Whether you're looking for a warm-weather retreat or want to embrace the cold in a snowy wonderland, there are plenty of locales across the United States for a dreamy getaway for two in wintertime. The East Coast in particular, offers something for everyone - hit the northern Atlantic shore for to warm up in a cozy New England B&B as the wind bites outside, or head further south for more temperate, tropical climates. Start planning your winter getaway by perusing inns in the following romantic East Coast destinations.
Cedar Gables Inn, Napa, CA
This inn is known to pair outstanding wines from the renowned Napa region. You can take hands-on cooking classes with top-notch chefs from the region in the inn’s new Old English-style kitchen. Afterward, dine on your fresh-cooked meals and drink tasty wines in the B&B’s elegant dining room. The inn also serves delicious gourmet breakfasts, in addition to complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and fine wines. It is home to an Old English tavern, pictured to the left, where you can enjoy free wine or beer.
The Chanric Inn, Calistoga, CA
Focused on the discerning culinary traveler, The Chanric Inn offers a famous three-course, chef-prepared brunch. Pictured is one of their brunch items--chived eggs on fontina toast, sauteed spinach, mushroom duxelles, and white truffle oil. The seasonal menu changes every day and is customized to the exclusive dietary restrictions of every guest. Some of the food comes from the inn’s own organic garden, while some of the rest comes from organic farmers at the Calistoga Farmer's Market. Guests also enjoy a complimentary wet bar. The B&B is located in the Napa Valley, so it’s also surrounded by fabulous wineries and restaurants.
Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast Inn
This inn was named a top 10 award winner 2012, partly because the guests couldn’t stop raving about their cuisine. Delight in the three-course gourmet breakfast, which comes with full service and is cooked to order. Breakfast starts with a warm towel scented with lavender. Most ingredients here are sourced in season from local farmers, and some even comes from the inn’s own garden. Choose from a variety of appetizers, entrees, and sides. You may forget you’re eating breakfast instead of dinner! If you give advance notice, they can cook a delicious meal friendly for vegans, vegetarians, Atkins, or gluten-free eaters. The elegant dining room is a lovely place to get to know other guests, but if you prefer privacy, you can have it delivered to your room. Add on an optional English tea for a small price to enjoy English tea sandwiches, scones, and crumpets, and even authentic clotted cream.
Mission Oak Inn, Henry, IL
The inn has its own restaurant where you can add on an optional gourmet meal. When staying at Mission Oak Inn, you can also add on a cooking package that allows you to get personal instruction from their Chef Denny on how to cook your favorite Mission Oak Inn dinner, breakfast, and dessert. You choose the menu and help prepare it. In addition to the free deluxe breakfast each morning, guests also receive a complimentary homemade dessert in the evening. Pictured is their famous stuffed French toast with eggs, sausage gravy, hash browns, and cheese.
Hartstone Inn & Hideaway, Camden, ME
Called a "culinary destination" by Fodor's, this inn is known for its award-winning cuisine. There is an on-site restaurant open to both the public, which serves a five-course dinner and lengthy wine list. You can sign up to be "Chef for a Day" and join the inn's Chef Michael Salmon for a one-on-one cooking lesson. There are also scheduled group classes from November through May, or you can schedule a private group class and choose from one of 25 different cooking courses. Additionally, the inn hosts several foodie adventures a year outside of the inn, including an excursion to Tuscany. The inn’s freshly-made breakfasts vary with seasonal ingredients and alternate between sweet and savory.
Ivy Manor Inn, Bar Harbor, ME
This French country inn has its own acclaimed restaurant, Michelle's Fine Dining, pictured left. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Roger Potvin prepares French cuisine with a New England flair, and the restaurant features authentic 19th and 20th century decor. Cooking class packages are available, as is seating a chef’s table. Breakfast involves a variety of homemade baked goods, fruits, juices, and more. Beyond your B&B, make sure to check out the area restaurants - Bar Harbor, by itself, is easily one of the best culinary getaways.
Yates House B&B, Rocheport, MO
This B&B offers “gourmet weekends” several times a year, a package that includes the following: a Friday night reception featuring discussion of food and wine, a cooking class and Friday evening supper, a Saturday sous chef class session, a special vintner's tour of Les Bourgeois Vineyard on Saturday, and a Saturday afternoon dinner prep class and multi-course dinner. You can also book private cooking lessons for a small group. All guests dine on award-winning breakfasts in the inn’s Dixie’s Kitchen and Sun Room, which serves fresh local produce, cheese, eggs, and meats. They also use herbs grown in their own garden. Innkeeper Dixie Yates, pictured left, is the author of a cookbook and has been featured in many publications, such as "Southern Living" and "USA Today."
