After accompanying me on visits to numerous B&Bs, I correctly anticipated that one day my daughter would want to honeymoon at bed and breakfast inns where she and her husband could be assured of receiving famed B&B pampering. Sure enough, shortly after Malyssa and Harley became engaged, they told me about their desire to honeymoon to nearby mountains and asked for my B&B recommendations. They had one week available for their honeymoon, and they were interested in visiting different areas and staying in varied types of bed and breakfast inns.
With so many personal favorites to consider, I don't think I ever could have narrowed down my list to a workable number if there had been no time or distance restraints involved. My final list of B&B recommendations consisted of a grand historic inn (1. Hamilton Turner Inn in Savannah, GA), a honeymoon mecca situated in a country setting (2. The Red Horse Inn in Landrum, SC, near Spartanburg), a secluded mountain hideaway (3. Fire Mountain Inn in Scaly Mt., NC, near Highlands), and a country inn situated in a private pastoral community (4. Serenbe Country Inn in Palmetto, GA, near Atlanta). See the location of these inns by finding the corresponding yellow numbers in the map at end of blog. Each of these inns offers a wide range of accommodations (casual to luxurious/semi-private to total seclusion) as well as an impressive array of offerings and amenities. I have made return visits to most of these inns, and I am never ready to leave when my departure time arrives. Malyssa has either visited or stayed overnight at each of these inns with me, and she was thrilled at the prospect of sharing them with her new husband. Even though the newlyweds were able to enjoy the mountain areas of Carolina at the peak of fall foliage, each of these inns is located in fantastic areas that are enjoyable any time of the year.
Hamilton Turner Inn
Malyssa and Harley spent their wedding night at the stately Hamilton-Turner Inn, just a few blocks away from the site of the wedding reception at our home. It was a perfect October night, and they were transported to the inn in a horse-drawn carriage decorated for the celebratory occasion. Malyssa later related to me that spending their wedding night at this magnificent inn, one that easily meaures up to its four-diamond rating, was a fairy tale experience--and she is still talking about the grandeur of their suite (The Button Gwinnett) and the exceptional comfort of their bed.
Even though the newlyweds arrived too late to partake of the inn's complimentary evening wine and hors d'oeuvres, they found a special delicious bedtime treat left for them during turn-down service. The Southern gourmet breakfast served at The Hamilton-Turner Inn is always outstanding and attractively presented. As honeymooners, Malyssa and Harley especially liked having a private table, one overlooking Savannah's beautiful Lafayette Square, and they appreciated the flexible serving times which allowed them to decide when they preferred eating.
Savannah is one of the country's top travel destinations and the undisputed B&B capitol of Georgia. The city is steeped in history, and The Hamilton-Turner Inn is located in the heart of Savannah's Historic District within walking distance of major attractions. The innkeepers/staff at the inn are well-informed about things to do and places to go in the area and provide professional concierge service. Dining recommendations, made by the staff, may be relied upon with confidence. One of our long-time favorite Savannah restaurants, 17 Hundred 90, is open each night and located less than a mile from the inn. In addition to consistently having good food, (including an excellent Southern buffet available at lunch), the exposed Savannah grey brick dining room provides an "Old Savannah" ambience which is enhanced by an evening pianist who often plays songs by Savannah native Johnny Mercer. Arrangements can be made for a pedicab to pick up guests from The Hamilton-Turner Inn and provide unique transportation to/from most downtown restaurants.
The Hamiton-Turner Inn offers a wide assortment of exclusive packages, including comprehensive Elopement, Honeymoon, and Romantic packages. A "Design Your Own Package" is also available. This grand inn is an ideal choice for spending one's wedding night, an entire honeymoon, or any other event calling for a special celebration.
The Red Horse Inn
When I first discovered The Red Horse Inn over eight years ago, I knew I had found a true B&B gem. From the moment I entered my cottage, I was in awe of the unique artistry and amazing attention to detail. The exterior simplicity of my cottage did not prepare me for the exquisite interior awaiting me once I entered. Anxious to share this special bed and breakfast inn with the readers of my B&B newsletter, I featured The Red Horse Inn on the cover of the July 2001 edition of The INNside Scoop. Several years later, when my husband and I spent a weekend at The Red Horse Inn, new additions made the inn even more appealing. So, when Malyssa and Harley asked me for B&B recommendations for their honeymoon, I immediately suggested this inn--one I had taken Malyssa by to see earlier.
The Red Horse Inn is situated on a sprawling 190 acres in upstate South Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains are visible throughout the property, and oversized windows are strategically positioned in the cottages and rooms to capture the majestic views. However, if you should stay in one of the cottages, be sure to visit the inn's vine-draped arbor patio (adjacent to the main house) complete with a fish pond filled with Koi. The arbor patio/courtyard area provides yet another excellent place for relaxing and enjoying the mountainous landscape while at The Red Horse Inn.
