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Great Resorts
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Destination Overview

When you plan a weekend trip, sometimes the thought of running all over a destination for things to do and places to eat can be exhausting in itself. And you're going away to relax, aren't you? With that in mind we've visited a group of wonderfully self-contained resorts where everything is right on the property. Each has a variety of activities available and each has a number of dining options. All have terrific accommodations and first rate service.

Click picture to enlargePalmetto Porch RockersCarolina LowcountryNemacolin's Signature Fat Bird

Making Your Travel Plans

To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

Want to save time? Let us make all your travel plans for you including air, car rental, accommodations, dining and activities. You'll even talk to a "live" person and be able to request specific rooms and tables. Just click here. Reservations.

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Click picture to enlargeOffroad Driving Academy at Nemacolin WoodsGreenbrier PoolThe Cooking School at Greebrier

This group of Great Resorts is located "in the country" as opposed to our seaside Resorts, although The Sagamore sits on an island in Lake George in the Adirondacks. Nemacolin and The Greenbrier are nestled in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia respectively, The Boulders sits in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Palmetto Bluff on the banks of the May River in South Carolina. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is located in a lush valley surrounded by the Topatopa Mountain, 2 hours north of LA and The Grand Del Mar is set amidst the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve outside of San Diego. The Greenbrier and The Sagamore are the "Grand Dames" of U.S. resorts with a rich history dating back to the 1700's for The Greenbrier and 1883 for The Sagamore. Nemacolin is the result of the vision of an American entrepreneur whose world travels sparked the ideas for much of what the resort has to offer. The Boulders is a dramatic addition to the acclaimed Waldorf Astoria Group of hotels and resorts. Palmetto Bluff, is part of a spectacular Low Country planned community.

INN AT PALMETTO BLUFF, Bluffton, South Carolina
Nestled beside the May River, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is only a few years old but it is destined to become one of the country's best resorts. Part of the acclaimed Auberge Resorts group, the Inn is built on a 20,000 acre parcel in the Carolina Low Country, just 20 minutes from Savannah, in an area rich in natural beauty and wildlife. It is part of a vast complex that includes residential homes, a delightful Village reminiscent of a New England town and a host of recreational opportunities.

The accommodations are among the best we have encountered with huge rooms (smallest is 1100sq. feet) that are beautifully decorated with screened in porches overlooking the river, an in-room steam bath, fireplaces and more. For couples traveling together or families, the Village homes are quite spectacular and are furnished as if for a magazine shoot. The food is excellent in a leisurely riverside setting and the activities, including a wonderful Jack Nicklaus golf course make this a very special place.

The Bluffs has been recognized as one of Conde Nast Travelers Worlds Best Places to Stay and the magazine rated its accommodations a perfect 100 score. Travel & Leisure named the resort one of its Top 500 Worlds Best Hotels.

NEMACOLIN WOODLANDS, Farmington, Pennsylvania
Nemacolin began life in the late 60s as a private game reserve where Pittsburgh industrialist, Willard Rockwell entertained friends and business associates for hunting and fishing weekends on its then 400 acres. A hunting lodge, lakes, a golf course, an airstrip and the trout stocked Beaver Creek were added to enhance the experience. About 10 years later the property passed to another prominent Pittsburgh family, then back to the Rockwells, 3 years later before being sold to its current owners, the Hardy family, founders of 84 Lumber.

Today the resort encompasses some 3000 acres and is a Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond award recipient. The Falling Rock section of the resort and the restaurant Lautrec have been recognized with the AAA Five Diamond award. Ranked #26 of Golf Digest Top 75 U.S. Golf Resorts.

This is the best family resort we have visited. Set on 3000 acres, there are two golf courses, a shooting academy, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, an off road driving academy, a magnificent Spa, wine tastings and cooking classes for adults. The children's activities are truly amazing. There's a zoo, a marina with boats and kayaks, snow sports, horseback riding, arcades, paint ball, archery, volleyball and more.

The area around the resort is somewhat economically depressed so the employees are very grateful for their jobs and it shows in the service and attitude of the staff. Management tells them it is their job to get people to come their but it is the staff's job to make them want to come back. How refreshing and it works....

OJAI VALLEY INN & SPA, Ojai, California
In a lush valley surrounded by the Topatopa Mountain range lies the tiny town of Ojai California. Just a two hour drive north of Los Angeles, this laid back country town is a remote yet supremely accessible haven for those looking to get out of the city bustle. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa occupies 220 acres of verdant gardens that grow the indigenous plants of the area. Built in 1923 by Edward D. Libbey, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been a destination for nearly 90 years, and its rustic charm allows guests to feel completely at home.

