Here are a half-dozen laid-back destinations that offer relaxing long weekends and the opportunity to rediscover the “pleasures of fall,” said the editors of Travel + Leisure.
Lake Placid, N.Y.
This “almost cloyingly beautiful” town in the Adirondack Mountains is “blanketed with rusty hues” in autumn. Host in 1932 and 1980 to the Winter Olympics, it offers a ski jump and ski lifts for panoramic views along with kayaking and hydro biking. At dusk, guests at Lake Placid Lodge can relax in Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, noshing on s’mores. Contact: Lakeplacidlodge.com
Encircled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, this laid-back community features an “organic mechanic,” bandana-wearing street musicians, and kaleidoscopic fall colors. The 109-year-old Black Walnut Bed & Breakfast offers three-course breakfasts, fireplaces, marble baths, and 600-thread-count sheets. Contact: Blackwalnut.com
Block Island, R.I.
The “Andrew Wyeth–worthy landscape” includes 200 miles of Colonial-era stone walls and 250-foot rock cliffs. Some 40 percent of the land is designated as a nature preserve, and the “creaky, 137-year-old Hotel Manisses” is furnished with antiques. Steamed crabs and lobster pasta are among the specialties at Eli’s Restaurant, just down the road. Contact: Blockisland.com
Set on the limestone banks that overlook the St. Croix River, this “19th-century lumber boomtown” is now known for its wine bars, “well-preserved Victorian mansions,” and side streets lined with antiques shops. The 1927 Lowell Inn is “an over-the-top trip in time.”
D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ansel Adams all spent time in this charming desert town, “one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements” in the U.S. The 1936 Adobe Bar at the Taos Historic Inn mixes “luxury with a dash of kitsch.” Ask for the Cowboy Buddha margarita. Contact: Taoswebb.com
This thriving wine destination had no wineries until 1976, when Chateau Ste. Michelle “decided to build a Provençal-style castle on 87 acres” here. The town now has 45 wine producers but only one hotel—the contemporary, wood-beamed, 84-room Willows Lodge, which landed on this magazine’s World’s Best list last year. Contact: Willowslodge.com