Like some of my other B&B suggestions to Malyssa and Harley, The Red Horse Inn offers both cottages and guest rooms for their guests. For those desiring ultimate privacy and their "own place," the inn's six storybook cottages--each replete with a bedroom, bath, kitchen, living room with workable fireplace, color TV, front porch with rockers, decks or patios--personify romance, and they are individually characterized by a specific theme from 17th century barn parts. Three of these cottages have whirlpool bathtubs, and two cottages have private outdoor spas. The main house offers an additional six rooms, and each of them exudes romance as well.
It seems as though everything at The Red Horse Inn somehow contributes to enhancing romance, including special romance packages and upscale amenities. Innkeeper Mary Wolters once told me, "B&Bs should be run by hopelessly, incurable romantics. We are!"
Knowing their drive to The Red Horse Inn would be a long one, Malyssa and Harley decided to have their dinner delivered to their cottage their first night. So, prior to their arrival (24 hour advance notice is required), they placed an order for one of the inn's special gourmet dinners. Malyssa ordered Shrimp Scampi (served on a bed of angel hair pasta with a white wine, garlic, and herb butter sauce), and Harley opted for the Maple Dijon Chicken (complemented by wild and white mushrooms in a creamy sauce flavored with Dijon and maple syrup). All entrees are accompanied by a salad, bread, a non-alcoholic beverage, and dessert. Malyssa and Harley recounted to me a mouth-watering description of their dinners and how impressed they were with the attractive manner their meal was delivered and set up for them. If lighter fare is desired, The Red Horse Inn suggests ordering one of their homemade pizzas and indulging in a "Snuggle Up and Stay In" private pizza party. Taking advantage of the inn's special in-room dinner service, something seldom offered by B&Bs, is something Malyssa and Harley highly recommend to other honeymooners staying at The Red Horse Inn. However, if dining out is desired, excellent restaurants are nearby and menus are available at the inn for review.
In addition to walking trails and other on-site activities at the inn, area attractions are nearby and abundant. Malyssa and Harley were mesmerized with the brilliant display of fall foliage during their late October honeymoon, and they were able to see a profusion of rich autumn colors during a drive to nearby wineries, waterfalls, and covered bridges. Red Horse Adventures offers excellent self-guided tours for guests to pursue while staying at The Red Horse Inn.
After hearing Malyssa and Harley's glowing report of their honeymoon visit to The Red Horse Inn, it seems that what I wrote in my July 2001 review of the inn remains true: "If The Red Horse Inn" were a horse, I am certain it would be a galloping, award-winning thoroughbred!"
Fire Mountain Inn, Cabins, and Treehouses
(Highlands/Scaly Mt., NC)
Located outside the popular village of Highlands, a one-of-a-kind retreat sits upon hundreds of mountaintop acres at the highest point of Fire Mountain--an elevation of over 4,000 feet. In order to guard the the uncompromised privacy of guests, directions to the inn are only provided to registered guests prior to their arrival. No directions are given via telephone. The drive up to Fire Mountain Inn is definitely more challenging than zooming down an Interstate with cruise control activated. However, as anyone who has made it to the pinnacle of Fire Mountain will agree, the real difficulty is going back down that mountain road. Once the magic of Fire Mountain has been experienced, leaving is not easy!
Malyssa and I spent an enjoyable Mother-Daughter trip at Fire Mountain Inn two years ago, and I have fond memories of us sitting next to a bonfire on a starry night, sharing dreams about the future, and trying to identify Mars. We seemed to have the mountain to ourselves that night, accompanied only by the Man in the Moon. Watching the flickering fire, I remember thinking about what an inimitable honeymoon spot Fire Mountain would be for newlyweds seeking total seclusion in a resplendent mountain setting. So, when I suggested that Malyssa and Harley include Fire Mountain in their honeymoon plans, I am sure Malyssa was not surprised. In fact, if I had not suggested it, I suspect she would have told Harley their honeymoon would be incomplete without spending part of it at Fire Mountain Inn.
The accommodations at Fire Mountain Inn, Cabins, and Treehouses have something to fit most any desire or need for a memory-making getaway. When Malyssa and I visited Fire Mountain, we loved staying in Red Thunder (located in the sophisticated main inn), having massages on our private deck, and eating a gourmet dinner (served in Bento boxes) al fresco. But, when Malyssa and Harley were honeymooning at Fire Mountain Inn, they were thrilled with the total seclusion of their cabin (Red Cedar)--a delightful 3-room cabin with a cathedral ceiling, a living room/dining area, fully-stocked kitchenette, bedroom with a queen-sized bed, wood-burning fireplace made of native stones, a separate Jacuzzi room (with a large, jetted tub for two), a front porch with rockers and a swing for two. What else could even the most discerning honeymooners possibly want?! Breakfast, maybe? Well, the special delivery of a Mountaintop Breakfast Basket for Two may be ordered (for an additional charge and previously arranged) and will quietly be delivered to your front porch each morning around 9:30 a.m. Coffee and teas are provided in the cabins to enjoy whenever desired.
