It’s February in New England. It’s cold and dark and it’s hard not to allow this time of year to get you down. My best advice for those that don’t care for the cold ? Embrace the season in all its chilliness. A long weekend away really can be a wonderful reset.
Here are some of my favorite inns for a New England winter get-away. I’ve checked all of these for availability and you can throw all of these trips together on short notice. And best of all, winter is a great time to travel on the cheap.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
It’s a common misconception that Martha’s Vineyard closes up for the winter. But visit in February and the Vineyard is yours in all its tranquil beauty.
My favorite Vineyard hideaway? Hands down, it is the Nobnocket Inn .The inn has a prime location in Vineyard Haven -which is super convenient for arriving by ferry. Innkeepers and owners Simon and Annabelle Hunton have done a tremendous job of maintaining the charm of a 19th century home while incorporating modern amenities and a glossy new style. Every detail has been considered, including a night cap of port, brandy or whisky in the evening and homemade cookies at turndown. Winter rates begin at $180 and include a gourmet breakfast
Note: plan your getaway carefully as Nobnocket’s seasonal closing takes place this year from February 21st-March 23rd.
Bristol, Rhode Island
I discovered Mount Hope Farm while writing New England’s Colonial Inns & Taverns and it is one of my all -time favorite inns .
The site encompasses more than 400 years of Rhode Island history. The property itself dates from 1680, and was and still is the tribal home of the Wampanoag. The Georgian home that is today’s inn dates from 1745. And In the early 1900’s, this was the summer estate of the Haffenreffer family of Narragansett beer fame.
Today, the property is the nonprofit Mount Hope Trust which acts as a steward for the farm, the inn and the walking trails.
The inn has 13 nest like rooms –each with antique furniture and a private bath. Winter weekday rates are as low as $79 per night (without breakfast) while weekend rates begin at $130 and include a hearty breakfast.
Hancock, New Hampshire
If you prefer to race down a mountain, I even have an inexpensive ski country recommendation.
The The Hancock Inn is the oldest inn in New Hampshire. Located in south central New Hampshire, in the shadow of Mount Monadnok, the 14 guest rooms are exactly what one would expect-and want-in a historic New England inn with handmade quilts and period antiques. You can take advantage of downhill skiing at nearby Crotched Mountain or explore Hancock’s Main Street- each house is listed on the National Historic Registry and the 1851 Meeting House has a Paul Revere & Sons bell. Winter rates are from $99 a night, and include a cooked to order breakfast.
This year, I am spiffing up the latest edition of Day Trips New England. Periodically I need to do a revisit of a place and recently returned to Salem- renowned for both its witch lore and maritime history.
Located in downtown and just a few blocks from the waterfront- the stylish modern Hotel Salem oozes 1960’s cool (lots of blue hues, light wood and succulents) and stands out from the city’s more fusty accommodations. Venture out and visit the House of Seven Gables (because you know you have been meaning to go for years) or check out the Peabody Essex Museum’s recent expansion. Winter rates are from just $109
Finally, for a romantic long weekend away, consider making like Harry and Meghan and heading to Canada. Yes, I know that Canada is not part of New England, but Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine share a long border with the province of Quebec. It always shocks me how few New Englanders have been to Montreal- and yet it’s just a five-hour drive from Boston. Montreal is cold in the winter, but come to enjoy the city’s European-like ambiance and an exciting food scene. To point you in the right direction I offer Olive et Gourmando for lunch and pastries at Maison Christian Faure . Winter hotel rates are commonly less than $200 per night at even the high end hotels like Fairmont’s Queen Elizabeth. Most recently we stayed at Le Sainte Sulpice which is located in the heart of Old Montreal. Winter rates are from just $150