A $90 million renovation was completed in 2011 with new hotel rooms and suites, a new lobby and entrance, new golf shop, new restaurants, and new ballrooms and meeting space.

Ojai Valley originally attracted the Chumash Indians who revered it as a place of healing. Contemporary spiritual seekers ascribe mystical powers to this valley that is still called The Nest. Today, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a haven for artists, writers and movie stars who find inspiration in Ojais serene beauty.

THE BOULDERS RESORT, Carefree, Arizona
As its name implies, The Boulders Resort is set amidst massive, 12 million year old boulders on 1300 acres of natural beauty in the Sonoran Desert just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. The stunning majesty of these rock formations matched with clear blue skies, the natural colors of desert flowers and the lush fairways of the two golf courses create a breathtaking tableau. As an Easterner this terrain is unfamiliar, but that unfamiliarity makes its impact all the more dramatic.

The low slung adobe style accommodations and public buildings blend perfectly into the landscape and seem a natural part of it.  The pace is slow and relaxing. The list of activities focus on the outdoors and the enjoyment of food and wine is enhanced by what you see around you.

AAA Four Diamond recipient.
"Top 15 Golf Resorts" Conde Nast Magazine
U.S Top 10 Best Golf Resorts by Travel + Leisure Golf
Golf Magazines Platinum Medal award winner and named among the nation's Best Golf Resorts
Top 10 Best Spas In the World by Spa Finder

THE GRAND DEL MAR, San Diego, California
This magnificent 249-room luxury San Diego resort captures the elegance and comfort of an old-world Mediterranean estate with an enviable Southern California locale. Its design honors the indelible style of visionary architect Addison Mizner (1872 1933) who drew his inspiration from Spains palaces, Frances sun-washed coastal retreats and Florences decorative arts to define the revered communities of Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Mizners aesthetic is especially well suited, given San Diegos warm climate and the communitys affinity for outdoor living.

The Resort has garnered just about every meaningful award available in the hospitality industry; Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond for both the resort and the signature restaurant, Addison. Forbes Five Star for the Spa, Wine Spectator Grand Award for Addison's wine list and Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America, Golf Digest.

THE GREENBRIER, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
This is not your father's Greenbrier anymore. Efforts to attract a younger crowd to this somewhat remote destination had been unsuccessful until the property was purchased by the Justice Family Group in 2009. First change; the new Tavern Casino, a 3,700 square foot gaming room modeled after the elegant Monte Carlo casinos. The underground Casino at the Greenbrier opens in April 2110 with a similar atmosphere. Also new: Prime 44 West, an upscale steak house honoring the career of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West. The resort will also host the Greenbrier Classic in 2010, a PGA tour and FedEx Cup event. More changes to follow.

Built on 6500 beautiful acres, The Greenbrier is a magnificent resort located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. The resort got its start in the late 1700s when word spread of the restorative powers of the mineral springs. The first buildings were erected in the early 1800s and the legendary hotel Old White was opened in 1858. During the Civil War both sides occupied the hotel as a hospital. In 1910 the C&O Railroad purchased the property and began the expansion which included many of the buildings that stand today. The army commandeered the property in 1942 and purchased it from the railroad for use as a military hospital. After the war C&O bought the Greenbrier back and began the painstaking process of refurbishing the resort.

Dorothy Draper, a noted New York interior designer was hired in 1946 to redecorate and refurbish the resort. Her bold style, using a white background with huge splashes of bright reds, greens, pinks and blues is preserved today by Carleton Varney, the President of the Dorothy Draper Company and the resorts designer.

This is old world luxury at its finest, harkening back to a day when great service was the norm. Theres something elegant and sophisticated about gentlemen and ladies dressing for dinner. The attention to detail is amazingwe saw one employee who did nothing by touch up nicks in the wood on the elevators. Add wonderful golf and a terrific array of other activities and the result is a very memorable weekend.

Travel & Leisure names it one of the Top 100 Hotels in the U.S and Canada. Ranked #10 of Golf Digest Top 75 U.S. Golf Resorts.

THE SAGAMORE, Bolton Landing, New York
Its all about the views here at this extraordinary resort located on a 70 acre island in Lake George. The Adirondack mountains provide the backdrop for the stunning lake views that surround the property. Sunrises and sunsets are dazzling and the pristine lake, fed by natural spring waters, provides both recreation and tranquility.

