Savoring Summer’s End at 5 Country Getaways
It’s late summer, when farm stands are bursting with color, piled with fruits and vegetables in the weeks before the season draws to a close. And where better to enjoy a summer harvest — or to try your hand at activities like beekeeping, foraging, even the art of ax-throwing — than at a farm or vineyard hotel?
Whether you want to escape to a working farm just outside of Nashville; a farm and vineyard with an inn and “yurt village” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; or a restored distillery and boutique hotel on a river in Cognac, France, these getaways for epicures and country-lovers await with fresh eggs, jams and food for the soul.
Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards
Wander this 450-acre farm and vineyard amid the Blue Ridge Mountains (its viognier, chardonnay and merlot have been winners of the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition) and you’ll find cattle, chickens, vegetable gardens — and a new 28 room-and-suite inn. Or you can stay in the “yurt village”: nine yurts made of cedar, making them feel more like cabins, situated between the inn and the winery’s tasting room. Book a yurt and you’ll have your own kitchenette and rainfall shower, as well as a porch and back deck from which to breathe in the mountain air. Each yurt can sleep two to six people; pets are welcome, too (for a fee).
As you might expect, meals at Nicewonder are farm-to-table affairs. Hickory, on the ground floor of the inn, serves seasonal, Appalachian-inspired dishes — like whipped Spam with house pickles, nori, yuzu hot sauce and fried saltines — and overlooks a lake and the vineyard. There’s also a bar and, of course, a wine cellar. And you can shop for flowers, vegetables, jams and jellies at the property’s produce market. In fact, you could spend an entire weekend just eating and imbibing. Yet there are miles of trails to tackle, leading you past trees, over hills and near a creek. You can go for a swim in the infinity pool and, come September, work out in a new “fitness yurt” with spin bikes and exercise equipment, or unwind with a spa treatment in the forthcoming “spa yurt village.” Prices from $335 a night in August and September, including breakfast.
Los Olivos, Calif.
The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection
A former stagecoach stop, this property, situated near the vineyards and farms of the Santa Ynez Valley, has been receiving guests since the late 1880s. Shuttered in 2018, it reopened this year after a renovation that included new buildings and a new name. You can choose from 67 rooms, four of which are restored cottages dating to the early 1900s. There are new guest rooms, each with a patio, terrace or sun porch, situated in structures called Guest Houses. Also new is the two-bedroom Courtyard cottage with a living room and private outdoor space where you can end the day beside an outdoor fireplace or in a hot tub. The Homestead cottage has two bedrooms and private outdoor space as well.
Beyond your sleeping quarters is the Tavern restaurant, where many of the ingredients come from an on-site garden and the menu focuses on grilled proteins and vegetables, served indoors or outside beneath a trellis. For dishes inspired by Chinese cuisine — think duck won tons, soy-braised Chinese eggplant, crispy pork belly, spicy peanuts, grilled shiitakes and shrimp toast — pop into Gin’s Tap Bar, named for the property’s former chef, Gin Lung Gin. Need a caffeine fix? Try Felix Feed & Coffee, where you can also order fresh baked goods and breakfast. For a cocktail or a glass of wine, head to the Bar. Or put on a bathing suit and visit the Shed, a poolside bar with casual Mediterranean-inspired fare. After a bite and a dip, hop on a bicycle and go for a ride past vineyards — or stay put and learn how to infuse your own olive oil with herbs from the garden. Prices from $950 a night.
La Nauve Hôtel et Jardin
While France is known for major wine regions like Bordeaux and Champagne, this restored distillery and boutique hotel aims to lure you to Cognac country in southwest France, home to leading producers such as Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin. The hotel opened in June in a belle epoque mansion by the Charente River and is part of the Almae Collection of hotels as well as a member of the hotel network Relais & Chateaux. Its 12 suites are set amid 12 acres of gardens rife with fruit trees, rose bushes and vegetables. Crack open a favorite novel, ease into the swimming pool, or follow the gardens toward the river. There, private canoes await. Or you can board the hotel’s boat and visit the town of Cognac. E-bikes are also available.
