rich comfort. Everything here is alive with textures: Granite counters, wool carpet, and down pillows make up your suite. Before dinner, drink a local pinot noir on the terrace and watch the resident pair of ospreys fish for their dinner as you await yours. Tu Tu' Tun revolves around an appetite—for food and fitness the outdoors way—so dinner is bound to taste good, and it might even surprise you. Had a good mesquite-grilled white sturgeon with wasabi-ginger butter lately? Doubles from $165; 800-864-6357,

Barrier Island Sanctuary

The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

All manner of visitors have passed Little St. Simons Island's pristine shores, from Guale Indians searching for oysters 1,300 years ago to the Swiss colonist who tried transforming it into a plantation to the New York businessman who bought it in 1908 as a family retreat. Now the resort is open to anyone, but only 30 people at a time. Guests don't come here for the history, though; they come to collect shells on the three empty beaches, paddle a sea kayak, or search the salty wetlands for wildlife. The 10,000-acre barrier island is reachable only by boat and is home to river otters, loggerhead turtles, and enormous numbers of birds, such as bald eagles, brown pelicans, and long-billed curlews. Served family style in the yellow dining room, the Low Country cuisine includes anything from pecan-crusted pork loin to crispy flounder with Georgia peach chutney. Doubles from $600, including transport from the mainland, activities, and all meals; 888-733-5774,

Classic Adirondacks

Lake Placid Lodge, New York

Lake Placid Lodge
(Photo: courtesy, Lake Placid Lodge)

Emulate the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and relax in Great Camp style in the Adirondacks. Lake Placid Lodge, situated on the shore of its namesake, on the northern edge of six-million-acre Adirondack Park, has got R&R dialed. You'll sleep on feather beds with hand-sewn Egyptian and Belgian cotton sheets, dine on Continental cuisine made from local ingredients, and bask in the beauty of the mountains. Bike or hike 15 miles to the hamlet of Keene on the Jack Rabbit Trail, through forests of birch, Scotch pine, oak, and maple. Or stay close to home and canoe Lake Placid. The best thing about this 17-room lodge and its 17 log cabins is that you'll never grow bored with lounging. You've got your choice of venues: around the bonfire at night, on the expansive lakefront porch at dusk, or in your cabin—on Adirondack twig furniture—long into the morning. Doubles from $400, including breakfast; 877-523-2700,

New England, Old Charm

Twin Farms, Vermont

Twin Farms, Vermont

Classic New England meets modern opulence amid 300 acres of rolling meadows and groves of sugar maple, white pine, and birch in Barnard, Vermont. Stay in one of four guest rooms in the clapboard farmhouse (dating to the late 1700s and once the home of Sinclair Lewis) or any of ten cottages, each outfitted distinctively, from Moroccan style with Persian rugs to fishing-lodge antiques. Recreate simply—canoe or fish for trout and bass in the peaceful eight-acre pond—and then soak up the farm's modern accoutrements, like the blue-glass-tiled steam room and deep-sea body wrap at the spa. In the dining room, local ingredients become temporary works of art, like Maine lobster with truffled fava-bean puree or lamb chop with a rosemary-lavender salt crust. Farmhouse suites from $1,050 per night, including meals, beverages, and activities; 800-894-6327,

Delray Delightful

Sundy House, Florida

Sundy House, Florida

Hiding in an acre overflowing with 500 tropical plant species is the fantastical Sundy House, an oasis in downtown Delray Beach. Though the Victorian-era house is a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, it's anything but dusty. In every corner, you'll discover unique details: a bed suspended in air, a sunset painted on the ceiling, red-cork wallpaper, and blue suede walls. Swim with turtles and angelfish in the naturally filtered swimming pond. Venturing away from this self-contained wonderland only brings more pleasures, like snorkeling or windsurfing in the southern Atlantic, minutes away. Stay for Sundy's Sunday brunch, a lavish affair with everything from eggs Benedict made with Florida lobster to raspberry ham with mango cole slaw. Doubles from $175; 561-272-5678,

Enchanted Canyon

Zion Lodge, Utah

Zion Lodge, Utah

In the 1930s and '40s, the Union Pacific Railroad enticed people to buy tickets by building great lodges in America's western national parks. Nowadays, no one has to be lured to these parks, especially 147,000-acre Zion, with its dramatic slot canyons and sandstone cliffs; the park sees about 2.5 million visitors a year. Union Pacific's Zion Lodge still exists, though it burned down and was reconstructed in 1966. Plunked in the middle of Zion Canyon and surrounded by old cottonwoods, it's the only lodging in the park—and the ideal adventure base camp. Take the Angels Landing trail six miles to the rim of the canyon for hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat views. You'll come home to plush leather chairs and wood-paneled walls in the refurbished lodge, which has 125 simple but comfortable rooms and log cabins. Southwestern-style meals are served at the Red Rock Grill. Doubles from $125; 888-297-2757,

Appalachian Cabin Chic

Fort Lewis Lodge, Virginia

Fort Lewis Lodge, Virginia

In 1750, to protect settlers from Indian raids, Colonel Charles Lewis built a stockade on 3,200 acres of fertile land in western Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. Today, Fort Lewis is still a safe haven, but from more modern stresses. A mid-1800s brick farmhouse, grist mill, and silo built by Lewis's descendants remain, and three historic hand-hewn log cabins have been reassembled here. Rooms are accented with Appalachia: patchwork quilts, Shaker-style furniture, and early American paintings. Outside, not much has changed either—except the means with which to explore. Take a hardtail mountain bike on trails threading the property and adjacent George Washington National Forest. Fish or swim in the Cowpasture, one of the East's cleanest rivers. Beef, chicken, ribs, salmon, or swordfish is grilled nightly and served with homemade breads and fresh veggies. Doubles from $175, including breakfast and dinner; 540-925-2314,

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From Outside Summer Traveler 2005
Filed To: JacksonAspenSanta BarbaraLake PlacidZion National Park
Lead Photo: Raymond Patrick, Johansen Krause
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