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4 Great Resorts Within Driving Distance of Philadelphia’s Suburbs

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Whether you want to stay in Pennsylvania, or head to another state in the North East, a resort is just the place to escape for a few days.

The Otesaga Resort Hotel

Cooperstown, N.Y.

DRIVE TIME: 4 HOURS

Photo courtesy ofThe Otesaga Resort Hotel

Central New York’s Otesago Lake is the famed “Glimmerglass” of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Owned by the same family since it opened in 1909, the Otesaga Resort Hotel offers the welcoming ambiance of a gracious country manor on its shores. Room and suite furnishings are posh yet comfortable, and the pictures on the walls are reproductions of masterpieces that hang in the village of Cooperstown’s prestigious Fenimore Art Museum.

Ask for a lakeside room or suite—the view is well worth the price. Some suites have wet bars, so you can savor a toast to a getaway well spent. Breakfast is included with overnight stay. The many outdoor amenities at the resort include the scenic Leatherstocking Golf Course and a lake with some prime fishing opportunities.

TO-DO LIST: The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown is a shrine to America’s favorite pastime. It’s an easy eight-minute walk from the resort. Give yourself at least half a day to navigate this enormous landmark, with its collection of more than 40,000 artifacts and walls of plaques honoring the sport’s many heroes. To orient yourself, start on the second floor, where the exhibits cover the history of baseball from its early years to the present. 25 Main St., Cooperstown, (607) 547-7200, baseballhall.org

The costumed interpreters and a working farmstead (with animals) at the Farmers’ Museum offer a glimpse of agrarian life and work in the 19th century. To comply with COVID regulations, the blacksmith shop, pharmacy and tavern aren’t open to the public, but interpreters relate their stories and answer questions outside the buildings. 5775 State Highway 80 (Lake Road), Cooperstown, (607) 547-1450, farmersmuseum.org

WHERE TO EAT: At the Otesaga’s Hawkeye Bar & Grill, the atmosphere is casual and the menu innovative comfort fare. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio and choose from three fancy sauces to top your Chilean sea bass, seared salmon or crab cakes. A recent menu featured slow-roasted prime rib and duck two ways. Try a draft beer sampler of four seasonal selections or any of a wide variety of wines by the glass. Finish your meal with a slice of the restaurant’s signature chocolate stout double-chocolate layer cake. (607) 544-2524.

At Mel’s at 22, chef Brian Wrubleski upgrades humble mac and cheese by adding brie and smoked gouda to the traditional cheddar, and he enriches risotto with lobster. 22 Chestnut St., 607-322-4012, melsat22.com

RATES: rooms $149-$726, suites $264-$1,144.

60 Lake St., Cooperstown, N.Y., (607) 547-9931, otesaga.com.

Wisp Resort

McHenry, Md.

DRIVETIME: 4 HOURS, 15 MINUTES

Courtesy of Wisp Resort

Western Maryland’s only winter ski resort transforms into a multi-recreational playground the rest of the year, with non-snow activities geared for the whole family. At the Lodge at Wisp, six types of accommodations are available, ranging from queen efficiency to king luxury suites. All are spacious and most sleep up to four guests. Some welcome pets. The Lodge has an indoor heated pool, and two championship golf courses with mountain and Deep Creek Lake views.

TO-DO LIST: Take a thrill ride on the Mountain Coaster, a combination alpine slide and roller coaster that twists, turns and rolls 3,500 feet downhill at a speed you can control with a hand brake in the cart. Test your mettle on an Aerial Adventure with ropes, planks, swinging bridges, zip lines and more. If COVID regulations allow, you can mountain bike over eight miles of single-track and logging roads winding in and around forested land. Rentals and clinics are also available for bikers interested in the up-and-coming sport of freeriding. Starting Memorial Day weekend, rent a kayak or paddleboard for some fun on the lake at Wisp’s Watersport and Bike Express. (800) 462-9477.

Drinks at the base of the chairlift.

WHERE TO EAT: Moonshadow is a cute little cafe that excels at home-style food—even if home is far away. A recent menu included beef loaf topped with smoky barbecue sauce, marinated jerk chicken, and Korean bibimbap. There are also some innovative takes on vegetarian and vegan selections, and it’s the perfect place to grab a to-go sandwich or other breakfast item for weekend brunch. Takeout and delivery only due to COVID regulations. 145 Bumblebee Road, Accident, (240) 442-5542, moonshadow145.com.

Guess what tops the menu at Pine Lodge Steakhouse? Whatever cut you order, be sure to start your meal with a bowl of the signature creamy crab soup. 1520 Deep Creek Drive, McHenry, (301) 387-6500, pinelodgesteakhouse.com.

RATES: starting at $149.

