Fall has always struck me as the most gratifying of all seasons — something about the cooling nights, the warming colors, that vague sense of anticipation that still lingers from all those years when autumn meant a new school year. (Also: apples, sweaters, leaf piles, football.) Alas, schooldays are gone, but I’ve found a little weekend getaway to somewhere new gives one something to look forward to and helps slow one down to enjoy the fall before it slides into a snowy winter.
Affina Hotels seem to get it: The small, boutique hotels in Chicago, D.C. and Manhattan are all offering a “comforthon” incentive for guests, who can come, frolic in the respective cities, and then return to a pair of cotton PJs, and a couple of servings of Ben and Jerry’s. It’s $279 per night in Manhattan (ah, Central Park in the fall …), $159 in D.C., and $189 in Chicago.
Or, you can escape the city entirely and head up to the Hudson River Valley, where the Catskills are breathtaking painted in autumn’s hues. There you can trek America’s first hiking trail (it’s 24 miles), or try the Hudson River Painters Trail, a 6-mile stretch where artists such as Frederic Edwin Church and Asher Brown Durand painted their striking vistas. For lodging, try the magical Waterfall House, a two-bedroom home for rent in the mountain town of Palenville, like your own country cabin for $400 per night on weekends and $350 per weeknight.
If you’d like to stick a little closer to home, there’s also The Inn at Bowman’s Hill, a palatial stone, four-diamond retreat in lush and pretty New Hope, where room rates range from $335 to $535 a night. Just be sure to take a walk through the orchard, and have breakfast on your private terrace. affinia.com, 1-866-AFFINA; waterfallrental.com, 845-246-6666; theinnatbowmanshill.com, 215-862-8090.