160 miles from Philadelphia (3 hours by car)
Nestled on a quiet residential street in the Hudson Valley, Bill and Florence Beausoleil’s sprawling white manse is the quintessential B&B: a mix of country-cozy Americana and refined elegance, with super-luxe silk walls in the dining room and four-posters in the suites. This retreat isn’t for the floral-averse, but if you love a Victorian vibe — a little lace, overstuffed settees and the like — you’re in for spectacular breakfasts (stuffed French toast, fresh-from-the-oven muffins), en-suite Jacuzzis, the world-famous Appalachian Trail almost at your doorstep, and neighboring Millbrook, a charming little town chock-full of some of the best antiques malls and wineries in New York State. You’re on your own for lunch and dinner, which is fine, as you’ll likely be scouting prime Hudson River vistas or touring the Vanderbilt mansion; we liked the hip little bistro Peza for tasty grilled pizza and wood-grilled fish, and the upscale (four-star) Le Chambord for fancy French fare. And if the mansions and antiques and Chateaubriand pour deux start to weigh a little heavy on the froufrou scale, you can keep it real back at the Bykenhulle with a game of one-on-one on the mini basketball court out back.
Book it: 21 Bykenhulle Road, 845-242-3260, bykenhullehouse.com.
Rate per night: $185 to $215 in peak season (May through October); $165 to $185 off-peak.
Snacks: Snacks and appetizers served daily (including big-as-your-head chocolate-covered strawberries), plus coffee and tea all day.
Meals on-site: Breakfast. Best guest comment in the guest registry: “Can you franchise this across the USA?”
Bonus: Book for 2 nights, get the 3rd free.
Photo op: Not only are the grounds gorgeous, with colorful, impeccable gardens — but the Hudson Valley offers hill after hill of splendid fall foliage and colors. Veer down just about any side road for this year’s Christmas-card picture.