Brilliant foliage. Shorter days. Crisper air. Comfy sweaters and cozy hotel rooms. On the East Coast, fall is in a league of its own. If you’re the type who’d trade sunburn and sand for amber leaves and autumnal trails, book your fall getaway now. From South Carolina to Rhode Island, we’ve rounded up a few newly opened, recently renovated and longtime favorite properties that will immerse you in the season’s beauty.
The Aurora Inn, Finger Lakes, New York
For fall foliage lovers who appreciate elegant American design and holistic spas, The Aurora Inn offers a welcoming autumn refuge on the eastern bank of Cayuga Lake. Built in 1833 by Colonel E.B. Morgan, who co-founded The New York Times, the adults-only inn balances heritage and modern comforts like Frette linens and deep-soaking tubs for a quiet, peaceful retreat alongside a recently debuted spa campus.
Opened in 2021, the comprehensive Spa at the Inns of Aurora sprawls across 15,000 square feet, complete with 10 treatment rooms, outdoor hydrotherapy spa pools, indoor saunas, tranquility lounges and a mani-pedi salon. If you can peel yourself away from the spa, you’ll be rewarded with a cornucopia of fall activities and flavors, from the inn’s seasonal Rye Apple Ginger Fizz cocktail and s’mores by the lakeside fire pit to archery lessons and hiking trails.
Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards, Virginia Highlands
When it comes to natural beauty, few areas can compete with autumn in the Appalachians. And within the vast mountain region, few properties can compete with the newly opened Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards. Unpack your bags at this expansive hotel in Bristol, Virginia, where you’ll be surrounded by more than 450 acres of vineyards, farms, meadows and gardens.
Fall is the best time of year to visit this sprawling natural oasis. Not only will the leaves put on a show for you, but you’ll also get a peek at the wine-harvesting process and a chance to sample the vineyard’s viognier, chardonnay and merlot in the brand-new Tasting Room.
That’s just the beginning. Indulge in a gourmet picnic as the sun sets over the grapevines, treat the family to a seasonal Appalachian dinner, roast s’mores over an open fire, or embark on a fall wellness journey in a luxury yurt — there’s something for everyone at this scenic escape.
The Charleston Place, South Carolina
With more than 350 years of history, balmy Lowcountry weather, antebellum mansions and outdoor festivals, Charleston charms visitors in the fall. Opened in 1986 and readying for an ambitious renovation in 2023, The Charleston Place has long lured travelers with its stately Georgian-style architecture, Southern hospitality and prime location in the city’s historic district. Within minutes of the top local landmarks and waterfront, this 433-room grande dame brings together top-notch restaurants, a world-class spa and sumptuous furnishings.
When you’re ready to explore, traverse downtown by bike, join Friday Art Walks or head out for a day of fishing: the hotel offers a Casual Crabbing with Tia (local F&B expert Tia Clark) journey, where you’ll learn how to cast a crab net and catch a bounty of seafood. Come October, dress up for an elegant Halloween evening at the hotel, which includes a hand-selected local novel chronicling Charleston’s haunted histories and craft beers from local brewery Ghost Monkey.
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection, Newport, Rhode Island
Oozing Old World elegance with a contemporary spin, this newly transformed property in Newport’s heart dates back to 1905. It was initially built by wealthy businessman Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and then carefully renovated by Dallas-based design collective SWOON to evoke New England heritage, colonial simplicity and eclectic modern charm.
Sample Rhode Island’s oceanic bounty in the hotel’s handsome Dining Room or savor views of Newport Harbor from the Roof Deck, then cozy up to a crackling fire as the mercury dips. From the hotel’s central location, you’ll have easy access to the city’s best restaurants and boutiques, not to mention plenty of outdoorsy outings that showcase New England’s picturesque fall foliage.
The Lake House on Canandaigua, Finger Lakes, New York
Canandaigua Lake — one of New York’s 11 Finger Lakes — has long been known for its clear glacier water, historic boathouses and 40-mile wine trail. And now, there’s a haven from which to enjoy it all.
In 2020, The Lake House emerged from a head-to-toe renovation, transforming this former motel into a stunning, 124-room luxury getaway. Perched on the edge of Canandaigua Lake, the bright and airy property sets a relaxing tone with cozy leather sofas and emerald lounge chairs in the laid-back reception area, waterfront views from most rooms and handcrafted wood furniture throughout.
The rejuvenation continues outdoors, where you can charter a boat to enjoy the radiant fall foliage encircling the lake, explore the array of nearby wineries or embark on a zip-line canopy adventure on Bristol Mountain. After soaking up the area’s natural beauty, unwind at the hotel’s Willowbrook Spa, where therapists tailor treatments based on your needs — be that a custom-blended herbal massage oil to help you sleep or a barrel sauna ritual to clear the mind and recharge the body.
The Tides Inn, Irvington, Virginia
If you love being surrounded by water, this recently refreshed Virginia inn will feel like a special treat. Set on a Chesapeake Bay estuary, about three hours southeast of Washington, D.C., The Tides Inn boasts four new Ashburn Suites and 66 redesigned guest rooms that showcase a sophisticated take on nautical style. You can also look forward to convenient waterfront access and two fantastic restaurants — Chesapeake Restaurant and the new Fish Hawk Oyster Bar — serving seasonal local fare.
Fall makes for one of the best times to visit the region, thanks to a strong breeze off the bay and glowing amber canopies. Outdoorsy types will love the expert-led Fall Foliage Forays nature tour — a four-stop adventure that begins on the inn’s new nature trail.
After a gentle stroll across a mushroom garden, wildflower field and preserved wetland, you’ll head to Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve, Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Belle Isle State Park, where intriguing wildlife and breathtaking fall foliage await.
Guild House Hotel, Philadelphia
Philadelphia in the fall is synonymous with stunning fall foliage, outdoor dining, pumpkin-spiced lattes and seasonal festivals galore. Make yourself at home at the new-to-town Guild House Hotel. Opened in 2021 inside an artfully restored National Historic Landmark, the boutique address plays host to just 12 gorgeous suites in the heart of the leafy Washington Square West neighborhood. Originally dedicated to a 19th-century working-women’s advocacy group called the New Century Guild, the hotel remains a tribute to women’s history, with each room named after a pioneering woman artist, poet, activist or abolitionist.
Throughout the character-filled spaces, you’ll feel spoiled with soothing palettes and rich fabrics that keep this heritage property feeling very 21st century. All the while, let the city immerse you in a full fall calendar packed with everything from ever-popular Halloween Nights at the Eastern State Penitentiary to a ROCKY, The Musical performance, the inaugural Philadelphia Street Food Festival, pumpkin- and apple-picking at Shady Brook Farm’s FallFest, and picture-perfect landscapes at nearby Longwood Gardens.