296 Marsh Hill Road, McHenry, Md., (800) 462-9477,
wispresort.com.

Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen, Va.

DRIVE TIME: 5 HOURS, 30 MINUTES

In the heart of Central Virginia on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen is set on 11,000 acres of winding trails, cascading streams and lush forest. Accommodations include the Mountain Inn, villa-style condos, and lavish rental homes perfect for families and friends. You’ll also find kitchenettes and full kitchens. Aside from a multitude of sporting opportunities, the property also has a full-service spa.

Photo courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

TO-DO LIST: Be sure to reserve your tee time on Wintergreen’s championship links. Designed by Rees Jones, the 27-hole Stoney Creek Golf Course is open to the public and provides a beautiful backdrop for a rousing round. (434) 325-8250. Accessible only to members and guests of the resort, the 18-hole Devils Knob Golf Course is the highest in Virginia at 3,800 feet, providing 50-mile views of the surrounding valleys.

Tennis is another major sport at Wintergreen, with indoor clay and outdoor deco-turf courts to suit player preferences. Polish your game at the Wintergreen Tennis Academy, which offers a variety of programs, from one-hour daily clinics for any skill level to 90-minute advanced workouts for adults and tournament-level juniors. (434) 325-8235.

WHERE TO EAT: If you’re a fan of flaky homemade biscuits, you’ll want to visit The Market at Wintergreen for your morning meal. They make some of the best you’ll find anywhere, along with a nice assortment of breakfast sandwiches. The deli menu includes hot and cold sandwiches and pizzas. (434) 325-8224.

Photo courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

At the upscale Devils Grill at Wintergreen, you can enjoy a beautiful mountaintop golf course view while dining on thoughtfully prepared dishes like braised veal cheeks and shrimp and grits. Sunday brunch selections include stuffed French toast and smoked-salmon-and-avocado tartine. (434) 325-8100. Open Friday-Sunday, The Edge at Wintergreen features an array of interesting sandwiches, including falafel, a catfish po’boy and a crab-and-pimento hot dog. Braised pork roast and grilled half Cornish hen are among the dinner specialties.

RATES: Starting at $176.95.

Route 664, Wintergreen, Va., (434) 325-2200, wintergreenresort.com.

Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Bedford, Pa.

DRIVE TIME: 3 HOURS

Photo courtesy of Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Since the beginning of recorded history (and probably before), people have been drawn to the eight natural mineral springs in southern Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley for their healing and restorative properties. Over more than two centuries, 11 presidents have been among those who’ve come to stay at Bedford Springs Resort to experience the rejuvenating waters and spa treatments. The property is palatial, and the accommodations are lavish yet tasteful, whether you choose to stay in the historic building or the newer spa wing. There’s an 18-hole golf course and an indoor pool—and feel free to bring the dog for some signature pampering, including a special chef-created menu.

Photo courtesy of Omni Bedford Springs Resort

TO-DO LIST: Whatever spa treatment you choose at Springs Eternal, you’ll want to experience the complimentary Bedford Bath Ritual, an invigorating self-guided combination of body-scrub exfoliation, mineral deluge showers, aromatic steam, a soak in hot mineral water, a dip in cold, and a hydrating aroma mist. (You’ll need a bathing suit.) Follow the ritual with a full-body Swedish massage or a Signature HydraFacial. (814) 624-5633.

Set on 2,200 magnificently landscaped acres, Bedford Springs is a hiker’s paradise. Try a one-hour guided hike of historic spots on the property. Or opt for a more challenging adventure on over 30 acres of cleared trails. There’s also an instructor-led meditative hike.

Fishing is popular in the resort’s stocked trout stream and the spring-fed Red Oak Lake (for catch-and-release). Guided fly-fishing excursions are also available.

WHERE TO EAT: Create your own omelet or breakfast bowl at Bedford Springs Resort’s Frontier Tavern. For dinner, choose your cut of steak or luxuriate in a bowl of silky-smooth lobster mac and cheese. (814) 624-5644. At the resort’s Crystal Dining Room, top your steak, pork chop, lamb loin or salmon fillet with a choice of rich sauces, from roasted mushroom demi-glace to peppercorn brandy. Add a crowning touch of crab meat or shrimp Oscar, bleu cheese, crispy fried onions or pan-seared foie gras. (814) 624-5648.

Dining at the chef’s table.

The casual 10/09 Kitchen is known for its shrimp with black truffle tagliatelle, house-made wild mushroom ravioli, and crab cakes. Imaginative sandwiches include the Street Bob, with Genoa salami, pepperoni, black forest ham and smoked provolone. 132 East Pitt, Bedford, (814) 623-1130, 1009kitchen.com

RATES: starting at $169.

2138 Business 220, Bedford, Pa., (814) 623-8100, omnihotels.com.


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