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Good to Get Away

by Peter Proko

LET’S FACE IT; the holidays are a great way to spend time with friends and family. But they can also be a lot of work between hosting large dinner parties and shuffling around congested highways and overcrowded airports.

If you’re like us, you’re already thinking about your next escape where you can have some down time—with or without the kids.

As Old Man Winter approaches and you long for the warmer days ahead, consider one of these six amazing getaways, all within a four-hour drive of South Jersey. Whether it’s a charm- ing bed and breakfast or an elaborate resort compound, everything is seemingly at your fingertips from a round of golf and spa treatments to sailing and fine dining.You’re going to want to make it a long weekend.

Crystal Springs Resort
Sussex County, New Jersey CrystalGolf

Settled in the mountains of northwest New Jersey, this multilayered resort offers guests three distinctive properties in which to lay their head, 12 restaurants, seven golf courses, two spas, a water park, bike trails, skiing and snowboard- ing in the winter and much more. You can keep up with your workout routine at the Minerals Sports Club that boasts seven indoor/outdoor nature pools and houses a fitness center, tennis, racquetball and basketball courts as well as an indoor track. Bringing the kids? Let them bide their time at The Biosphere—an indoor pool complex where they can hop on the waterslide or check out the underground aquarium.

Don’t miss: The seven-course tasting menu at Restaurant Latour, the property’s signature fine dining establishment. You’ll try things you never had before and experience familiar ingredients in a whole new manner. Did we mention their award-winning wine cellar holds more than 130,000 bottles from around the world?

Only here: Polish your golf skills at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, named for the “man who invented the golf instruction industry” and has coached countless PGA and LPGA champions.

Approx. travel time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond
St. Michael’s, Maryland

This Colonial mansion may look familiar if you’ve ever seen Wedding Crashers, as portions of the movie were filmed on the grounds. Guests will enjoy a stroll through the property’s manicured gardens or hopping on a yacht for a romantic voyage around the area. After a massage at the spa, take a dip in the infinity pool before heading to Stars for dinner where you’ll want to order the unbelievably fresh seafood as you watch the night sky illuminate the Miles River.

Don’t miss: Make your way into town for a day of retail therapy at the charming shops where you’re sure to find something to bring home to help commemorate your visit.

Only here: Head to the on-site sailing academy and hop aboard one of three yachts for an unforgettable day on the water. Novices will learn how to steer their own ship while more experienced sailors can show off their nautical skills.

Approx. travel time: 2 hours, 35 minutes


The Morrison House
Alexandria, Virginia

This boutique bed and breakfast located just outside the nation’s capital combines modern style with classic design elements that only add to its inviting atmosphere. The hotel’s proximity to The White House and other D.C. attractions is a selling point, but it’s also smack dab in the middle of Old Town Alexandria, which is worthy of its own exploration. Start your day with complimentary morning coffee and tea service and kick off the evening with the nightly wine reception in the parlor.

Don’t miss: The Grille, the hotel’s restaurant which also duels as a piano bar with live entertainment.

?Only here: In-room spa services include everything from mani-pedis and facials to massages and body wraps.

Approx. travel time: 2 hours, 50 minutes


Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, New York

This all-inclusive, picturesque escape is the kind of place where you’ll have to book an extended stay if you want to fully enjoy all it has to offer. Dip your toes in the lake, make your way through 85 miles of hiking trails, hop in a canoe or enjoy a horse and carriage tour of the mountain- top resort. Rooms blend historic charm with modern amenities, while the more spatial cottages are ideal for families and lengthier visits.

Don’t Miss: The renowned spa is the perfect place to de-stress whether relaxing in one of the glass-enclosed verandas or warming up in the outdoor heated mineral pool. If you want our advice, indulge in one of the sampler packages which afford guests a bit of everything the spa has to offer.

Only here: The historic Barn Museum takes guests on a journey through time with displays and exhibits of antiques with a direct connection to Mohonk as well as a small art gallery.

Approx. travel time: 3 hours


Omni Bedford Springs Resort
Bedford, Pennsylvania

This mega property in central Pennsylvania has big historic ties thanks to the 10 U.S. presidents who have stayed here. With its own golf course, three restaurants and retail shops on site, there’s little reason to leave the grounds. The 30,000-square-foot spa uses only natural spring water in its treatments and there’s plenty of outdoor activities from hiking and biking to tours of the expansive grounds on your choice of either a Segway or off-road vehicle.

Don’t miss: Culinary demonstrations at the exhibition kitchen where you can learn how to make some of the resort’s best dishes and take the recipes with you, all while dining on a three-course tasting menu.

?Only here: For those who can’t travel without?their furry friend, Bedford Springs offers a special pet menu with items like a venison burger on egg bread and pan-roasted salmon to ensure your pet is properly pampered too.

Approx. travel time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 9 (December, 2015).
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