Sunday, August 31, 2008

10 great places to settle into for fall viewing

Ah, autumn: crisp, cool air and a burst of Crayola-colored foliage. With leaf-peeping just around the corner, now is the time to plan a stay at a scenic country inn, which offers tranquil landscapes with homey hospitality. Sandy Soule, editor of, who visits more than 100 B&Bs annually, shares her selections with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.

Cliff Park Inn


Milford, Pa.


A series of dramatic cliffs along the inn's 7 miles of trails overlooks three states and the Delaware River. "Leaf peepers will drop their jaws. It's the only B&B in the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and there's even a golf course," says Soule. 800-225-6535;


Four Columns Inn


Newfane, Vt.


On the village green of a classic New England town, this inn offers the perfect harmony of town and country life. In front, there are streets with white clapboard, green-shuttered buildings, the Windham County Courthouse and a fountain, and in back, 150 wooded acres, including a private mountain, aglow with ever-changing shades of the season's colors. "There's a staff horticulturist and the property is just beautiful. Stroll down a nearby country lane to the Newfane Country store and shop for all things Vermont, including quilts, fudge and maple candy," Soule says. 800-787-6633;


Hillside Inn

 Ephraim, Wis.

 "The view from the 100-foot porch is so perfect, it feels like the sun is setting just for guests of this Door County inn overlooking Eagle Harbor. The light reflecting off the water gives dazzling clarity to the leaf colors of Peninsula State Park on the other side of the harbor," Soule says. Catch some salmon, perch or trout and have it smoked at a local fish house. 866-673-8456;


Lodge on Apple Pie Ridge


Alto, Ga.


"Tucked on a hillside among massive oaks, mountain laurel and native dogwoods, this inn offers North Georgia mountain views that go on for days. View Mother Nature's autumn artistry from the decks at this finely crafted log mansion," Soule says. Hold your breath for the waterfall and foliage views from the gently swaying suspension bridge above the canyon in Tallulah Gorge State Park. 888-339-1374;


The Victorian by the Sea


Camden, Maine


When the autumn light is just right, you can double your pleasure and see the mirror reflection of leaves in the water below this Queen Anne cottage in coastal Maine. "Watch the schooners sailing by on Penobscot Bay or, even better, get on one for a spectacular view of this colorful season from the water," Soule says. 800-382-9817;


The Foxfield Inn


Charlottesville, Va.


"Located on a crest in the Blue Ridge Mountain region, this country hideaway is surrounded by trees. In fall, the oaks turn stunning shades of red," Soule says. Visit Monticello, Jefferson's home, in nearby Charlottesville or stop in at the local wineries for a tasting. 866-369-3536;


Berry Springs Lodge


Sevierville, Tenn.


"Take in the 360-degree views from your balcony high above the Smoky Mountain mist," Soule says. There are two fishing ponds on the 33-acre spread. Local diversions include Dollywood and Cades Cove, a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known for black bear and whitetail deer spotting. 888-760-8297;


Good Medicine Lodge


Whitefish, Mont.


"Get back to nature in style at this Western-inspired cedar timber inn with Native American accents. The air is crisp, and the panoramic mountain views take on a glorious golden glow when the aspens change colors," Soule says. Enjoy a foliage hike in nearby Glacier National Park or visit the National Bison Range and see herds of North America's largest mammals. 800-860-5488;


Red Rooster Inn


Glenwood Springs, Colo.


A photo of a French country house inspired the design for this elegant mountaintop inn. "Kids are always welcome. It's like visiting a close friend's house," Soule says. The changing gold and ruby jewel tones of poplars, aspens and oaks among the evergreens are as rich and varied as a kaleidoscope. Above the tree line, it will be snowing on Mount Sopris. Below, wide-open pastures stretch for miles. Stroll down for a closer look at the grazing cows. 970-928-8293;


Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn


Hermann, Mo.


Dawn over the majestic Missouri River is so prized here that sunrise times are provided at check-in. New cottages at this upscale inn are perched on a bluff above the river near enough to hear the water. "Early German pioneers settled here in the early 1800s, back in the days when it was a leading grape-growing region, because it reminded them of the Rhineland and their own great river," Soule says. She suggests taking the Hermann Wine Trail to visit seven local wineries. Bikers and hikers favor the Katy Trail, a converted rail trail named for the Kansas and Topeka Railroad. 573-486-4455;

Posted 8/31/2006 5:16 PM ET