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Because Home Is Where the Hearth Is

By Robin Cherry


There’s something about winter that lends itself to flights of fantasy. If you’re like me, visions of sugarplums dance in your head and you plead for figgy pudding, even if you have no idea what either of those things are. You’re drawn to homey fireplaces in weathered inns and welcoming fire pits on sandy beaches, even if, when growing up, “home” and “welcome” were a 1960s ranch house in suburban Cleveland. Well, I say give in to your reverie. Here are some of my favorite places to enjoy a roaring fire on a dark winter’s night.

Woodstock, Vermont is the town that Norman Rockwell and Frank Capra would have conjured up if they’d set out to create the picture-perfect New England village. And they would have put The Woodstock Inn, a sprawling Colonial Revival resort just off the Village Green, exactly where it is. Guests are welcomed by pine-scented smoke from the 9-foot-wide, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace whether they’ve braved the snowy slopes of the resort’s own Suicide Six ski resort or succumbed to the beckoning charms of Woodstock’s shops and restaurants. The resort’s new spa also has a wood-burning fireplace in a four-season outdoor courtyard where you can relax before treatments such as the nourishing Hot Chocolate Body Wrap.

Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California is perfectly perched over the Pacific Ocean and has stone fire pits and outdoor fireplaces scattered throughout the grounds. Check out the fire pits on the patio at Nelson’s, a surf shack named in honor of Lloyd Bridges’ Sea Hunt character Mike Nelson, and Bridges’ lifetime efforts devoted to saving the environment and the ocean. The view of the Point Vicente Lighthouse and Catalina Island as the sun sets below the horizon is one of Southern California’s most spectacular sights.

At the Inn at the Alameda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, winter is the perfect time for visitors to enjoy the aromatic scent of smoldering piñon pine while seated by an adobe kiva (beehive) fireplace, a classic of southwestern design. This is especially nice during the inn’s daily complimentary wine and cheese reception, where you can compare notes with fellow guests. If you crave more kiva, check into one of the Santa Fe suites, each of which has its own kiva fireplace in the room.

The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin was built by plumbing magnate Walter Kohler to house the hundreds of immigrants who worked at his factory. He cared deeply about his employees and wanted them to feel at home, so he created an elegantly Old-World complex with gardens commissioned by the designers of New York’s Central Park. The Kohler Water Spa has a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge where you can watch snowfalls as you warm yourself by the 16-foot fireplace. For a splurge, check in to the Eau de Vie Suite, an amazing open room with an effervescent whirlpool tub that fills from the ceiling, a walk-in sauna/shower and a glass fireplace that separates the bed from the bathroom.

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This is the second in a series of Winter Getaways stories on Chevy Culture.

Robin Cherry is a Hudson Valley-based travel, food and pop culture writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Afar, Islands and many other publications. She blogs at garlicescapes.com and is writing a book on the history of garlic that will be published in 2014. Follow her on Twitter @garlicescapes.


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