Reporting Jay Lloyd
Getting away from it all means many things to many people, but it’s usually just getting away from the things we do and see on a daily basis. Around here, that means bolting from city life, traffic, crowds and shopping malls. But how to get away and still stay close enough for a relaxing overnight or weekend? How about a suburban inn or B&B? They’re cozy and comfortable, but not necessarily isolated. Here are a few ideas chosen for variety, location and activities. – Jay Lloyd
Once a summer resort near the banks of the Perkiomen Creek, the Woodside Lodge has been given new life through a total renovation, making it the newest inn on the suburban scene. On the back side of the Spring Mountain Ski Area, it offers ideal ski-and-stay accommodations in winter and will be the go-to overnight stop for zip-line adventures in spring.
Upstairs, Woodside Lodge features nine beautifully furnished suites with a bedroom, sitting room and bath. Each suite is complete with flat-screen TV’s and plenty of closet space. Downstairs, a bar and lounge offers an environment designed to help you unwind after a day on the hill or biking the Perkiomen trail. The dining room serves up a menu of familiar and creative pub offerings and American comfort food within a reasonable price range. The Lodge just opened its doors in early February.
This imposing, 19th-century Victorian mansion with its sky-piercing turrets occupies a quiet corner of Limerick Township in western Montgomery County. Each of its three available suites and four bedrooms is tastefully furnished in period style but offers modern amenities, including cable television. The dining room attracts refined palates with its frequently changing, seasonally-inspired entrées, and guest breakfasts are traditional and sumptuous. The location and grounds are designed for pure relaxation, with ample time for garden strolling or sitting over tea and coffee. Guests are within walking distance of the enjoyable Linfield National Golf Course and just a short drive to nearby outlet shopping.
In the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley, the Pennsbury Inn encourages luxurious relaxation. Seven bright and tastefully furnished rooms and suites evoke the inn’s pre-Revolutionary War 18th century roots. The gardens and reflecting pond invite strolling, and sitting around the living room fireplace after a visit to any of the local attractions is another ideal activity. The Pennsbury Inn makes the perfect launching spot for a day at Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine Battlefield, the Chadds Ford Museum or dining in the region’s latest restaurant enclave at Kennett Square.
If you’re going to immerse yourself in the quainter side of New Hope, you might as well go all the way with a period B&B! The Wedgwood Bed & Breakfast is the spot. It’s located close to all of the boutique shops, the Playhouse, Delaware River restaurants and the eclectic nightlife scene. Antique furnishings, fireplaces and even double Jacuzzi suites enhance the 19th-century accommodations. But a special attraction here is the availability of rooms that accommodate pets—a rare find. There are rules and a $30 a day fee for pets, but they are welcome. Conditions for bringing along a pet are all spelled out here. http://www.wedgwoodinn.com/pets.htm
Generations of Skippack Village fans remember the site as the old Trolley Stop restaurant. The Trolley is still there, but it’s now a popular bar and lounge surrounded by a stunning inn named for a picturesque village on a hillside above Florence. A pair of tempting restaurants–with Italian flair–make the Hotel Fiesole a destination getaway spot. The hotel offers 16 unique rooms and upscale and casual dining as well as weekend entertainment. Fiesole is right in the middle of Skippack Village’s shopping district and within walking distance of all the unique eateries, many of which are under the same ownership as the hotel. The village is within a 10 to 30 minute drive of no less than six top-notch, 18-hole public golf courses, plus skiing, horseback riding and the Evansburg State Park.
It was at the Stockton Inn that Broadway composer Richard Rodgers penned “There’s a Small Hotel.” The lyrics and melody capture the carefree atmosphere that pervades the Inn and the surrounding village located on the banks of the Delaware River. Rodgers’ song became a 1940’s hit and shone a spotlight on the picturesque Inn that has managed to retain the flavor of a bygone era. Eleven rooms and suites compliment four dining rooms and a patio garden that surrounds a fish-stocked pond. On drives from North Jersey to the Philadelphia suburbs, it’s been my favorite lunch stop during outdoor dining weather. The Stockton Inn is just a short drive to the shops and nightlife of New Hope and antiquing at Lambertville.
Many visitors who look to the Inn at St. Peter’s Village as a getaway retreat close to home were originally drawn by tales of its elegant Sunday brunch. Then they discovered the almost musical sounds of water flowing along French Creek, just beneath the Inn’s patio. There was also the spectacular view and the quaint village (including its first class bakery!), so it was a logical next step to take advantage of the classic overnight accommodations at this 19th century landmark. Six rooms and one suite are all uniquely decorated for comfort and relaxation. The evening dining is a gourmet treat, especially when followed by after dinner drinks at a friendly bar. In fair weather, patio dining with a creek view is an ideal cap to a day of exploring the rural Chester County countryside, biking, hiking or just whiling away some time with a fishing rod.
A couple of tips:
For inns and B&B’s, it pays to call in a reservation rather than make one online. You’ll actually get to chat with the innkeeper, who can answer specific questions about the property or locale, and you develop a personal relationship.
Don’t expect 24 hour room and dining service. In most cases, you’re visiting someone’s home, and you’ll share common spaces like living rooms, music rooms, breakfast nooks and libraries. But that means you’ll also have spectacular breakfasts!