With summer on its way out and autumn on the horizon, who doesn’t want to get away for a little fall fun? Try hopping on a lobster boat cruise or spending quality time with race car driver Tom Kristensen. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors have selected five luxury hotels in beautiful destinations that offer sweet packages and so much more.
After a visit to Kennebunkport, it’s easy to see why former President George H.W. Bush continues to spend summers with family and friends at his oceanfront property (also known as the Bush compound). Mainers are extremely welcoming, and after one visit, you’ll want to return to the charming town time after time. Perhaps this is why The Captain Lord Mansion has so many repeat visitors. Its gracious innkeepers, Rick Litchfield and Bev Davis, know every guest by name. And after 10 visits to the 200-year-old mansion, guests’ names are engraved on a stone, which is placed in front of the property in its Memory Garden. Plan to stay here in the fall and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to try the popular pumpkin muffins when savoring the inn’s three-course family-style breakfast or spend some time in the main gathering room after the evening’s chocolate wine has been served in the kitchen. Another reason to stay here this fall: The 20,000-square-foot mansion, which is perfect for couples who enjoy sharing special moments together, is providing the Lobster Boat Cruise and Dinner package. The hour-and-a-half boat ride on the Rugosa comes with a tasty dinner for two at Mabel’s Lobster Claw (including salad, two-pound lobster and potatoes), a tutorial on lobster harvesting, and a Rugosa T-shirt or baseball cap.
And if you’re visiting Kennebunkport in September, be sure to check out the 27th Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival (September 6 and 7) and the Punkinfiddle Family Festival and National Estuaries Day Celebration on September 27 — both arts and crafts events take place at the spacious Laudholm Farm at Wells Reserve (about 11 miles from Kennebunkport).
Take to the Red Rose City for picturesque autumn days and peaceful nights at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Inn at Leola Village. Explore Pennsylvania Dutch Country with the hotel’s Amish Buggy, Bed & Breakfast package. This experiential deal places you in the back of an Amish horse and buggy for an hour-long ride through town (with a stop at an Amish farm, too). Other amenities include breakfast (order room service) and lunch for two at Osteria Avanti, a $100 credit to use on services (go for the Absolute Pearl Facial with botanical extracts for luminous results) at Destinations Hair Studio and Day Spa, a $25 gift certificate to Collectibles at the Village Shoppes, and full entry to the inn’s sauna, fitness center, outdoor pool and gorgeous gardens. Should your visit land on the third Friday of the month, live like a local and attend Music Fridays. Alt-country group Silver City Rodeo will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on September 19 at Binns Park, and when the temperature starts dropping in October, downtown establishments such as Federal Taphouse and Tellus360 will host bands like Whiskey Tree and PitchBlak Brass so that folks can jam indoors to live tunes. And when you’re ready to turn in, return to your room at The Inn at Leola Village and cozy up under your bed’s down comforter and luxe 400-count linens.
With October temps in the 60s, the weather in the Hub will be just right for the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta (October 18 and 19). Droves of people come to town to watch or participate in the two-day rowing event on the Charles River. The weekend includes a gala, a rowing and fitness expo, fun times at Reunion Village (including lots of food complemented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s beer garden) and much more. To be close to the action, book a room at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Langham, Boston, which is located a little more than 5 miles away from the festivities. The luxury hotel’s Chocolate Suite package is great for those with a sweet tooth. Reside in a two-story loft and nosh on items such as cocoa-dusted filet mignon and cocoa-butter-seared New Bedford sea scallops from the hotel’s chocolate-inspired room service dinner menu. In the morning, stay in bed and order the banana and hazelnut brioche French toast while watching movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat. And when it’s time for an afternoon treat, head to the Chocolate Bar for confections such as chocolate lava cake, crepes and bread pudding.
When the weekend’s athletic activities come to a close, you’ll want to finish things off with a glamorous bang. Stop by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for its “Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen”exhibit. Ogle baubles and gowns from the ’30s and ’40s that were worn by head-turners such as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson. Plus, examine photographs from Edward Steichen and costumes created for the big screen by fashion greats such as Chanel.
Newport, Rhode Island
Spending time nestled in a blanket on the lawn of a mansion is never a bad idea. And in New England, when September brings 70-degree weather, you should find yourself at The Chanler. Relax on one of the luxury Four-Star hotel’s three lawns—Cliff Lawn, Meadow Lawn and Woodland Lawn—while enjoying the company of your significant other. Indulge even more with the historic estate’s Dinner and a Mansion package. Available to guests for one-night stays, relish breakfast in The Veranda (try Kenyon’s Grist Mill honey and buttermilk pancakes) and a three-course dinner of your choosing (including dishes such as heirloom tomato salad and Chanler clambake) at Spiced Pear. The offering also comes with two tickets to visit a Newport mansion of your choice, and thanks to a partnership with Buick, transportation is provided to and from the mansion in a Buick Enclave.
Experience nature up close and personal with a trip to The Lodge and Cottages at Primland in Virginia. The 12,000-acre property sits in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains and affords views of everything from whitetail deer to verdant grasslands. But should you be in the mood to rev things up a bit, consider booking the Primland Driving Experience with race car legend Tom Kristensen (the nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner) and racing driver Harold Primat. This exclusive three-day adventure (September 22 to 24) includes racing your very own Audi R8 at the Virginia International Raceway, sitting in this vehicle alongside Kristensen as he puts the pedal to the metal, meals, a golf tournament and more. And since you’re all about sharing in the fun, when you bring a guest with you, he or she can take a cooking class with executive chef Gunnar Thompson, go on a nature hike or unwind with a 60-minute spa treatment. With such an action-packed itinerary, you probably won’t want to do anything else aside from hitting the racetrack and appreciating every moment at The Lodge and Cottages at Primland. Just remember to book this deal in advance because there are only 16 slots available for this once-in-a-lifetime feat.