8 Idyllic Mountain Escapes
8 Idyllic Mountain Escapes
There is a living room. Exposed-wood beams and plush couches covered with soft wool blankets. A fire in the hearth casting a warm glow. Outside, the sky is a sapphire blue. Snow-covered mountains loom in the distance.
This is the setting we crave this time of year. When the cold air feels like peppermint in our lungs, a snug mountain escape feel likes a warm hug. And the style and size don’t matter: Our favorites run the gamut from luxe slopeside hotel to eclectic rental cabin. If there’s hot cocoa at the ready and a nearby mountain to ski (or look at), that’s where you’ll find us.
The Little Nell is famously the most luxurious of Aspen’s resorts, so it follows that it’s also the center of gravity for the ritzy scene the town is known for. Still, it’s perfectly possible to have a low-key stay here, if only because the rooms are so exquisite: Designed by LA-based Holly Hunt in a neutral cream palette with wood accents, they are turned out with heated marble floors and walls in the bathrooms, cozy fireplaces, and mountain views. The service is impeccable, which makes every activity from skiing to making a dinner reservation incredibly simple. In the hotel’s two restaurants, Element 47 and Ajax Tavern, take advantage of the over-the-top wine list. The location is prime, right at the base of Ajax Mountain (ski-in/ski-out) and seconds from the center of town. But given the hotel’s impressive collection of contemporary art, cozy rooms, and excellent spa, it wouldn’t be a wild idea to spend the day tucked indoors. Photo courtesy of the Little Nell.
Originally a country home for journalist Dorothy Thompson and her novelist husband, Sinclair Lewis, Twin Farms in Vermont’s Green Mountains still has the feel of a bohemian writer’s retreat. Outdoor activities at this adults-only, all-inclusive luxury hotel include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating (and in the summer, cycling, hiking, canoeing, and picnicking). Indoors, Twin Farms’ art collection, which includes pieces from David Hockney and Jasper Johns, is outstanding. You’ll find ten individually themed cottages dotted throughout the forest, which means you might end up in a fisherman’s lodge or a Moroccan respite with mosaics and a tented ceiling. The chef prepares a fresh, set menu daily (the staff will ask your preferences before you arrive). The customized meals and wine pairings are part of the all-inclusive package. You can eat at the main house or in your cottage. Every winter, the resort hosts Art of a Vermont Winter, an original series that celebrates winter in the Green Mountain State.
There’s something about spending the day in Big Bear’s rugged terrain that begs for a night’s stay in a cozy cabin. The answer is Noon Lodge, built in the early 1950s. The sixteen cabins and grounds were totally revamped several years ago when the current owners bought the property. The décor is heavy on the cozy, nostalgic, mountain-hideaway vibes with rustic exposed wood, working fireplaces (in most cabins), and dark reds, blues, and greys. The draw here is the community the setup encourages. The cabins surround a central outdoor fireplace where you can spend the evening sitting on the Adirondack chairs, sipping hot cocoa, and chatting with your neighbors.
This resort, situated on eight gorgeous acres in Jackson Hole, blends luxury-hotel perks with the quiet and solitude of camping. Each of the twenty-five tiny modern cabins on the property is outfitted with Wi-Fi, a TV, a kitchenette, a private deck with a grill, and an outdoor firepit. Any of them is a win, but there’s something special about the Wheelhaus Wedge, which offers more space and includes a king-size bed and a sleeper sofa. The resort offers Jeep rentals, making the five-minute drive to Teton Village and the thirty-minute drive to Grand Teton National Park a breeze.
About ten minutes east of Big Bear Lake on a giant swath of land sits this idyllic farmhouse. The property looks like a life-size postcard: A rustic fence surrounds the white-painted house with its enclosed front porch and giant windows. Walk in and the space feels like a deep breath. Every corner of this rental property seems to be bathed in natural light, an effect that’s amplified by the bleached-wood floors, natural-wood furnishings, and white details. Between the cozy living room, generous kitchen, outside back patio, and five bedrooms, there’s plenty of space—the house sleeps up to ten people. Its lovely owner, Cassandra, has put thought into all the accoutrements, including the crisp Parachute sheets and True Botanicals bath products.
In the heart of the Catskills, this former 1960s motor lodge has been reimagined by Brooklyn-based design firm Studio Tack. Each one of the thirty-eight rooms is finished with dark maple floors, layered Persian rugs, and mid-century modern furniture. Many of the rooms have fireplaces and private decks overlooking the surrounding mountains. It’s an easy trip from New York City, and the lodge is just a five-minute drive from Hunter Mountain, making Scribner’s a no-brainer for a winter weekend getaway. Prospect, the on-site restaurant and bar, draws on nearby Hudson Valley farms and producers for a seasonally driven menu of deeply satisfying dishes, like a sweet chicory salad with hazelnuts and candied lemon, rigatoni Bolognese with local pork, and seared steelhead trout with wild rice and roasted mushrooms.
Claire Thomas’s genius is a consistent presence at goop HQ. (Thomas and Lauren Gallucci are the cofounders of Sweet Laurel, the decadent grain-free bakery—we order their cakes all the time.) So we were intrigued when we heard she had overhauled an A-frame in Big Bear Lake and put it up for rent on Airbnb. The space is stunning. Thomas renovated the rustic interiors to be whimsical and inviting. A giant green vintage fireplace anchors the living room, where Thomas added a mix of green and coral tiling, mid-century furniture, and textured, patterned rugs and accessories. The open kitchen is a cook’s dream with new appliances and open shelving. With ample space—three bedrooms, five baths, a giant backyard—this cozy cabin is a comfortable landing spot for a friends reunion or family weekend.
Bozeman is happening. This college town is quickly catching up to America’s most progressive and fast-growing cities, like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas. The thriving downtown boasts art galleries, boutiques, close proximity to Yellowstone, excellent local food, and the Lark, a retro boutique hotel right smack on Main Street. The Lark came to be in 2013 when Thinktank Design Group overhauled the existing space—a motel from the 1960s—and turned it into a thoughtfully designed, stylish hotel. The décor is bright and artsy with throwback mid-century details and bright colorful accents. This is a great spot to stay with a group or with kids, given the spacious rooms, some of which are outfitted with bunk beds. There’s also an on-site café and a taco truck.
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