10 Road Trips to Take this Spring

From cherry blossom festivals to lakeside retreats, these destinations are all within driving distance from Philadelphia’s Main Line and western suburbs.



 

 

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel

The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore hotel. Photo courtesy of Sagamore Pendry. 

Baltimore, Md. 

Drive time: 2 hours.

Stay here: With its ornate entrance arch flanked by two 18th-century cannons, the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore looks almost dauntingly formal. But inside is a warm welcome. Built in 1914, the hotel embraces its historic roots while incorporating contemporary design and service.

Rooms start at $246, suites from $416. 1715 Thames St., (443) 552-1400.

Eat here: The menu at Encantada, located in the American Visionary Art Museum, tempts you to try something more vegetable-, grain and/or fruit-forward, with interesting innovations like eggplant confit, crispy chickpeas and spicy-hot Nashville cauliflower.

$23-$29. 800 Key Hwy., (410) 752-1000.

Don't miss: Five climate-specific greenhouse rooms nurture tropical, desert and seaside-dwelling plants from around the world at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens. Check the schedule for the two-hour “Master Gardening Clinic” and family events with special activities and science experiments for kids.

3100 Swann Drive, (410) 396-0008.

Before or after you dine at Encantada, take in the latest exhibitions at the American Visionary Art Museum, which focuses on the works of self-taught individuals who create with everything from paints to popsicle sticks. $15.95.

The first Saturday in May is the always-entertaining Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race through Baltimore, featuring zany, artistically imagined land and water vehicles.

Los Gatos Bed and Breakfast Penn Yan

The Los Gatos Bed and Breakfast in Penn Yan, N.Y.. 

Finger Lakes Region, N.Y. 

Drive time: 4 hours, 45 minutes.

Stay here: Located between Keuka and Seneca lakes, Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast is a comfortable resting spot and just a short drive from the area’s famed wine trails. On clear nights, innkeeper Burney Baron is happy to break out his telescope to scan the skies. The property is also a hot-air balloon launch site.

1491 State Route 14A, Penn Yan, (315) 536-0686.   

Eat here: At Veraisons Restaurant, order a local cheese sampler to go with your wine. The menu features Mexican-inspired small plates like barbacoa empanadas and chimichurri tacos. Entrée standouts include vegetable curry, and pappardelle with cider-braised goat.

5435 State Route 14, Dundee, (800) 243-5513.

Don't miss: For a taste of life in the fast lane, try the 3.4-mile Grand Prix circuit at Watkins Glen International racetrack. The season kicks off in early April. $25.

2790 County Route 6, Watkins Glen, (800)-461-7223.    

Rainbow trout and salmon are plentiful in the local waterways come spring. Summit to Stream Adventures will take you to the area’s premier fly-fishing spots ($195 first person, $25 each additional). They also offer classes ($175 first person, $25 each additional) for beginners and intermediates.

(607) 535-2701.

Hershey Gardens Hershey Pa

The 23-acre Hershey Gardens. Photo courtesy of the Hershey Foundation.

Hershey, Pa. 

Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Stay here: Built in 1933, the Hotel Hershey has upscale service to match its Old World European ambiance. For a true taste of Hershey history, book a king or premium king in the original section. Overnight stays include admission to Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story’s Museum Experience, access to three world-class golf courses (open seasonally beginning late March) and preferred pricing at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. $259-$339.

100 Hotel Road, (844) 330-1711.

Eat here: Advanced booking is a must for Sunday brunch ($48) at The Circular in the Hotel Hershey. For dinner, try a chocolate-inspired creation like cocoa-dusted diver scallops or espresso- and cocoa-crusted venison. During Hershey Restaurant Week (March 18-24), 10 of property’s restaurants will offer two- or three-course tasting menus for lunch and dinner.

Don't miss: The 23-acre Hershey Gardens comes alive with daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths in anticipation of the mid-April to mid-May Spring Extravaganza featuring 30,000 tulips. See more than 500 colorful creatures in flight at the Butterfly Atrium. $12.50.

170 Hotel Road, (717) 534-3492.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Hershey without a visit to Hersheypark. For three weekends beginning April 5, you can enjoy over 50 rides.

100 W. Hersheypark Drive, (717) 534-3900.

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is home to more than 200 animals. Schedule meet-the-animals and make-and-take craft events, which begin in March. $11.50.

201 Park Ave., (717) 534-3391.

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz New York

The Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskill Mountains.

Hudson Valley, N.Y. 

Drive time: 4 hours, 30 minutes.

Stay here: Overlooking a shimmering lake and surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest with views of the Catskill Mountains, the 1869 Victorian Mohonk Mountain House has hosted generations of dignitaries. Meals and many recreational activities are included with overnight stays. Don’t miss the guided hikes, and fishing in the trout-stocked lake is an absolute must. An outdoor swimming pool heated to 100 degrees and infused with Dead Sea salts is the perfect place to relax­—or pay a visit to the fabulous on-site spa. $765.

