8 Fantastic Fall Getaways
New England charm without the summer frenzy
Summer on the Cape may get all the attention, but savvy travelers prefer to head there in autumn, when the crowds have thinned, the weather is warm during the day and crisp at night, and the coast is ablaze in color. Base yourself at the Chatham Bars Inn, a beachside icon that celebrated its centennial last year. Renovated rooms such as the oversized, adults-only Spa Suites, with saunas, fireplaces and steam showers, offer plenty of space for couples to unwind, while families can spread out in the Ocean View Cottage Suites. Once you’re settled, hop on a complimentary bike and pedal along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile paved path running through quaint towns and scenic viewpoints. The trail will also lead you to the hotel’s eight-acre farm, where you can learn about the seasonal bounty from farm manager Joshua Schiff. Or head to the water: Kayak in the harbor, where you’ll spy seal colonies, or boat from the resort’s private fleet—including a 38-foot Shelter Island Runabout and 34-foot Regulator—for whale watching and sunset cruises. From August through October, guests can also take part in a CBI Research Trip run in partnership with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, during which you’ll help track, photograph and perhaps even tag a white shark. (Participants are required to make a $2,500 per couple tax-deductible donation to the Conservancy.)
The Big Easy is back from the flood
After the sweltering summer has passed, and before the crowds descend for Mardi Gras, fall is an ideal time to enjoy the charms of the Big Easy, which is experiencing a renaissance 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Now one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, New Orleans has seen a boom in economic investment, entrepreneurship and film production. There are even 600 more restaurants in New Orleans than there were pre-Katrina. Get acquainted with the revitalized and emerging neighborhoods around the French Quarter on a relaxed ride with Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours; “Creole & Crescent” highlights Treme, Marigny and Armstrong Park, while “Queen of the South” leads you by historic homes and their lush gardens. Or private tour company Bespoke Experiences can create tailored itineraries around interests such as architecture, history, dining, and arts and culture, and organize experiences like an airboat ride through area swamps or a helicopter trip taking off from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Eating and drinking are part of New Orleans’ DNA, and the food scene has broadened from beignets and étouffée to global influences. Opened earlier this year, Shaya is drawing crowds for the Israeli/pan-Mediterranean menu of chef-owner Alon Shaya. At Square Root, chef Phillip Lopez’s modern techniques shine in his small-plate tasting menu, while at Restaurant R’evolution the partnership between noted chefs Rick Tramonto and John Folse has resulted in one of the best eating experiences in town. When you need a break, relax at the Roosevelt New Orleans hotel or check out modern vintage style at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, which opened this summer in the burgeoning Warehouse Arts District.
Info: Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours, Ryan Bergeron, owner, 504.522.4368, neworleansbiketour.com;
Bespoke Experiences, Jennifer Simpson, co-owner, 504.534.8874, bespokeprivatetours.com;
Shaya, 504.891.4213, shayarestaurant.com;
Square Root, 504.309.7800, squarerootnola.com;
Restaurant R’evolution, 504.553.2277, revolutionnola.com;
A tycoon’s erstwhile retreat remains a magical oasis
While traveling along Puerto Rico’s verdant northern coast in the 1950s, financier and conservationist Laurance S. Rockefeller purchased a 1,400-acre sugar plantation. He first used it as a private family compound, and then, in 1958, turned it into one of the Caribbean’s stops for the jet set—and one of the first resorts anywhere to have an eco-conscious philosophy. The property relaunched in 2012 as Dorado Beach, the second location in Ritz-Carlton’s top-tier Reserve category. In keeping with Rockefeller’s vision, the 50-acre resort is ringed by tropical forests, coral reefs and undeveloped land, lending it a dreamy, away-from-it-all feel—even though it’s just 35 minutes from the San Juan airport. Accommodations include suites, residences and Su Casa, a Spanish-style five-bedroom hacienda that dates to the 1920s. Though Puerto Rico offers plenty of attractions, most guests stay put and take advantage of the property, from the pristine beach, sunken gardens and old-growth forest to the three Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf courses. Walk along the 11-mile Rockefeller Trail or head to the excellent spa, where unusual treatments like the Hammock Massage—done while you’re swinging in the breeze—are performed in open-air tree house suites. Culinary classes and wine dinners are available at La Cocina Gourmet Culinary Center, while chef José Andrés works his magic at Mi Casa.
