With the holidays approaching, perhaps you’re thinking about your next getaway, be it a romantic escape or a family gathering. You’ve already been to America’s most iconic stops like the Grand Canyon and New York, so that begs the question — what’s the next great vacation spot? We asked our well-traveled staff the very same question. Here’s what they recommend for an under-the-radar vacation that overdelivers.
Just 20 minutes from downtown L.A., Pasadena feels like another world altogether. Picture quiet streets lined with gorgeous homes and mom-and-pop shops.
Art lovers will want to flock to the Norton Simon Museum to view one of the largest private art collections in California. You’ll find works from names likes Degas, Rembrandt and Picasso among the 12,000 treasures here.
For an inside peek of the city’s most iconic example of American craftsman architecture, take a tour of the Gamble House that was designed by famed architectural firm Greene & Greene.
Outdoor beauty can be found at The Huntington’s 12 botanical gardens that feature 120 acres of stunning blooms from around the world.
In the theme of stately buildings, we recommend a stay at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property. Opened in 1907, the hotel’s regal architecture is still just as impressive, only now it has the modern amenities to go along with the marble baths and afternoon tea.
You might know northeastern Ohio for being the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. However, just 30 minutes away from the bustling city is a hidden gem.
With a downtown historical district (listed on the National Register of Historic Places, no less) dating back to the early 19th century, Aurora blends Old World ambience with farm-to-table cuisine and outdoor adventures.
A stroll through a nature preserve (there are three Audubon sanctuaries in town), live music and interactive classes at the Thorncreek Winery are but a few highlights we recommend checking out during your visit.
And when it’s time to reflect on the day, do so from the comforts of your suite at the Henry David Thoreau-inspired Four-Star Inn Walden, a 22-unit treasure that could spark your own sonnets with its flowery meadows and green expanses.
Long Island, New York
Relive the glories of The Great Gatsby era with a tour of the “Gold Coast”— the North Shore area of Long Island lined with early 20th-century mansions. Nearly a dozen estates once owned by famous New Yorkers, including the Vanderbilts, are now open to the public.
Other highlights include touring the island’s lighthouses (there have been 25 built since 1796), wine tasting (there are 50 wineries in addition to craft breweries and cideries), playing golf or taking a nature cruise.
A stay at The Garden City Hotel — more than 140 years old, yet completely refurbished — is quintessential Long Island. In addition to the elegantly appointed rooms, the property offers a Polo Club, high tea, an over-the-top Sunday brunch (complete with lobster and crab legs) and an Elizabeth Arden spa.
In a single day of visiting this bucolic town, you can tour the first home of the Clintons, bike a section of the Razorback Greenway, stop in a few of the 11 breweries or cider houses on the Fayetteville Ale Trail or watch a local band perform at George’s Majestic Lounge, the oldest club (90 years and counting) in Arkansas.
When it’s time to settle in for the night, Four-Star Pratt Place Inn and Barn is ideal for travelers who seek historic charm and wide-open spaces. The former Pratt family home circa 1900 (still owned and operated by its descendants) is situated atop Fayetteville’s Sassafras Hill and surrounded by 140 acres of wooded land.
Kansas City, Missouri
From a visit to the National World War I Memorial and Arabia Steamboat Museum to retracing the steps of Lewis and Clark at Kaw Point Park, Kansas City offers a plethora of sights for the American history buff.
If retail therapy is more your beat, the city also has three trendy shopping and dining centers: Westport, the Power and Light District and Country Club Plaza.
No matter how you spend your days, come nightfall you’ll want to rest your head at Four-Star The Raphael Hotel. This chic boutique property occupies a prime locale near the Country Club Plaza and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (home of the giant badminton lawn sculpture).
Of course, you’ll be so engrossed with the room’s European charm and Chaz on the Plaza’s dynamic menu of modern American fare that you may never leave the premises.