There are so many things to do and see on Fire Mountain, that you may not want to leave until departure time. The property includes mountain springs, streams, ponds, waterfalls, an art gallery, site sculpture, and wonderful hiking trails. Each season shines forth, in some special way, at Fire Mountain--and natural beauty is ingrained into the area's landscape. And, as one would expect, there is an extensive offering of "Romantic Enhancements" available for even more pampering to be received without ever leaving your room, cabin, or treetop hideaway. For those who do want to see more of the surrounding area, there are all kinds of leisure activities to pursue near the inn. Malyssa and Harley enjoyed spending time exploring Highlands and staying for a delicious dinner On The Verandah overlooking Lake Sequoyah. Following the recommendation of the innkeepers, they picked up a pre-prepared dinner (from Rosewood Market in Highlands) and had a private meal, next to a cozy fire, in their cabin.
Mathew and Hiram, the owners/innkeepers of Fire Mountain Inn, are two of the most thoughtful and conscientous individuals I have ever met. They go above-and-beyond the expected to make guests feel welcomed, and they take special pleasure in pampering honeymooners. "Serenity and privacy" are the gifts they offer to guests at Fire Mountain Inn, but their guests receive so much more than most would ever anticipate.
Serenbe Country Inn
I have had an opportunity to personally experience Serenbe Country Inn on two different occasions, and each time my accommodations were so diametrically different from each other that it was hard to believe I was staying at the same inn. Yet, I absolutely loved my guest quarters on each stay--the one defined by an appealing rustic charm as well as the one swathed in elegance. One magnetic characteristic of inns offering a diverse range of unique lodging is that guests are often anxious to experience a sampling of each--which means I need to schedule at least another four visits to Serenbe! A stay at Serenbe Country Inn may be enjoyed in The Main House (a 1905 restored farm house), The Guest House (a restored 1930's horse barn), Dogwood or Magnolia Cottage (environmental buildings with Earth Craft ratings),The Lake House (providing views of the lake and observation of the farm animals), or in one of Serenbe Community's eclectic guest quarters. With such a wealth of architectural diversity and high-quality craftsmanship, I knew Malyssa would have a hard time getting Harley (whose degree is in/passion is for interior design/furniture making) to leave Serenbe. I was right. Serenbe immediately became Harley's Shangri-la.
Malyssa and Harley enjoyed a honeymoon-style bed chamber in The Main House (which, unlike some of Serenbe's other areas, is restricted to adult guests). Their room was convenient to The Farm House, Serenbe's highly-acclaimed gourmet restaurant which is also located in The Main House. Malyssa and Harley are aficionados of good food, and they agree the meal they ate at The Farmhouse was one of the best they have ever eaten anywhere. The Farmhouse has limited hours of operation (Thursday through Saturday from 6 to 9 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am-3:00 pm), and advance reservations are recommended.
In addition to being treated to a Southern afternoon tea each day, Serenbe guests also receive sweets at bedtime and a full country breakfast in the morning. With so much good food available, it is good to know that lots (900 acres) of walking trails are available on the property so calories absorbed may be walked off before the next feeding! Three streams, two waterfalls, and a lake contribute to making strolling through the extensive grounds an enjoyable outing. When the weather permits, a soak in the hot tub or a dip in the pool provides rejuvenation after an exploration of the grounds or time spent with the farm animals (which includes rabbits, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys and llamas).
Not only does Serenbe provide an idyllic honeymoon destination, it also provides a magical setting for weddings and wedding receptions. The inn's staff includes a specialized event designer who is professionally trained to assist with the planning of special events.
The circular honeymoon route (shown on map below), followed by Malyssa and Harley, worked well for them. However, the route may easily be altered to accommodate the best starting/ending points for others interested in honeymooning/vacationing at these same inns. When following this route, a minimum of one week is suggested to allow for driving time as well as adequate time to fully enjoy and take advantage of the numerous offerings of each inn/locale during one's visit.
After a blissful week of honeymooning, the newlyweds returned home effervescent with all the too-good-to-ever-be-forgotten details of their "dream honeymoon"--one they overwhelmingly attribute to the outstanding hospitality, above-and-beyond kindnesses, consummate service, outstanding accommodations, extensive amenities, and stellar location provided by their "honeymoon inns" and the innkeepers/staff hosting them.
The newlyweds are now home, and Harley has carried Malyssa "over the threshold" into their new life together. Harley had not experienced a bed and breakfast inn prior to their honeymoon, but he has now become as enthralled with the B&B experience as we are and anxious to visit more.