1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, (866) 535-8692.

Eat here: Three elaborate daily meals are included with overnight stays at Mohonk Mountain House.

Don’t miss: Add some new cooking techniques to your repertoire with a hands-on cooking or baking class at the Culinary Institute of America. Topics range from gourmet meals in minutes to everything chocolate. Or try a food-and-wine pairing class.

1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, (845) 452-9600.

Red Lion Inn in Stonebridge, Massachusetts

The Red Lion Inn in Stonebridge, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism.

Massachusetts 

Drive time: 4 hours, 40 minutes.

Stay here: A highlight in the Norman Rockwell town of Stockbridge, the Red Lion Inn has been hosting visitors for two centuries. Aside from the antique-furnished main house, the property is really a small village, with a variety of accommodations ranging from a country-modern guesthouse to a turn-of-the-20th-century restored firehouse. Distinguished guests have included five presidents, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thornton Wilder, John Wayne and Bob Dylan. $160 and up weekdays, $230 weekends.

30 Main St., Stockbridge, (413) 298-5545.

Eat here: Dine amid Gilded Age glamor at the Red Lion Inn, which features well-executed classics like trout almondine, braised lamb and its own version of New England clam chowder. The impressive wine list boasts over 400 selections.

Don't miss: Natural beauty abounds in the Berkshires, with roughly 80 percent of the land undeveloped. Take it in—and get some great photos—with a 30-minute ($97 for three) or one-hour ($195) scenic flight hosted by Berkshire Aviation.

70 Egremont Plain Road, Great Barrington, (413) 528-1010.

In spring, warblers are abundant and in full song at the Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Naturalist guides will take you to the best places to spot them and tell you how to identify them by their songs and calls. On March 20, take a guided “Moonlight Owl & Wildlife Prowl” and learn about animal adaptations for night hunting.

472 W. Mountain Road, Lenox, (413) 637-0320.

New York Botanical Gardens.

The New York Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden/Robert Benson Photography.

New York, N.Y.

Drive time: 2 hours.

Stay here: A 1920’s gem, the Renwick Hotel had a special attraction for literary luminaries like John Steinbeck, Thomas Mann and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Loft-style rooms and suites offer plenty of space. Times Square, the Museum of Modern Art and Fifth Avenue are nearby. $319-$399.

118 E. 40th St., New York, (212) 687-4875.

Eat here: Dine in a conifer arboretum at the Hudson Garden Grill in the New York Botanical Garden. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and transformed into innovative dishes in the exhibition kitchen. Try the B.E.C. fettucine, with bacon, coddled egg and Parmesan cheese cream.

2900 Southern Blvd., New York, (718) 817-8700.

Don't miss: At 250 acres, the New York Botanical Garden is the largest of its kind in any U.S. city. Aside from its spring blooms, Haupt Conservatory is filled with tropical plants. The spring orchid exhibition is a big draw. The Children’s Garden offers hands-on science activities and experiments. $23 weekdays, $28 weekends.

Collectors, curators, museum groups and art enthusiasts from around the country gather to view and purchase more than 1,000 works of art from about 200 art galleries at the annual Frieze New York tented exhibition at Randall’s Island Park. May 2-5.

20 Randalls Island Park, New York, (212) 463-7488.

Maymont Richmond Virginia

Maymont's Italian Garden. Photo by Kevin J. Kelley. 

Richmond, Va.

Drive time: 5 hours, 15 minutes.

Stay here: The gracious boutique atmosphere at Linden Row Inn is made up of seven connected 18th-century townhomes. They have the look and feel of a grand mansion in the historic Monroe Ward District. Rooms $139-$219, suites $249-$289.

100 E. Franklin St., (804) 783-7000.

Eat here: The Virginia Barbecue Trail features 40 restaurants smoking and saucing the authentic stuff. Opened last March and already a darling of the city’s culinary scene, ZZQ dishes up Texas-style eats by the pound or by the sandwich.

3201 W. Moore St., (804) 528-5648.

Don't miss: It took three decades in the late-19th and early-20th-centuries to create the 100-acre gardens and arboretum at Maymont, modeled on the elaborate gardens of the Gilded Age. Highlights include the vivid Italian Garden, a Japanese Garden, over 55 species of daffodils, and an arboretum composed of more than 200 exotic species of plants and trees. Self-guided tours are free. For a glimpse of 18th-century life, take a guided tour of the mansion. $5.

1700 Hampton St., (804) 358-7166.

Try a new sport like kayaking or standup paddling, or compete in a favorite one (think mountain biking), during the three-day annual Dominion Energy Riverrock on the James River. May 17-19. Many events are free.