Abingdon Manor Country Inn & Restaurant, Latta, SC
The elegant restaurant at this B&B offers fine dining, full bar, and wine service. A prix fixe menu changes nightly and features local seafood, prime meats, free-range chicken, and vegetables and herbs from the inn's gardens. The B&B also offers a weekend cooking package. With a six-person maximum, the intimate lessons allow hands-on instruction for some of the inn's favorite recipes and allow you to be part of preparing Saturday night dinner. While sampling some selections from Abingdon Manor's wine cellar, spend much of Saturday working on that evening's unique salad and entree. Dine on a delicious six-course dinner that evening and wake up to a full gourmet breakfast. The photo is of Chef Patty showing a cooking school student how to make porcini mushroom pasta.
Elm Creek Manor, Gainesville, TX
When you stay at this luxurious B&B, you can take private cooking lessons with the in-house chef. You will get the chance to help the chef create the menu for the five-course dinner before you arrive at the inn. Once you're at the inn, take a four-hour cooking course while enjoying local wine as you learn prep work, technique, and new skills as you help prepare the five-course dinner for guests. That evening, you will be seated at a private chef's table just off the kitchen to watch the plating and serving of the dishes you helped prepare. Plus, all guests are given complimentary wine and appetizers each evening, along with a breakfast created from scratch each morning. They grow their own organic herbs, fruit, and vegetables, and they raise their own beef. They only serve locally farm-raised pork and free-range chicken and eggs.
L'Auberge Edge of Seattle Inn, Woodinville, WA
Guests at this French country-style inn can take hands-on French regional dinner cooking classes from the inn’s chef in the open kitchen to the left. The inn hosts monthly educational wine seminars and an annual French culinary tour to the Loire Valley. When you arrive at the inn, you will be treated to gourmet desserts. For breakfast, you can opt for the Continental breakfast with assorted French sweetbreads and more, or you can upgrade to a two-course gourmet breakfast. All of their baking is made by scratch in-house, and they use no preservatives or additives in their cooking. Some of the vegetables they cook with are grown in their own garden.
Gateways Inn, Lenox, MA
The restaurant at the Gateways Inn is among the finest in Lenox, with a seasonal a la carte menu of creative and Contemporary American dishes. The philosophy of the culinary team is to utilize the finest and freshest products available. Accompany your meal with a selection from an extensive wine list, for which they have received the Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" since 2000, or be tempted by their outstanding selection of Single Malt Scotch and Italian Grappa. They also have a wide collection of beers from as far as Belgium and as close as the Berkshires! For lighter fare, visit their Piano Bar. With live entertainment most nights, and access to a full bar and late-night menu, it's a great spot for nightlife without having to leave the inn. Weekend culinary retreats are offered at special times of the year with hands-on, themed culinary experiences.
El Moli De Siurana, Girona, Spain
Located in a small village in the Catalunya region of Spain, this B&B doubles as a working farm. Their farming is based on fattening Pyrenean calves and producing cereals and fodder, but they also raise sheep and a variety of chicken breeds. Guests are welcome to visit the farm. For breakfast, guests dine on fresh dishes such as organic fried eggs, sausages, cheese, cakes, and fruits. For dinner, enjoy traditional Spanish meals and their own "infusion de hierbas" (herbal tea). Pictured in the kitchen are the owner, Maria, her sister, Dolores, and her daughter, Sara.
Willow Trace Bed & Breakfast, Collingwood, Ontario
This B&B’s tasty breakfast menu is prepared by a Savoy-trained chef. The inn’s own organic chickens supply the eggs, and the preserves and bacon served with breakfast are homemade. The B&B is home to the Collingwood Cooking Academy, where you can take a variety of cooking classes. The classes are led by Chef Philip Tarlo, who has over 40 years of experience. The classes are small and allow one-on-one help. There is a series of beginner cooking 101 classes, but there are also many specialty courses such as Thai cooking, a pasta workshop, sushi, and more.
By Emily Starbuck Crone