Meals can be had at Notes, a fine-dining restaurant with a four-course or seven-course tasting menu that makes use of herbs and vegetables from the property’s gardens, as well as ingredients from Cognac distilleries and local farms. Alternatively, head over to the old distillery building, which is now Brasserie des Flâneurs, where the French brasserie menu highlights seasonal produce like ceviche with citrus fruit from the property’s greenhouse. There’s also the Bar and Tea Room, connected to a terrace where you can have a pastry (or two) with your tea or coffee. Should you prefer something a bit stronger, you can order a cocktail, wine or — what else?— Cognac. Prices from 450 euros, or about $490, a night, including breakfast.
Amenia, N. Y.
This storied Hudson Valley country estate about two hours north of Manhattan has attracted a long list of writers and thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois. In the early 1900s the property was bought from its original owners, the Benton family, by Amy and Joel E. Spingarn, one of the founders of the publisher Harcourt, Brace & Co. and a former president of the N.A.A.C.P. (he was the originator of the Spingarn Medal, awarded annually by the N.A.A.C.P.). Today the 250-acre property is a member of Design Hotels and has 37 rooms and suites. Recently, it opened Benton House along Webutuck Creek, where you’ll find 13 guest rooms, each with private outdoor space amid grasses and wildflowers. All look to nature for inspiration, with grass cloth wallpaper and beds by the Connecticut-based furniture maker Ian Ingersoll.
Head to the barns — which are covered in timber reclaimed from the old Tappan Zee Bridge Hudson River crossing — for a fitness or yoga class, or to use the gym and sauna. Outside you can play tennis, swim in the pool, stroll through a walled garden built in 1916, or take a private falconry session. You can hike and bike on the property, too. Or venture a little farther for a fly-fishing excursion, or a trip to nearby Maitri Farm, where you can browse produce and flowers (private tours are also available). Birders may want to check out the Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy. Other guests, in the tradition of Troutbeck, may simply want to sit back and converse over a meal. Settle into a booth in the Dining Room for seasonal dishes with local ingredients, like spelt ricotta cavatelli with chanterelles and garlic scapes. For bites on the go and late-night snacks, the Pantry offers temptations like salted chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, brownies and blondies made in-house and available 24 hours. Prices from $400 a night.
Southall Farm & Inn
Just 25 miles south of Nashville’s buzzing music scene, this nascent farm and inn offers a buzz of a different sort with seven apiaries that house millions of honeybees, along with some 1,300 apple trees, greenhouses (including an orangerie), formal kitchen gardens, crops and plenty of land for foraging fungi and berries. While the property calls to mind a historic farm, it has the comforts of a modern escape. You can choose from 62 rooms and suites, 16 cottages and many places to savor the land’s bounty. For casual meals, try Sojourner, where you can begin each day with pastries and eggs (lunch and dinner are also available). Even the cocktails are made with freshly harvested herbs and juices. Stop by the Farm Stand for produce, picnic baskets and preserves. And later this year, be on the lookout for January, a restaurant with a dining room and outdoor patio that plans to offer multicourse menus with ingredients grown at Southall.
If the pastoral views are not enough to shed your stress, head over to the 15,000-square-foot spa to decompress with treatments that use botanicals and ingredients, some from the farm. You can work out at the fitness center, float in the 104-degree mineral pool (there’s an outdoor pool, too), strike a pose at the property’s hilltop meditation and yoga spot, or challenge yourself on the ropes-and-obstacle course. Runners and hikers can take advantage of more than five miles of trails. And there’s no shortage of additional outdoor activities (some for a fee), including falconry, fishing, bee keeping, archery and ax-throwing. Prices from $559 a night in August, and from $839 beginning in September.
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