The Sagamore has a rich and colorful history. It opened in 1883 with luxurious and spacious accommodations that attracted a wealthy, international clientele, was twice damaged by fire, in 1893 and 1914 and was fully reconstructed in 1930. The resort fell into disrepair in the 70s and finally closed its doors in 1981. In 1983, one hundred years after construction of the first Sagamore, builder and real estate developer Norman Wolgin, of Philadelphia, purchased the hotel and after a $75 million renovation, re-opened the resort in 1985. In 2009, a $20 million dollar renovation was completed which included the addition of an outdoor pool and 37 rooms being added to the main hotel.

This is AAA Four Diamond property and a member of the Historic Hotels of America is ideal for families, couples on a romantic weekend and for business meetings.

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Getting There

Inn at Palmetto Bluffs
The Inn is accessible from virtually anywhere in the U.S. via Savannah airport which is about a 50 minute drive away.
Driving times from other cities;
Charleston: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Atlanta: 4 ½ hours
Charlotte: 4 hours

Nemacolin Woodlands
Nemacolin is located about 75 miles (1 ½ hours) from Pittsburgh, the closest major city and airport. Drive times from other cities:
New York: 6 hours
Philadelphia: 4 hours 45 minutes
Washington, DC: 3 hours 15 minutes
Cleveland: 3 ½ hours
Columbus: 3 ½ hours

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
The resort is accessible by flying into Santa Barbara airport, about 45 minutes away, or Los Angeles airport, about 2 hours away.
Los Angeles: 1 hour 31 minutes
San Diego: 3 hours 31 minutes
Santa Barbara: 46 minutes

The Boulders Resort
The resort is a 50 minute drive from Phoenix (closest airport), 2 ½ hours from Tucson and about 7 hours from Las Vegas or Albuquerque.

The Grand Del Mar
The resort is accessible from anywhere in the US through the San Diego airport which is just a short distance away.
Drive time from other cities:
Los Angeles: 1 hour 45 minutes

The Greenbrier
The Greenbrier is located in the southeastern section of West Virginia. Continental flies non-stop into Greenbrier Valley Airport (15 minutes away) throughout the year from Cleveland. Access increases during the Spring-Fall season with flights from Atlanta. There is an Amtrak station directly across from the resort with trains arriving from New York, Chicago, Cincinnati and Washington, DC. Check schedules at www.amtrak.com.
Drive times from other cities:
Philadelphia: 6 ½ hours
Pittsburgh: 4 ½ hours
Washington, DC: 4 hours
Charlotte: 4 hours

The Sagamore
The resort is accessible by air to Albany International Airport, by Amtrak from New York and Montreal, and by automobile via Interstate 87 (the Northway).
Albany: 1 hour 23 minutes
Montreal: 3 hours
Boston: 4 hours
New York: 4-4 ½ hours
Buffalo: 6 hours

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Getting Around

All of our Great Resorts are somewhat isolated in location or at least some distance from a major city. You will need a car to reach all of them, except in the case of The Greenbrier. If you take Amtrak to get there or fly into the local Greenbrier Valley Airport, you will not need a car.

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When To Go

Inn at Palmetto Bluffs
Late spring through the summer is very warm and humid and can be pretty buggy. Early Spring and Fall are ideal and even November-February temperatures average in the 60s. Summers are also the wettest months, averaging 6+ per month.

Nemacolin Woodlands
There is so much to do here that any season is enjoyable, even in Winter where the list of activities includes down hill skiing, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Spring, Summer and Fall are ideal, however because you get the most out of the resort, including wonderful golf and my favorite place to stay in the resort, Falling Rock, is only open May-early November.

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
It's valley location and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean result in mild temperatures throughout the year making this an ideal escape at virtually any time.

The Boulders Resort
This is the desert, so temperatures reach 100+ for a good part of the year. While it is dry heat and winds tend to be in the 15-25mph range.it is still hot. December-March have the most mild temperatures generally in the 80s. Even during the warm season, evening temperatures dip way down the scale and provide cool nights in the 60s.

The Grand Del Mar
The adage "it never rains in Southern California" is very nearly true. San Diego has more sunshine than nearly any place in the country, so virtually any time is good to visit.

The Greenbrier
Like Nemacolin, the list of activities is so vast, theres plenty to do in any season. The Winter weather in this part of the country can be iffy and golf is usually not an option then, but otherwise there are plenty of options to fill a long weekend.

The Sagamore
The resort is open from May until just after Thanksgiving. The Spring is beautiful and quiet as the snow melts and the trees and flowers begin to bloom. The Summer brings a full slate of mountain and lake activities, ideal for the whole family. The magnificent colors of Fall with a hint of crispness in the air is perfect for romantic weekend escapes.

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