The luxury of isolation amidst woods and water
Another Rockefeller is at the root of upstate New York’s the Point on Saranac Lake—William Avery Rockefeller, who in the 1930s envisioned his lakeside Adirondack retreat as one of the premier “great camps” of that era. The original log mansions, crafted from native granite and western red cedar logs, house 11 rooms and suites, each outfitted with antiques, 19th-century paintings, fireplaces and oversized, hand-built beds. Guests have the run of the 75-acre, adults-only property. You spend the days swimming, water-skiing, paddleboarding or tubing in Upper Lake Saranac, walking or hiking, or keeping cozy inside playing darts or billiards. Meals at the Point, a Relais & Chateaux member, are events: The multicourse dinners are typically black-tie affairs. Rates are all-inclusive, though, so you can dine anywhere on property—or take a canoe, kayak or electric boat to one of two secluded islands on the lake for a posh, chef-prepared picnic. With open bars dotted around the property, pets pampered with gourmet meals, and guests often becoming fast friends over a weekend, the atmosphere is one of a genteel house party—exactly as Rockefeller wanted.
Heaven is a luxury hotel in the midst of mountain clouds
At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is an ideal setting for quintessential fall activities such as hiking wilderness trails, horseback riding and fly-fishing. The Broadmoor is the area’s longest-running luxury resort. Opened in 1918, the vast property occupies 5,000 acres of parkland where guests can pursue these activities in addition to more traditional resort options like championship golf and a spa. The Broadmoor’s array of accommodations, ranging from rooms and suites to cottages and brownstone homes, allow you to customize your mountain getaway. Regardless of your choice, you can enjoy any of the amenities, such as the three swimming pools, six tennis courts and three golf courses. For an experience particularly steeped in nature, stay at the resort’s incredible Cloud Camp. This rustic all-inclusive retreat, which closes for the season on October 18, consists of log cabins and a grand timber lodge sitting 9,200 feet above sea level on Cheyenne Mountain, offering breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding valley. In addition to the bird’s-eye location, guests can enjoy nature walks, archery lessons, morning yoga classes, culinary lessons and gourmet dining. There are three ways to reach the camp: a hotel four-wheel drive vehicle, mule or three-hour hike, making the trip there an adventure in itself.
Info: The Broadmoor, 866.334.3693, broadmoor.com
Wine country with plenty of room to explore
Stretching for over 100 miles between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and Coast Range, the Willamette Valley has become one of the country’s top wine regions. Close to 650 vineyards and 450 wineries are located there, the majority producing pinot noir and pinot gris. This year the Willamette celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first pinot noir planting. September sees festivals such as Feast, a food and wine celebration mainly in Portland, and the 25th Annual Oregon Grape Stomp Championships & Harvest Celebration. Immerse yourself by staying at the Allison Inn & Spa. In addition to 85 plush rooms and suites, the Inn houses a 12-room spa with vinotherapy-inspired treatments, and the celebrated Jory restaurant, which has a cellar with more than 800 labels. The Inn also offers guests complimentary Lexus sedans (the LS 600HL or GS 450H) to explore the area. The concierge can create an itinerary highlighting both well-known wineries and hidden gems. Labels worth a visit include Hawks View Cellars, makers of sustainable single-vineyard varietals; Soter, where you can enjoy the views with a glass of their sparkling wine; Cristom, makers of high-quality pinot noirs for over 20 years; and Quailhurst, which also features horse stables.
Not nearly as far away as it feels
Chronicling his travels through Central America, writer Aldous Huxley compared Lake Atitlán to Italy’s Lake Como, calling it “too much of a good thing.” Modern-day visitors can take in the beauty from Casa Palopó, a Relais & Chateaux hotel perched on a flower-ringed cliff above the lake with views of its three iconic volcanoes. This remarkable place may seem a world apart, but Guatemala City’s international airport is less than three hours away from the U.S. via direct flights from Miami, and Houston; from there, the hotel arranges a seamless 20-minute helicopter transfer directly to the hotel’s helipad. Once a private home, Casa Palopó now features seven rooms and a two-bedroom villa with private pool, outdoor living space and dining room. The lovely restaurant on the property serves Guatemalan-accented international dishes and a global wine list.
Go in fall and skip the glitz
Saint-Barthélemy, better known as St. Barth, is a given in the jetset circuit. But before the megayachts line up for New Year’s Eve, there is fall, the season of privacy-seeking couples, families and regulars. Long stretches of powdery beaches ring St. Barth, including postcard-worthy favorites such as Gouverneur and Flamands. Set on the latter, Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France is an intimate hotel whose rooms, suites, bungalows and villas—awash in striking white décor—stretch from the beach up the hillside. Gustavia, the hub of the island, is close enough for a day of browsing its 200-plus boutiques; though the designer names will be familiar, the shops often stock items not found in the U.S. Special food experiences include Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s On the Rocks at the Eden Rock hotel and Maya’s, a longtime local favorite.
On the Rocks at Eden Rock St. Barths, 590.522.214.171.124, edenrockhotel.com