High Point State Park New Jersey

High Point State Park. Photo by Jason E. Jenkins.

The Skylands, N.J. 

Drive time: 3 hours.

Stay here: At the charming Alpine Haus Bed & Breakfast Inn, you can stay in the 19th-century home or the two-suite carriage house. Suites have jacuzzi baths, and overnight stay includes a full breakfast.

217 State Route 94, Vernon, (973) 209-7080.

Eat here: The Brazilian-style rodizio available Thursday-Sunday at Atlantic Manor brings a procession of sizzling beef, pork, chicken and sausage to your table—all sliced to order. Other specialties include authentic Spanish and Portuguese dishes.

83 Main St., Ogdensburg, (973) 823-6378.

Don't miss: Night rides along the mountainside trails at Echo Lake Stables include an old-fashioned western barbecue. Daytime rides are $40 per hour.

55 Blakely Lane, Newfoundland, (973) 697-1257.   

Climb the stairs 220 feet up to get to the top of High Point Monument in High Point State Park. At 1,803 feet above sea level, it’s the highest elevation in New Jersey, offering panoramic views of the Pocono and Catskill mountains and the Wallkill Valley.

1480 Route 23, Sussex, (873) 875-4800.

Spend a day shopping at the 90-dealer Hamburg Antique Center (Routes 23 and 94, 973-823-9700) or the 50-dealer Lafayette Mill (12 Morris Farm Road, Lafayette, 973-383-0065).

Arboretum at Penn State

Arboretum at Penn State. Photo courtesy of Penn State University.

State College, Pa. 

Drive time: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Stay here: Tucked away in a serene wooded area, Carnegie Inn & Spa offers the understated elegance of a Scottish country manor home. There are just 20 rooms, so you can count on personalized service. Take a refreshing dip in the heated outdoor pool, then try the end-of-day Dinner and Duet, with a side-by-side couple’s massage, monsoon steam shower and champagne dinner at the on-site EsSpa Kozmetika. Breakfast is included with overnight stay. $159-$229.

100 Cricklewood Drive, (814) 234-2424.

Eat here: Enjoy a cocktail and complimentary hors d’oeuvres in the beautifully appointed library, before being escorted to a table in the dining room at Carnegie Inn & Spa. Choose a favorite or something new from the 1,600-bottle wine list to pair with upscale classics like bouillabaisse and chicken Wellington. $24-$45.

Don't miss: From the Grove of the Ancients, featuring plants that were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth, to the centerpiece H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens where 40,000 tulips and 20 varieties of daffodils herald the season, the Arboretum at Penn State is a delight for the senses.

Park Avenue and Bigler Road, (814) 865-9118.

Rent a bike from the Bicycle Shop (441 W. College Ave., 814-238-9422, $30 full day) and choose from 290 miles of rideable roads and trails at Rothrock State Park. The terrain ranges from gently sloping to steep hills.

181 Rothrock Lane, Huntingdon, (814) 643-2340.

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival

This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. runs from March 20-April 13. Fotolia/f11photo.

Washington, D.C.

Drive time: 3 hours.

Stay here: If you like your accommodations luxe, the Hay-Adams Hotel is the place to stay in D.C. Ask for a room or suite with a White House view. $390-$939.

800 16th St. NW, (202) 638-6600.

Eat here: What’s better than taking a stroll on a beautiful spring day? How about sampling some delectable exotic foods while you’re at it. D.C. Metro Food Tours give you a diverse taste of the Capital City. For a can’t-find-it-anywhere-else experience, take the Adams Morgan neighborhood tour, where you’ll sample Guatemalan, Nepalese, Dutch, Vietnamese, Ghanaian, Brazilian, Peruvian, Israeli and Eritrean cuisines. $62.

(202) 851-2268.

Don't miss: While the fabulous flowering trees alone make a visit to the National Cherry Blossom Festival worthwhile, you won’t want to miss the special events. The Blossom Kite Festival (March 30) features kite-makers and competitive fliers from around the world. Petalpalooza (April 6) is an extravaganza of interactive art installations, larger-than-life games and activities, live music, a beer garden, and a fireworks show. The grand parade (April 13) features giant helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands and other performers from around the country. March 20-April 13.

You can also see cherry trees in bloom in Georgetown at the ornamental and edible gardens at Tudor Place. It’s the early 18th-century home of the granddaughter of Martha Washington and (until 1983) her descendants. Be sure to take a guided tour of the house, which contains one of the largest collections of items from George and Martha Washington outside of Mount Vernon. $10, self-guided garden tour $3.

1644 31st St. NW, (202) 965-0400.

Looking for more travel recommendations? Check out our round up of 27 drivable weekend getaways here