First this is totally off topic from anything that this post is about today, but I was so excited to just learn that Dreamworks is producing the movie based on one of my all time favorite novels….The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was soooo fabulous, and I am ecstatic that a movie is in the works, if you enjoy reading..and haven’t read this I highly suggest you do. Now moving on…………I love to travel. Maybe its this very long winter that has helped me reach my threshold fast as to how much winter I can stand, but I am ready to go on a vacation! I have been fortunate that I have been able to travel to many places both abroad and throughout the U.S. Of course,making this blanket statement does not prelude me from saying I have a list….a very long list at that, of cities, places, hotels, museums, cultural establishments that I long to see. I presume as my kids all eventually fly the nest (not at all wishing that to happen soon however), it will give us more time to pursue our love of travel later on down the road. While the choices worldwide are seemingly endless, we have many treasures right here on our own turf. Some of which I have been lucky enough to visit while a few remain on my wish list. What makes up a truly great hotel to me, is first the comfort and luxury of the room, how comfortable I am there. How accessible the facility is for the guests, how welcomed they make you feel and how personal the service is. Of course a hallmark of a truly great hotel, is making you feel at home….and feeling that you could see yourself staying awhile. For this reason I prefer smaller more intimate properties where you are almost guaranteed personal and custom service. Today, I pay tribute to these beautiful, majestic properties all in the U.S. worth visiting. Have you been to any of these and if not, does one appeal to you…where would want go if you could pick up and go tomorrow? Or do you have a personal favorite? Do tell! And last, a few updated house pictures, just got in the new batch of limestone for phase II install so we are pretty excited about that, and you will see that Inspector Teddy was busy making sure things were done correctly:) Inspector Teddy on the prowl In search of what he needs to inspect next…. Beautiful limestone cartouche for back entrance Teddy snooping around to make sure everything is where it should be! Unwrapping it to check it out! I am still in awe of the amazing framing our talented crew did…. a work of art indeed! The old fountain that was on the property, which we will restore One of the original birdbaths which has been since wrapped and put away for the winter…. The beautiful limestone work on the breakfast room bay Our pretty cupola Limestone water table The roof is Vermont slate, they did an outstanding job The palettes of stone await the masonry guys first thing Monday morning Now onto the homes away from home……. STEIN ERICSON LODGE IN DEER VALLEY, UTAH This majestic grand ski lodge modeled off a European ski lodge is situated in heart of picturesque Deer Valley. The rooms are luxurious in a upscale Nordic feel and the public spaces are as inviting as they are warm with many oversize fireplaces in almost every room. Obviously the key draw here is the epic skiing, but the town of Park City is only minutes away and boast of many world class restaurants, the famed Sundance Film festival and a lively downtown scene with something for everyone. This is a great place for a family getaway or a couples retreat. The beautiful traditional lodge Sleigh riding is a must! All the interiors are down to cozy lodge perfection Balcony overlooking the grand foyer A typical guest room done in rich woods Another guest room BLACKBERRY FARM, TENNESSEE Think Currier and Ives meets world class dining all set at the foot of the Great Smoky mountains. Nothing is spared at this amazingly upscale and beautiful resort which has 51 rooms, both situated in the main house as well as several cottages. This is set on almost 4500 acres and is the epitome of fine country living. The cuisine is world class and award winning and is modeled after the farm to table movement so its the best of the best. The rooms are luxuriously outfitted in all the finest linens and furnishings including country antiques and overstuffed feather beds.Everything from gourmet cooking classes, fly fishing, spa treatments to being given a tour in a horse drawn carriage are offered. A famous 60,000 bottle wine cellar completes this idyllic home away from home. I plan on finally going there this summer! This pretty understated sign welcomes you One of the rooms..pure luxury Eating lunch outside by the lake One of the picture perfect cabins Beautifully outfitted guest room The main dining room Gorgeous setting to dine on incredible food The dining table in the wine cellar Picture perfect…..just waiting for some takers Another sumptious guest room A picture perfect picnic THE MAYFLOWER INN AND SPA, CONNECTICUT One of the dreamiest places I have ever been to. A very good friend and I went for the ultimate girls getaway and we both agreed this was perfection and one of if not the nicest spas we have ever been to. The rooms are decorated with antiques, the finest linens, and I think all have woodburning fireplace, no detail was overlooked at The Mayflower. Absolute luxury in the most relaxing atmosphere imaginable. The spa is world class and is always very private feeling. The food was spectacular in the formal dining room. This is a dream getaway weekend destination. The beautiful tended formal gardens with a walking path leads to the spa building and tennis courts The stunning all white “relaxation room” where you wait until you start your spa treatments, I could stay in this room all day, and practically did! This was my friends room…all rooms have queens or kings The Mayflower and all its glory during the winter This was my favorite spot in the entire place, the relaxation room…it has this plush overstuffed chaise lounges looking out onto the lake…it was dreamy Another award winning room Beautiful guest room, most have balconies/decks Part of the library, open to all guests Yes, all the rooms are this stunningly beautiful Exterior of the main building THE BARDESSONO, NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA We were here last year and it was one of the best getaways my husband and I have had in a long long time. Napa Valley really pulled at my heart strings and appealed to my every sense, I could easily have left it all and moved there, it is THAT amazing. Beyond the wine tastings, which to me can get tiresome day in and day out, the sheer beauty of this laid back region is just breathtaking, then you couple in the fact that it has some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in..and you have a winning combination. (Sorry to who this might offend, but after our long anticipated visit to the French Laundry we were very disappointed) however many others there were downright incredible and warrant a return visit. What makes this hotel so interesting is it is a building built of green materials, has its own food production garden so you get farm fresh ingredients in every meal, the building materials are from salvaged trees and they use organic linens in addition to cooling and heating the entire facility with an underground geothermal system! It is quite fascinating and worth reading about…click here. The exterior of the “green hotel’ Yes, all the bathrooms look like this, very luxurious and huge! Loved our fireplace The rooms are THIS beautiful Outside jacuzzi and outside shower The chic bar The elegant dining room Dining room….you can also dine al fresco by the pool TWIN FARMS, BARNARD, VERMONTThis gorgeous idyllic country resort nestled in the mountains of Vermont, houses 20 separate buildings/cottages on over 200 acres. No sparing of country elegance and luxury has been missed here, hospitality knows no bounds and the award winning gourmet cuisine will not disappoint even the most seasoned palette.Each cottage is decorated completed differently but all retain that same upscale country chic luxury. Seasonal activities and all meals are included once you reserve a cottage here at Twin Farms..this is the ultimate mountain getaway! An overview of the property A living room shot One of the cabins with a gorgeous stone fireplace Another charming and cozy cabin A pretty living room, they all have fireplaces Yet another setting…love the cow print chairs! So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags…..I don’t know about you but I am ready to go! The only difficult part would be deciding which one to go to…..these could easily be a home away from home for me! Have a wonderful day!